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Government response to Poppy/Eaves petition

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I understand this response has just been published:

http://www.hmg.gov.uk/epetition-responses/petition-view.aspx?epref=TacklingDemand

"We are committed to tackling exploitation and harm caused to those involved in prostitution and will continue to evolve our approach in order to be as effective as possible. This includes taking forwards the lessons learnt from the terrible tragedy in Bradford in which three women involved in street prostitution lost their lives, and the earlier case in Ipswich in which five women were murdered.

The Government is aware of the methods adopted by other European countries including the Nordic model. However, before considering whether this approach could be effective in the UK we want to assess the impact of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 in terms of the levels of exploitation and harm caused to those in prostitution.

The Policing and Crime Act 2009 was introduced on 1st April 2010 and introduced measures aimed at tackling the demand for prostitution. Section 14 does not make prostitution illegal but does makes it an offence to pay for sexual services of a prostitute who is subject to exploitative conduct. Exploitative conduct is force, threats, coercion or deception. It is a strict liability offence and the intention of this is to act as a deterrent for those who might think of paying for sex with someone who had been subject to exploitative conduct.

The Government is committed to taking action to tackle exploitation and will consider various models as this work progresses to ensure we develop an effective strategy in this area."

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However, before considering whether this approach could be effective in the UK we want to assess the impact of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 in terms of the levels of exploitation and harm caused to those in prostitution.

I'm not quite sure how they are going to do that because as we speak there has not been a case brought under Section 14 therefore the relevant words ("force", "threats", "coercion" and "deception" etc.) have yet to be given meaning/interpretation in relation to Section 14, so we are in the position of having no case history of an offence that has yet to be legally tested/explored. Tricky to evaluate IMHO, even more so as I guess that most of the population (punting or civilian) are totally unaware of Section 14 thus removing any chance of anecdotal evidence, seems more like an answer looking for a question to me, still that never stopped them in the past so why should it stop them now.

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Section 14 is a two-edged sword. If it fails, we'll need the Nordic Model. If it succeeds, whoopie, let's try the full Nordic Model. All roads lead to Stockholm. Or maybe I'm being too pessimistic.

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Section 14 is a two-edged sword. If it fails, we'll need the Nordic Model. If it succeeds, whoopie, let's try the full Nordic Model. All roads lead to Stockholm. Or maybe I'm being too pessimistic.

Yes, I for one believe that you are being too pessimistic. It's just not going to happen.

The Eaves Project sent an online petition to the government and the government fobbed them off with a fairly predictable answer.

It's no more likely to happen than the majority of the other hopeful petitioners getting their wishes granted.

There's been much unnecessary pessimism on this board in the last 2 years regarding the potential effects of the PCA 2009. There were many posters who argued that it would mean an end to brothels/ parlours, and even an end to prostitution and punting.

As SaSfan says, so far there appear to have been no actual convictions for the new section 53A offence. Both the police and the CPS have said that the offence is going to be difficult to prosecute. Neither have the inclination or the resources to do so, and that's increasingly going to be the case.

Section 53A as a criminal offence is "not fit for purpose", and has failed and will fail to produce results, not least because forced and coerced girls are not out there in the numbers that Eaves/Poppy/Bindel/HH and others say that they are.

HH knew that it was a step too far to ask for the complete criminalisation of prostitution. Nothing's changed and the new coalition government have far too much to worry about at the moment to introduce legislation to ban punting. The Nordic model doesn't appear to work in Sweden etc. It's definitely not going to work in the UK.

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Section 14 is a two-edged sword. If it fails, we'll need the Nordic Model. If it succeeds, whoopie, let's try the full Nordic Model. All roads lead to Stockholm. Or maybe I'm being too pessimistic.

A trifle pessimistic IMHO, however given the somewhat "underground" (by accident or design) nature of the paid sex industry it would not be beyond the whit of politicians to be able to make a false case "for" Section 14 by claiming that the reason that there has yet to be a case brought under Section 14 is because it is working perfectly as a deterrent, after all why let a complete absence of facts/evidence get in the way of implementing something?

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A trifle pessimistic IMHO, however given the somewhat "underground" (by accident or design) nature of the paid sex industry it would not be beyond the whit of politicians to be able to make a false case "for" Section 14 by claiming that the reason that there has yet to be a case brought under Section 14 is because it is working perfectly as a deterrent, after all why let a complete absence of facts/evidence get in the way of implementing something?

It may be over-optimistic on my part, but I do get the feeling that one of the ways in which the Coalition wishes to differentiate itself from Labour by NOT rushing to legislation.

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thank goodness there is lib dem influence within govt so that moral supremacist groups such as poppy don't have such an easy time as they did under labour

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Looking at the Eaves Project website it seems they've got in with the Home Office by getting their support to launch a support for service for women who are the victims of sexual violence.

Hopefully they won't be able to get support, which will come from the tax payer, for a campaign pro the Nordic Model. Such a campaign is anti-women because as Pye Jacobsen pointed out in the recently shown Gail Porter programme, even if it protects women who want to say no, it discriminates against women who want to say yes and it effectively creates a situation where women are vulnerable to being victims of sexual violence in places out of the public eye.

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Section 14 is a two-edged sword. If it fails, we'll need the Nordic Model. If it succeeds, whoopie, let's try the full Nordic Model. All roads lead to Stockholm. Or maybe I'm being too pessimistic.

I really, REALLY hope your pessimism is ill-founded.

I share your concerns though - insofar as whatever results emerge can be interpreted whichever way they see fit. :)

I think it's very much a case of cross each bridge as we come to it, the reality is that even if it were to be made illegal for the purchaser, a workaround would be identified as an industry norm pretty quickly.

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