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Submissions to Prostutition Enquiry - UK Parliament

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The Home Affairs Committee have announced an enquiry:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/

The terms of reference are astonishingly biased: "In particular, the inquiry will assess whether the balance in the burden of criminality should shift to those who pay for sex rather than those who sell it". The right terms of reference should be something like "What legal settlement results in the least amount of involuntary prostitution, and the most safety for the rest". Criminality isn't some kind of bundle of logs which someone has to carry as a burden and needs shifting around between log sellers and log burners. It's just a useless phrase which doesn't recognise what the law currently says which in as few words as I can think of is something like all consenting adult prostitution is permitted, unless you work together or hire help.

Shall we guess the view of this Committee in advance?

There's 11 on the Committee:

Stewart C McDonald -  SNP - known anti - has endorsed the bogus charity End Demand Now.

Naz Shah - Labour - no declared position

David Winnick - Labour - no declared position

Keith Vaz - Labour -  Chairman - tolerant position "not convinced that the best course of action is to prosecute . . . ( men who ). . .wish to buy sex from prostitutes"

Victoria Atkins - Conservative - no declared position

James Berry - Conservative - no declared position

David Burrowes - Conservative - tolerant position

Nusrat Ghani - Conservative - no declared position

Ranil Jayawardena - Conservative - no declared position

Tim Loughton - Conservative - probable tolerant position - very clear as children's minister that 'child prostitution' should not be a term

Chuka Umunna - Labour - no declared position, ultimate fence-sitter, could go far

It looks like the SNP dude is going to feel like the odd one out in two senses when this committee gets cracking. Anyway, they want your submissions in the next 5 weeks, link above.

 

 

 

 

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This seems a bit worrying! Can a non British resident make a submission? 

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2 hours ago, bongo said:

 Anyway, they want your submissions in the next 5 weeks, link above.

 

Deadline for receipt of submissions is midday on Thursday 18 February 2016. Submissions should be submitted online.

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13 hours ago, SlickWilly said:

This seems a bit worrying! Can a non British resident make a submission?

Why should this be worrying when Leeds(Holbeck) police have basically tore up the laws passed to deal with street prostitution.

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19 hours ago, bongo said:

The Home Affairs Committee have announced an enquiry:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/

Shall we guess the view of this Committee in advance?

There's 11 on the Committee:

Stewart C McDonald -  SNP - known anti - has endorsed the bogus charity End Demand Now.

Naz Shah - Labour - no declared position

David Winnick - Labour - no declared position

Keith Vaz - Labour -  Chairman - tolerant position "not convinced that the best course of action is to prosecute . . . ( men who ). . .wish to buy sex from prostitutes"

Victoria Atkins - Conservative - no declared position

James Berry - Conservative - no declared position

David Burrowes - Conservative - tolerant position

Nusrat Ghani - Conservative - no declared position

Ranil Jayawardena - Conservative - no declared position

Tim Loughton - Conservative - probable tolerant position - very clear as children's minister that 'child prostitution' should not be a term

Chuka Umunna - Labour - no declared position, ultimate fence-sitter, could go far

It looks like the SNP dude is going to feel like the odd one out in two senses when this committee gets cracking. Anyway, they want your submissions in the next 5 weeks, link above.

As regular readers of this forum will be aware, MSP Jean Urquhart is proposing a bill in the Scottish Parliament to decrimninalise prostitution in Scotland along the lines of the New Zealand model. Previously to that, MSP Rhoda Grant  proposed a bill (which she failed to gain support for) to introduce the Nordic model.

This would seem to imply that legislation on prostitution in Scotland is delegated to the Scottish Parliament and that any legislation arising from recommendations of the UK Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee would only apply to England (and perhaps Wales).

I wonder if that would disqualify Stewart McDonald from participation in this enquiry?

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On ‎15‎/‎01‎/‎2016 at 11:20 PM, SlickWilly said:

This seems a bit worrying! Can a non British resident make a submission? 

