A sexual health expert is calling for the decriminalisation of prostitution across Australia, saying it will help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Basil Donovan from the National Centre in HIV is using a study of sex workers in New South Wales, where prostitution has been decriminalised, to back his call.
The study shows that sex workers in that state have lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases than their counterparts in other areas of Australia.
Sex worker Sharon said: When I came to Sydney I couldn't believe the difference in attitude, you know, workers don't have to worry about getting a criminal record or worrying about police knocking down the door.
I found that working in New South Wales has been more conducive to accessing health services and taking control of my health than when I was in Perth worried about, you know, the police or when I was in Victoria feeling forced and insulted and
degraded and invaded by having to go for mandatory testing.
Basil Donovan said: In Sydney you are looking at a chlamydia prevalence that means how many women are infected in any one day are one to two per cent in Sydney sex workers.
The general population of prevalence for women of the same age is four to five per cent. Count the school girls is about one to two per cent or slightly higher. The prevalence of gonorrhoea in sex workers in Sydney is about as close as you can
get to zero.
The findings of the study are being presented at the Australasian Sexual Health Congress presently being held in Perth. Professor Donovan says the results in New South Wales are in contrast to other states where prostitution is either illegal or
Professor Donovan says the requirement, in Queensland and Victoria, for brothels to be licensed has meant much of the industry has stayed underground. The substantial part of the industry is effectively illegal cause it's not licensed. It's very
difficult to run health promotion programs and to access those women to ensure that they are seeing doctors.
Janelle Fawkes from Scarlet Alliance which represents Australian sex workers backs the findings. She says the key to containing sexual diseases in the sex industry is education and ensuring workers are motivated to get medical treatment. She says
the use of 'licenses' makes the situation worse: In licensing framework model you end up with a large percentage of the industry that is operating outside of the legal framework, therefore it doesn't have the same levels of access to HIV
prevention, education, outreach by a sex worker organisation, being covered by the states workplace conditions for occupational health and safety et cetera.
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi's Cabinet has approved a bill to make street prostitution a crime.
Currently, prostitution is legal in Italy but brothels and exploitation are not.
Thursday's measure would outlaw prostitution in public places like streets and parks. If the bill is approved by Parliament, prostitutes and clients will face up to 15 days in jail and fines of up to US$4,228 (€3,000), news reports said.
Minister of Equal Opportunities Mara Carfagna says she hopes the measure will deal a blow to prostitution rackets.
Italy outlawed brothels 50 years ago but roadside prostitution has been tolerated, with prostitutes, many of them foreigners, commonly seen on the edges of Italy's major cities.
A detailed manual overseeing the world's oldest profession is to be introduced in Western Australia soon and will explain how to run a brothel and the safest way to work as a prostitute.
The 50-page draft policy, titled Code of Practice: Occupational Health and Safety in the Sexual Services Industry , will be completed soon after long-awaited prostitution laws pass through Parliament, expected to be early next month.
The code of practice, the first of its kind for WA's sex industry, covers issues that prostitutes, brothels and escort workers encounter on a regular basis, including regular health checks and safe sex practices.
The guidelines recommend prostitutes not be on duty for more than 12 hours, have three-monthly health checks for sexually transmitted infections and be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
New sex workers should be given induction training on how to handle difficult clients, how to refuse services, deal with workplace violence, sexism and harassment, how to put on a condom properly and what to do if a condom breaks during sex.
Unclean or faulty equipment such as spas and sex toys, condom breakage, escort work to unknown or unsafe locations and unchanged linen are identified as industry hazards.
Industry insiders have welcomed the imminent introduction of the code, saying it is long overdue.
The draft code was developed last year by a group consisting of sex workers, medical experts, local government and Health Department representatives. Ms Forrester said the group would meet again soon after the laws were passed to finalise the
If British men persist in enjoying life...
