A free market think tank has today waded into the row on laws surrounding the UK sex trade.
The sex industry should be fully decriminalised, the Westminsterbased Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) said in a new report. The IEA argues that existing attempts to restrict prostitution are “ineffective, ill-informed and a waste public money”.
It comes after global human rights campaign group Amnesty International said decriminalising prostitution is the best way to “respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of sex workers”.
Amnesty’s stance on the issue attracted protests from celebrities, including Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep and Lena Dunham.
The IEA’s report says rules that criminalise sellers directly, or criminalise third parties who supply them with services, simply push the sex industry under - ground, increasing the risks for sex workers.
“The very concept of prostitution is no longer workable in today’s fluid sexual markets, where anyone can meet anyone, on whatever terms they choose,” said report author Catherine Hakim.
“Decriminalisation is the only workable way forward. The proposal to copy Sweden and criminalise customers in the sex trade is a complete waste of public money, unforgiveable in a time of austerity.”