There are no restrictions on nationality or residence. You can bet submissions will come in from many countries, Sweden, Ireland, USA, Australia, Amnesty, the WHO etc. It is a requirement that you state your interest in the subject e.g. punter, landlord, cleric, worker, NGO employee, whatever it happens to be.

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On 15 January 2016 at 10:10 PM, bongo said:

The Home Affairs Committee have announced an enquiry:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/

The terms of reference are astonishingly biased: "In particular, the inquiry will assess whether the balance in the burden of criminality should shift to those who pay for sex rather than those who sell it". The right terms of reference should be something like "What legal settlement results in the least amount of involuntary prostitution, and the most safety for the rest". Criminality isn't some kind of bundle of logs which someone has to carry as a burden and needs shifting around between log sellers and log burners. It's just a useless phrase which doesn't recognise what the law currently says which in as few words as I can think of is something like all consenting adult prostitution is permitted, unless you work together or hire help.

Shall we guess the view of this Committee in advance?

There's 11 on the Committee:

Stewart C McDonald -  SNP - known anti - has endorsed the bogus charity End Demand Now.

Naz Shah - Labour - no declared position

David Winnick - Labour - no declared position

Keith Vaz - Labour -  Chairman - tolerant position "not convinced that the best course of action is to prosecute . . . ( men who ). . .wish to buy sex from prostitutes"

Victoria Atkins - Conservative - no declared position

James Berry - Conservative - no declared position

David Burrowes - Conservative - tolerant position

Nusrat Ghani - Conservative - no declared position

Ranil Jayawardena - Conservative - no declared position

Tim Loughton - Conservative - probable tolerant position - very clear as children's minister that 'child prostitution' should not be a term

Chuka Umunna - Labour - no declared position, ultimate fence-sitter, could go far

It looks like the SNP dude is going to feel like the odd one out in two senses when this committee gets cracking. Anyway, they want your submissions in the next 5 weeks, link above.


 


 


 


 

I'm afraid you've got it a bit wrong here mate. Both Vaz and Burrowes are anti. So that makes it 3 anti and 8 unknown.

 

Vaz has apparently supported the 2014 criminalisation proposal.
 

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-29898856

Burrowes is the one who instigated this enquiry.

http://www.davidburrowes.com/content/prostitution-inquiry

On a more positive note Berry has been reported saying that "there is likely to be a variety of different views once we have heard all the evidence".

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/parliament-sex-work-enquiry-389
 

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Thankyou Bond for the extra detail.

On David Burrowes , on his site long ago, 2008 or thereabouts, ( http://davidburrowes.com/content/policing-and-crime-bill ) he's down as saying: "supports a Bill to tackle the trafficking and exploitation of women and children, but raises concerns over the practicalities of the clause where a person commits the offence of 'Paying for sexual services of a prostitute controlled for gain' whether or not they know that the prostitute is ‘controlled for gain’ "

I wonder if he's one of those politicians who is just out for himself - opposing Hattie 8 years ago because she's Labour not because of principle.

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12 hours ago, bongo said:

Thankyou Bond for the extra detail.

On David Burrowes , on his site long ago, 2008 or thereabouts, ( http://davidburrowes.com/content/policing-and-crime-bill ) he's down as saying: "supports a Bill to tackle the trafficking and exploitation of women and children, but raises concerns over the practicalities of the clause where a person commits the offence of 'Paying for sexual services of a prostitute controlled for gain' whether or not they know that the prostitute is ‘controlled for gain’ "

I wonder if he's one of those politicians who is just out for himself - opposing Hattie 8 years ago because she's Labour not because of principle.

Maybe he thought that a person should be deemed to have committed an offence if he/she pays for sexual service of a prostitute regardless of whether the prostitute is controlled for gain or not.
 

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It looks like the terms of reference are unfavourable to both worker and client. 

If one was to submit evidence what weight would it have?

