starman

senior Met detective warns "new law, very difficult to enforce"

51 posts in this topic

A NEW law that would make it illegal for men to pay for sex will be "very difficult to enforce", a senior Met detective warned today.

Under proposals championed by Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman it will become an offence to pay for sex with a woman controlled by any other person, such as a drug dealer or pimp. Ministers say it will be a "strict liability" offence and a man would have to show he had checked whether the prostitute was under the control of another person.

Today, however, Met Commander Allan Gibson, who oversees the force's human trafficking operations, told the Commons Home Affairs select committee that it would be difficult to demonstrate in court that a man had not checked on the woman's status. One reason was that women were often trained by pimps to say that they were acting voluntarily, even if this was not the case. Men could also blame communication problems with a non-English speaking prostitute, Mr Gibson said.

Ms Harman rejected the criticisms, saying: "If the woman is there for someone else's gain then that is an absolute offence."

ref.

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If she pays tax will the revenue be guilty of an offence?

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If she pays tax will the revenue be guilty of an offence?

That's a nice point.

The revenue is profiting from immoral earnings. They might as well be pimps, madams and general brothel keepers.

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A NEW law that would make it illegal for men to pay for sex will be "very difficult to enforce", a senior Met detective warned today.

Under proposals championed by Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman it will become an offence to pay for sex with a woman controlled by any other person, such as a drug dealer or pimp. Ministers say it will be a "strict liability" offence and a man would have to show he had checked whether the prostitute was under the control of another person.

Today, however, Met Commander Allan Gibson, who oversees the force's human trafficking operations, told the Commons Home Affairs select committee that it would be difficult to demonstrate in court that a man had not checked on the woman's status. One reason was that women were often trained by pimps to say that they were acting voluntarily, even if this was not the case. Men could also blame communication problems with a non-English speaking prostitute, Mr Gibson said.

Ms Harman rejected the criticisms, saying: "If the woman is there for someone else's gain then that is an absolute offence."

ref.

Just in case my comment on the site is not accepted, it is this :-

I am a trifle confused, as I understood the "strict liability" attribute of the proposed new legislation, it meant the irrespective of whether or not the punter had made investigations in the area of "control for gain", if the prostitute was in fact "controlled for gain" then the punter would be guilty of contravention.

Reading the above "Ministers say it will be a "strict liability" offence and a man would have to show he had checked whether the prostitute was under the control of another person." gives me the impression that if the punter has made investigations in the area of "control for gain" and was happy the the prostitute was not "controlled for gain" then irrespective of whether or not the prostitute was in fact "controlled for gain", then the punter would not be guilty of contravention.

Some clarification is needed I think.

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I love the smell of victory, and that's what I'm getting now. The more detailed articles don't give specific reasons for why this police officer thinks it will be difficult to enforce. I'm guessing that he thinks there could be a legal challenge or a conflict with other legal principles. But certainly if a police commander who is the head of the met's anti trafficking unit doesn't like these laws then Jacqui Smith has a major issue. Also his admission that it's very difficult for even his unit with all their resources to say who is trafficked seems to sound the death knell for the proposals. In 2 years they've had just over 200 cases in total, although the implication seems to be that these are not necessarily definite trafficked girls. Just accusations. Barely over 200 accusations....and they've been jumping round shouting about 25,000 or 18,000 or whatever. All HH can fall back on is more rhetoric about punters fueling the demand. Every law abiding person fuels demand for human trafficking. Whether it's the demand for cheap DVDs (chinese DVD sellers). The demand for food stuffs (trafficked leek pickers or cockle pickers). Demand for carpets (virtual slaves in Asian workhouses feeding that). Funny how she picks sex as the one to be picked on.

DOOMED. DOOMED I TELL YOU. MUAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

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Commander Alan Gibson's 211 cases in the past 2 years didn't produce many convictions.

A written answer from Jacqui Smith to Dominic Grieve on 19 November reads:

Since May 2004 there have been 90 convictions for trafficking for sexual exploitation.

2004 3

2005 21

2006 32

2007 23

2008 11

(http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2008-11-19c.232793.h)

It is interesting that the numbers have fallen for the last three years.

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the Guardian:

Commander Allan Gibson told the Commons home affairs committee that it was difficult to say whether the majority of women working in massage parlours and brothels had been trafficked. "That is not something that we can answer. A high percentage but I cannot be more precise than that ... We need to commission research to find that," he said .

