LA News Release, "Hands of Consenting Adults'" (June 2004)

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In Association with the Libertarian International

Release Date: 9 June 2004
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details: Sean Gabb, 07956 472 199,
Chris R. Tame, 07957 644 519,


The changes to the laws governing prostitution, proposed unofficially by the British Government, are a sinister attack on the rights of consenting adults to associate as they please, says the Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties think tank and pressure group.

The proposed changes include:

  • Sending men to prison for a new offence of "payment for sex";
  • Compulsory registration and medical testing of prostitutes;
  • Taxpayer-funded programmes to "persuade" prostitutes to find other occupations;
  • Special "tolerance zones" in which people will be partly dispensed from the normal law.

Libertarian Alliance Director of Communications, Dr Sean Gabb commented:

"We thought the progressive liberalising of the laws against homosexual acts would see the end of state policing of sexuality. These proposals bring back that policing with a vengeance. They take us, indeed, straight back to the Contagious Diseases Acts of the mid-19th century, that enabled the harassment and humiliation of prostitutes, and that were only repealed after a long campaign led by the great libertarian feminist Josephine Butler.

"The services offered by prostitutes can be seen as commodities or as acts of voluntary association. Since there is  no reasonably identifiable harm to third parties, we see no reason whatever for these proposed changes. They are an attack on freedom of contract, on freedom of association, on the right to be left alone in one's own private space. These are fundamental human rights. We denounce these proposals as utterly immoral.

"They are, moreover, grotesque, bearing in mind the politicians making them. We expected Labour to reduce our freedom to buy and sell, and to levy higher taxes on us, and to load us with politically correct infringements of our freedom. These proposals go beyond the wildest fantasies of the Tory authoritarians. Not even Ann Widdicombe could have come up with these and kept a straight face.

"We know, from long experience, that the Palace of Westminster is crawling with prostitutes of all sexes, ages, sizes and specialisation. Will Westminster, we ask, be designated one of the proposed "tolerance zones" in which the proposed new laws will be suspended?"

The Libertarian Alliance advocates the following with regard to the sex industry:

  • No controls of any kind on the marketing of sexual services to adults;
  • The extension of the normal law of contract to govern agreements for the sale of sexual services;
  • The repeal of all laws that make it illegal to enable or to invest in or to manage the provision of sexual services;
  • The repeal of all legal discrimination against those involved in providing sexual services to consenting adults;
  • The repeal of all laws regulating sexual conduct between consenting adults on private property;
  • The cutting off of all tax-payer funding for any group that disagrees with the above.

The Libertarian Alliance does NOT advocate the licensing of brothels or the registration of prostitutes, or any other measure that gives the authorities a supervisory power over the sexual conduct of consenting adults. Rather, it regards prostitution and other sex work as a legitimate business in which all workers should keep the contracted reward for their labour.


Note(s) to Editors

Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. He is the author of ten novels and ten other books, plus about a million words of journalism. He can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at

His latest novel, The Break, has been nominated for the 2015 Prometheus Award.

His recent book, Freedom of Speech in England: Its Present State and Likely Prospects, is a defence of freedom of speech without exceptions. 

Or his book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, explains how its current ruling class has turned England into a totalitarian police state, and how this ruling class can be overthrown and utterly destroyed.

Or another of his books, Smoking, Class and the Legitimation of Power, explains how the current "war" on smoking has nothing to do with making individuals healthy, but everything to do with enhancing the power of a totalitarian ruling class, and enriching its relevant client groups.

You can see other books by Sean Gabb here.

Extended Contact Details

The Libertarian Alliance is Britain's most radical free market and civil liberties policy institute. It has published over 800 articles, pamphlets and books in support of freedom and against statism in all its forms. These are freely available at

Our postal address is

The Libertarian Alliance
Suite 35
2 Lansdowne Row
Tel: 07956 472 199