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I put my short submission in today. I kept with the advertised terms of reference regarding 'shifting the burden' so wrote a couple of paragraphs on each of these:

-1: taking away the criminality associated with sex workers discretely sharing and/or managing premises for safety, economy and companionship 

-2: increasing the burden on men who pay for sex with under-aged sex workers so it is a strict liability offence if the sex seller is under 16 ( this would send Doug Ritchie down )

And that was it, because as a generalisation the laws in Great Britain are pretty good already and policing is better and more considerate than in a lot of other developed countries.

Edited by bongo

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Those sound like good points, bongo. 

I've been looking into the backgrounds of the Committee members, six of the eleven members are new MPs, and will likely not be up to speed on previous Home Office utterances! The SNP member is actually Stuart McDonald, MP for Cumbernauld (and not Stewart McDonald, MP for Glasgow South); both are new MPs, and both gay, but I cannot find out if they have both endorsed End Demand. Anyone know? 

End Demand has the clever tag line: End Demand for sexual exploitation ... a sentiment that most people would agree with. Since seeing this I have taken to asking my companions if they feel that I am exploiting them, and while all have said 'no' the first two ladies really hit the nail on the head: the first said, 'No, not if you pay me', and the second said, 'No, I'm exploiting you' followed by a smile and 'didn't you realise?'.

Edited by Beaugiles

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There are only two weeks left to send i n submissions-the terms of reference should be challenged-viz. Why should there be any criminality whose burden must be apportioned between buyer and seller, that prostitution is "violence against women" is an assertion as is that prostitution is of necessity exploitative. It is vital that the committee receives these challenges-especially from WGs otherwise we could end up like NI with a Swedish model here.

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11 hours ago, Beaugiles said:

I've been looking into the backgrounds of the Committee members, six of the eleven members are new MPs, and will likely not be up to speed on previous Home Office utterances! The SNP member is actually Stuart McDonald, MP for Cumbernauld (and not Stewart McDonald, MP for Glasgow South); both are new MPs, and both gay, but I cannot find out if they have both endorsed End Demand. Anyone know? 

Cheers Beaugiles, that's another mistake I made - there are 3 SNP MPs with similar names, Stuart McDonald, Stewart McDonald and Stewart MacDonald, and I accidentally said the middle one who has prohibitionist form was on the committee when it's the first one with the 'u' in his name.

It's a good bet he has a tolerant position - being a gay student in Edinburgh at one time, he's probably seen it all - time will tell.

And Doug Ritchie should be called Doug Richard of Dragons' Den fame.

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An interesting comment a couple of days ago in Parliament (from Peter Bone Conservative MP for Wellingborough) on the effectiveness of the Nordic model as an agent for stopping human trafficking and a plea to address the issue of human trafficking via more direct and effective measures:

There has always been an argument—I take no view on this—that if prostitution is banned, as has happened in Sweden, human trafficking will stop, and if prostitution is legalised, if I may use that term, as in the case of Holland, there will be human trafficking galore. The truth is, as the record shows, that it does not matter—there is human trafficking in Sweden and there is human trafficking in the Netherlands. People feel very strongly about the issue of prostitution, which is quite right, but to say that if it is banned, it will stop human trafficking does not meet the facts. We have to accept that whatever happens, we will have to deal with human trafficking.

The slight worry about the Swedish model is that because it happens underground, there is even less likelihood of prostitution being detected and the girls may be subject to even worse treatment than where prostitution is open. I have no view on that, other than to say that the evidence is clear that trafficking carries on in both countries.

