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The Scottish National Party has backed changes to prostitution laws to criminalise those paying for sex, but not those who sell it. For example, while indoor sex work is legal in Scotland, more than one person working together is considered an illegal brothel. The Nordic model is seen by its advocates as a progressive way to deal with trafficking and violence against women.
However, organisations which are led by sex workers consistently argue that this system actually makes prostitutes' working conditions become considerably more dangerous, because they are often prevented from working in groups or cohabiting for safety. Countless victims of prostitution state that violence is an inevitable part of the industry. This is backed up by studies here in the UK, as well as fully decriminalised systems like New Zealand, where prostituted women have said full decriminalisation will do little to address violence.
I applaud SNP delegates for recognising this. The two systems fuel one another. She argued that the adoption of the Nordic model by neighbouring countries "risks seeing a displacement effect of traffickers setting up shop in Scotland". The Scottish model also goes further than the Nordic model by committing to legislation that includes assistance and support for those wishing to exit prostitution," Ms Denham added.
Christina Cannon, who is standing to be an SNP councillor in Glasgow , argued against the adoption of the Nordic model. Nadine Stott, chair of Scot-Pep, an organisation which advocates for sex workers rights, strongly condemned the adoption of the policy. She said she hoped they would keep engaging with the SNP in the future, and that many in the party were supportive of decriminalisation.
Scot-Pep hosted an alternative debate on sex work at an SNP fringe event. The English Collective of Prostitutes and the Sex Worker Open University, both organisations which advocate for sex workers' rights and back full decriminalisation, have also condemned the SNP's support of Ms Denham's motion.