MikeThePlayer

Major amendment submitted by Jacqui Smith

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Jacqui Smith has just introduced an amendment to the proposed bill which replaces 'controlled for gain' with 'subjected to force, etc'. Strict liability, sadly, still remains, but I think this is still a major concession. At least this is what I got after a quite glance. I already fell better. Thank you, Ewan Harris, Nadine Dorries and other defenders of civil liberties!

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmbills/066/amend/pbc0661205a.777-783.html

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It's interesting to note how Clause 13 (which describes the circumstances under which someone commits an offence) has been re-worded. In the original paragraph B read:

any of B's activities relating to the provision of those services are intentionally controlled for gain by a third person ©

This has been replaced by:

a third person © has used force, deception or threats of a kind likely to induce or encourage B to provide the sexual services for which A has made or promised payment (My emphasis)

(A further paragraph C has been added which states that 'C acted for or in the expectation of gain for C or another person (apart from A or B)'.)

This represents a significant change of emphasis. If force etc has not been used (i.e. if the sex worker is working of their own free will even if controlled for gain) then an offence has not been committed.

B

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This looks to be good news, for who among us wants to go with a woman who we think has been forced?

What is less good is the lack of amendment to clause 18 facilitating the arbitrary closure of 'brothels.'

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What is less good is the lack of amendment to clause 18 facilitating the arbitrary closure of 'brothels.'

Clause 20 (not 18, unless the Bill has changed from the original I have in front of me) does not facilitate the 'arbitrary' closure of brothels.

Three conditions have to be met as specified in Schedule 2 of the Bill. One of these is that the Local Authority has been consulted: I can't see Local Authorities that currently tolerate brothels (such as in Greater Manchester) suddenly deciding that they want them all closed.

(I accept this is a more pragmatic interpretation of the Bill than some would take, but I have felt and argued since this legislation was first mooted that pragmatism would ultimately prevail: the recent amendments suggest that's going to be the case for whatever reason.)

B

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A concession from an embattled Home Sec. - Let's not forget it was her expenses that started the collapse of the house of cards. Wonder why hers got so much scrutiny to begin with. Darker forces at work perhaps.....:(

This ties nicely in with police testimony that, even with strict liability, convictions will be hard to come by without good evidence of trafficking.

Still see a rise of the indies to meet the migration of demand from other segments still attackable

The criteria for closing brothels still are child sex, class A drugs, trafficking and public nuisance. The latter criterion is the one that could cause probs for e.g. Sandys or HOD. Local plod clearly have no problem. If concerned residents mount a press campaign for closure, the local politicos might ask plod to move them on or risk closure. These places may have to shift to more congenial sites, rural or industrial, or anonymous mansion blocks if residential.

Can also see a future where clauses appear on those indie websites such as:

-Disclaimer of control by force, deception etc.

-Tax returns and residency qualifications available for inspection

(Latter could be framed on the wall along with the public liability

insurance certificates!)

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It's interesting to note how Clause 13 (which describes the circumstances under which someone commits an offence) has been re-worded. In the original paragraph B read:

any of B's activities relating to the provision of those services are intentionally controlled for gain by a third person ©

This has been replaced by:

a third person © has used force, deception or threats of a kind likely to induce or encourage B to provide the sexual services for which A has made or promised payment (My emphasis)

(A further paragraph C has been added which states that 'C acted for or in the expectation of gain for C or another person (apart from A or B)'.)

This represents a significant change of emphasis. If force etc has not been used (i.e. if the sex worker is working of their own free will even if controlled for gain) then an offence has not been committed.

B

replaces this:

(3) An activity is "controlled for gain" by C if it is controlled by C for or in

the expectation of gain for C or another person (apart from A or :(.

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Jacqui Smith has just introduced an amendment to the proposed bill which replaces 'controlled for gain' with 'subjected to force, etc'. Strict liability, sadly, still remains, but I think this is still a major concession. At least this is what I got after a quite glance. I already fell better. Thank you, Ewan Harris, Nadine Dorries and other defenders of civil liberties!

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmbills/066/amend/pbc0661205a.777-783.html

There's also the "promise payment" , let's say that you make a booking over the phone, when you see the girl you suspect something and want to cancel, too late you have already committed the crime.

And if the punter really knows what he is doing pay to have sex with someone who has been forced, in that case imho they have re-written the rape law with a £1000 fine instead of several years in prison:confused:

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What doesn't now make sense is the retention of strict liability. I -like most here- assumed that the logic for this was to create a climate of fear among punters, leaving uncertainty as to whether an offence was committed with a girl working of her own free will at a parlour or for an agency. This, it seemed, was a backdoor way of 'tackling demand' and strict liability had some logic in this context, little as we liked it.

