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, as well as the full event recording, 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:
"...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.
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 an audience member.
Question and answer session:
"It is shocking to hear the voices and views of men and how little they care about the women." - Written comment from an audience member.
Watch the full recording: