ITV's call girl show 'damaging'

SCANTILY clad pop stars, TV shows such as Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, and the popularity of glamour models are legitimising prostitution in the eyes of men, and endangering women, a campaigner has warned.

Ann Hamilton, head of the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA), believes reducing the demand among Scottish men to purchase sex is the best way of tackling the root cause of trafficking and prostitution.

But she believes that popular culture portraying it as sexy, empowering and enjoyable to women, allow men to believe that prostitution is harmless, when that is far from the truth.

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Hamilton said: "People tend to think that prostitution is dead sexy, very liberating and that there is nothing harmful about it. It's portrayed as very attractive women having lots of sex and enjoying it, when in actual fact that's about 0.005 per cent of women.

"Shows like Secret Diary Of A Call Girl have been very damaging in the public's awareness. Even music stars like to look like a stereotypical call girl because they think there's something sexy and empowering about it. The women's outfits might be very sexy but the reality of prostitution is not.

"We now have girls saying they want to be glamour models and lap dancers and it's all part of that culture making it more acceptable."

A spokesman for ITV defended Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, and said viewers should be given more credit for being able to distinguish between one person's story and the bigger picture of prostitution and it's many forms.

He said: "Secret Diary Of A Call Girl is based on one woman's publicly documented, real life experiences of prostitution, and was made with her endorsement and her agreement.

"It makes it clear the character was working as a high class call girl in London and does not, at any point, try to suggest it represents prostitution as a whole."