When Gibson's personal view was later put to Harman, also giving evidence to the committee, she said anecdotal evidence suggested that 85% of women in London brothels had been brought in from abroad and the government had to address the "demand side".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/dec/10/sex-trafficking-law-enforcement

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I love the smell of victory, and that's what I'm getting now. The more detailed articles don't give specific reasons for why this police officer thinks it will be difficult to enforce. I'm guessing that he thinks there could be a legal challenge or a conflict with other legal principles. But certainly if a police commander who is the head of the met's anti trafficking unit doesn't like these laws then Jacqui Smith has a major issue. Also his admission that it's very difficult for even his unit with all their resources to say who is trafficked seems to sound the death knell for the proposals. In 2 years they've had just over 200 cases in total, although the implication seems to be that these are not necessarily definite trafficked girls. Just accusations. Barely over 200 accusations....and they've been jumping round shouting about 25,000 or 18,000 or whatever. All HH can fall back on is more rhetoric about punters fueling the demand. Every law abiding person fuels demand for human trafficking. Whether it's the demand for cheap DVDs (chinese DVD sellers). The demand for food stuffs (trafficked leek pickers or cockle pickers). Demand for carpets (virtual slaves in Asian workhouses feeding that). Funny how she picks sex as the one to be picked on.

DOOMED. DOOMED I TELL YOU. MUAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Void for vagueness:

Void for vagueness is a legal concept in American constitutional law, whereby a civil statute or, more commonly, a criminal statute is adjudged unconstitutional when it is so vague that persons "of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application,"

In determining whether a law is void for vagueness, courts have imposed the following tests: 1) does the law give fair notice to those persons subject to it? 2) does the law guard against arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement? and 3) can the law be enforced with sufficient "breathing room" for First Amendment rights?

the Void for vagueness Doctrine

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the Guardian:

When Gibson's personal view was later put to Harman, also giving evidence to the committee, she said anecdotal evidence suggested that 85% of women in London brothels had been brought in from abroad and the government had to address the "demand side".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/dec/10/sex-trafficking-law-enforcement

The Guardian seems to have conveniently lost a significant part of Harman's comment, which according to the Mail: "Ms Harman said that 'anecdotal' evidence suggested as many as 85 per cent of the women working in London brothels were from overseas and a proportion of these had been trafficked."

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Commander Alan Gibson's 211 cases in the past 2 years didn't produce many convictions.

A written answer from Jacqui Smith to Dominic Grieve on 19 November reads:

Since May 2004 there have been 90 convictions for trafficking for sexual exploitation.

2004 3

2005 21

2006 32

2007 23

2008 11

(http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2008-11-19c.232793.h)

It is interesting that the numbers have fallen for the last three years.

and of course those convictions will be nationwide, so out of the 34 convictions in the last two years not all will have been from the met's case-load. It is going to be very damaging to JS and HH's case that only a couple of hundred accusations have been made to the Met, and since London and the met is probably going to be involved in the majority of trafficking cases it blows a hole in their standard defence which is that "just because there aren't many convictions in rape doesn't mean there isn't a problem, and the same is true of trafficking". Turns out there's hardly any accusations either where trafficking is concerned.

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If she pays tax will the revenue be guilty of an offence?

Yes I posted thispoint on another thread a while back... anyone who has any control but the wording will need to be looked at carefully.

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Yes I posted thispoint on another thread a while back... anyone who has any control but the wording will need to be looked at carefully.

I have just read the proposal again.... the legal position I think will be this...

The police or CPS will have to prove the woman was working against her will or has a pimp or boyfriend controlling her before the punter can be taken to court. He could not be found guilty before this was proven.

If he is charged with the offence before this is investigated and it turns out later the police / cps cannot prove she is pimped or trafficked the punter could sue for wrongfull arrest and probably as he would have been locked in a cell at some point unlawfull imprisionment.

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you can listen to the entire meeting here:

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/VideoPlayer.aspx?meetingId=3040

Human Trafficking

Witnesses

Metropolitan Police

London Councils and Association of Directors of Children’s Services

Alan Campbell MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State,

Home Office and Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP, Leader of the House of Commons

1.23:10 into, Harriet gets the question: According to Europool, child beggars bring in more money than female prostitutes; should we using the same logic, prosecute people who give money to child beggars who might have been trafficed?

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The transcript is now available, I guess most couldn't be bothered to listen to the several hours long audio, a lot of interesting info here so worth reading. Talks about recent raids in Luton etc

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmhaff/uc23/uc2302.htm

David Davies to HH

Can I just take issue with you on the language you use first of all? It is very important that you do not talk about men in that general sense. We do not talk about blacks who knife people or Muslims who drop bombs because we know it is a very small minority in each case who do that and we do not stereotype entire communities. I would have expected you to be a bit more careful in the language you use. B)

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My reading of 'strict liability' in this instance is that if you are caught with a WG, there is a presumption that you cannot be absolutely certain that she is not in some way controlled for gain (the difficulty of proving a negative), regardless of what she says or what documentary evidence she produces, and on that basis can be arrested for the possibility that she might have been.

Effectively this is fully criminalising the demand side of the industry, ostensibly to reduce demand by scaring the bejesus out of the punters. Barriers to its success include common sense on the part of the legislators, policemen and judges.

