Criminalizing the customer: moral messages
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Criminalizing the customer: moral messages book
This chapter provides an up-to-date examination of how men who buy sex have crept onto the political and criminal justice agenda over the past two decades. The chapter examines how and why there has been a re-emphasis of who is ‘the problem’ within the broader conceptualization of prostitution as a social problem. After briefly considering the history of recent legislation, I critique the Home Office consultation documents, Paying the Price and the Coordinated Prostitution Strategy specifically in relation to how men who buy sex have been positioned, the partial information used to develop policy and the implications of the criminalization agenda. The anti-kerb-crawling marketing campaign and police operations in 2007 are examined and made sense of in light of the zero tolerance policy on street prostitution. Examining why kerb-crawler rehabilitation programmes have been favoured as a viable solution to eradicating street prostitution, I present a review of the effectiveness and limitations of these court diversion schemes. In this critique I identify how ‘the user’ has been constructed and how the government has overtly used middle-class ‘respectability’ as the benchmark for criminalizing male sexual behaviour and scapegoating men’s sexuality for the existence of prostitution.