#profile-container h2.sidebar-title {display:none;}

Monday, December 18, 2006

Selling Sex

When I was a child I was hooked (excuse the bad pun) on the film Pretty Woman starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. Roberts played a prostitute who ended up falling in love with her gorgous rich client who luckily returned her feelings. The film presented the idea that there was something magical about the world of paid-for sex and that it was a bit like the story of Cinderella, a poor girl could make her fortune and emerge with no scars.

I recently went to see the much acclaimed film London to Brighton from new British writer/director Paul Andrew Williams. It was a brilliant portrayal of 24 hours in the lives of a prostitute and a young girl who had run away from home. The story is a simple one. The prostitute, played by Lorraine Stanley, is asked to procure a young girl of around 10 or 11 years old for her pimp's rich client. The girl, played by Georgia Groome is taken to the man's house where he proceeds to tie her up and menace her with a knife prior no doubt to some sado-masochistic sex act. The girl fatally stabs the client and she and the older prostitute go on the run away from their pimp and the son of the man who has been stabbed. There is a predictable twist in the ending when it emerges the son does not want revenge on his fathers killer but on the pimp. The ending, with the young girl reunited with her grandmother is poingnant as it is clear that the older prostitute returns to life on the streets. This brief synopsis does not do justice to the film which brilliantly portrays the brutality and corruption of the individuals who inhabit this world of violence and petty crime.

The recent murders in Ipswich have brought the world of paid-for sex to public attention. Surely if prostitution was legalised it would remove these vulnerable women from the streets as well as limit their opportunity to obtain money for drugs. Isn't it time we changed out attitudes in this country and stopped turning a blind eye to the oldest profession in the world?