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2016-01-29a.599.0#g604.1

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Just now, Carnival said:

 

An interesting comment a couple of days ago in Parliament (from Peter Bone Conservative MP for Wellingborough) on the effectiveness of the Nordic model as an agent for stopping human trafficking and a plea to address the issue of human trafficking via more direct and effective measures:

There has always been an argument—I take no view on this—that if prostitution is banned, as has happened in Sweden, human trafficking will stop, and if prostitution is legalised, if I may use that term, as in the case of Holland, there will be human trafficking galore. The truth is, as the record shows, that it does not matter—there is human trafficking in Sweden and there is human trafficking in the Netherlands. People feel very strongly about the issue of prostitution, which is quite right, but to say that if it is banned, it will stop human trafficking does not meet the facts. We have to accept that whatever happens, we will have to deal with human trafficking.

The slight worry about the Swedish model is that because it happens underground, there is even less likelihood of prostitution being detected and the girls may be subject to even worse treatment than where prostitution is open. I have no view on that, other than to say that the evidence is clear that trafficking carries on in both countries.

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2016-01-29a.599.0#g604.1

Interestingly, a reference to the Poppy Project in the same parliamentary debate, also from Peter Bone:

When I was a member of Anthony Steen’s group, I discovered that there was a Government-funded centre in London—it was, in fact, funded by the Ministry of Justice—which was run by a left-wing organisation. All the trafficked victims were supposed to be accommodated in 24 beds, which is laughable, because there were so many more victims than 24. There was quite a big row about it at the time, and it is to the Government’s credit that they changed the policy. They took the money away from that organisation and gave it to the Salvation Army. They said, “Work with all sorts of different agencies around the country, religious and non-religious, and they will give you added value. If Newcastle, for instance, already has a hostel that is able to look after trafficked victims, why not give it some money, and then you will have that added value.”

The system worked terrifically well. The money started with £1 million, and despite the huge economic downturn that we have experienced, that amount has increased to, I believe, about £3 million. Adult victims of human trafficking are really well looked after.

<snip>

Steve Reed Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government)

When the POPPY project, which I believe was the organisation the hon. Gentleman was talking about, lost its funding, some of the successor organisations were criticised for putting rescued women in mixed-sex hostels, which was deeply inappropriate.

Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

There was a big row about the POPPY project and I am broad-brush about this: I think the Salvation Army operation has been a huge success, and I am absolutely convinced that no other country in Europe looks after rescued adult victims of human trafficking better than ours, and we can be very proud of that.

 

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Having looked up a bit about the Committee members, and made some notes, I offer them here for general interest, E & O E of course. The Home Affairs Committee of the new parliament was set up in July 2015.

Keith Vaz (Chairman), Age 59, Labour, MP for Leicester East since 1987, has been on this committee on and off several times, and continuously since 2007. Very experienced parliamentarian. Has previously asked questions about ‘schemes to combat prostitution and ensure effective offender management’.

Victoria Atkins, 39, Conservative, Louth & Horncastle (rural Lincolnshire), new MP 2015. Politics runs in family. Married. Barrister dealing with fraud and organised crime, tried to be a Police & Crime Commissioner for Glos, Tory policy group on human rights.

James Berry, 32, Conservative, Kingston & Surbiton, new MP 2015. UCL & Harvard Law School, lawyer. Interest in health care, police issues. Passionate about mindfulness, particularly in education.

David Burrowes, 46, Conservative, Enfield Southgate, MP since 2005, new to Home Affairs Committee. Married, six children. Chair of Conservative Christian Fellowship, strong Christian ethic, opposes ‘failed ideas of liberal elite’. Shadow Justice Minister in 2007, contributed to report Breakdown Britain on drug addiction and poverty. Was a PPS in 2010-2012, but opposed same sex marriage.    

Nus (Nusrat) Ghani, 43, Conservative, Wealden (rural south coast), new MP 2015. Birmingham born daughter of Kashmiri immigrants, Muslim, married to David Wheeldon (a Sky executive). Studied international relations. Interest in health issues, worked at BBC world service. Member of APPG on Domestic Violence.

Ranil Jayawardena, 29, Conservative, North East Hampshire (surrounds but excludes Basingstoke), new MP 2015.  Hampshire born son of  Sri Lankan parents, brought up in Hampshire, Christian. Studied at LSE, worked Lloyds Bank. Described as political reactionary!    

