Friday, 12 July 2013

Could benefit claimants be forced to work as legal prostitutes by a future British government?

Back in 2002, the German government relaxed laws around prostitution, resulting in a massive boom to the economy over the last ten years.  According to the public services union Ver.di, the sex industry has an annual turnover of 14.5 billion, with more than 400,000 tax-paying workers now.  It's enough to make any chancellor's eyes light up with climactic joy.

A recent documentary, called "Sex - Made in Germany" revealed one million men in Germany pay for sex each day; the film exposed the "flat-rate" brothels where men pay  €49 (£42) for as much sex as they want and went on to report a drastic rise in sex tourism.  Germany has been branded "Europe's biggest brothel" and some are starting to vocalise their deep objection to the situation.  While these changes have undoubtedly made life a lot easier and a lot safer for women choosing to work in the sex trade, it's inevitably made it easier for women from eastern Europe and countries outside the EU to be forced into prostitution by sex traffickers.

There have been other concerns as well.  An article in the Daily Telegraph, back in 2005, revealed that employment agencies now had the power to force women under the age of 55 to take jobs as sex workers, since prostitution was no longer considered immoral by German society; technically an 18 year old virgin could be forced to have sex with men, often men much older than her, or face starvation on the streets.  It has been argued that this amounts to legalised sexual abuse.

The concern for some of us in Britain is that, with the economy still failing, this current government, or more likely, a future government would look to follow the German model as a way of generating growth, as it were! 

The government has, with help from the mainstream media, been somewhat successful at convincing the general public that the poor, the unemployed and the disabled, are the ones to blame for Britain's economic failure, and not corruption within the banking sector.  The Tories have shown no mercy towards those vulnerable in society, to date more than 3,500 very sick people have died while being processed by the government's work assessment agency, ATOS.  It's not a huge leap to make, to encourage the public to side with the government again, on the issue of enforced prostitution for women who can't find any other full-time work.

But it should be noted that under sex discrimination law, if women were legally required to work as prostitutes and sex chat hosts, then men claiming benefits would inevitably be forced to take this sort of work too.
The novella #FEAR is set in near-future Britain, where just such a law has been passed by a right wing government.  Chapters of #FEAR will be posted on this blog throughout next week - or if you would like to buy the ebook, it can be purchased here: #FEAR novella by J A Maidley

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