MarcoPolo

Pentameter 2: the movie

62 posts in this topic

Yes, after the sensational success of Pentameter 1, they're back! Stallone. Willis. Schwarzenegger. They are The Exp….

Oops, sorry, wrong movie. No, what we see here are the heroes of the forthcoming C4 TV series "The Hunt for Britain's Sex Traffickers", three very average looking blokes in ill-fitting M&S suits.

Given the C4 hype, you could forgiven for thinking that these guys really have made inroads into the "thousands" of trafficking victims around the country. But in fact the series is entirely built around Operation Pentameter 2.

That's right, Pentameter 2, which despite being the UK's biggest ever investigation into sex trafficking, "failed to find a single person who had forced anybody into prostitution in spite of hundreds of raids on sex workers in a six-month campaign by government departments, specialist agencies and every police force in the country."

Let us remind ourselves of the facts: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/20/government-trafficking-enquiry-fails

Will be most interesting to see how they spin all this during the series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

cant wait to watch this,

get out the popcorn. Watching coppers trying to look all caring and social worker like gives me as Jack The Ripper once said "real fits"

The Police are very schizo about all this. i was talking to a maid in a walk up she couldnt praise the police enough. Still hunting trafficers needs to be done a little like those blokes who hang around Loach Ness. To much to lose if it all turns out to be a myth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i wonder if c4 are planning a tv series:

"the hunt for saddam husseins weapons of mass destruction"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, after the sensational success of Pentameter 1, they're back! Stallone. Willis. Schwarzenegger. They are The Exp….

Oops, sorry, wrong movie. No, what we see here are the heroes of the forthcoming C4 TV series "The Hunt for Britain's Sex Traffickers", three very average looking blokes in ill-fitting M&S suits.

Given the C4 hype, you could forgiven for thinking that these guys really have made inroads into the "thousands" of trafficking victims around the country. But in fact the series is entirely built around Operation Pentameter 2.

That's right, Pentameter 2, which despite being the UK's biggest ever investigation into sex trafficking, "failed to find a single person who had forced anybody into prostitution in spite of hundreds of raids on sex workers in a six-month campaign by government departments, specialist agencies and every police force in the country."

Let us remind ourselves of the facts: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/20/government-trafficking-enquiry-fails

Will be most interesting to see how they spin all this during the series.

The more episodes there are the harder it will be to spin.

My guess is that there will be unsubstantiatable tales by individuals, some footage of raids and arrests inferring trafficking, an unacknowledged broadening of the definition of the word from genuine slavery to facilitiating travel for consenting women, much talk of the potential scale of the problem, and, finally, no follow-up material on the numbers of convictions actually obtained.

They are only doing it because they know it's a guaranteed ratings winner with the great unwashed.

Nice to see the Grauniad having the honesty to avoid spiking Davies article in deference to its own monstrous regiment of wimmin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Middle bloke, leg to the right, what IS that lump at the top of his thigh....surely it cant be lol.:eek::eek:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My guess is that there will be unsubstantiatable tales by individuals, some footage of raids and arrests inferring trafficking, an unacknowledged broadening of the definition of the word from genuine slavery to facilitiating travel for consenting women, much talk of the potential scale of the problem, and, finally, no follow-up material on the numbers of convictions actually obtained.

....and a "highly placed" police source says,

It is also widely known that the revenue from prostitution in brothels is used to fund other organised crime types and therefore this phase of the operation was a robust response to tackle this issue of Money Laundering behind the illegal brothel network.

(Perhaps Mr & Mrs Divine would like to comment?)

I take it that we'll see that sort of generalisation peddled ad infinitum?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

" It is also widely known that the revenue from prostitution in brothels is used to fund other organised crime types and therefore this phase of the operation was a robust response to tackle this issue of Money Laundering behind the illegal brothel network."

