Benny suggested I watched this rather old documentary and the title pretty much sums it up perfectly. What follows are my thoughts on the whole thing.
Within the first minute of the documentary Anne came across to me as a close minded, judgmental and ignorant woman. She practically chases a girl down the street to interview her and is told to (I’m paraphrasing) bugger off and has beer thrown at her. Not a nice experience I agree, however she then says “I’m covered in beer, simply for trying to ask a few questions”. I found this frustrating because she has absolutely no idea the situation of the girl and how it could affect her life to be shown on camera walking the streets. The whole way through the programme she shows a serious lack of understanding for the situations of the girls, constantly referring to how it blights the lives of law abiding citizens.
Following this she goes with the police on a stake out of sorts. They sit in a known red light district and stop every single man driving through. The men are then accused of being “curb crawlers” and told that they should not visit the area again. The police woman comments proudly that when they started this initiative they had 300 known prostitutes that frequented the area and they now only had 89 because of the supply and demand effect. What concerns me about this is that we don’t know what happened to those women. Are they now in legal jobs, clean of drugs and so glad the police did this? It’s possible but I doubt it.
The entire programme highlighted to me the benefits that legalising prostitution could bring. We speak to a woman whose daughter was savagely murdered whilst prostituting herself. I cannot help but think that in a regulated brothel she would’ve been so much safer. They could ensure the working women were off drugs, STI free and have much more chance of protecting them from being exploited. Anne visits an illegal brothel and speaks to the pimp, of course the issue with these is that you get women imported from abroad promised a new life and then forced into the sex trade. They are completely reliant on the people who are exploiting them and have no where to turn because they are illegal immigrants. If the profession was legalised the authorities would have a much better chance of protecting women from this.
So, what do these women need? Well it certainly isn’t the judgement of Anne Widdicombe that’s for sure.