Tim Loughton, 53, Conservative, East Worthing & Shoreham, MP since 1997, Home Affairs Committee since 2014. Married. Previously City fund manager. Was Children’s Minister 2010-12, opposed same sex marriage and subsequently sacked. Sometimes outspoken and gets into trouble for it! Ridiculed Corbyn’s election.

Stuart C McDonald, 37, SNP, Cumbernauld, new MP 2015. Gay. Shadow on asylum and immigration issues. Studied law, worked as human rights solicitor and in NHS legal office and researcher in Scottish parliament, supports same-sex marriage and zero gender passports.  

Naz (Naseem) Shah, 42, Labour, Bradford West, new MP 2015. Mother of three. Born in Bradford, huge back history of family disruption, abusive forced marriage abroad; returned to Bradford to work with mental health charity and as a carer of the disabled. Spoke with amazing calm and clarity in the noisy debate on ‘Do we need a British Islam?’ on the BBC Sunday programme The Big Questions on Jan 31.

Chuka Umunna, 37, Labour, Streatham, MP since 2010, new to Home Affairs Committee 2015. Nigerian father, Anglo-Irish mother, recently married. Solicitor, involved with Compass policy group within Labour, founded online review The Multicultural Politic, derives moral values from Christianity but is not religious. Shadow Business Secretary 2011-2015, nominated then withdrew from party leadership election, and then resigned from Shadow Cabinet after Corbyn’s election.

David Winnick, 82, Labour, Walsall North, MP since 1979. Has been on Home Affairs Committee since 1997. Recent questions about facilities for the deaf! Considered to be on left of Labour party, and committed to human rights.

I am surprised by the multicultural composition of the committee, but then I'm nearer in age to David Winnick than to any of the others!

Two themes that I think will have resonance with some members, and that I shall emphasize, are human rights (sex workers deserve to have the same rights as anyone else in the way that they work and in their employment and pensions and mortgages, etc - a point made strongly by Natalie Bennett, leader of the Greens, at the Day of Evidence against Criminalisation organised by the English Collective of Prostitutes at the House of Commons last November) and violence against women (payment for sex is often cited nowadays as being 'violence against women' and it is claimed that that is now the view of the CPS, but the CPS does not say that. The CPS considers prostitution within the same section of advice as 'violence against women' because prostitution - as the CPS encounters it - so often involves women, but it does not equate them.) 

 

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On 01/02/2016 at 7:18 PM, Carnival said:

 

An interesting comment a couple of days ago in Parliament (from Peter Bone Conservative MP for Wellingborough) on the effectiveness of the Nordic model as an agent for stopping human trafficking and a plea to address the issue of human trafficking via more direct and effective measures:

There has always been an argument—I take no view on this—that if prostitution is banned, as has happened in Sweden, human trafficking will stop, and if prostitution is legalised, if I may use that term, as in the case of Holland, there will be human trafficking galore. The truth is, as the record shows, that it does not matter—there is human trafficking in Sweden and there is human trafficking in the Netherlands. People feel very strongly about the issue of prostitution, which is quite right, but to say that if it is banned, it will stop human trafficking does not meet the facts. We have to accept that whatever happens, we will have to deal with human trafficking.

The slight worry about the Swedish model is that because it happens underground, there is even less likelihood of prostitution being detected and the girls may be subject to even worse treatment than where prostitution is open. I have no view on that, other than to say that the evidence is clear that trafficking carries on in both countries.

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2016-01-29a.599.0#g604.1

I don't know how trafficking is defined in Sweden, but it's worth noting that many sex workers in the Netherlands who came to the country of their own free will to engage in prostitution, are nevertheless counted as trafficking victims by Dutch law.

