Scottish Parliament Rejects Voting on Anti-Prostitution Bill

Scotland's Parliament has rejected a plea that would have expedited a law criminalizing prostitution and any other method of paid-for sex. Opponents of the measure insist making such practices illegal would only push sex trafficking underground.

The plea, proposed by Labor Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) Rhoda Grant, would have allowed the proposed Purchase of Sex Bill to take a quicker route to becoming law through the Scottish Parliament. Now, the bill must undergo a public consultation.

Grant, representing the Highlands and Islands region of Scotland, argues that the bill, which would make it a criminal offense to pay for sex, does not need a public vote.

"If you have a consultation and you're influenced by the outcome of that consultation, and that then means you have to go to have a further consultation, you would actually never get anything done," she said according to BBC News.

Grant also argues that the Purchase of Sex Bill would effectively reduce prostitution in the country and simply build on current legislation.

"My proposal will make the purchase of sex illegal in Scotland, with the aim of reducing the demand for prostitution," she wrote in a submission to the committee that rejected her plea for expedition.

"In addition, by strengthening the existing legislative framework against purchasers, Scotland should become an unattractive market for prostitution and therefore other associated serious criminal activities, such as people-trafficking for sexual exploitation, would be disrupted," she added.

Those in opposition to the bill argued that it would push sex trafficking underground in Scotland.

The Daily Record provided both supporting and opposing opinions regarding the bill.

Joan Burnie, author and political commentator for The Daily Record, shared her opinion of why the new bill should be passed, saying:

"Sex is something pretty wonderful and sometimes beautiful. Sometimes it isn't great but what it should never be is a commodity which is soullessly bought and sold as if it was no more important and as disposable as a hamburger," she wrote, referring to the men seeking prostitutes as "desperate" and the women prostituting themselves as "drugged-up."

Margo Macdonald, a Scottish politician and former National Party MP, wrote in opposition to the bill, saying that prostitution is "as old as history as we know it."

"Most attempts to change the world by making paid-for sex illegal are naive and misguided," she wrote.

"The Bible recounts how sexual favors were bought and sold. Wanting to have sex is a basic, natural and not inherently evil activity," she added.

There are currently laws in Scotland against soliciting and loitering, what are collectively known as "curb crawling," yet it is still legal for two consenting adults over 18 years of age to exchange sex for money.

Previously, in 2010, a similar proposal was shot down by lawmakers.