Surely this is a circular argument. If brothels are illegal, the income from them is the 'Proceeds of crime' and any banking or investing of the money can be construed as 'Money Laundering.' But I don't think that this is what the Money Laundering Laws were created for..... Just as I don't think the anti-terrorism laws were created to facilitate the seizure of Icelandic assets.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

" It is also widely known that the revenue from prostitution in brothels is used to fund other organised crime types and therefore this phase of the operation was a robust response to tackle this issue of Money Laundering behind the illegal brothel network."

It's probably not quite as widely known that, until plod decide to start kicking in the doors of these places, the Inland Revenue are quite happy to receive monies in terms of taxes duly paid by these establishments. How's that for funding another type of organised crime, such as pretty much anything NuLabour got up to when they were in power, from starting illegal wars to wholescale fraud and embezzlement?

I seriously can't believe they've made a TV programme about this - it was a complete failure...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried to watch the first part tonight with an objective a viewpoint as I could manage.

The raids they followed in Luton & Cheltenham didn't look the most inspiring places, but then I think back and I have frequented similar in the past. So naturally I watched with concern. But as long as the program went on I just kept thinking where is the evidence? Ok, evidence of brothel keeping, but trafficking/sexual slavery?

Whenever the voiceover told us of the horrors to be found they cut to repeated anonymous interviews with 2 girls describing their terrible treatment. But unless I got this wrong these girls did not come from the raids? That struck me as rather dishonest (of the program makers).

The reasons given for the Luton raids were police 'intelligence' that there were under age girls on the premises. Senior police officer interviewed reiterated that this was not something they could allow. Quite right too, but, what a surprise, no under age girls found.

So lots of concerning images and repeating of good old 'estimates', in other words guesswork.

I don't want to just dismiss the issue, and it should go without saying that we would all detest real sexual slavery. But I expect more facts and less drama. I couldn't stop the feeling that the cops were playing to the camera.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I tried to watch the first part tonight with an objective a viewpoint as I could manage.

The raids they followed in Luton & Cheltenham didn't look the most inspiring places, but then I think back and I have frequented similar in the past. So naturally I watched with concern. But as long as the program went on I just kept thinking where is the evidence? Ok, evidence of brothel keeping, but trafficking/sexual slavery?

Whenever the voiceover told us of the horrors to be found they cut to repeated anonymous interviews with 2 girls describing their terrible treatment. But unless I got this wrong these girls did not come from the raids? That struck me as rather dishonest (of the program makers).

The reasons given for the Luton raids were police 'intelligence' that there were under age girls on the premises. Senior police officer interviewed reiterated that this was not something they could allow. Quite right too, but, what a surprise, no under age girls found.

So lots of concerning images and repeating of good old 'estimates', in other words guesswork.

I don't want to just dismiss the issue, and it should go without saying that we would all detest real sexual slavery. But I expect more facts and less drama. I couldn't stop the feeling that the cops were playing to the camera.

Good summary SQ.

It was filmed during Pentameter, and lord knows how or why it took so long to come to air. Thereby hangs a tale methinks.

The angled editing was deadfully dishonest, as you say, and deliberately so for dramatic effect. Even more depressing was the frequently-shown trailer suggesting that 4000 girls are trafficked each year.

So far, for tangible examples of trafficking, episode 1 has listed a couple of cases of deception but none of coercion. Presume they are building up to that.

The problem is that anyone watching, who does not either know the industry, or understand how effectively media can and will distort, would be taken in by it. In this sense most media coverage plays into the hands of the abolitionists because stories of sexual slavery are far more sensational than the banal reality.

Equally disgraceful was the police collusion in this process, squandering massive levels of resource. The cheltenham raid in particular was farcical and based on one girl entering a brothel freely with her little suitcase. No frogmarching in by heavies.

The serious academic researchers struggle to get funding for their work, struggle to get air time to put their, much more accurate, case across. Certainly this show is not interested in getting the alternative view, and as such fails as a documentary, because of the lack of any sort of balance.

