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Carnival

Statistics for prosecutions under section 53A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003

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In response to a written request on 21 January from Lord McColl of Dulwich, Lord Faulks, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice has provided a table which shows, for the years 2010-2014, the number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts and the number of offenders found guilty and sentenced at all courts, with sentencing outcomes, for offences relating to paying or promising to pay a person to provide sexual services, where that person is subject to exploitative conduct to induce or encourage them to provide those services.

The table can be downloaded at http://qna.files.parliament.uk/qna-attachments/446674\original\HL533-table.xls

It's a curious table in that, although it claims to cover the period 2010-2014, there are no figures in the columns for 2013 and 2014.

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Very curious, it seems that they started off with a paltry number, and reduced that to zero. Interesting.

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15 hours ago, Carnival said:

In response to a written request on 21 January from Lord McColl of Dulwich, Lord Faulks, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice has provided a table which shows, for the years 2010-2014, the number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts and the number of offenders found guilty and sentenced at all courts, with sentencing outcomes, for offences relating to paying or promising to pay a person to provide sexual services, where that person is subject to exploitative conduct to induce or encourage them to provide those services.

The table can be downloaded at http://qna.files.parliament.uk/qna-attachments/446674\original\HL533-table.xls

It's a curious table in that, although it claims to cover the period 2010-2014, there are no figures in the columns for 2013 and 2014.

Well, that's Government statistics for you.

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4 hours ago, Bob the Builder said:

Well, that's Government statistics for you.

there are lies, damn lies and government statistics.

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I don't know what to make of these statistics. I've not yet come across a single reported case in the media of anyone being convicted of this offence.

The offence was introduced on 1 April 2010 and wasn't even a recordable offence until July 2012. That wouldn't necessarily prevent the MoJ from keeping statistics. However, for the purposes of recording offences, the MoJ do tend to lump certain offences together.

In his reply to the following FoI request asking a similar question in October 2010 in relation to section 53A the Home Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary (James Brokenshire MP) gave incorrect figures, wrongly referring to section 53 (controlling for gain).

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

It wouldn't surprise me one bit if, for reporting purposes,the MoJ had been lumping section 53A offences in with section 53 until at least 2012.That would explain why there are no reported convictions for 2013 onwards, assuming that they stopped doing so in 2012 when section 53A became a recordable offence in itself.

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40 minutes ago, Silverado said:

I don't know what to make of these statistics. I've not yet come across a single reported case in the media of anyone being convicted of this offence.

The offence was introduced on 1 April 2010 and wasn't even a recordable offence until July 2012. That wouldn't necessarily prevent the MoJ from keeping statistics. However, for the purposes of recording offences, the MoJ do tend to lump certain offences together.

In his reply to the following FoI request asking a similar question in October 2010 in relation to section 53A the Home Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary (James Brokenshire MP) gave incorrect figures, wrongly referring to section 53 (controlling for gain).

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

It wouldn't surprise me one bit if, for reporting purposes,the MoJ had been lumping section 53A offences in with section 53 until at least 2012.That would explain why there are no reported convictions for 2013 onwards, assuming that they stopped doing so in 2012 when section 53A became a recordable offence in itself.

I remember this too.

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Posted (edited)

This question about the number of prosecutions under section 53A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 was raised again yesterday in an answer to a written parliamentary question as follows:

 

Fiona Mactaggart (Labour, Slough)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many men have been found guilty of offences under Section 53A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as amended by Section 14 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 since 1 April 2010; and what sentence was imposed in each such case.

 

Dominic Raab (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice)

The information requested is published in the Criminal Justice System Statistics Quarterly, at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2015. The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine not exceeding £1,000.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-06-14/40623/

 

I have looked carefully through the above publication and cannot find this information. I suspect it has not in fact been collected.