we're gonna cut off their bollocks
On the 7th March all the usual Fem Nazis got together in a conference to finalise their plans to criminalise the purchase of sex
It was a radical feminist only cast list with many of the usual suspects:
Vera Baird QC, MP, Solicitor General
Professor Jalna Hanmer - Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Sunderland Conference Chair
Professor Liz Kelly - Director of CWASU, Roddick Chair in Violence Against Women
Julie Bindel - POPPY Project Consultant and Guardian Journalist
Marianne Eriksson - Swedish MEP
Ann Hamilton - General Manager, Policy & Development, Glasgow Community & Safety Services
Roger Matthews - Professor of Criminology, London South Bank University
Hannah-Jo Besley - Community Safety Officer, Ipswich CDRP
The Government were represented by Solicitor General, Vera Baird and she certainly spoke giving the impression that the criminalisation of buying sex is a done deal. From her
Tackling The Demand For Prostitution And Trafficking For Sexual Exploitation
To understand the government’s developing approach to prostitution we have to look, largely, through the prism of people trafficking. I don’t call it developing because it is new, recently the Home Office held a consultation under the direction
of then Minister Fiona Mactaggart, which produced “Paying the Price” – a forward policy document.
Since then we have decided to look again at some aspects only largely because of the advent of trafficking and, for me, because of new research from Liz Kelly and others causing a refocus onto the issue of demand for prostitution.
Our measures on trafficking will be futile if we do not tackle the demand for sexually exploited women and children. Otherwise in reality once we have closed one trafficking network, another may move in and take its place;
once we have rescued one victim another one is put in her place.
I know that some may argue that there is an element of choice, where those that have worked in the sex industry in their home countries come here to make more money. Though personally I have reservations about accepting the concept of choosing to
be a prostitute at all. No doubt this may occur.
However let me be clear; for trafficked women there is no real informed choice. How many of them have a realistic impression of the situation they will end up in? How many are told just how many men they will have to have sex with? Or that they
will be sold from one exploiter to another; moved around the country; be subject to never-ending debt bondage or that they will be kept isolated and forced to live in squalid conditions?
This cannot continue to happen. So what are we doing about it?
At the end of 2007 we announced a six month review to explore what more we can do to tackle the demand for prostitution. The review began earlier this year with a visit to Sweden and will include a review of the approach taken by a range of other
countries, including the Netherlands.
On 10 January, I visited Sweden with Home Office Minister, Vernon Coaker, and the Deputy Minister for Women and Equality, Barbara Follett, and a small team of officials.
The trip was set up so we could talk to the Swedish authorities specifically about their legislation which criminalises those who pay for sexual services – including the debate in Sweden that led up to the change in their legislation in 1999 and
We are also intending to visit the Netherlands soon to meet with their Ministers and law enforcement agencies. The Dutch legislation is in direct contrast to Sweden - prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands in 2000. Controlled “tolerance
zones” have been set up away from residential areas and there are licensed brothels.
However, it is increasingly clear that prostitution has not been restricted to the policed areas and rendered safe but these arrangements have, if anything, increased demand and there is a “twilight” sex industry too. The Dutch Government has
recently announced that they are to review their legislation this year and we are very interested in talking to the Dutch authorities about their experiences and the issues they are facing.
As part of our Tackling Demand Review, we will research the legislation in other jurisdictions, particularly those with contrasting approaches to prostitution, including New Zealand. In New Zealand, the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 decriminalised
prostitution. The Act requires every operator of a prostitution business to hold a certificate and removed the requirement for massage parlours to be licensed. It is not illegal for a person under the age of 18 to be a prostitute but it is
illegal for anyone to have sex with them.
So, as you can see, there is a diverse approach to prostitution from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and it is right that on behalf of the public we consider these various approaches, and the impact they have had, very
carefully, so that we can learn from them and use their experience to inform our own policy.
In particular, we are looking at how our current policy can be strengthened to ensure we robustly tackle the demand for prostitution – and this includes considering the impact that it will have on sex trafficking.
We will consult with stakeholders as part of the review. We also intend to conduct an audit of enforcement, prosecution, and sentencing practice, and in particular we will be interested in identifying any regional variations. We will also be
looking at the options for using existing legislation to tackle those who pay for sex.
As many of you will be aware the clauses concerned with prostitution in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill have just been removed from the Bill. They were firstly to end use of the term “common prostitute” and secondly to introduce a
sentence for someone convicted of soliciting, which required her to attend three sessions with a counsellor or crisis worker to seek to assist her to exit prostitution. This is unfortunate but was necessary in order to help the passage of the
Bill through the House in the available Parliamentary time. However, the removal of these clauses from the Bill in no way indicates a lack of commitment from the Government to tackle prostitution.
