Danes overwhelmingly oppose prostitution ban

Criminalising prostitution will only serve to further marginalise and endanger sex workers, lawyer said

(photo: Stephen Wright)
August 27th, 2012 12:58 pm| by admin
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A new poll by Rambøll Analyse/Danmark, done for Jyllands-Posten newspaper, has indicated that only 20 percent of the Danish population supports the government’s proposal to outlaw sex purchases, while a full 67 percent of the population are against it.

The Justice Ministry is currently exploring the legal ramifications of a prostitution ban and the government is expected to take it up in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

But despite the potential ban garnering little support, politicians like Rasmus Horn Langhoff (Socialdemokraterne) contend that it must be done in order to support the women in the sex industry.

“I agree that ratifying a ban will take a lot of work, but we must send a clear message that it is not okay to buy sex because of how negative it is for the women,” Langhoff told Jyllands-Posten. “If we target the customers then we help the prostitutes who don’t need to go underground. A ban will consist of a number of social and police efforts.”

Birgitte Graakjær Hjort, the head of social outreach for the Danish YWCA, which runs a safe haven for prostitutes, agreed with a prospective ban.

“We are 100 percent for a prostitution ban because we see how people are damaged by it. I have yet to speak with someone who has left the industry and believed it was an okay thing to do,” Hjort told Jyllands-Posten.

But the employees of law group Gadejuristen (the Street Lawyer), who are in contact with the prostitutes on a daily basis, painted a completely different picture.

“It’s completely wrong if you think that you can solve serious social issues by criminalising them. Doing this will only worsen the situation,” Nanna Gottfredsen, a Gadejuristen lawyer said to Jyllands-Posten. “You push the sex workers further into a grey zone. They will hide themselves and their activities and social workers will no longer be able to contact those in need of help.”

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