Amanda

Your ideas for your freedom

40 posts in this topic

Nick Clegg has launched the website:

http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/

We're working to create a more open and less intrusive society through our Programme for Government. We want to restore Britain's traditions of freedom and fairness, and free our society of unnecessary laws and regulations - both for individuals and businesses.

This site gives you the chance to submit, comment on, or vote for ideas about how we can do this. Your ideas will inform government policy and some of your proposals could end up making it into bills we bring before Parliament to change the law.

So if there are any laws or regulations you'd like us to do away with, then submit your idea. If you see ideas here already that you like the look of, then rate them and get them moved up the list. And if there's more you'd like to say, then talk to others in the comments section for each proposal.

It's time to have your say. After all - it's your freedom.

So, might I suggest we get our collective arses over there? :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nick Clegg has launched the website:

http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/

So, might I suggest we get our collective arses over there? :D

Good idea. Let's hope it's not run by the same software company as the last government. ("Ask people what they think. We don't give a toss it will make them feel better. We officially care what people remember haha.")

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nick Clegg has launched the website:

http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/

So, might I suggest we get our collective arses over there? :D

This is great! As you say Amanda everyone needs to get along and support this.:D

I have added the following and if everyone on here adds a comment think of the impact including all you lurkers.:D

Spread the word to everyone in the industry even people who don't post on punternet that you meet when punting/working every bit of support counts.

"I agree totally, this industry has always been and always will be and a fully legal open indoor sex industry would give the sex workers a safe place to work together, and be fully transparent so any hint of forced or underage sex workers (with or without the involvement of drugs) or violence etc. could be reported to the police by the sex workers or establishment owners or clients without fear, and the genuine wrongdoers punished.

Anyone should have the right to work as a sex worker as an independent or as part of a cooperative or for someone else as they see fit without fear or oppression from anyone including the government or police and be fully able to go to the authorities for help like any other member of society of which they are a part if they feel threatened, also a fully legal sex industry would probably be paying a lot more tax! Helping the deficit!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This post appeared already -

http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/repealing-unnecessary-laws/prostitution

by shenden on July 01, 2010 at 07:45AM

The current law which allows prostitutes to sell sex but not to work in brothels is postiviely dangerous and forces women onto the streets. The buying and selling of sex should be completely legal and there should be liscences brothels set up with Health checks for sex workers. There should be increased stringency against sex worker trafficking and forced sex work.

Why the contribution is important

There always has been and will be prostitution an the laws do not stop it. Best to have it controlled within liscenced brothels which are clean and safe for the sex workers. There would be a requirement for regular STD checks to help contain the spread of STD.s

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a muppet shendan appears to be. How can having the government controlling prostitution be the government being less intrusive into the lives of prostitutes ? Does it mean he/she wants the law which allows a prostitute to legally work on her own changing and all sex workers move into the legal brothels ?

And once again he champions the old myth - prostitutes are responsible for the spread of STI's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What a muppet shendan appears to be. How can having the government controlling prostitution be the government being less intrusive into the lives of prostitutes ? Does it mean he/she wants the law which allows a prostitute to legally work on her own changing and all sex workers move into the legal brothels ?

And once again he champions the old myth - prostitutes are responsible for the spread of STI's.

You have a good point and I did consider putting something in my comment about professional sex workers being more careful with regard to STDs etc. than some people around town:eek:

Also I was careful in my comment to state anyone should be free to work as they please indie or otherwise, but this is an exercise in what laws should be repealed for consumption by the general public and even if the wording is not perfect its putting allowing sex workers the right to work together on the map.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So if you swallow any if this then you may want to google HMG- Your Freedom where with the use of the search engine you can find lots of people trying to vote for something thats illegal, to become legal.

I didtn realise if I googled my Username it came up from this forum too:eek:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The site is straining under hugh traffic.

But I will definately be posting to highlight the fact that recent laws have made things worse for those coerced into the industry and have restricted civil liberties of those who have not.

Due to strict liability I have no incentive to report coercion unless I a clear suspicion before services started. If after services have started and I noticed any signs of coercion (eg bruises or bahivours) I would not report as I would be charged with an offence.

I also believe the civil liberties of WGs who are not coerced have been severly restricted. The intention of the new laws are to restrict men from paying for sex as even if there are abosulutely no signs of coercion a punter is committing an offence. So the law is designed to put off punters and therefore restrict the earning potential of WGs, even those who were operating legally under previous laws, ie escorts or where there is only one girls working out of a premises.

In addition I am horrified that WGs might be prevented from reporting violent crimes against them due to fear of being charged with an offence.

