Prostitution Law Reform (Scotland) Bill

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Tuesday 8th December 2015

Prostitution Law Reform (Scotland) Bill

HIV Scotland supports a proposal by Jean Urquhart MSP for a Bill to decriminalise activities associated with the buying and selling of sexual services in Scotland. Our official response to that bill is detailed in the document below.

HIV Scotland greatly welcomes action to help promote the rights, safety and health of sex workers in Scotland. While the proposed Bill relates to a broad range of issues, the focus of our response is primarily on the implications for Scotland’s HIV response. As such, we have tailored our response to address only the areas where it is most appropriate for us to offer comment.

Gender inequalities persist in Scotland and evidence-informed measures should be taken to address the unequal relations that exist between men and women. It must be recognised that gender inequality can cause women to enter sex work: globally, the vast majority sex workers are female.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified groups who, due to specific higher-risk behaviours, are at increased risk of HIV irrespective of the local epidemic type or context. This includes: sex workers; men who have sex with men; people who inject drugs; people in prisons and other closed settings; and transgender people. Sound, evidence-informed measures to address sex work constitute an integral component of an effective, comprehensive response to HIV here in Scotland.

Prostitution Law Reform (Scotland) Bill, HIV Scotland Response [PDF - 393kB]