It's as if the bible debate were being presented in such a way that, although the evolutionists have all the evidence, the creationists get all the air time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good summary SQ.

It was filmed during Pentameter, and lord knows how or why it took so long to come to air. Thereby hangs a tale methinks.

The angled editing was deadfully dishonest, as you say, and deliberately so for dramatic effect. Even more depressing was the frequently-shown trailer suggesting that 4000 girls are trafficked each year.

So far, for tangible examples of trafficking, episode 1 has listed a couple of cases of deception but none of coercion. Presume they are building up to that.

The problem is that anyone watching, who does not either know the industry, or understand how effectively media can and will distort, would be taken in by it. In this sense most media coverage plays into the hands of the abolitionists because stories of sexual slavery are far more sensational than the banal reality.

Equally disgraceful was the police collusion in this process, squandering massive levels of resource. The cheltenham raid in particular was farcical and based on one girl entering a brothel freely with her little suitcase. No frogmarching in by heavies.

The serious academic researchers struggle to get funding for their work, struggle to get air time to put their, much more accurate, case across. Certainly this show is not interested in getting the alternative view, and as such fails as a documentary, because of the lack of any sort of balance.

It's as if the bible debate were being presented in such a way that, although the evolutionists have all the evidence, the creationists get all the air time.

The program certainly did present cases of force, I wouldn't describe being trafficked from Albania via Greece and Italy racking up 'debts' as mere deception. However in the case of the 'faceless trafficker' they were talking about, that they seemed a little quick to believe her considering her description of the guy was so vague. We all know that no prosecutions of traffickers were made so it's all speculation, but cases were presented on the show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good summary SQ.

It was filmed during Pentameter, and lord knows how or why it took so long to come to air. Thereby hangs a tale methinks.

:P Surely it's taken this long to air to make sure as many convictions had been run through the courts as possible - that's obvious no? Otherwise every single face would be blurred?

Thought it was a good watch, very observational, beautiful grade and music.

Someone said that it was dishonest that they featured girls testimonies who were not recovered from the raids - I don't remember it saying anywhere that they were girls from the raids? :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having now watched it on the Channel 4OD website, the bit that stuck out most for me was the tone in which Helen Mirren, who is narrating, says that they couldn't arrest the punter because paying for sex isn't illegal. It was almost as if she was implying making paying for sex illegal would be a solution in her opinion, but surely not since in her latest film "Love Ranch" she plays a brothel madam and in her post film interviews she stated that she's not a prude and that she loved playing a "bad girl".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:( Surely it's taken this long to air to make sure as many convictions had been run through the courts as possible - that's obvious no? Otherwise every single face would be blurred?

Thought it was a good watch, very observational, beautiful grade and music.

Someone said that it was dishonest that they featured girls testimonies who were not recovered from the raids - I don't remember it saying anywhere that they were girls from the raids? ;)

The probelm is that no prosecutions for trafficking related offences arose from either Pentameter operation.

The actual results of the two operations are detailed by Nick Davies, of "The Guardian"; the publishing of which he was subsequently pillaried for, are given here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/20/government-trafficking-enquiry-fails?commentpage=4.

One also has to bear in mind that the definition of trafficking employed is not that defined by the Palermo Convention, but a much looser one, which is wide enough to include anyone who travels to work in the sex industry that doesn't drive themselves there' technically, a taxi driver could be classed as a trafficker for accepting a fare that would involve driving a sex worker from his/her home at one end of a street to a brothel at the other end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
technically, a taxi driver could be classed as a trafficker for accepting a fare that would involve driving a sex worker from his/her home at one end of a street to a brothel at the other end.

Only if the taxi driver intends to do anything to or in respect of the sex worker, during or after the journey that would cause the commission of an offence under Part 1 of the SOA 2003; or if the taxi driver believes that another person is likely to do something to or in respect of the sex worker, during or after the journey that would cause the commission of an offence under Part 1 of the SOA 2003.