If anyone spots a particularly well written comments can we all please post it here so we can all rate it and push it up the listings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had already written, as below, and received a standardised holding response, will now try to get this onto their website- thanks for the link

Dear Deputy Prime Minister,

I write in connection with the Freedom (Great Repeal) Bill, on which I understand you are leading. Can I congratulate you on this initiative, which is sorely needed after Labour's introduction of around 4000 new offences in 13 years - a dismal record.

Can I urge you to address the laws on prostitution within this initiative? Surely, as a general principle in a free society, the law should not seek to determine who has sex with whom, nor on what terms, so long as all are consenting adults? Yet, it does interfere with regard to prostitution, and recent legislation has only made matters worse.

Above all there is the law on brothel-keeping itself. Whatever its intention, this law's effects are malign insofar as it prohibits even two women working together. No other profession is prohibited from working collectively and the European Convention on Human Rights (Clause 11) states that workers should be allowed free association. If small brothels were decriminalised, as advocated inter alia by the Royal College of Nursing, it would be easier to ensure (a) that the women concerned were working voluntarily, (:D their safety and © collection of taxes. Perhaps the prostitutes recently murdered in Bradford would be alive today had they been able to work together and to raise the alarm about a dangerous client?

What is more, the recent case of R vs. Claire Finch in Luton shows how unworkable the present law has become. Although the evidence that Ms Finch was running a brothel was clear, the jury found her Not Guilty, recognising the harmlessness of her house (the women working there were 35+ and very definitely were unforced), eliciting a smile from the judge http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/body_and_soul/article7125757.ece. Another judge, sentencing a woman who had recently (and perhaps unwisely) pleaded guilty to brothel-keeping acknowledged that her house was run in an exemplary manner http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...l-brothel.html. Why should she be made into a criminal for this? What real harm has been done? Why should a good house, where prostitutes worked safely and on fair terms, be closed, driving them to work in more dangerous circumstances? .

New Zealand decriminalised brothels in 2003, and subsequent assessments judge the effects to be entirely positive- e.g. http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy-and-consultation/legislation/prostitution-law-review-committee/publications/plrc-report/report-of-the-prostitution-law-review-committee-on-the-operation-of-the-prostitution-reform-act-2003.

Surely the Freedom/Repeal Act should allow similar decriminalisation in the UK? The previous Labour Government toyed with this idea, on good evidence, when David Blunkett was Home Secretary: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/licensed-brothels-planned-in-prostitution-law-shakeup-553377.html . Then, when Jacqui Smith became Home Secretary, Labour moved in the opposite direction, introducing restrictive legislation under the 2009 Policing & Crime Act. Two specific Clauses of this piece of bad legislation particularly deserve repeal (though this would be superfluous if brothels themselves are decriminalised):

1) Clause 18, giving police and councils summary powers to close and seal premises used for prostitution.

The danger here -as with many other over-weaning council and police powers granted e.g. in the Regulatory & Investigatory Powers Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act- is that authority is abused, and used to close premises where no harm is taking place.

As an example, consider the case of 61 Dean Street, Soho, WC1 where, even prior to the present law, the police closed two independent 'walk-up' flats used by prostitutes, asserting drug dealing and a violent incident in the hallway, though with no allegation that these were connected with the prostitutes. No convincing evidence was presented and the women, with substantial support from the community, successfully opposed the closure order in court, though not before at least one of them had tried the more dangerous occupation of streetwalking around Kings Cross: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/feb/19/soho-brothel-reopens Had the present law been in place, it is likely that the premises would have remained closed.

Allowing such summary closure cannot be justice.

2) Clause 14, creating a strict liability offence of paying a prostitute who is forced, coerced or deceived etc.

Strict liability is ordinarily reserved for laws where there is clear objective evidence of breach (e.g. speeding, selling tainted meat or driving without insurance). Here, by contrast, a woman's conditions when she entered prostitution are open to debate and not readily ascertainable by the client, and maybe not by a court.

If a man hires a prostitute whom he knows to be forced etc, he is guilty of rape and should be charged as such, meaning that the strict liability offence should logically only be applied when the man does not know the woman is forced. The unsatisfactory nature of this is illustrated by the first three arrests made, where it appears, from press reports, that one punter accepted a police caution shortly after being caught during a police raid in Newham http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/8600118.stm . Accepting a caution requires acknowledgement of guilt, yet the punter here cannot reasonably have known any more of the woman's circumstances (and therefore of his guilt or otherwise) at the time he accepted the caution than when, shortly before, he hired her for sex. There is no assertion that forced women were 'rescued' from the said house, despite the police being keen to comment on the punter's arrest and caution. If the punter accepted the caution only to 'get away' then it can be construed that he was pressured into doing so by the circumstance of being arrested. This is not justice.

There are many other objections to Clause 14, not least that the threat of prosecution will: (i) make clients less likely to report a woman whom they suspect may be acting under duress and (ii) create an opportunity for unscrupulous prostitutes (or, rather, Soho clip joints) to engage in blackmail, threatening a client to give them a large sum or else she'll tell the police that she was forced.

The prostitution clauses in the Policing and Crime Act were predicated on the assertion that many prostitutes are coerced and trafficked into the UK. This claim is repeatedly made by pressure groups, such as Eaves/Poppy Project who produced several reports, notably Big Brothel, at the previous government's behest and the taxpayer's expense (there is a public spending issue here, with the previous Government paying pressure groups to bend its own ear). Respected academics have criticised Poppy's reports as not having been peer reviewed, being affected by observer bias and not conforming to accepted sociological research standards http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/oct/03/research.women.

Objective investigation shows that widely cited sex-trafficking figures (e.g. 'tens of thousands of women seeing 30 clients per day' (according to both Poppy and the present interim Leader of the Labour Party) are grossly exaggerated --see http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/oct/03/research.women. They always were numerically implausible.........

Objectively designed and conducted studies, such as that from the London Metropolitan University, show that the huge majority of prostitutes, including those from overseas , work of their own free will --see. http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/fms/MRSite/Research/iset/Migrant%20Workers%20in%20the%20UK%20Sex%20Industry%20Policy-Relevant%20Findings2.pdf and http://www.sexworker.at/phpBB2/download.php?id=479

Over the length limit-- concluding paras in next post

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

letter cont'd.

A further piece of Labour's legislation to mention in context, as needing urgent review and substantial repeal, is the Proceeds of Crime Act. Inter alia this has been used to allow seizure of assets found in prostitutes' flats, with a proportion of the proceeds going directly to the police. This gives the police a vested interest in raiding brothels - often not the best use of their time. Even where no criminal or HMRC case ensues it appears very difficult and inconvenient for the owner to retrieve their property. Such seizure is entirely contrary to all precepts of the British Law, with its assumption of innocent until proven guilty. Needless to say, the objections to POCA are far wider than with regard its use against prostitutes--- it was also used in e.g. with respect to raids on a safety deposit box centre in north London with the 'justification' that some owners were storing profits from illegal trades. Maybe so, but why then did all box-holders have to justify their ownership of assets found in the raids?

It is hard to escape the view that such raids are simply profitable 'fishing trips' for the police. Again, is this justice?

In summary, surely the criminal law should have no role in prostitution when both the prostitute and client are consenting adults, regardless of whether the prostitute chooses to work alone or with others? Surely, too, it is against human rights and natural justice that a client can be prosecuted (or coerced into accepting a caution) under strict liability when he has little reliable way of prejudging whether or not he is committing an offence? This offends against both natural justice the principle of mens rea. Prosecution and punishment should be reserved for those who have acted coercively, forcing women to work as prostitutes against their will. And here these is much appropriate legislation (Coercion, Rape, False Imprisonment etc.) with no need for a 'crime' of brothel keeping per se.

I am encouraged by the fact that decriminalisation has been Liberal policy and that Liberal Democrats -Evan Harris in the Commons and Baroness Miller in the Lords led opposition to the prostitution clauses of the Policing and Crime Act 2009; also that Teresa May, with whom I have corresponded in the past, was deeply critical of these clauses. I look forward to your response and, hopefully, to these issues being addressed within the Freedom/Great Repeal Act.

YS etc etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wanderlust, that strikes me as a really well-phrased letter with very telling citations. May I please have your permission to use it as a basis for my own, making modifications to avoid the 'standard letter' problem?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wanderlust, your post is as I have come to expect is not only consice but well thought out and thorough, in short fantastic. Can I suggest that a post like this should be submitted to the freedom site and may we look to publicly endorse such a post.

My only fear with the new freedom site is that the issue itself may become heavily watered down with a many number on posts and views being put forward. We as a community would have far greater power in numbers if we could all agree what it was we were striving for and as a united front back such a view

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wanderlust, your post is as I have come to expect is not only consice but well thought out and thorough, in short fantastic. Can I suggest that a post like this should be submitted to the freedom site and may we look to publicly endorse such a post.

My only fear with the new freedom site is that the issue itself may become heavily watered down with a many number on posts and views being put forward. We as a community would have far greater power in numbers if we could all agree what it was we were striving for and as a united front back such a view

I agree, this requires a united front.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree, this requires a united front.

The problem with the United Front is that it tends to get identified and discounted as a pressure group with vested interest a la IUSW.

Individual replies varied in style and quality would trigger more interest at their end. (Never mind the quality, feel the width). That said it would be difficult to best Wanderlust's contribution.

