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Online pimping: inquiry findings published

An inquiry into online pimping, conducted by the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, has recommended that the Scottish Government criminalises pimping websites.

Members of the Scottish Parliament have called on the Scottish Government to outlaw online pimping, after an inquiry found that commercial websites are facilitating sex trafficking and sexual exploitation with impunity.

The inquiry, conducted by the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, concludes that Scotland’s laws against sexual exploitation have failed to keep pace with technological change. The inquiry report calls for a new offence of ‘enabling or profiting from the prostitution of another person’ - which would apply to websites - and urges Ministers to strengthen support services for victims of sexual exploitation.

“Sexual Exploitation Advertising websites have turbo-charged the sex trafficking trade. The websites incentivise sexual exploitation by making it quick and easy for pimps and traffickers to advertise their victims to men who pay for sex. Online pimping is taking place on an industrial scale in Scotland. Yet the operations of these pimping websites fall through the cracks of our outdated prostitution laws – and the website owners exploit with impunity."

- Ruth Maguire MSP, Co-Convener of the Cross-Party Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation

Outlawing pimping websites would bring Scotland’s laws in line with countries such as France and the United States, which have both recently taken action to crack down on online pimping.

In December 2020, Dame Diana Johnson MP, Chair of the UK Parliament's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, introduced a bill that would outlaw online pimping in England and Wales. The date of the bill's second reading is still to be set.

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