But there will be some successful demand reduction because, although punters might clear their name in the few cases that make it to court, the real damage has already been done in that their wives now know. Other punters will be aware of that risk. Most will work out strategies to punt safely. Some will decide it's not worth the candle and knock the hobby on the head.

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This statement reveals HH's mindset and logic:

But Ms Harman said: "We have to address the demand side because this trade wouldn't be happening if men weren't buying sex...

"The men who are handing over the money that makes these women vulnerable have got to be made answerable for what they are doing to create this trade."

She is on a complete crusade and it just does not wash with other male MPs (in general)

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I have just read the proposal again.... the legal position I think will be this...

The police or CPS will have to prove the woman was working against her will or has a pimp or boyfriend controlling her before the punter can be taken to court. He could not be found guilty before this was proven.

If he is charged with the offence before this is investigated and it turns out later the police / cps cannot prove she is pimped or trafficked the punter could sue for wrongfull arrest and probably as he would have been locked in a cell at some point unlawfull imprisionment.

Very, very good point. It's over for JS and HH *pops champagne*

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My reading of 'strict liability' in this instance is that if you are caught with a WG, there is a presumption that you cannot be absolutely certain that she is not in some way controlled for gain (the difficulty of proving a negative), regardless of what she says or what documentary evidence she produces, and on that basis can be arrested for the possibility that she might have been.

Effectively this is fully criminalising the demand side of the industry, ostensibly to reduce demand by scaring the bejesus out of the punters. Barriers to its success include common sense on the part of the legislators, policemen and judges.

But there will be some successful demand reduction because, although punters might clear their name in the few cases that make it to court, the real damage has already been done in that their wives now know. Other punters will be aware of that risk. Most will work out strategies to punt safely. Some will decide it's not worth the candle and knock the hobby on the head.

Before you can be guilty, with or without strict liability, it must first be proved that the prostitute is controlled must it not?

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My reading of 'strict liability' in this instance is that if you are caught with a WG, there is a presumption that you cannot be absolutely certain that she is not in some way controlled for gain (the difficulty of proving a negative), regardless of what she says or what documentary evidence she produces, and on that basis can be arrested for the possibility that she might have been.

Effectively this is fully criminalising the demand side of the industry, ostensibly to reduce demand by scaring the bejesus out of the punters. Barriers to its success include common sense on the part of the legislators, policemen and judges.

But there will be some successful demand reduction because, although punters might clear their name in the few cases that make it to court, the real damage has already been done in that their wives now know. Other punters will be aware of that risk. Most will work out strategies to punt safely. Some will decide it's not worth the candle and knock the hobby on the head.

Brilliant post....that is exactly what HH and JS want.

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Before you can be guilty, with or without strict liability, it must first be proved that the prostitute is controlled must it not?

In theory, and in reality, that is true, however I am of the opinion that proving that the prostitute is controlled, and indeed if the punter is guilty, is not what this is all about, in fact I would go so far as to say that getting a case into court is pretty much irrelevant. What is wanted by HH and JS et al, IMHO, is a media trial not a legal trial, after all JS has stated time and time again "Sending out a message" and "Make a man think twice before paying for sex". Not "Make a man think twice before paying for sex with a prostitute controlled for gain" but "Make a man think twice before paying for sex" full stop, end of story, and a media trial "Man arrested and charged .........." appearing on the front page will do that even if the CPS chuck out the case and it never comes to court.

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In theory, and in reality, that is true, however I am of the opinion that proving that the prostitute is controlled, and indeed if the punter is guilty, is not what this is all about, in fact I would go so far as to say that getting a case into court is pretty much irrelevant. What is wanted by HH and JS et al, IMHO, is a media trial not a legal trial, after all JS has stated time and time again "Sending out a message" and "Make a man think twice before paying for sex". Not "Make a man think twice before paying for sex with a prostitute controlled for gain" but "Make a man think twice before paying for sex" full stop, end of story, and a media trial "Man arrested and charged .........." appearing on the front page will do that even if the CPS chuck out the case and it never comes to court.

And in doing so scare a lot of punters off, which it will IMO.

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And in doing so scare a lot of punters off

Which is, IMHO, the intention of the proposed legislation, all the ballyhoo about "strict liability" and "difficult to enforce" etc. matters not one jot, it is the arrest and charging that matters not whether it can be made to stick or whether it is fair etc. There is little or no doubt in my mind that should the proposed legislation come into force that Mr Plod will be told in no uncertain terms, via the usual channels, to "Get your arse down to the nearest brothel and grab the first punter you see and charge him", there will of course be an unaccountable leak to the Press and the job will be done, of course a successful prosecution would be the cherry on the cake, but in terms of "Sending out a message" not really necessary, the Press will see to that, and all at little or no cost in terms on police time or money.

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