Thursday, January 11, 2007
(Headline from today's Evening News)
As the Dad of a nine-year old this sends shivers up my spine. Because not only does it raise questions about the debate of whether prostitution should be legalised and the part drugs and homelessness has to play in all this, but it also begs the question of whether these men are aware they are now child abusers as well as sex abusers.
In my opinion, legalising the industry can only help. It won't get rid of the problem but at least it might mean it can be controlled, and girls as young as this won't be put in any danger. She's lucky to be alive and probably doesn't even know it.
It's even more horrible to think that the place where this girl was found is about two minutes from my house. The "red light" district was moved a few years ago from the traditional Coburg Street, where police turned a blind eye to prostitution. The local residents forced city authorities to designate a new zone in Salamander Street - down the road from my house - but after complaints from local residents (we're still getting mail-shots through the door) it was shut down as a tolerance zone permanently.
The result? Girls wandering about the street from about 8pm onwards selling themselves, and prowlers hanging about in cars or whatever, picking them up to be used as sex objects or worse. Leith Links, which is just round the corner, is where they do a lot of their business. You can tell by the used condoms often seen lying around, and it wouldn't surprise me if that's where they did a lot of their drugs too in order to see them through the night.
When my kid becomes old enough to want to hang about with all her teen pals away from the home, do I want her to be in risk of catching something or pricking herself on a needle? Do I want cars stopping as she walks past the Links to see what business she is offering? This happens a lot to a female pal of mine who actually lives on Salamander Street and she is scared witless to go anywhere without her car when she's about there at night.
Moving them on isn't the answer. The problem will still exist. Legalise it and it can be controlled; the prostitutes will feel safe and the people who live here - me - will not worry so much about letting our daughters out. Because let's face it, the problem isn't going to away - it's been around for hundreds of years.
I worked on my websites tonight. I've decided to put together a freelance specific site, which I shall use to market my copywriting, article writing skills, etc. In doing this, I think I need to slim down and make my main site more accessible and easier to use. I like the design, I'm just beginning to go against the white writing on the black. I want it to be open and fresh and lively. I need to make my sites simpler in their design so that interested people can find out exactly what they need to know about me and my work.
This is all part of my drive for new freelance business as well as my drive to find an agent longer term. Once I was done for the evening Gail and I watched a programme, which was not entirely unrelated to all of this. It was called Pay Off Your Mortgage in Two Years, and followed up on a couple Dan and Lucy, who, with the help of an advisor, changed their life around in order to pay their mortgage off in two years, thus freeing them to live their dream life.
Starting off with £7k debt and a 30-year term mortgage for £105,000, they both moved well outside their comfort zones; Lucy taking great strides in Yoga training, Dan boosting his home-made wood burning furnace business, and huge cutbacks in their expenditure. The result was they managed it, and it was great to see.
I'm not saying for a minute that me and Gail could do the same thing (Dan and Lucy fed boiled nettle soup and tins of cat food to their two kids!), but the strongest message I took from the programme was the focus the advisor played on marketing the businesses. Repeatedly he said the following things:
* Move way outside your comfort zone
* If you feel uneasy, you are only being challenged
* If you are being challenged, you are doing the right thing
* Easy things get no results
* Minimise costs
* Maximise output
* Maximise visibility (press, leaflets etc.)
* Think big
Some of these things are kind of hinted at in my GDR for this year. I'm going to adjust my document to include all of them specifically in relation to building up a freelance writing business and with promoting my fiction and poetry.
Then we'll see what position we're in by the end of the year.
Look, if a guy's trolling for a young girl with whom to have sex, he doesn't care that he's a child abuser.
Just a note on websites -- I find white lettering on a black background very hard to read. It might be because I have poor eyesight, but those sites are difficult than a lighter background. Just a thought. Go with whatever fits your site's image.