Edited by Carnival

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Well according to the evidence provided by Nikki Holland to the Home office select committee on prostitution (para 35)

 

  1. When we asked about the enforcement of provisions in the Policing and Crime Act 2009, which criminalise the payment for sexual services of a prostitute subject to force, ACC Nikki Holland told us that the legislation had rarely been used. She said it was difficult both to obtain the necessary evidence from victims to confirm that the exchange had taken place, and to get evidence in any other way.44 She later confirmed in writing that there had been no convictions in the past year for these offences under the Act (Section 53A).45

     

A much fuller analysis is given in   Kingston S Thomas T (2014)  The Police, Sex Work, and Section 14 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume 53, Issue 3, pages 255–269, the Discussion section of that paper says

The requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to all 43

police forces across England and Wales has demonstrated that the majority

have not used s. 14 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009.

 

This raises questions about the need for this law and/or the inherent difficulties the

police have in identifying women who have been trafficked for sexual

exploitation. It also makes the one force which says that it has used it some

81 times to make arrests, all the more interesting. Given that this police

force has utilised the law in what appears to be an inappropriate manner,

further research and questions need to be raised about this incorrect

application of the law to offences already covered under existing legislation.

As already shown, misapplication of the law is not uncommon, but

needs to be fully investigated to determine whether or not this was intentional,

as this raises further questions about police officers’ and forces’

intentions given that s. 14 is one of strict liability and may, therefore, be

more easily utilised.

The lack of police use of the law also challenges some of the fundamental

principles upon which the legislative changes were made. In particular,

the rationale for reducing the demand for prostitution because it is often

considered to be fuelling sex trafficking is under scrutiny. Supporters will

no doubt suggest that the lack of application of the law demonstrates very

clearly that the law is working, that demand has been reduced as clients

are deterred by the legal changes and potential punishments they may

face. Yet previous research has demonstrated that police crackdowns on

kerb crawlers for instance, have meant that they often ‘simply go elsewhere’

rather than end their offending behaviour (Sanders 2009, p.6).

Similarly, sex workers have been known to displace to other areas when

the police target a particular location, which can sometimes undermine

their ability to stay safe (Kinnell 2008; Sanders 2009). Other than the

non-use of the strict liability offence, no other evidence suggests that this

law has been effective in deterring demand or reducing the prevalence of

prostitution.

Furthermore, the suggestion that the law was needed to protect vulnerable

individuals has been questioned, given that the extent of trafficking

for sexual exploitation has not been found to be as endemic as

originally thought. Some may argue that this is because the police are

unable to detect such instances, which would suggest gross incompetence

in the majority of police forces across England and Wales. Others may

suggest that this is an accurate reflection of its extent in the UK. What we

do know is that the law is not being used.

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2 hours ago, bobbles said:

Well according to the evidence provided by Nikki Holland to the Home office select committee on prostitution (para 35)

 

  1. When we asked about the enforcement of provisions in the Policing and Crime Act 2009, which criminalise the payment for sexual services of a prostitute subject to force, ACC Nikki Holland told us that the legislation had rarely been used. She said it was difficult both to obtain the necessary evidence from victims to confirm that the exchange had taken place, and to get evidence in any other way.44 She later confirmed in writing that there had been no convictions in the past year for these offences under the Act (Section 53A).45

 

Perhaps I'm being cynical, but I suspect that Fiona Mactaggart's response to this will be to claim (falsely) that the vast majority of prostitutes are coerced, and that therefore the legislation has been ineffective and needs to be strengthened by criminalising all buyers.  

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5 hours ago, Carnival said:

Perhaps I'm being cynical, but I suspect that Fiona Mactaggart's response to this will be to claim (falsely) that the vast majority of prostitutes are coerced, and that therefore the legislation has been ineffective and needs to be strengthened by criminalising all buyers.  

That's exactly what she's going to argue...I'm sure she's argued it before essentially saying they have to find that pesky evidence stuff, and that's why the police can never find all these coerced women who are OBVIOUSLY there.

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