Responding to the Scottish Government’s ‘Equally Safe’ Consultation

Responding to the Scottish Government’s ‘Equally Safe’ Consultation
Photo: Juno Mac. Sex workers demonstrate outside a parlimentary debate in London on the 4th July 2018, to protest discussion of a UK version of FOSTA (A US law that criminalises the advertising of sex work on the internet) and to draw attention to their campaign to fully decriminalise sex work.

In September 2020, the Scottish Government announced a new consultation on ‘challenging men’s demand for prostitution, working to reduce the harms associated with prostitution and helping women to exit’.

The consultation closes on Thursday 10 December 2020. You can find all the information on the consultation on the Scottish Government website here: https://consult.gov.scot/violence-against-women-team/equally-safe-reduce-harms-associated-prostitution/ 

Why this matters for sex workers

We are concerned that this consultation forms part of a push from the Scottish Government to introduce the criminalisation of clients (sometimes called the ‘Nordic Model’). There is very little focus on how to keep sex workers safe, instead focusing on ‘reducing demand’ for sex and on men’s attitudes towards prostitution. 

There have been several attempts to introduce the criminalisation of clients in Scotland. We are calling on the Scottish Government to stop their push for further criminalisation of sex work.  Sex workers strongly oppose the criminalisation of clients (whether it’s called the ‘Nordic Model’ or the ‘Scottish Model’) because it increases violence against sex workers and forces us to work under more precarious conditions. We want to make sure their push for criminalisation is strongly opposed through this consultation and not re-introduced in future. 

Scot Pep will be submitting a detailed response to the consultation, but we would also encourage sex workers and allies to submit their own responses to the consultation. 

You can use our guidance to help inform your response, and add in other information – including personal experience – to your answers.

How to respond

There are nine questions in the consultation, but you do not have to answer them all. If you are responding as an individual, you can submit your response anonymously. You do not have to live in Scotland to respond to this consultation. 

We have outlined some points to consider in your responses, which you can download as a PDF here

You can respond to the consultation in several ways.

Use our online tool

You can submit a response to the consultation using our online tool here. We have drafted answers based on our primary concerns with the framing and content of the consultation, but we strongly encourage you to edit the response before you send it, including to add any personal experiences that are relevant. 
We have made this online tool available partly due to sex workers’ concerns about sharing their personal details with the Scottish Government where they identify themselves a sex worker. We know it can be intimidating to share sensitive information in this way and we hope this simplifies the process. 

Directly through the Scottish Government’s website ‘Citizen Space’

You can respond to the consultation directly through Citizen Space here

Directly by email

You can email your consultation response directly to vawgconsultations@gov.scot. 

By post

You can post your consultation response directly to:

Violence against Women and Girls and Barnahus Justice Unit
Scottish Government
GWR St Andrew’s House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

For responses to Scottish Government consultations, you will be asked to include a Respondent Information Form, which you can find in the consultation document as a pdf. If you use Citizen Space, this is included in the online form. If you are responding as an individual, none of the information on this form is mandatory. You are allowed to submit your response anonymously if you are responding as an individual. 

You will be asked if you are happy for your response to be published with your name, without your name, or not published at all. If it is not published, the content of your response will still be analysed and the information you send in will still be considered. If you do not complete the Respondent Information Form, your response will not be published. 

If you want to keep up to date with our work on this consultation, and other news and updates, you can sign up to the Scot-Pep newsletter here

 

Photo: Juno Mac. Sex workers demonstrate outside a parlimentary debate in London on the 4th July 2018, to protest discussion of a UK version of FOSTA (A US law that criminalises the advertising of sex work on the internet) and to draw attention to their campaign to fully decriminalise sex work.

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