As soon as parliamentary time allows, we will look to reintroduce the legislative changes that have now been withdrawn, along with any new proposals for legislative change we feel to be necessary following the review into tackling demand.
I can see the argument that it is unpleasant to criminalise people we see, generally, as victims. However, there is something to be said for the leverage that retaining the offence can offer, in the context of these policies and the availability
of diversion and so I would suggest that this is not entirely oppression by the state.
Further, we also have a responsibility to local communities and the wider public, and I believe that decriminalising prostitution altogether would send out the wrong message. It would imply that street prostitution is acceptable and in doing so
remove an important safeguard.
So our overall aim must be to reduce street prostitution and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation, including trafficking.
Tackling demand is one of the areas where we think we can have the greatest impact. However, experience in Sweden appears to show that it is not just legislation that can tackle the demand for prostitution. It is also about challenging social
attitudes and raising awareness about the realities of prostitution and trafficking. And specifically it is about changing the attitudes of men.
In the context of the review, we are considering a small scale targeted marketing campaign to raise awareness among sex buyers about the levels of exploitation in prostitution, including trafficking, violence, and the involvement of people under
18. The aim will be better to understand how to change attitudes towards buying sexual services.
By penalising those who organise prostitutes and make a living from their earnings and by targeting those who are persistent kerb crawlers, with the aim of preventing repeat offending, we are already deterring those who create the demand for
prostitution. The penalties being applied in some parts of the country to persistent kerb crawlers include disqualification from driving, kerb crawler re-education schemes and fines, and the naming and shaming of those convicted in the local
media. We will be examining the effectiveness of these approaches, and seeking to share “best practice”.
As part of the wider set of actions to tackle demand and trafficking, we felt it was important to address the issue of small advertisements in the back of newspapers which can fuel the demand for trafficked women.
In November, with other ministerial colleagues, I met with representatives from the newspaper and advertising industry and discussed with them how they could support our work to tackle the demand side of the problem of human trafficking for
sexual exploitation. As a result, the Newspaper Society are updating their guidance to editors of local papers, which can help them avoid accepting personal advertisements which are, in effect, advertising this despicable trade in women.
Work is also under way on call-barring schemes aimed at eradicating prostitute carding. This will involve negotiations with the Mobile Broadband Group, British Telecom and OFCOM.
Returning to demand, I want to stress the importance of ensuring we drive home to the users and potential users of those exploited in the sex industry the real consequences of their actions. If they are knowingly buying sex from a trafficked
woman, someone who they know has been forced to do something against their will - they should be under no illusions that they are committing rape.
And even if they do not know that the woman is trafficked, just by paying for sex they are contributing to organised criminality and their actions are keeping particularly vulnerable women trapped in exploitation.
And, of course, the pursuit of an end to the evils of trafficking is raising the issue whether in the 21st century a government, totally committed to gender equality with all the concomitant mutual respect and dignity that connotes, ought in any
way to be permitting or sanctioning women being bought and sold for sex.
We look forward to working with some of the people present at this conference on our stakeholder group as we continue our review into demand and it is cheering to see that this event on prostitution is a sell out. I am sure that if we work
together we can come to clear conclusions and start to make a difference.
Thanks to Alan, 21st March 2008
Interesting to see that Julie Bindel was among those consulted by the government for the punter-bashing proposal. I have often been tempted to think (hope?) that "Julie Bindel" was the invention of a comic genius, since the column
appearing in the Grauniad under that name was so reminiscent of the lamented "Wimmin" column in Private Eye.
Her lack of self-awareness is extraordinary: she is happy to accept the benefits of society's current positive attitude towards her own lesbianism, but takes the attitude of a Victorian prude towards the sexual peccadilloes of men.
Since the kerb-crawling legislation came in, nobody’s drug dependency or rent arrears or benefit delays have magically cleared up overnight.
Women are still working on the streets, but with many of their regular clients avoiding the scene for fear of legal repercussions, they are seeing a greater proportion of unpleasant and violent clients, with a rise in requests for sex without a
condom and services at insultingly low prices.
Some are resigned to being out all night, since business is slow, they still need to make money, and in some cases they haven’t a hope of meeting their curfews in homeless accommodation.
