On 11 August 2022, the Festival of Politics and the Cross-Party Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation held the event, 'Prostitution – the buyers and sellers', at the Scottish Parliament. The part-dramatised reading, part-panel discussion of frontline service providers and prostitution survivors, brought into a public forum the words of those who sell and buy sex to discuss the reality of commercial sexual exploitation.
Video excerpts from the event can be found below.
Ruth Maguire MSP, Co-convenor of the Cross-Party Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, introduced the event:
The words of those who buy and sell sex were read out:
"If real work is having a 70-year-old drunk man bargaining with your price because you won't continue without a condom, that man getting aggressive and asking for his money back, if work is getting forced to give up 50-100% of your income to a pimp, if work is being forced to have sex with men on run from police for domestic abuse, if work is being filmed without your consent, if work is being slapped, beaten, told you're a worthless whore, then yes it's work." - Words of an individual exploited in prostitution.
Linda Thompson, Women's Support Project:
Michael Conroy, Men At Work:
Diane Martin CBE, Survivor of commercial sexual exploitation and Chair of A Model For Scotland:
Audience members were asked to write down comments and questions to share with the panel.
"It is depressing beyond measure that those who excuse to try to legitimise this abuse will not listen to these voices. Sadly, I think of many large charities and campaign groups and politicians." - Written comment from audience member.
Question and answer session:
"...They treat us all the same, like we're nothing, like they own us, like we exist to serve them, like we exist as receptacles for their bodies and their perversions, like we exist as punching bags, a safe target for them to take out all their aggression and problems on, because we are nothing, because we can't do nothing, and because often no one else gives a shit about us either." - Words of an individual exploited in prostitution.
Watch the full recording: