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Media coverage

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Perhaps best to have just one thread for what the media are putting out today and over the next few days? Might be better than a long procession of individual threads for every mention.

Here's the first of the usual suspects, Joan Smith, though somewhat restrained for her, I feel. No mention of the "25,000 trafficked sex slaves" that her MacShameless partner usually trots out.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/joan-smith/joan-smith-now-we-might-discover-the-truth-about-paidfor-sex-1932777.html

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Spotted this on the BBC this morning.

Page last updated at 03:58 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 04:58 UK

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Met Police set up trafficking and exploitation unit

The Metropolitan Police (Met) has set up a new team to tackle human trafficking and exploitation.

The Human Exploitation and Organised Crime unit will be responsible for investigating trafficking, sexual exploitation and forced labour.

The new command is part of a re-organisation of a number of Met units.

The overall unit will also include the Clubs and Vice unit and Operation Maxim, which tackles organised immigration crime in London.

Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Martin said: "The new command will benefit from a single command structure for trafficking and the Specialist Crime Directorate focus and specialism on organised crime."

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.....Here's the first of the usual suspects, Joan Smith, though somewhat restrained for her, I feel. No mention of the "25,000 trafficked sex slaves" that her MacShameless partner usually trots out.
As the article says "Now we might discover the truth about paid-for sex", and it may not be to Joan Smith's liking! Although the article focuses on the recent prosecutions relating to the appalling case of the coerced Hungarian girl, it has little more to offer.

More interesting are some of the comments, particularly the one from jeanshaw at 06:14 am today. I'd cut and paste it, but that would probably infringe the Independent's copyright, but it's worth a read.

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Does not sound like a random raid. It was conducted by that new unit so they may have had solid intelligence of trafficking. Would not be surprised if the guy that got the caution was offered it as a first-time offender. In which case, I'd suspect the other two have previous and so won't be offered a caution.

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Very, very interesting.

In particular, this quote suggests that this is not about rescuing forced women but criminalising prostitution by the back door:

Det Insp Kevin Hyland, from the new command unit, said: "Men who visit brothels and pay for sex are exploiting vulnerable woman and plying a trade of abuse.

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I quote from the article:

'Det Insp Kevin Hyland, from the new command unit, said: "Men who visit brothels and pay for sex are exploiting vulnerable woman and plying a trade of abuse.

"The new legislation means that people who pay for sex in brothels can be arrested and appear before the courts, which we hope will act as a deterrent to others." '

Perhaps it was all sub-edited into nonsense, but it sounds as uf Inspector Hyland is a very blunt instrument in the war against crime.

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Hyland was former head of Vice Squad & presumably is now in this new unit, which also started business today:

http://cms.met.police.uk/news/policy_organisational_news_and_general_information/new_human_exploitation_and_organised_crime_command

Doubtless he wished to make a splash in his new role. Neverthelesss, his quotes, like those of Kit Malthouse in yesterday's Evening Standard, are grossly disingenous, implying that going with any prostitute is an offence. I think we all have a duty to write to newspapers whenever such nonsense appears point out that it is nonsense.

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Does not sound like a random raid. It was conducted by that new unit so they may have had solid intelligence of trafficking. Would not be surprised if the guy that got the caution was offered it as a first-time offender. In which case, I'd suspect the other two have previous and so won't be offered a caution.

First time offender? Offender of what. Maybe the three were offered a caution and only one took it, and now the police have to prove it for the others?

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First time offender as in no priors, of any kind, on his criminal record.

I can see nothing in the law which states that the court can simply presume that the woman is controlled but police quotes like these ones seem to imply that that is their jump off points. We keep seeming to get these quotes saying, simply, 'men can be prosecuted for paying for sex.'

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Does not sound like a random raid. It was conducted by that new unit so they may have had solid intelligence of trafficking. Would not be surprised if the guy that got the caution was offered it as a first-time offender. In which case, I'd suspect the other two have previous and so won't be offered a caution.

The new unit started operating today. The new section 53A came into force today. Of course they had prior intelligence - but waited until 1 April before busting the place.

As for the caution, maybe the other 2 guys said " I've done nothing wrong. I'm not going to accept a caution, charge me and prove it in court" and the Police backed down and released them.

It might have happened the way you suggest but I would have thought that the Police would have wanted to charge them before making the Press Release. From their point of view it would have sounded much better to say " two men were charged and will appear in the Magistrates Court at a later date".