Now, however, the offence will arise only if the woman has been forced and, allowing the tiny number of coerced women (250 identified in the considerable effort of Pentameter 1 and 2), most of us will carry on as before, or perhaps just with a little more cautiously.

But what happens if I misjudge and do hire a woman who says, after the sex, that she is forced and begs for help? The answer, I fear, is that I'll be less likely to advise the police than now for fear of being prosecuted under strict liability. This cannot be desirable from anyone's point of view, least of all the woman's. If, at the other extreme, the wg says before the sex that she has been forced and I still proceed, then it is rape and I deserve a more severe penalty than a £1000 fine.

I think that this wretched, dying Govt has realised that its proposals are unreasonable and unworkable and then has scrabbled together a last minute concession, poorly thought through.

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What doesn't now make sense is the retention of strict liability...I think that this wretched, dying Govt has realised that its proposals are unreasonable and unworkable and then has scrabbled together a last minute concession, poorly thought through.

I think you're right! It may be that strict liability was seen as a key part of the strategy to strike fear into the black hearts of Evil Punters, so they don't want to drop that part of it, no matter how illogical it now is.

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Clause 20 (not 18, unless the Bill has changed from the original I have in front of me) does not facilitate the 'arbitrary' closure of brothels.

Three conditions have to be met as specified in Schedule 2 of the Bill. One of these is that the Local Authority has been consulted: I can't see Local Authorities that currently tolerate brothels (such as in Greater Manchester) suddenly deciding that they want them all closed.

(I accept this is a more pragmatic interpretation of the Bill than some would take, but I have felt and argued since this legislation was first mooted that pragmatism would ultimately prevail: the recent amendments suggest that's going to be the case for whatever reason.)

B

Bacchus-- you are correct re Clause 20 rather than 18-- my apologies. I hope you are right on the other aspects--- but lack your conviction. Note for example recent raids on Hayleys in Manchester & Toucan, both long established, also a series of asserted raids in Edinburgh http://www.punternet.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17817

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... they don't want to drop that part of it, no matter how illogical it now is.

I'm not convinced that they're thinking at all any longer, except about who will next be fingered by the Telegraph

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There's also the "promise payment" , let's say that you make a booking over the phone, when you see the girl you suspect something and want to cancel, too late you have already committed the crime.

And if the punter really knows what he is doing pay to have sex with someone who has been forced, in that case imho they have re-written the rape law with a £1000 fine instead of several years in prison:confused:

Well the problem now is that it is guaranteed that this offence will only ever be used against men who had no idea that the woman was under duress and therefore had no idea they were breaking the law. As you say, if the men knew what they were doing it's already rape, or sexual assault. So they've created an offence which can only be used against defendants who have no idea that they've committed an offence. This has to be a breach of human rights laws e.g. the right to a fair trial, the expectation that the law is fair and just etc etc. I think she's just shot herself in the foot.

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"I think that this wretched, dying Govt has realised that its proposals are unreasonable and unworkable and then has scrabbled together a last minute concession, poorly thought through."

Not arguing with you, but I think the actual scenario may be that a severely weakened and unpopular Home Secretary has been told in no uncertain terms by back-benchers and/or Peers that her proposed legislation will not get their support. She wouldn't have made this change of her own free will. Her current straits make it possible now for them to stand up to her and force this amendment, which, it seems to me, changes everything. Reputable establishments (eg, within London, Debbies, Les Girls, Soho Cottage, Bunny Lounge...) where the police know the girls are not being forced will be left alone, as will indies. Some dodgy establishments will be raided as a PR exercise, but serve them right if they've got coerced girls working.

Any way you slice it, this has got to be good news, and thank God Jacqui Smith's husband watches porn and was stupid/greedy enough to charge it up to the taxpayer.:(

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Jacqui Smith has just introduced an amendment to the proposed bill which replaces 'controlled for gain' with 'subjected to force, etc'. Strict liability, sadly, still remains, but I think this is still a major concession. At least this is what I got after a quite glance. I already fell better. Thank you, Ewan Harris, Nadine Dorries and other defenders of civil liberties!

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmbills/066/amend/pbc0661205a.777-783.html

and John McDonnell and Lynne Jones have just proposed an amendment

regarding the definition of of a brothel (but I'm sure only those introduced by VC, Smith etc. will be considered)

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmbills/066/amend/pbc0661405a.827-829.html

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Don't forget that HH just introduced her Equality Bill (described by someone as "Princess Harriet's leadership bid") , and her allies Smith etc.

might have decided that it is better to concentrate on that, instead of putting

up a fight for the anti prostitution bill.

http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2008-09/equality.html

HH has been very quiet about prostitution lately...

