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The Honeyball own goal

The Guardian reports the adoption of Mary Honeyball’s ‘report’ here.

Leave aside the arrogance of calling one woman’s opinions, and those of her fanbase, a report. Leave aside the vexed question of whether the EU should have  a policy in an area which is not within its legislative competence  (like a local authority having a policy on space exploration, it’s not really hugely relevant, and, arguably, not a productive use of time and money).

Just ask yourself this. In fact, play it as a parlour game with your loved ones. How, if Honeyball’s opinions became law, would you enforce them, without victimizing the person committing no offence (the sex worker).

Go on. Have a go. Think about it. Then you’ll see Honeyball’s own goal. She has no way of ducking the accusation that she wants to victimize sex workers, because there is no way to implement her proposals without victimizing sex workers.


7 comments on “The Honeyball own goal

  1. Wendy Lyon
    February 27, 2014

    Unfortunately, it’s not true that this is not within the EU’s legislative competence. Article 83 of the EU Treaty allows the Parliament and Council to adopt minimum rules regarding the definitions of, among other things, “trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of women and children”. So it is possible they could bring in a directive defining paying for sex as a criminal offence. It’s much more difficult to bring in a directive than a Parliamentary recommendation (not just a simple majority!) so hopefully opposition by eg the German government could block it. But, the way things are going, I’m not entirely optimistic.


    • jemima2013
      February 27, 2014

      me neither 😦


    • cartertheblogger
      February 27, 2014

      Here’s the full Article 83 as it is relevant to this discussion.
      Article 83


      1. The European Parliament and the Council may, by means of directives adopted in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, establish minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the areas of particularly serious crime with a cross-border dimension resulting from the nature or impact of such offences or from a special need to combat them on a common basis.

      These areas of crime are the following: terrorism, trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of women and children, illicit drug trafficking, illicit arms trafficking, money laundering, corruption, counterfeiting of means of payment, computer crime and organised crime.

      Is sex work in and of itself an issue with a cross border dimension? No. The conjunction within the clause says, to me, that the EU only has power to decide in matters of sex work and trafficking, not sex work per se.


      • Wendy Lyon
        February 27, 2014

        The problem is that, at least in the Western European countries (who seem to me to be the ones pushing this issue), the majority of sex workers are believed to migrants. That, in itself, creates the cross-border dimension. Yes, there is also sex work that lacks a cross-border dimension, but equally there are corruption and counterfeiting and the other things in paragraph 2 that lack a cross-border dimension.

        I don’t read the conjunction the way that you read it – I read it to say that these are related things that can be lumped together for the purpose of the minimum rules that paragraph 1 allows the EU to establish. If it said “for the purpose of” rather than “and”, I would agree with you. Your interpretation would seem to preclude the EU from establishing rules concerning human trafficking outside the sex industry, and I don’t think that was the intention.


        • cartertheblogger
          February 28, 2014

          One could get very old pondering the intentions of the draftsmen responsible for EU treaties, but not even the most passionate Europhile is going to take an Denning-esque approach to divining the intention of the treaty’s signatories.
          I remember being taught that the degree of rigour applies to issues of interpretation is in direct proportion to the financial cost of a decision – so Denning had to be overruled in Magor and St Mellon because of the cost to Newport if they lost. In this case, no-one gives a toss about Honeyball’s shonky interpretation of the legislation because it will never come to pass via the European route – she was always in pursuit of a propaganda victory to raise her profile, not a real change in the law….


          • Wendy Lyon
            March 1, 2014

            I’m sorry, I have no idea what point you’re making with Denning. Honeyball herself may or may not be seeking a real change in the law, but there are certainly plenty of other people who are. Whether they’ll be able to convince the EU’s unelected institutions to go along with it remains to be seen, but IMHO it is foolishly optimistic to think they won’t at least try.


  2. serafinasamadhi
    February 28, 2014

    It would be a good thing to protect sex industry workers and set higher standards, and sometimes bad practices do enter the bedroom of kinky folks. I think the community is great at discovering those who act in an unsafe manner and pointing them out- either they cor-rest or disappear. Not sure disappearing is always best they tend to show up in various re-creations.

    Lots to think about here.


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This entry was posted on February 27, 2014 by in Uncategorized.

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