The actual trafficking (the intentional arrangement or facilitation of travel) is not in and of itself an offence, it has to be coupled with "sexual exploitation", that is enshrined in the name of the Section, the bottom line is that you cannot be charged with trafficking without having subsequent to the trafficking, committed an offence under Part 1 of the SOA 2003 against the trafficked person.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The probelm is that no prosecutions for trafficking related offences arose from either Pentameter operation.

I don't think that's correct. Even the Guardian article states that 15 men and women were convicted of trafficking

The mother, daughter and men shown in last night's programme received custodial sentences for various offences:

http://www.thisiswesternmorningnews.co.uk/news/jailed-city-sex-slave-brothel/article-676131-detail/article.html

"Eight people - six women and two men - appeared at Plymouth Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced for a range of offences including trafficking a woman for sexual exploitation, managing a brothel, conspiracy to control prostitution for gain, money laundering and causing or inciting prostitution for gain.....

Lim Grace, 19, from Malaysia, was sent to a Young Offenders Institution for two-and- a-half years for two counts of managing brothels in Plymouth and Taunton; Chananchida Chankaeo, 28, from Thailand, was jailed for two years for causing or inciting prostitution for gain; Jutamas Songglin, 26, from Thailand, was jailed for four years for trafficking a woman within the UK for sexual exploitation and received a 12-month concurrent sentence for using a fake passport to open a bank account; Vithool Gomart, 51, from Thailand, was jailed for three-and-a-half years for trafficking a woman within the UK for sexual exploitation; Yu Ming Lee, 32, from Malaysia, was jailed for four years for conspiracy to control prostitution for gain in Plymouth, three years for a similar charge from Nottinghamshire and two years for one count of possession of criminal property in Nottingham, all to run concurrently.

Lee's aunt, Foong Choo Lee, received an 18-month sentence for conspiracy to control prostitution for gain."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:( Surely it's taken this long to air to make sure as many convictions had been run through the courts as possible - that's obvious no? Otherwise every single face would be blurred?

Thought it was a good watch, very observational, beautiful grade and music.

Someone said that it was dishonest that they featured girls testimonies who were not recovered from the raids - I don't remember it saying anywhere that they were girls from the raids? ;)

First point fair. Hadn't considered sub judice proceedings.

The use of elegiac incidental music to create a particular emotional mood is again mischievous IMO.

Finally the cutting was dishonest in that it deliberately led the viewer towards a fallacious post hoc ergo propter hoc inference. Also shoddy in that the brothels raided were Thai and the girls then cut to were EE.

Episode 2 was no better.

I absolutely understand that trafficking does exist. I also suspect that it exists in much lower numbers than are routinely bandied about in rubbish programmes like this. Insofar as evidence exists it tends to support that view.

I equally would wish to see trafficking eliminated but, and this is again from all that I can see, the police and government are going about it in pretty much completely the wrong way.

The irony of programmes like this is that, by playing into the hands of the abolitionists, it can lead to legislation which further criminalises the industry and makes life less safe for all wg's, and counterproductively makes it easier for traffickers to ply their trade.

In the universe of prostitution there are the 5 stakeholder groups. The WG's just want to make a few bob safely, punters want to be able to do so discreetly, media want ratings/circulation, plod want to further their careers, and the abolitionists want to stop men being able to pay for sex.

At the centre of this universe there is this problem of trafficking. Assuming all 5 stakeholder groups are of good faith, and would like to see the problem go away, the fundamental issue is that none of the 5 are sufficiently keen to solve the problem at the expense of their own interests. So the groups argue over definitions, numbers and solutions, and this running sore remains unresolved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The probelm is that no prosecutions for trafficking related offences arose from either Pentameter operation.

That's not true - certainly Gomart featured in last nights show was, as silverado points out.