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This could just be a ploy to get this bill passed.

Make it seem more acceptable just to get it through.

Then the Act would be open for later amendment.

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Bacchus-- you are correct re Clause 20 rather than 18-- my apologies. I hope you are right on the other aspects--- but lack your conviction. Note for example recent raids on Hayleys in Manchester & Toucan, both long established, also a series of asserted raids in Edinburgh http://www.punternet.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17817

My understanding is that these parlours weren't raided because they were parlours per se, but for other reasons (if you see what I mean).

B

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"I think that this wretched, dying Govt has realised that its proposals are unreasonable and unworkable and then has scrabbled together a last minute concession, poorly thought through."

Not arguing with you, but I think the actual scenario may be that a severely weakened and unpopular Home Secretary has been told in no uncertain terms by back-benchers and/or Peers that her proposed legislation will not get their support. She wouldn't have made this change of her own free will. Her current straits make it possible now for them to stand up to her and force this amendment, which, it seems to me, changes everything. Reputable establishments (eg, within London, Debbies, Les Girls, Soho Cottage, Bunny Lounge...) where the police know the girls are not being forced will be left alone, as will indies. Some dodgy establishments will be raided as a PR exercise, but serve them right if they've got coerced girls working.

Any way you slice it, this has got to be good news, and thank God Jacqui Smith's husband watches porn and was stupid/greedy enough to charge it up to the taxpayer.:(

Well said SM - My feelings exactly except I'd have taken 10 times as many words

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and John McDonnell and Lynne Jones have just proposed an amendment

regarding the definition of of a brothel (but I'm sure only those introduced by VC, Smith etc. will be considered)

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmbills/066/amend/pbc0661405a.827-829.html

That would eliminate a lot of the walkups and flats -

The process of neutering the bill originally hoped-for in a lot of the early threads seems to be coming about - The radfem Mp's too embattled on other matters to fight the cause, and the amendments being slipped in unobtrusively by others who always wanted to do so but who might not have felt able to under brighter lights

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Don't forget that HH just introduced her Equality Bill (described by someone as "Princess Harriet's leadership bid") , and her allies Smith etc.

might have decided that it is better to concentrate on that, instead of putting

up a fight for the anti prostitution bill.

http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2008-09/equality.html

HH has been very quiet about prostitution lately...

ops! :( quiet until yesterday that is

HH:In respect of the Policing and Crime Bill, in business questions last Thursday, I undertook to review the decision that it should have just one day on Report following Committee, as is usual. I have done that and looked again at the matter, because I know that there were concerns about four aspects: the definition of gangs; the use of DNA; control for gain in respect of prostitution, and its definition; and lap dancing and controls on lap-dancing clubs. Those are very important issues; I do not demur from that at all. However, the provisions on control for gain and lap dancing were already in the Bill when it was brought before the House on Second Reading. The Government are bringing forward amendments as concessions on issues raised in Committee.http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2009-05-14a.1017.0&s=prostitution#g1025.2

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ops! :( quiet until yesterday that is

HH:In respect of the Policing and Crime Bill, in business questions last Thursday, I undertook to review the decision that it should have just one day on Report following Committee, as is usual. I have done that and looked again at the matter, because I know that there were concerns about four aspects: the definition of gangs; the use of DNA; control for gain in respect of prostitution, and its definition; and lap dancing and controls on lap-dancing clubs. Those are very important issues; I do not demur from that at all. However, the provisions on control for gain and lap dancing were already in the Bill when it was brought before the House on Second Reading. The Government are bringing forward amendments as concessions on issues raised in Committee.http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2009-05-14a.1017.0&s=prostitution#g1025.2

Well it's certainly a million times better than the original proposal. However they've now got the problem that the way the law is written, with the use of the phrase "subjected to force etc" it basically begs the immediate question as to what's wrong with rape/sexual assualt?....which then means they have to admit that this new offence will only be used against men who have no idea they're breaking the law, since that's the only difference. Strict liability.

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Well it's certainly a million times better than the original proposal. However they've now got the problem that the way the law is written, with the use of the phrase "subjected to force etc" it basically begs the immediate question as to what's wrong with rape/sexual assualt?....which then means they have to admit that this new offence will only be used against men who have no idea they're breaking the law, since that's the only difference. Strict liability.

More to the point, the devil is in the detail: what sins precisely does 'etc' cover?

B

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what sins precisely does 'etc' cover?

Controlled for gain, more than likely.

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More to the point, the devil is in the detail: what sins precisely does 'etc' cover?

B

It beggars belief they can even consider the use of 'etc' in a strict liability law.

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