Back in September 2009, CAAN was invited to support the International Union of Sex Workers in “Give Prostitution the Red Light? A Question Time-style debate on prostitution in Scotland – reform, regulate or reject?”. The audience was overwhelmingly in favour of criminalizing prostitution by any means necessary. The “balanced” views given in this “debate” seemed to have been considered by the Scottish Parliament because an amendment was produced which would have criminalized the purchase of sexual activities. (The Swedish model.)

CAAN wrote in along with many others opposing this amendment. In addition to the usual anti-sex groups, there were also sex worker rights groups and individual sex workers from around the country. ALL OF THIS EVIDENCE HAD AN EFFECT!!

So if there are any Scots willing to keep up the fight I would appreciate it if they could add their letters to my own. The more requests for a referral the better our chances. All I’m doing at this stage is writing to the 3 law officers mentioned, including a copy of Rabinder Singh’s legal opinion to give the request some weight(see the Backlash website for that). It’s probably best to base any letter around his legal arguments and be sure to mention the Scottish Government’s lack of justification for the legislation; there really has been absolutely none and that is a weakness if it wishes to derogate human rights.

Fergus Ewing said: (

I note that, in written evidence that the committee received, a group of academics appealed for

“more extensive consultation with all key stakeholders which would presumably help to broaden out the current narrow focus of reform into a more inclusive, research-informed reform strategy. We would urge the committee to make a careful balanced assessment of this complex area”.

We would remind the committee that the stage 1 call for written evidence resulted in around 90 submissions, covering all the provisions contained in the bill, yet, in only two weeks, 93 responses have been received on these prostitution amendments alone.

The changes leading to the 2007 act had the benefit of proper consideration by the expert group on prostitution, and the Government’s view is that the significant changes to the law that are proposed by these amendments require similar scrutiny. I believe that that was the thrust of Margo MacDonald’s submission this morning. A more considered review of the issues is needed to ensure that any measures that are put in place are necessary, practicable and sustainable. The volume of written evidence offers overwhelming confirmation that prostitution is a complex area that requires careful consideration and debate prior to additional measures being taken to address the issue.

The amendment was deferred.

In other words, we won the battle!

So numbers DO matter and each letter DOES make a difference!

You may feel like your voice is one in a sea opposition, but the Scottish Government is obliged to read and listen to each person or group who writes in regarding a bill. Every letter is important!

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