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Home office press release - Law review published

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The review is here (pdf 25 pages):

Tackling the demand for prostitution

Jacqui Smith (Home Secretary; Redditch, Labour) | Hansard source

Today I am publishing the findings of the Government's review into tackling demand for prostitution. The review explored both the legislative and non-legislative options available drawing on the experiences of other countries such as Sweden and Holland. Copies have been placed in the House Library.

The review makes several recommendations that shift the focus for reducing prostitution on to the sex buyer, the person responsible for creating the demand for prostitution markets, which in turn creates demand for the trade of women to be trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Specific legislative recommendations include: creating a new strict liability criminal offence of paying for sex with someone who is controlled for another person's gain; removing the need to prove that a person has acted persistently in order to be prosecuted for kerb crawling and; powers to close premises associated with sexual exploitation. Non-legislative recommendations include a marketing campaign to raise awareness amongst sex buyers about trafficking for sexual exploitation and a national anti-kerb crawling campaign, to support the police in their efforts to reduce street-based prostitution.

I accept the report's recommendations and will take forward action to implement them as soon as possible.

******************************************************

press release

Tough action to protect vulnerable women and tackle kerb crawlers

19 November 2008

Tough new measures announced today will protect vulnerable women and tackle the demand for prostitution by clamping down on sex buyers and kerb crawlers.

The announcement followed the completion of the government's Tackling the Demand for Prostitution review (new window).

The six-month review, published today, looked at what more could be done to protect the women being exploited for sexual gain. The review explored both legislative and non-legislative options, and drew from the experiences of other countries with similar issues, including Sweden and Holland.

In response to the review, the government has committed to running national marketing campaigns to raise the public's awareness of the kerb crawling offence and the realities of trafficking.

This will be complimented by new enforcement guidance for the police to help bring people to justice.

Creating a new offence

The measures include a new offence, which will encourage men to think twice before paying for sex, and will protect women who have been groomed or trafficked into prostitution, or those who remain involved for fear of violence from a partner or pimp.

The new offence will mean that sex buyers will be liable for prosecution, even if they didn't know that the prostitute was controlled by a pimp or had been trafficked. Sex buyers who commit the new offence will get a criminal record and up to a £1,000 fine.

The government is also giving police new powers to close premises associated with prostitution and is cracking down on kerb-crawlers by making sure that police can act on their first offence.

Home Secretary's statement

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said, 'I want to do everything we can to protect the thousands of vulnerable women coerced, exploited or trafficked into prostitution in our country and to bring those who take advantage of them to justice. That is why I am determined to shift the focus onto the sex buyer, the person responsible for creating the demand for prostitution markets which in turn creates demand for the vile trade of women being trafficked for sexual exploitation.

'There will be no more excuses for those who pay for sex. This new criminal offence of paying for sex with someone who is trafficked or pimped will apply even if the buyer claims he did not know the woman was being controlled for gain.

'I also want to tackle kerb crawling. In my book, once around the block is once too many, and so I'm making kerb-crawling punishable as a first offence. I also want to see more naming and shaming of persistent kerb crawlers.'

Minister for women and equality's statement

Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, said, 'Women are being trafficked for sexual exploitation into this modern day slavery. We have cracked down on the traffickers, but we also need to cut off the demand which fuels this evil trade - that's why we will criminalise and hold responsible the men who buy sex from these vulnerable women.

'Ignorance will be no excuse.'

Association of Chief Police Officers' statement

Gloucestershire Chief Constable Dr Timothy Brain, ACPO lead on prostitution and vice matters, said, 'With these proposals the government has clearly signalled its intention to bring about a sea change in attitudes towards prostitution.

'Any man who intends to pay for sex with a prostitute will have to think very carefully because it will be no defence in future to claim that they did not know someone was trafficked or controlled by someone else for gain.

'Measures to close brothels are to be welcomed and will give police powers to protect neighbourhoods from the nuisance and harm they create.

'It is important to realise that this measure extends beyond trafficking and directly concerns domestic prostitution as well.'

Poppy project statement

Denise Marshall, Eaves Poppy Project chief executive said, 'Eaves Poppy Project welcomes these new measures which seek to protect the increasing numbers of women exploited in prostitution in this country.

'We are delighted that the government is taking a stance on this issue and will criminalise men who buy sex from these vulnerable women. '

Notes to editors

Copies of the report are available on the Home Office website (new window).

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced a package of new offences designed to tackle various forms of sexual exploitation. These included:

causing or inciting prostitution for gain

controlling prostitution for gain

trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation

There are, however, currently no specific offences to tackle those who pay or offer to pay for sex with someone who has been trafficked or exploited, unless there is sufficient evidence to prove that customer knew the prostitute did not consent to sexual intercourse. In these situations, the police and prosecutors would look at prosecution for rape.

The government's intention is to look at criminalising those who pay or offer to pay for sex with victims of these crimes, in order to deter the sex buyers who fuel illegal exploitative and coercive practices as soon as parliamentary time allows.

In England and Wales, the act of purchasing sex is not a criminal offence. There are, however, offences that effectively prohibit individuals from paying for sex on the street or in a public place.

The Sexual Offences Act 1985 introduced two distinct offences which can be used to prosecute those who buy sex:

kerb crawling (where someone solicits from a motor vehicle, or within the vicinity of a motor vehicle), for the purposes of prostitution, persistently or in a manner that is likely to cause annoyance to people in the neighbourhood

persistent soliciting for the purposes of prostitution (effectively kerb crawling but without a vehicle)

The government now intends to remove the 'persistence' requirement from both offences, and in the case of kerb-crawling, to remove the alternative requirement of 'in a manner that is likely to cause annoyance to people in the neighbourhood'. The purpose is to make it possible to prosecute the kerb crawler in the first instance, increasing the deterrent to those who consider paying for sex on the street or in a public place.

At present, the police have no powers to close premises associated with the sexual exploitation of adults or children, unless there is sufficient evidence to warrant the use of a premise closure order or a crack house closure order. However, many places where sexual exploitation takes place will not be associated with anti-social behaviour or the use, supply or production of Class A drugs. This means that, in practice, premises that are subject to police investigations for offences relating to sexual exploitation can reopen and begin operating again quickly.

The government now intends to introduce a new order that allows for such premises to be closed and sealed for a set period, providing an opportunity for agencies to act swiftly and decisively to prevent further exploitation and abuse from taking place. The order will prohibit entry to the premises by any individual for a period of three months.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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When does this actually become Law, anyone ?

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When does this actually become Law, anyone ?

Has to be proposed as to the actual official legal wording. (could happen any time)

Debate in commons (could take ages, with rewrites, and votes etc and could be rejected outright)

Debate in Lords (same as above)

This may NEVER become law, or may be severely changed by the time it does. They're only PROPOSING a change in the law. The strict liability aspect for example is almost certain to fail in my opinion. This would then make the the proposed laws difficult to enforce, and unenforceable laws don't get very far usually.

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The review is here ............. etc........

At present, the police have no powers to close premises associated with the sexual exploitation of adults or children, unless there is sufficient evidence to warrant the use of a premise closure order or a crack house closure order.............

Surely the existing laws cover this as in two girls working from a premises constitutes a brothel = illegal ??

It seems they only CHOOSE to give the premises a closure order if drugs are involved. Obviously to the authorities selling sex off steet isn't that big a problem to them ??

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the mail and the sun today werent very complimentary about this measure. And Smith got a right grilling on Today yesterday

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the mail and the sun today werent very complimentary about this measure. And Smith got a right grilling on Today yesterday

I was surprised about The Sun - there was a comment next to the article from the sun woman editor which neatly summed up some of the issues raised on here about the proposals. If even the reactionary Sun newspaper is rebuffing the suggestions and saying that all the laws necessary are already there, you have to say it's not looking good for the govt. I'd have thought The Sun would be the type of newspaper to jump on the bandwagon if they thought they could be seen as protecting the vulnerable. Seems they must think this isn't a bandwagon to be associated with.

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I'd have thought The Sun would be the type of newspaper to jump on the bandwagon if they thought they could be seen as protecting the vulnerable. Seems they must think this isn't a bandwagon to be associated with.

Maybe Rupert Murdoch is a punter himself :eek:

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Maybe Rupert Murdoch is a punter himself :eek:

No he just does not want to loose his readers to the Sport....

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As a Telegraph reader I was looking for their take on all this in yesterday's issue and eventually found a short article on about page 14 or so.

There was also an item in the comment section which was cautiously in favour based on the view that while much of the proposal made no sense anything which reduced trafficking had to be a good thing, but no editorial view.

I found it a bit odd given the announcement was the Governments "big story" for the day.

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I think it is very clear that what they're aming for in the long run is an universal ban on p4p,

and that this is only a first step. pg 14 in the report

When Ministers visited Sweden it became clear that the Swedish offence of paying

for sex could have some advantages - not least because the message it sends out

is very clear. Although the Review examined the possibility of applying the

Swedish model directly to the UK, it concluded that it would be a step too far at this

time, given the relative size of the UK sex industry compared to that in Sweden

and current public attitudes in the UK.