Clients want them to leave their traditional areas and meet them elsewhere, so that the clients won’t be targeted by police; as a consequence sex workers are working in greater isolation with a significant threat to their personal safety.
Glasgow city leaders want Scotland to introduce some of the world's strictest prostitution laws. Council nutters have launched a campaign urging the Scottish Government to turn the spotlight on punters by introducing legislation banning the
"purchase of sex".
Street prostitution is already illegal and new laws introduced last year targeted men by making kerb crawling and loitering for prostitution a crime. But Glasgow City Council says brothels are still not adequately covered by legislation as it's
not illegal to visit a prostitute and pay for sex.
Deputy council leader Jim Coleman says the solution is to bring in an across-the-board ban on paying for sex. A similar system has been in place in Sweden since 1999 and is said to have led to huge falls in prostitution. This approach has also
now being adopted by neighbouring Norway.
A delegation of Swedish law enforcement officials visited Glasgow to explain how similarly nasty legislation might work here. They met with nutter Coleman and officials and volunteers who work in support services for prostitution, trafficking and
Coleman says the council will now try to pull in support from as many different bodies as possible and lobby the Scottish Government. He said: A new law would send a clear message to men that it is wrong to buy sex. It would also directly
Coleman said the laws which came into force last October and outlawed kerb crawlers, was a step in the right direction: For the first time we have a law that targets the men who fuel the demand for prostitution. There can be no question that
prostitution is exploitative and abusive of the women involved
Independent MP Shelley Archer has decided to support Western Australia's State Government's Prostitution Bill, assuring it will be passed by Parliament.
The legislation attempts to regulate the sex industry by requiring brothels to be licensed and allowing workers to receive standard workplace conditions such as worker's compensation.
Ms Archer says has told the Legislative Council she decided to support the Bill because she believes new laws are needed to help prevent the sexual exploitation of Aboriginal women and children.
A toxic trifecta of drugs, alcohol and pornography is fuelling a culture of violence against women and children. They are being bashed, raped, disabled and killed, their lives are marked by desperation and terror.
Given the reality of the situation this Bill at least provides some protection against exploitation of the women involved and some capacity for communities to control the operation of brothels.
Holidaymakers are ignoring environmentalists' calls to limit their air travel and are taking more "indulgent" long-haul mini-breaks than ever before.
Despite recommendations that they holiday closer to home, the number of Britons flying thousands of miles to spend less than a week in far-flung destinations was 3.7 million last year, according to a survey by Halifax.
The travel insurer is predicting that the number of what it has dubbed "breakneck breaks" will increase by more than a third this year, and expects 4.9 million British tourists to travel in 2008 to destinations including Thailand, Hong
Kong, New York, and Rio de Janeiro for just a few days.
The Far East was the second-most popular destination, followed by the Indian subcontinent. Biggest takers of breakneck breaks last year were those living in South-east England, while those in Wales and South-west England were least likely to go
off on such a trip.
However, Friends of the Earth was quick to criticise what it believes is an "indulgent" trend. Its aviation campaigner, Richard Dyer, said: These kinds of habits are going in exactly the wrong direction from what we need.
Exotic locations for stag and hen parties were cited as one factor for increasing travel.
The campaign group Rape Crisis Scotland is urging the Scottish Government to create a new definition of rape that includes having sex with trafficked prostitutes who work for pimps or in licensed saunas.
The SNP government is expected to publish a new bill this spring which will propose one of the biggest reforms of sexual offences laws in Scotland. The bill will be based on proposals drawn up the Scottish Law Commission. They include, for the
first time, a clear definition of consent, which will require there to be "free agreement" to sex.
The proposals are currently out to consultation. In its response to the consultation, Rape Crisis Scotland has effectively called for a widening of the definition of rape. It claims that if rape is to be defined as the absence of "free
agreement" to sex, this should include women forced to work in the sex industry. Circumstances in which the complainer had been trafficked for prostitution should be included as a situation where consent is absent, and intercourse
constitutes rape, the submission states.
Sandy Brindlay, the national co-ordinator of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: Men who use trafficked women for sex are sometimes aware the women doesn't want to go through with it. In those circumstances, it's obvious the woman isn't consenting to
sex. Men who have sex with women who have been trafficked are committing rape.