Anyway, it doesn't matter what the convictions were relating to my point about it taking so long to be shown.

They could have been convicted of littering for all I care - they still need to be convicted of it in a court of law before Channel4 are going to state it as fact and show the face unblurred.

Just thought that was pretty obvious as to why it's taken this long to be shown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I absolutely understand that trafficking does exist. I also suspect that it exists in much lower numbers than are routinely bandied about in rubbish programmes like this. Insofar as evidence exists it tends to support that view.

I equally would wish to see trafficking eliminated but, and this is again from all that I can see, the police and government are going about it in pretty much completely the wrong way.

The irony of programmes like this is that, by playing into the hands of the abolitionists, it can lead to legislation which further criminalises the industry and makes life less safe for all wg's, and counterproductively makes it easier for traffickers to ply their trade.

Excellent post, spot on. :(

I'm playing catch up as I have only seen one episode but it looked very much like an audition for "The Bill" to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Only if the taxi driver intends to do anything to or in respect of the sex worker, during or after the journey that would cause the commission of an offence under Part 1 of the SOA 2003; or if the taxi driver believes that another person is likely to do something to or in respect of the sex worker, during or after the journey that would cause the commission of an offence under Part 1 of the SOA 2003.

I believe that on those grounds a taxi-driver who has a regular contract with a brothel to pick girls up from home and take them to a brothel or who transports girls from one brothel to another could find himself committing this offence. It's an either way offence with a maximum penalty of 14 years. In the unlikely event that there a taxi-driver was prosecuted I suspect that a Magistrates Court hearing would be more appropriate.

A driver for an escort agency could be at risk as well.

Forfeiture of the taxi or car is possible -section 60A SOA 2003 !!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not surprised that Gloucestershire police and the town of Cheltenham have featured in the programmes.

A couple of weeks ago in response to a request for information about Cheltenham I posted:

"Prostitution is frowned upon in Gloucestershire by the police.The former Chief Constable, Dr Timothy Brain, was the ACPO's spokesperson on prostitution and related vice matters, taking a leading part in creating the ACPO's own prostitution strategy in 2004. Brothels are soon shut down and everything else is in most respects fairly discreet and low key."

As a result the scene in Cheltenham is mostly run by south-east asians, as shown in the programme.

Just down the M5 in Bristol the police are a lot more relaxed about brothels and provided that they are run properly (ie. no drugs or coerced or underage girls) the police generally leave them alone, and it's generally safer for all concerned, girls and punters alike.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not surprised that Gloucestershire police and the town of Cheltenham have featured in the programmes.

A couple of weeks ago in response to a request for information about Cheltenham I posted:

"Prostitution is frowned upon in Gloucestershire by the police.The former Chief Constable, Dr Timothy Brain, was the ACPO's spokesperson on prostitution and related vice matters, taking a leading part in creating the ACPO's own prostitution strategy in 2004. Brothels are soon shut down and everything else is in most respects fairly discreet and low key."

As a result the scene in Cheltenham is mostly run by south-east asians, as shown in the programme.

Just down the M5 in Bristol the police are a lot more relaxed about brothels and provided that they are run properly (ie. no drugs or coerced or underage girls) the police generally leave them alone, and it's generally safer for all concerned, girls and punters alike.

There is a clear lesson in that, but not that anyone is listening.

Many argue that alcohol is more dangerous that most illegal drugs, but no one gets killed in turf wars over booze sales and a negigible no. of addicts steal or rob to buy the next drink.

