Harriet Hatemen, the minister for Intolerance and Inequality addressed the Labour Party conference and brought up the subject of her personal pet hate, prostitution:
And on prostitution. We know that prostitution is not work - it's exploitation of women by men - often women who have mental health problems or drug or alcohol addiction. So we're introducing a new criminal offence of having
sex with a prostitute who's being controlled by a pimp.
We're stepping up our action to tackle human trafficking. We're determined to ensure that, especially in the run up to the Olympics, international criminal gangs don't trick and abduct women from abroad and sell them for sex
And there is a very sinister development which we are determined to stop. You know trip advisor - a website where guests put their comments on line for others to see. There is now a website, like that, where pimps put women
on sale for sex and then men who've had sex with them put their comments on line. It is Punternet and fuels the demand for prostitutes. It is truly degrading and puts women at risk.
Punternet has pages and pages of women for sale in London. But Punternet is based in California so I've raised it with the US Ambassador to London and I've called on California's governor Arnie Schwarzenegger to close it
down. Surely it can't be too difficult for the Terminator to terminate Punternet and that's what I am demanding that he does.
Galahad, host of PunterNet has replied in an open letter:
Dear Mrs. Harman,
I have a few points to make regarding your recent remarks regarding my website and your fantastic demand that the Governor of California close it down.
Firstly, PunterNet is not violating any laws. If it were, then surely the many websites catering to the US prostitution scene (where sex for pay is almost completely illegal) would already have been closed down.
In the USA, there is a concept called freedom of speech which is considered the most important personal right guaranteed by the Constitution. It exists specifically to prevent the sort of abuse of power that you are
attempting. The Governor (indeed, even the President) has no authority with which to shut down a perfectly lawful enterprise such as PunterNet.
PunterNet was not the first, and is certainly not the only, website in the UK with the same subject matter. Rather than creating the demand for commercial sex, sites like PunterNet are a response to that demand, which has
existed since the dawn of mankind and certainly long before the advent of the Internet!
One of the missions of PunterNet is education - to provide information and guidance in hopes that the commercial sex scene is limited to consenting adults and those who choose of their own free will to engage in it.
If sites like this one did not exist, and if prostitution were outlawed, then it would effectively be handed to organised crime on a platter - just as happened with liquor during Prohibition. If, on the other hand, sexwork
is recognised as a legitimate, honourable profession, then there will be no market for the criminal elements, and the truly despicable aspects of the scene such as sex slavery and trafficking will die out. Surely that is a far more desirable goal
than driving it back underground where it will then consist only of criminals and victims?
In closing, I would like to thank you for the huge influx of traffic to my website which your actions have caused. I am sure that the ladies who are a part of the PunterNet community thank you as well, as they will no doubt
benefit financially from the many new clients who might otherwise never have found them.
Comment: Censorious authoritarian
2nd October 2009. From Alan
I suppose Harridan Hatemen's latest piece of nonsense is fairly typical of the woman.
Quite how a (rather good) young civil liberties lawyer has turned into a middle-aged censorious authoritarian baffles me.
So much for evidence-based policy, when the evidence conflicts with the predetermined victim feminist ideological line.
I should think that those running Punter Net could probably clap a writ for defamation on her, since some of her claims were blatantly false.