Big Questions: “Should it be illegal to pay for sex with a young adult?”

Back in 2012, Beyond the Streets was approached to partake in a debate on the programme ‘The Big Questions’. The question debated was “Should it be illegal to pay for sex with a young adult?”. On the 1st Apri 2012, Anne Dannerolle, the then chair of trustees of Beyond the Streets represented us in this debate.

This debate came about as a result of the MP, John Mann, piloting a private members bill through parliament to make it a crime to pay for sex with a women in prostitution who is under 21. When he is asked the question, ‘Will this have an impact?’ he responds:

“It will have an impact because it will change the culture that is there and it will create a breathing space to allow more interventions with very vulnerable young women and indeed a group of very vulnerable young men…There is a threshold, and if you raise the threshold, you raise the threshold. You give the ability to do something about it and I think it will impact on people’s behaviour”.

Many opinions and views were represented throughout this debate and many different perspectives were presented. However a common theme that was highlighted throughout was the need for more resources, support services and positive interventions. As Anne Dannerolle says:

“I would ask if this goes through that the government seriously looks at resourcing as well, because in this time of austerity the number of services available to help women off the streets is limited.”

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