Prostitution exists and some think it shouldn't. Our own view is that consenting adults get to do as they wish subject only to their not harming the same ability of others to do as they wish. OK - but that's no excuse for people to be lying about it all.
Which is what we are seeing here. A determined effort to manipulate the language - so badly as to be such a lie - so as to sway the body politic. For there's a very large difference between sexual exploitation and sexual exploitation.
The one is the forcing of people into sexual slavery, repeated rape in short. The other is being defined as people voluntarily offering sexual services in exchange for cash, rather than love, fun or a date. We're being told that the first is the reason why the second should and must be banned.
There is a certain problem with such manipulation:
Ministers will come under intense pressure from a cross-party group of MPs this week to follow the US by banning so-called prostitution websites amid mounting evidence that they are enabling a huge growth in sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women to the UK for profit.
France has led the way by taking action on prostitution websites under comprehensive anti-pimping laws and, crucially, tackling the demand underpinning them – by criminalising paying for sex, and decriminalising selling sex. It is time the British government did the same and finally woke up to the sexual abuse scandal playing out in brothels across the country.
It's entirely true that there has just been a successful prosecution for sexual trafficking. But that is as a result of the law already having been changed to blur an essential distinction.
The proper meaning is the movement of people into that sexual slavery and repeated rape. An appalling crime which should indeed be heavily punished. The problem being that a decade back we had a great big look at this. Operation Pentameter found precisely no one to prosecute for it. That was every police force in the country specifically investigating for it. Details here. The meaning being used by these campaigners - and the law currently - is the organisation and movement of people across geography to voluntarily take part in cash based sexual transactions.
This is a different thing.
That thing which we all righteously abhor doesn't, to any appreciable level, exist at all. But the language is being hijacked to outlaw what some 80,000 people - the estimated number of prostitutes in the country - voluntarily do.
In Britain, prostitution advertising websites continue to operate, the UK’s patchy and inadequate laws against commercial sexual exploitation leaving sufficient leeway for them to profiteer openly.
That's actually what they're complaining about and that's what they want to ban. We disagree with them and they've every right to argue their case as they wish. But we do indeed think that using the non-existence of sexual slavery to ban consensual, if paid, sex is a torturing of the evidence and language amounting to a lie.