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If two guys did challenge the police to take them to court, then I would guess that the police would respond by sending whatever evidence they had to the CPS in order to gain advice as to whether they have enough to bring a formal charge. In which case the two suspects would be in limbo until the CPS say yay or nay. That would also explain no comment.

You'd have to think this exploitation unit would be very determined to get people on day one, so I think they would be loath to simply roll over and let folks walk.

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So, the guy who accepted the caution is effectively admitting guilt and being tried and convicted on the spot?

What evidence do the police have to show that the lady in question is forced?

Or are they simply saying to the guy 'we think she's forced, and you can either choose a caution or a court appearance'?

What happens when you accept a caution? Do you end up with a record which you have to declare to future employers etc?

I also find it interesting how the BBC and Police are blurring the meaning of the law to cover all punters. The implication from both the BBC article and the statements from the Police is that all punters are to blame.

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I quote from the article:

'Det Insp Kevin Hyland, from the new command unit, said: "Men who visit brothels and pay for sex are exploiting vulnerable woman and plying a trade of abuse.

"The new legislation means that people who pay for sex in brothels can be arrested and appear before the courts, which we hope will act as a deterrent to others."

One hopes it wasn't put like that to the chap who accepted a caution. There is only an offence if the woman was forced or coerced etc. Otherwise there is no case to answer; it is a very serious matter if the senior police office responsible is unable to articulate this clearly.

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Doesn't the legal definition of running a brothel refer to controlling more than one prostitute for material gain?

If so, then hyland's statement may, logically, be true?

Ie it's only a brothel if the women are controlled for gain, ergo if you visit a brothel you are paying for sex with someone controlled for gain.

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The fact that it was a "targeted" raid, together with the speed at which the statement was given to the Press, suggest that its timing could have been aimed to coincide with the new Act. However, if that were the case, and if the Authorities had strong grounds to believe that a forced woman was working at the property but, nethertheless, decided to leave matters until 1 April, it would be very disappointing.

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One hopes it wasn't put like that to the chap who accepted a caution. There is only an offence if the woman was forced or coerced etc. Otherwise there is no case to answer; it is a very serious matter if the senior police office responsible is unable to articulate this clearly.

also the woman arrested (presumably the madam/maid) was only arrested on suspicion of managing a brothel, not with anything more serious that would suggest she was forcing them.....so who was doing the forcing and why is that person not under arrest for that offence?

Also as someone else said I'm very suspicious and worried that they've held off raiding this place until today, presumably believing women were being held in sexual slavery yet not acting promptly.

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wanderlust has it spot on

whenever the law is mis represented it needs to be challenged

let it run for a week or two

soon someone will take the new law into court and there maybe will be some cases where the powers that be are over zealous

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One hopes it wasn't put like that to the chap who accepted a caution. There is only an offence if the woman was forced or coerced etc. Otherwise there is no case to answer; it is a very serious matter if the senior police office responsible is unable to articulate this clearly.

I have seen Mr Hyland interviewed and he is a clever man, i am sure what he said were the exact words that were agreed with the powers that be.

Putting fear into punters is the whole idea so use whatever words achieve that aim is what i assume he is doing. When it comes to actually arresting someone they can revert to the actual law.:confused:

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I have seen Mr Hyland interviewed and he is a clever man, i am sure what he said were the exact words that were agreed with the powers that be.

Putting fear into punters is the whole idea so use whatever words achieve that aim is what i assume he is doing. When it comes to actually arresting someone they can revert to the actual law.:confused:

Well note that the Met Police Complaints Form provides the opportunity to complain about policies & procedures as well as actions. It might well be possible to assert that extends to misrepresentation in press briefings

https://secure.met.police.uk/complaints/

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From what others who know more than myself have pointed out is that the new law contains clauses that define "control" and "control for gain" is not a qualifying situation. Without looking stuff up at this time of night isn't it 'forced', 'coerced', 'threatened'.

Otherwise all agencies would be pretty much up a creek.

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In answer to the question, a caution goes on your police record and you have to declare it to an employer if asked. They will find out anyway with a CRB check and non declaration is a criminal offence. Having said that, you only have to declare it if they ask you about cautions. If they ask you about a 'criminal record,' you need not mention it as it does not count.

You will, however, have to sign the sex offenders register for two years.

Also, the caution is likely to stay on your police record ad infinitim.

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