How prostitutes that aren't forced or exploited still count as victims by the Dutch law

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On ‎17‎/‎01‎/‎2016 at 1:25 PM, bongo said:

It is a requirement that you state your interest in the subject e.g. punter, landlord, cleric, worker, NGO employee, whatever it happens to be.

Not quite. The 'Guidance on giving evidence to a Select Committee of the House of Commons' states only a few requirements, all relating to size & format of a submitted document. It then goes on to say that it "...assists the committee if those submitting evidence adhere to the following guidelines..." The guidelines include saying who you are - apparently, there's no requirement to give your real name - "...a brief introduction about yourself/your organisation and your reason for submitting evidence...any factual information you have to offer...any recommendations for action by the Government or others which you would like the committee to consider."

I'm planning to make a submission, not giving my real name but including "...an executive summary in bullet point form of the main points made in the submission..." and "...numbered paragraphs"! Gordon Bennett! Do these people live in the real world? :wacko:

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7 hours ago, Max Gentle said:

Not quite. The 'Guidance on giving evidence to a Select Committee of the House of Commons' states only a few requirements, all relating to size & format of a submitted document. It then goes on to say that it "...assists the committee if those submitting evidence adhere to the following guidelines..." The guidelines include saying who you are - apparently, there's no requirement to give your real name - "...a brief introduction about yourself/your organisation and your reason for submitting evidence...any factual information you have to offer...any recommendations for action by the Government or others which you would like the committee to consider."

I'm planning to make a submission, not giving my real name but including "...an executive summary in bullet point form of the main points made in the submission..." and "...numbered paragraphs"! Gordon Bennett! Do these people live in the real world? :wacko:

Could be reasonable for ease of reference.

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The deadline for submissions has passed ( although late submissions may still be accepted ).

They've been published here:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/

If only Sergio Leone could write a western containing all the characters listed, it would be just the most incredible movie. 

 

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As well as the predictable, there are some cracking individual submissions there! Well done the writers!

Let's hope that the Inquiry members read them with care.

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I have quickly flicked through the responses. There are nearly 200 of them which is a lot for this type of enquiry.

It is a disgrace that the committee had pre-judged the issues before calling for evidence. In particular, they assume that criminal law should intervene in consensual sexual activity between adults and they buy into the presumption that any form of prostitution is violence against women (I guess they assume male prostitutes can look after themselves but women cannot).

The prohibitionists, who gave their input to the committee, advocate the so called Nordic model (criminalising buyers) as the way forward, they provide 'evidence' from sources that generally do not stand scrutiny (mostly dubious and made-up numbers and dubious personal statements). There is a lot of excellent testimony, in the submissions, from both academics and sex workers (including some from Scandinavia) that discredit the Nordic model . Importantly, nearly all the sex workers who provided evidence point out the Nordic model is detrimental to their safety. I believe safety of sex workers, (and, perhaps more controversially, punters) is paramount and so for this reason alone the Nordic model has no place in British law. 

There is little doubt the current UK laws on prostitution are a complete mess and need reform (I guess the prohibitionists would agree with me on this).  I usually have great faith in UK's parliamentary system and particularly the excellent work done by MPs who work tirelessly on committees, but in this case there can be little doubt that the committee has already decided punters should be criminalised. If they do indeed ignore the great weight of evidence before them and reach this erroneous conclusion then this will bring the whole parliamentary committee process into disrepute. They will have missed a great opportunity to reform the law and make it fit for our society, as it actually exists, in 21st century.

It is very likely that some advocates of the Nordic model read this forum - if so and you think I have misrepresented your views, please feel free to reply here.

 

 

 

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The Home Affairs Committee will be meeting at 1:15 pm on March 1st to discuss prostitution and will hear from the following witnesses:

  • Kat Banyard, Co-director UK Feminista and spokesperson for the End Demand campaign group
  • Mia de Faoite
  • Laura Lee
  • Alan Caton OBE, Independent Chair, Islington and Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Boards
  • Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Holland, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Prostitution and Sex Work
 
Edited by Carnival
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