Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. 741 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.
This lunchtime, two consultation sessions will take place on two policy areas. Full debates on these subjects will take place at Spring Conference in York.
I remember way back in 1992, around Black Wednesday, we were the first national party to debate sex work. We are now in the process of updating our policy to take account of recent evidence and international practice.
Two controversial aspects of this are whether sex workers or their clients should be criminalised. There have been several attempts to change the law in Scotland to criminalise sex workers’ clients but these have so far been defeated.
We asked what our members thought. They were pretty clear.
Do you support the decriminalisation of sex work?
A selection of comments:
I support the decriminalisation of the individual sex workers. But the organised trade in sex, and exploitation of indivuals, should be criminalised further.
There must be protection from trafficking and abuse and coercion. But there are people, I suspect, who would find offering sex as an acceptable economic activity. I deplore the whole business and would hate any of my family to be involved but personal freedom is essential.
I would like to see laws to protect sex workers against exploitation and abusive clients. It is difficult to do that while sex work itself is a criminal offence.
Should clients of sex workers be criminalised?
Except where they commit acts of violence/rape obviously. Sex workers should have complete control over their own bodies, and freedom of choice in selling their services in a regulated and safe industry. Clients should be free to engage those services.
The desire to pay for sex should not be illegal as long as the sex itself is legal (over the age of consent and with no coercion)
Would ensure that the sex work industry remained demonised, regular clients are replaced by less favourable ones and would make it harder for sex workers to make a living.
- 2,200+ Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. 741 completed the latest survey, which was conducted between 13-15 September 2016
- Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. The surveys are, though, the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country.
- We have been able to test the LibDemVoice surveys against actual results on a handful of occasions. It correctly forecast the special Lib Dem conference would overwhelmingly approve the Coalition Agreement in May 2010. In the 2008 and 2010 elections for Lib Dem party president, it correctly predicted the winner. However, in the 2014 election it didn’t; see here for my thoughts on this.
- Polling expert Anthony Wells has written about the reliability/validity of LibDemVoice surveys here.
- The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings