Jimmy Bond

New Guardian Article Re. Law That Criminalises Men Who Pay For Sex With Trafficked Women

13 posts in this topic

"A Home Office strategy published on Tuesday says that only 40 cases have been prosecuted since the new offence came into effect in April 2010 and that includes prosecutions of kerb crawlers."

Another journalist who thinks that the new section 53A offence, introduced last April, relates to trafficked women when the word "trafficked" doesn't appear at all in the offence.

40 prosecutions, including kerb crawlers ??? That can't be right.

I'd put money on the fact that more than 40 individuals have been prosecuted for kerb-crawing in my own city alone since April 2010.

We know from this article that 32 were arrested for kerb-crawling in the Chalvey area of Slough in February alone and were due to appear in Maidenhead Magistrates court last month:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-13844052

I did my own Freedom of Information Request to the MoJ in June and received the following reply:

"In regards to the information that you have requested 43 defendants were found guilty under section 53a of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 at all magistrates' courts in England & Wales since April 2010."

That must be more accurate than the figures quoted in the Guardian article.

Here's a link to the thread started by Elrond:

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It could well be that a proportion of the 43 people convicted were actually kerb crawlers rather than parlour visitors. If so, these could well be in the majority in view of:

1) the apparent lack of publicity that I would expect to accompany any prosecutions of this kind involving parlours.

2) the fact that the vast majority of parlours would clearly wish to sift out any potential applicants who they suspected as falling within the coerced etc definition. This sifting would not occur on the street scene where those rejected by parlours would probably end up.

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It could well be that a proportion of the 43 people convicted were actually kerb crawlers rather than parlour visitors.

That could explain it. Good point. I hadn't considered that. There's obviously quite a bit of exploitative conduct involved in the street scene.

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This was on the BBC pm program today, about 23.30 minutes in

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b012r7tm/PM_28_07_2011/

43 people convicted. Not many, many parts of country no arrests at all. Thinking of the law was to reduce the number of trafficked women working as prostitutes, but only 43 people arrested after a BBC freedom of information request.

Simon Burn from Manchester who speaks for APCO on prostitution said ' We were surprised on how many people were convicted because it is a quite difficult offence, because you have to show knowledge on behalf of the person using the prostitute or sex worker. (That is an interesting statement)

(Eddy Mair) You are surprised that the there have been this many convictions because the law is difficult to prosecute.

(Simon Burns) Umm yes, the whole law relating to this particular part of policing is confusing and we are calling for the simplification of the law and greater regulation, but that debate has'nt happened yet.. There is a pause button on that and we work with the regulations we have at the moment.

(Eddy Mair) Mr Burns point is highlighted by research undertaken by ACPO who claimed that more than 2,500 prostitutes working in brothels in England and Wales had been trafficked from abroad suggests that the problem is far greater than the figures that the Ministry of Justice provided.

Sex workers themselves however object to the law claiming that most prostitutes are willing business women. Nicky Adam who speaks for the English Collective of Prostitutes and says nobody should have been convicted under this legislatio.

(Nicky Adams) I definitely think it is 43 offences to many, I don't think this law should be used at all because it undermines sex workers safety and it targets the wrong people. It targets clients who may in fact be be involved in consenting sex rather than the rapists and traffickers who should really be targeted by the police. Its the traffickers and those doing the coercing should be targetted and not the clients who may or may not know whats actually going on.

(Eddy Mair) The over all aim of the legislation was to dissuade men from using prostitutes all together, because as has been said men can be convicted even if they don't know the woman was coerced into selling her body. The law was championed by many women in the last Labour government including the former Solicitor General Vera Baird. She disputes that the 43 convictions proves the law is ineffectual, but says it does need support.

(Vera Baird) I am pleased that we have some real forward movement from this legislation. It needs to be promoted and the Government has to do that, they have to make it very clear to these men just what they are sustaining. Prostitution is part of organised crime, these are not isolated women, they are run by pimps, as to a huge proportion of them. Pimps are involved in money laundering and in every other kind of organised vice crime, notably drugs.

(Eddie Mair) Despite the polices call for clarity, the Government told us they have no plans to change the law on prostitution. A home office spokes woman said. Police are well equipped to use section 53 legislation and we want to see them do so.

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It could well be that a proportion of the 43 people convicted were actually kerb crawlers rather than parlour visitors. If so, these could well be in the majority in view of:

1) the apparent lack of publicity that I would expect to accompany any prosecutions of this kind involving parlours.

2) the fact that the vast majority of parlours would clearly wish to sift out any potential applicants who they suspected as falling within the coerced etc definition. This sifting would not occur on the street scene where those rejected by parlours would probably end up.

I don't buy that line at all. I think some guys are pretty promiscuous (pardon the pun) in their choice of 'punt': I reckon (and yeah, no evidence to support this just a hunch) I think to all segregate punters by street/parlour/escort is somewhat naive.

B

Edited by bacchus

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I don't buy that line at all. I think some guys are pretty promiscuous (pardon the pun) in their choice of 'punt': I reckon (and yeah, no evidence to support this just a hunch) I think to all segregate punters by street/parlour/escort is somewhat naive.

B

If I understand your point correctly, I should probably have made it clearer that when I referred to the sifting out of applicants (who parlours suspected of falling with the definition of coerced or for that matter trafficked), I actually meant the sifting out of some working girls applying for jobs in parlours, and not the clients. Apologies for any confusion.

In other words, the prediction that the recent legislation would drive trafficked etc girls "underground" may, it seems, be correct, but with these girls ending up working on the streets, rather than in some highly secret, closed and hidden parlours scene. Pity there is not more information to work on.

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I was trying to make the point (albeit poorly) that some guys will see street girls, girls in parlours and/or escorts depending on how the urge takes them...

B

Edited by bacchus

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The purpose of the legislation was to deter demand so each case should have been publicised as widely as possible. But they were not. If they had been we would undoubtedly have known about it here. I cannot help wondering why this aspect of the enforcement has not happened.

Apart from anything else it would have shed public light on specific instances of trafficking which would have been of interest to all in the debate about the nature of the beast.

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The purpose of the legislation was to deter demand so each case should have been publicised as widely as possible. But they were not. If they had been we would undoubtedly have known about it here. I cannot help wondering why this aspect of the enforcement has not happened.

Apart from anything else it would have shed public light on specific instances of trafficking which would have been of interest to all in the debate about the nature of the beast.

I made my own FoI request in June which revealed the same number of convictions (ie.43). I was surprised then at the number of convictions because of the lack of publicity, and I remain surprised.

Within hours of the offence being in force last April the Met had cautioned a punter and issued a PR briefing on their website. Various police forces have been quick to announce that they've closed their first brothel under the new legislation. Yet I've not seen any mention anywhere of anyone actually being convicted of the new section 53A offence.

According to the reply there have been 11 convictions in the south-west. I live in that area and I've seen no mention anywhere of any convictions. There have been 19 convictions in London. Again no mention from the Met or COLP.

Maybe I'm being too cynical but it wouldn't totally surprise me if the MoJ have confused section 53 with section 53A. It wouldn't be the first time, would it?

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2010-10-19b.17980.h&s=53A#g17980.q0

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I made my own FoI request in June which revealed the same number of convictions (ie.43). I was surprised then at the number of convictions because of the lack of publicity, and I remain surprised.

Within hours of the offence being in force last April the Met had cautioned a punter and issued a PR briefing on their website. Various police forces have been quick to announce that they've closed their first brothel under the new legislation. Yet I've not seen any mention anywhere of anyone actually being convicted of the new section 53A offence.

According to the reply there have been 11 convictions in the south-west. I live in that area and I've seen no mention anywhere of any convictions. There have been 19 convictions in London. Again no mention from the Met or COLP.

Maybe I'm being too cynical but it wouldn't totally surprise me if the MoJ have confused section 53 with section 53A. It wouldn't be the first time, would it?

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2010-10-19b.17980.h&s=53A#g17980.q0

I find it amazing that the Met with police like Kevin Hyland (if he is still in post) who has been vocal against prostitution wouldnt have ensured media exposure with the links we know now for a fact more than ever before that they have had with journos so as to show the new law was working. So i wouldnt be surprised either if they have made a mistake here. :)

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Full breakdown of the 43 convictions is as follows:

London 19

South West 11

North East 7

Humberside 3

East Midlands 2

West Midlands 1

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