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elrond

Policing and Crime Bill: Committee (2nd Day) (1 Jul 2009)

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Can you please explain what exactly it means. I've read the first page, debate about certain clauses etc.

The one regards drugs was interesting - why should those who work voluntarily in prostititution and buy drugs recreationally be then used to criminalise clients was a really good one. Lots of people in all professions use drugs.

The safety issues being mentioned where good, and the case where clients came forward to give evidence to help convict traffickers.

BUT

I've not been able to work out exactly what changes they made.

:D

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My recommendation is to download the transcript of yesterday's committee debate as a pdf file from http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/lhan100.pdf, which is on the page http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/lords_hansard_by_date.htm. The debate on the bill starts on page 14 of the pdf file, an goes to page 73!

A brief summary is as follows: Clause 13 got heavy lambasting from the Tories, the LibDems and the Crossbenchers, although the views expressed may not be representative, as there were only about 25-30 Lords present. Amendments 45 and 46 by the LDs and the Tories that would've rejected strict liability were withdrawn after the points were forcefully made by the Lords who tabled them.

Bottom line: the opposition indicated that Clause 13 will not be allowed to pass at the report stage in its present form.

If anybody else has further details, I'd be interested...

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A brief summary is as follows: Clause 13 got heavy lambasting from the Tories, the LibDems and the Crossbenchers, although the views expressed may not be representative, as there were only about 25-30 Lords present. Amendments 45 and 46 by the LDs and the Tories that would've rejected strict liability were withdrawn after the points were forcefully made by the Lords who tabled them.

Bottom line: the opposition indicated that Clause 13 will not be allowed to pass at the report stage in its present form.

Agree with your general take on this, having skim-read Hansard. What I don't quite get is the process : why submit an amendment, win the argument, then withdraw the amendment, as with Nos 45/6 rejecting strict liability? Is the rationale to force the govt to bring in changes at the Report stage with the implied threat that, if they fail to do so, the amendments will be brought back at Third Reading and a vote forced?

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I have had a good read of the debate. It seems the government will have a great deal of difficulty getting strict liability to go through. There was wholesale opposition to that.

I expect they will once again have to compromise to get this through The Lords.

The consensus seems to be around, as rightly you would expect, clamping down on trafficking. So I would imagine, the movement will be in that direction. There was a lot of concern that strict liabilty will stop reporting of crime by punters.

If you read the transcript there are two really funny bits from the government Lord. He mentions police would watch a dodgy brothel for days, and then do a raid, but then of course only arrest the punters there on that day. He failed to explain why the others acting 'illegally', and seen by the police coming and going for days, would get away with it.

And his dodgy figures about levels of trafficking were shot down in flames.

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Baroness Stern mentioned some yet to be published research by the Economic and Social Research Council This should make interesting reading, this is her leaking of the contents of the paper.

Therefore, I want briefly to put on the record the findings of the ESRC project on migrants in the UK sex industry. Those findings are to be published shortly and are based on in-depth interviews with 100 individuals without British nationality working in the sex industry in this country. The conclusions are that, for many of them, working in the sex industry is preferable to other very low-paid jobs that they might be able to do, mainly working in restaurants. Many of them are able to earn substantial amounts of money in this country, which helps them to keep their families alive in their own countries. In Soho, the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, and I met some people who work in the sex industry. It was clear that the amount of money that they could earn in the sex industry in Soho would make the standard of living of their families in the countries from which they came very much higher. That is an important point. All the people interviewed in this study felt that they were very vulnerable and that plans to criminalise sex work would make them more vulnerable.

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