The big error of recent governments has been to use the criminal law to tryto moderate social behaviour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's been quietly forgotten in all this is that Channel 4's star victim - relied on for the evidence that put the Plymouth brothel pair Lim Grace and her mother, Mee Wong, away, along with Vithool Gomart and some half dozen others (no doubt to feature tonight) - was rescued not by a Pentameter 2 raid but by a punter.

http://stephenpaterson.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/key-channel-4-%e2%80%98sex-slave%e2%80%99-was-rescued-by-a-punter/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgive my ignorance on this subject (blame it on being BOF), but from what I've seen of this series, feel issue is less trafficking per se...which seems just another form of economic migrancy...than sexual coercion, which should be stamped upon. I imagine trafficking has been going on since Roman times, so plus ca change. The nub of issue is whether women once here have any say in how they repay debts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:( Surely it's taken this long to air to make sure as many convictions had been run through the courts as possible - that's obvious no? Otherwise every single face would be blurred?

There is no requirement for the programme makers to blur faces. How many times have you seen news footage of disturbances where groups of individuals are shown eg. football incidents where faces are clearly shown ? The police often provide photographs of individuals that they would like to speak to ( eg Crimewatch programme). These people have not been arrested, charged or convicted.

There are ACPO Guidance Notes for "Agreements with News and Programme Makers for Taking Media on Police Operations".

Paragraph 3.1 states: In reaching any agreement to co-operate, and in particular where it involves taking media on police operations, forces should further consider whether such action would:

(a) interfere with an individual's rights to a fair trial under the Human Rights Act;

(:) interfere with an individual's rights to privacy under the Human Rights Act, (which may be affected by entering private property without permission, taking film or photographs on private property or in a public place where there is an expectation of privacy without permission and broadcasting or publishing any such material;

© cause unjustifiable distress or harassment to those being investigated;

(d) prejudice the innocent;

(e) cause distress to innocent members of the public; or

(f) jeopardise future police operations.

Most of important of all it contains a specimen form of indemnity whereby the programme makers indemnify the police against any damages payable to a third party wronged etc.

Obviously it's good sense to exercise discretion and blur the faces of the innocent although the husband of the Cheltenham brothel keeper was not charged with any offences and his face was not blurred.

It seems strange that Channel 4 did not provide details of the actual sentences at the end of the programme.

In the first programme, nobody was charged in respect of the Luton raid in January 2008 (Paradise Club) although the manageress accepted a caution for managing a brothel. That was the one where there was no evidence of underage girls.

http://www.bedfordtoday.co.uk/541/Brothel-busted-in-Wellington-Street.3715525.jp

The Cheltenham raids took place in Spring 2008. Both Greig Blackhorse (the British guy) and the Chinese woman arrested in the street were convicted in February 2009. Neither were convicted of trafficking.

"Six convictions were made in Cheltenham following arrests in Operation Pentameter II:

- Siufan Cheung, 44, from Moreton-in-Marsh. was arrested in connection with a brothel raid at Evesham Road. On February 25 she was sentenced to 12 months in prison for assisting in the management of a brothel and 12 months for offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

- Greig Blackhorse, 42, of St Paul's Lane, Cheltenham, was arrested in connection with a brothel raid at Normal Terrace. On August 18 last year he was sentenced to eight months in prison for brothel management and forced to forfeit £10,555 in cash.

- Jackie Khan, 60, from Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, was arrested in connection with a raid at Normal Terrace. In January, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for money laundering, management of a brothel and possession of cannabis.

- Ling San-Wong, 41, was arrested in a brothel raid at Normal Terrace. Charged with money laundering and management of a brothel, she was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and ordered to forfeit £3,751.

- Kang Dong, 50, of London Road, Cheltenham, was sentenced on October 3, 2008 to six months' imprisonment for money laundering and brothel management.

- Dao Honk Xu, 52, was arrested at London Road and sentenced on January 15 last year to two years and nine months in prison for management of a brothel and offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act."

http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/news/Sleazy-vice-ring-cracked-massive-police-swoop/article-2585137-detail/article.html

The Plymouth/Exeter court case and convictions took place in February 2009. You've got to wonder why they chose not to disclose the actual convictions and sentences. Even the "Police, stop the fu**ing car!!" programmes do this. Perhaps they'll do so at the end of the last programme ;).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now