When legislation to criminalise paying for sex was introduced in Sweden,

prostitution only existed to any significant extent in three cities with an estimated

1500 people selling sex in those cities. In the UK there are an estimated 80,000

people selling sex across the whole country, suggesting that immediately

criminalising payment for sex per se would be difficult to enforce in the UK.

The Swedish Government created their offence only after several years of close

consultation with practitioners; and over time the attitudes of the Swedish public

grew to support the proposed legislation. In the UK, public attitudes are currently

much more divided, suggesting that the Government needs to work to challenge

the attitudes of sex buyers and the public as a whole before criminalising the

purchase of sex per se becomes a viable option.

A

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The review is here (pdf 25 pages):

Tackling the demand for prostitution

******************************************************

press release

Tough action to protect vulnerable women and tackle kerb crawlers

19 November 2008

At present, the police have no powers to close premises associated with the sexual exploitation of adults or children, unless there is sufficient evidence to warrant the use of a premise closure order or a crack house closure order. However, many places where sexual exploitation takes place will not be associated with anti-social behaviour or the use, supply or production of Class A drugs. This means that, in practice, premises that are subject to police investigations for offences relating to sexual exploitation can reopen and begin operating again quickly.

The government now intends to introduce a new order that allows for such premises to be closed and sealed for a set period, providing an opportunity for agencies to act swiftly and decisively to prevent further exploitation and abuse from taking place. The order will prohibit entry to the premises by any individual for a period of three months.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I wonder if this is what they meant?????

New powers to close problem buildings

1 December 2008

A tough new power to close businesses or buildings involved in persistent anti-social behaviour comes into force today.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced the new 'premises closure order' at a conference for frontline anti-social behaviour practitioners.

Police and local authorities can now apply to magistrates' courts to close privately owned, rented, commercial and local authority premises.

The new premises closure order extends crack house closure powers, which have been used successfully to close over 1,000 crack houses and bring respite to hundreds of local communities since they were introduced in 2004, to other premises associated with persistent nuisance.

Statement from Home Secretary

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said, 'Anti-social behaviour has no place in our daily lives. Perceptions of anti-social behaviour have fallen in recent years but we will never let our guard down. I want the public to know that we're right behind them and taking action.

'The new premises closure order power will enable police forces and local authorities to close any premises - privately owned or rented accommodation - that cause significant and persistent disorder in the local community. That means no-one will be able to hide from the law if they cause serious nuisance to their neighbours.

'Premises closures will only be used as a last resort, but they make it clear that anyone who thinks they can flout the law and get away with it is just plain wrong.'

Closure powers successful in Scotland

Households will have plenty of warning that a closure is imminent.

The closure power has been used successfully in Scotland since 2004. Twenty-six premises have been closed including a massage parlour in Strathclyde which had made life hell for the local community with constant visitors, kerb crawlers and harassment of female residents.

Statement from Local Government Association

Councillor Hazel Harding, chair for the Local Government Association's safer communities board, said: 'Councils work 24/7 to keep residents safe and local areas free of anti-social behaviour. Premises closure orders will be a useful weapon in helping councils create places where people want to live.

'It's important to be clear though, councils will only ever use these orders as a last resort and after giving people every possible warning. Town halls will always be careful to consider the effect that a premises closure order could have on children and vulnerable adults.'

Using the power as a last resort

Local authorities and police are expected to use this power as a last resort, once the full range of appropriate anti-social behaviour interventions have been tried without success. Owner-occupiers and tenants will be able to return to their properties after three months, and will continue to be monitored to ensure they have changed their behaviour.

Local authorities and police can apply for an extension if they believe it would be in the community's best interest. Anyone who breaches the terms of the order by returning to the premise could face up to six months in prison and or a £5,000 fine.

Notes to editors

Premises closure orders were created by the criminal justice and immigration bill (new window) which received Royal Assent on 9 May 2008.

Guidance is being sent to all anti-social behaviour coordinators, and will be available to download from the anti-social behaviour website, Respect (new window).

The Home Secretary addressed anti-social behaviour frontline practitioners about the use of the premises closure order and the importance of all anti-social behaviour tools and powers at a conference in London today, while Home Office minister Alan Campbell spoke at the northern housing consortium conference.

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the Government needs to work to challenge

the attitudes of sex buyers and the public as a whole before criminalising the

purchase of sex per se becomes a viable option

Good spot and how astonishing.

Why in the name of the wee man does the government think that criminalising consensual sex between adults is wrong? It is just depressing.

I've always voted Labour and I realise the longer a party is in power the more unpopular they get. But I basically believe in social justice. Labour has delivered that better than the alternatives....

.... but this. This moral clampdown. Just let people conduct their sex lives as they choose!

