Thousands of people have signed a petition demanding tougher laws on prostitution.


Almost 6000 people have given their backing to the End Prostitution Now Campaign run by Glasgow Community & Safety Services and a Member's Bill tabled by Labour MSP Trish Godman. Both are calling for changes in the law to close a legal loophole which means it is currently not a crime to buy or attempt to sex indoors ie: in flats and other premises.

Councillor Jim Coleman, Chair of Glasgow Community & Safety Services, presented the petition to Ms Godman. A total of 5851 people have signed the petition as part of Glasgow's End Prostitution Now campaign and a three month public consultation on her proposed Bill.

 
The proposed changes seek to introduce legislation to make it a criminal offence to purchase sex. It would also make it illegal to "facilitate" the sale of sexual services for example, by advertising in newspapers, on the internet or by allowing your premises to be used for such purposes.


Councillor Coleman said: "The response to this petition has been fantastic. The number of people who signed it demonstrates the strength of feeling on this issue. People clearly appreciate that women involved in prostitution are exceptionally vulnerable individuals often with harrowing life histories. Everything must be done to end their exploitation.

 
"There must be no hiding place for those who create demand for prostitution by seeking to buy sex or who profit from the sale of sex in flats, saunas and other premises throughout Scotland."


Ms Godman said: "It is my firmly held belief that male demand fuels prostitution in Scotland and only by criminalising that demand can we call time on this harmful activity. The number of signatories on the End Prostitution Now petition shows clearly that this is a widely held view.


"The response to the petition reinforces the favourable feedback I have already received while consulting on my Member's Bill. The consultation has now closed and this show of support is vital in progressing my proposals to the next stage."

The End Prostitution Campaign aims to raise awareness of the harm caused by prostitution and turn the focus on those who create the demand by seeking to buy sex as well as those who profit from the exploitation of vulnerable women.


Further information on the End Prostitution Now campaign can be found at www.endprostitutionnow.org


More information on Trish Godman's Private Members Bill can be obtained from Stuart Blair on 01505 615 337 or mobile 07917 890 269.