Judging from the vox pop they did, at Hitchin I think, the public are interested but inarticulate. I believe that our recommendations should be specific and backed by explanation of how they would improve things in the industry in terms of participant safety for all concerned. A chance to roll back the creeping criminalisation of the industry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting and well argued points made by the contributions so far. The strict liability (clause 14) seems one that we could unite around, wanderlust explains the reasons better than I ever could.

I favour the notion of legalising or at least decriminalising flats or other premises that can meet a few basic standards (including the hours of business as late night opening carries a greater risk of drunks, violent behaviour, and opposition from neighbours). More or less this is legal approval of the de facto Edinburgh approach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wanderlust, that strikes me as a really well-phrased letter with very telling citations. May I please have your permission to use it as a basis for my own, making modifications to avoid the 'standard letter' problem?

You are welcome to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Interesting and well argued points made by the contributions so far. The strict liability (clause 14) seems one that we could unite around, wanderlust explains the reasons better than I ever could.

I favour the notion of legalising or at least decriminalising flats or other premises that can meet a few basic standards (including the hours of business as late night opening carries a greater risk of drunks, violent behaviour, and opposition from neighbours). More or less this is legal approval of the de facto Edinburgh approach.

Decriminalisation within planning laws.

Edinburgh is interesting, because the saunas are scattered through out the city with no particular area having more. Lothian road and the pubic triangle having a high proportion of strip clubs, but only the 1 large brothels. I stand to be corrected on that.

There needs to be a distinction (like in present business law) between small flats (2 women working at the same time) to large places where there may be 7-10 women working.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wanderlust, your post is as I have come to expect is not only consice but well thought out and thorough, in short fantastic. Can I suggest that a post like this should be submitted to the freedom site and may we look to publicly endorse such a post.

My only fear with the new freedom site is that the issue itself may become heavily watered down with a many number on posts and views being put forward. We as a community would have far greater power in numbers if we could all agree what it was we were striving for and as a united front back such a view

Thanks for the kind words. I had a mosey round the repeal/freedom website this afternoon and note that there are several threads running on prostitution, also that the moderators (very reasonably) are closing down obvious duplicates. Best, then, to contribute to the existing threads and I'll do so in the next few days.

I agree with you on the desirability to sticking to a core of points on which I'd hope that virtually all here can agree and, as in the letter I posted, would put repeal of the brothel-keeping law above all else, with some sort of licensing, as in NZ. If that can be done, with the onus on the madam to ensure that none of the women is acting under duress, then Clause 18 falls by the wayside and only someone who is grossly reckless is going to get into trouble under Clause 14.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You are welcome to do so.

Thank you: much appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done UK! I really hope some of these great ideas come to fruition and turn into actual law at some point in this government's life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the kind words. I had a mosey round the repeal/freedom website this afternoon and note that there are several threads running on prostitution, also that the moderators (very reasonably) are closing down obvious duplicates. Best, then, to contribute to the existing threads and I'll do so in the next few days.

I would consider there a vast difference in what has been contributed so far in way of core suggestions posted and what you have said, if in no other part down to how articulate your writing is and how clearly you make your argument. I personally think it deserves its own suggestion as IMO would be by far the clearest explanation and argument put

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would consider there a vast difference in what has been contributed so far in way of core suggestions posted and what you have said, if in no other part down to how articulate your writing is and how clearly you make your argument. I personally think it deserves its own suggestion as IMO would be by far the clearest explanation and argument put

Again, thanks. The letter was originally sent to NIck Clegg, cc'd Teresa May on 8/6 & was acknowledge by Nick Clegg's office. I have posted as comment on the 'Unnecessary laws relating to prostitution' thread started by George McCoy, & have put up briefer comments on some of the other threads as, I am aware, have other regulars from here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, I think that the #1 priority has to be to totally remove the financial incentive for Police and CPS to prosecute certain offences in priority over others. All forfeited assets to go straight into the bottomless pit in the Treasury, with NO REWARD of any sort to Police/CPS.

Forefiture of Assets should be tightened up, so that, say, the Algerian plumber, who is finally done for being an illegal immigrant after five years of paying Income Tax and NI under PAYE, does not have his honest earnings taken from him, because he was an II.

While in the Court House, I'd abolish the Victim Surcharge, together with the Quango that administers it.

And,before I leave the Courts, I think CPS's "Public Interest" criterion for prosecution should be dragged out into the daylight. As of now it looks to be like a "nanny knows best, dear!" criterion. In some cases Joe Public would yawn and ask if there was anything decent on telly, and in many others I think he'd be actively against a charge.

Now I'm going to go and walk the dogs...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now