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But I basically believe in social justice. Labour has delivered that better than the alternatives....

I am not so convinced about their approach.. ID cards, portable fingerprinting, phonecall and email monitoring etc. they all seem very sinister to me.

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Why in the name of the wee man does the government think that criminalising consensual sex between adults is wrong? It is just depressing...Just let people conduct their sex lives as they choose!
I am not so convinced about their approach.. ID cards, portable fingerprinting, phonecall and email monitoring etc. they all seem very sinister to me.

I agree. I recall seeing someone's signature file (it may actually have been on PN): "Politicans are like babies' nappies: they should both be changed frequently and for the same reason."

I'm also left-of-centre politically but the 'New Labour project' has long outstayed its welcome, as far as I'm concerned. A bit of real liberal democracy is in order, IMO.

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Getting quite noticeable now that the only people expressing a positive opinion on these proposals are feminist and religious types. Only read 3 positive articles, 1 by Fiona MacTaggart who's a feminist Labour MP and long time supporter of the Swedish model, 1 by Joan Smith a feminist writer and now this by a christian group. Can't believe that JS still thinks she can get this shit passed with the conservatives and lib dems likely to offically oppose it as a whole and probably a large number of Labour MPs likely to. The conservatives will be just looking to bloody JS's nose on something in any case after the MP being arrested.

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Getting quite noticeable now that the only people expressing a positive opinion on these proposals are feminist and religious types. Only read 3 positive articles, 1 by Fiona MacTaggart who's a feminist Labour MP and long time supporter of the Swedish model, 1 by Joan Smith a feminist writer and now this by a christian group. Can't believe that JS still thinks she can get this shit passed with the conservatives and lib dems likely to offically oppose it as a whole and probably a large number of Labour MPs likely to. The conservatives will be just looking to bloody JS's nose on something in any case after the MP being arrested.

here's the 4th one

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/11/20/do2003.xml

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Will the bill need to specify precisely what is meant by 'buying sex'?

Bill Clinton did not have sex with Monica.

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Will the bill need to specify precisely what is meant by 'buying sex'?

Bill Clinton did not have sex with Monica.

and he didn't inhale either :rolleyes:

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I have a suspicion that the long term affect of these bungling attempts at sexual repression will be the opposite to the one desired by HH and the other battleaxes and prudes.

I can't give you a very lucid argument why, just a very strong feeling that in a society with fairly liberal views on sex (which are getting more liberal all the time) and in a country with a large and profitable sex industry trying to inhibit people's sex lives and prohibit paid sex is unlikely to succeed in the long term.

I believe a future government is more likely to end up legalizing it.

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I have a suspicion that the long term effect of these bungling attempts at sexual repression will be the opposite to the one desired by HH and the other battleaxes and prudes.

I can't give you a very lucid argument why, just a very strong feeling that in a society with fairly liberal views on sex (which are getting more liberal all the time) and in a country with a large and profitable sex industry trying to inhibit people's sex lives and prohibit paid sex is unlikely to succeed in the long term.

I believe a future government is more likely to end up legalizing it.

Hopefully so but the future is distant, I am afraid.

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It may indeed be that (assuming the current push to stupidity is successful) that at some time in the future it will have to be undone. But I doubt that time will not arrive until there is a complete hypocritical mess. It is just so much easier to be seen to be "against sin" than it is to be pro- thought.

I would love to be still around to hear all the Police high-ups explaining that really they should not have to be wasting their time investigating the actions of consenting adults or that blackmail would not exist if those trivial actions were not were not criminal.

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I have a suspicion that the long term affect of these bungling attempts at sexual repression will be the opposite to the one desired by HH and the other battleaxes and prudes.

I can't give you a very lucid argument why, just a very strong feeling that in a society with fairly liberal views on sex (which are getting more liberal all the time) and in a country with a large and profitable sex industry trying to inhibit people's sex lives and prohibit paid sex is unlikely to succeed in the long term.

I believe a future government is more likely to end up legalizing it.

I kind of subscribe to that view. Its naughty, it makes you feel rebellious. I know I have said this before, and I know there are people on here who consider fox hunting evil. The banning of fox hunting caused an increase in followers, the comradeship of breaking the law.

Sad though that punting is an individual thing, and unless you go to parties comradeship is not really there, except on the internet and forums like this. Still when you know you are not doing wrong, and some one bans that action, there becomes a strong instinct in you to break out and fight.

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Why oh why is it always the case that those who would use laws to dictate morals always have extreme views and would like to stitch up the evil perpetrators who don't have their moral code with draconian laws, the like of which the UK has had a tradition of d filing in dustbins.

instead of red light zones why not build concentration camps for randy men?

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