Vice Squad
Saturday, February 14, 2004
 
Scottish MSPs Reject Prostitution Tolerance Zones...


...at least for the time being. Vice Squad reported in the past that the establishment of official red light districts, where streetwalkers would not be subject to arrest, was under consideration in Britain. Now a committee in the Scottish Parliament has rejected that idea, while calling for a full review of Scottish prostitution policy. Prostitution per se is not illegal in the UK, but streetwalking is verboten. Prostitution tolerance zones exist in Australia, which also has some legal brothels, and for a while, Edinburgh experimented with prostitution tolerance zones. For an argument that tolerance zones might be a sensible way to control unsavory activity in American cities, see Robert C. Ellickson, "Controlling Chronic Misconduct in City Spaces: Of Panhandlers, Skid Rows, and Public-Space Zoning," Yale Law Journal 105: 1165-1248, March 1996.

A Glasgow tabloid has been conducting an anti-vice campaign (though if successful, one suspects that their newspaper will greatly shrink in size.) Today they report that the police have responded to their reporting. Here's a sample:

"More than 30 officers working in Glasgow's east end spent two days rounding up prostitutes, kerb-crawlers and the drug dealers who run the industry.

Plain-clothes officers, traffic cops and uniformed police were involved in the high-profile clampdown.

It happened after the Record's shocking week-long expose which lifted the lid on the drugs, squalor and white slaving in the £200 million vice trade in Scotland."

Scotland also has funded initiatives to help women move out of prostitution; indeed, there is a program entitled "Routes Out of Prostitution." In the past, the head of "Routes Out of Prostitution" has not been a supporter of tolerance zones.

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