I was asked by a journalist today for a quote about the legalisation of prostitution.  What an impossibly difficult issue.  But here is what I offered him:

‘As we learn more about the risks to which the girls in the red light district of Ipswich are exposed, the arguments in favour of the legalisation of prostitution become compelling and compassionate.  The girls should be able to have physical protection, proper medical care and the kind of support which might help them to move on to other ways of supporting themselves and their families.  But that ‘oldest profession in the world’ way of thinking seems to me to invite us to be blind to the degrading reality of this trade.   Unhappy men are buying the services of desperate women, many of whom are selling not by free choice but to feed a drug habit.  Legalisation may provide a degree of protection but I cannot feel that in a free society it is ultimately right to protect something which is akin to slavery.’