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Wednesday, 13 December, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Dec 06, 05:24 PM

As the investigation continues, is it time for a change in prostitution laws? A rare report from inside North Korea; and are women funny?
Comment on Wednesday's programme here.
Join the prostitution debate here.

Prostitution - the oldest dilemma?

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Dec 06, 04:57 PM

prostitute203i.jpgPolice fear a serial killer is operating in Suffolk after the discovery of the bodies of five prostitutes.

Prostitutes are often among the most vulnerable members of society, working to fund drug habits or out of desperate poverty. Their trade is also illegal and operating outside of the law leaves them even more vulnerable.

Illegal and anti-social it may be, but prostitution it is not going to go away - there currently are an estimated 80,000 sex workers in the UK. The question is how does society accommodate it?

How do we protect women working on the streets while separating prostitution from attendant crime - such as drugs and violence - and maintaining safety for the rest of us?

The government is still considering a proposal to allow groups of up to three women to run small brothels, but is it time to just legalise prostitution completely? Or are safe tolerance zones on the streets the answer?

There is opposition to all the above proposed solutions. How many would honestly want prostitutes and their clients operating near where they live - whether in brothels or in safe zones? So what is the answer?

We have pulled together online resources examining the subject here.

What do you think?

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