Last night, however, legal experts expressed concerns that such a law would be unworkable and would offer no protection for British prostitutes who were suffering the same kind of violence and intimidation.
John Scott, a human rights lawyer, said: (The new law] would mean the men could be guilty even if they didn't realise the women had been trafficked. It is unworkable.
Margo MacDonald, the Independent MSP for Lothian, who has campaigned for changes to prostitution laws, described the proposals as "impossible". She said: (The women] may have been trafficked and have paid to come to Britain, and some
know they are going to work as prostitutes. You could hardly bring a (rape] charge if the woman has come to work in the sex industry in this country.
Extending the definition of rape to include sex with trafficked prostitutes would be controversial, as some men would claim they were unaware the women were working against their will.
Men using brothels and massage parlours should be made to give DNA samples in an effort to reduce the number of prostitute murders, an MP has said.
Labour MP Denis MacShane told the House of Commons that such tests would also be a way of getting men to face up to their responsibilities.
The suggestion comes a week after Steve Wright was convicted of the murder of five prostitutes in Ipswich.
The Association of Chief Police Officers is calling for a debate on whether to expand the current database - of DNA details taken from crime suspects - to cover all people in the UK.
But the government has rejected plans for this. Currently, only the DNA of those suspected of crimes is stored.
MacShane, MP for Rotherham, asked Commons leader Harriet Harman: Would she agree that taking DNA samples from men who go to massage parlours and brothels would be a way of getting men to face up to their responsibilities in this regard?
Because almost all the horrible murders of prostituted women are by men who have frequented them beforehand.
Harman, who is also women's minister, gave no commitment but said that many rapes as well as murders are able to be solved using DNA.
Jack Straw dropped measures to overhaul the law on prostitution yesterday to ensure that a Bill that prevents prison officers from striking is law by May.
It means that the Government has also abandoned a plan to scrap the term “common prostitute” from the statute book — 184 years after it was first used in the Vagrancy Act 1824.
He withdrew the clauses to ensure that the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill, which re-imposes a ban on prison officers going on strike, is passed by May 8. The deadline is crucial because the Prison Officers' Association withdraws from a
voluntary no-strike agreement on that day. If the union were to take strike action it would cause chaos in the overcrowded jails of England and Wales.
The clauses in the Bill that the Government dropped would have meant that women who were persistently found loitering for prostitution would be given a rehabilitation order. Offenders would have had to attend at least three meetings of a
rehabilitation course or face arrest and detention for up to 72 hours before being brought before a court.
The compulsory rehabilitation was to apply to those who were convicted of loitering or soliciting for the purpose of prostitution and would have been an alternative to a fine, which is widely seen as counter-productive because it forces
prostitutes back on to the street to earn money to pay it.
The clause to remove the term “common prostitute” from the statute book came after a consultation that showed the phrase was regarded as stigmatising and offensive.
John McDonnell, the Labour MP for Hayes & Harlington, welcomed the move. He said: I hope it signals a future approach towards prostitution underlined by welfare measures rather than criminalisation, putting the needs and safety of
prostitutes above the desire for moral condemnation.
Update: Why Not the Dangerous Pictures Clauses
1st March 2008
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (Liberal Democrat) noted the dropping of the prostitution clauses with a pointed criticism of the Dangerous Pictures clauses:
I also make a plea to the Government that they think again about the extreme porn clauses. They would benefit enormously from pre-legislative scrutiny, which would enable us to discuss them in a far more considered and necessarily sensitive
atmosphere before they were brought on to the Floor of the House.
...Mark says he used to spend a lot of time trying to pick women up in clubs and bars. Now the 31-year-old business consultant from London doesn't have the time: It is a mixture of the convenience and the time aspect. I work very, very
He recognises there is a stigma, but it is one he utterly rejects: Some of my friends are fully aware that I visit prostitutes. Many of them do themselves. There is this fear that it is in some way abusive. I would disagree with the idea that
nobody chooses to do it for a living.
Patrick views it as a totally mundane transaction between adults: I see us as adults. I want to pay and someone wants to sell. As long as I'm not hurting them in any way what harm am I doing. I'm distributing my wealth to people who don't have
The trio all use a website,
PunterNet , where "punters" - the men who visit prostitutes - go to discuss their encounters.
The men speak of forming friendships with the women in the parlours and saunas.
There's always a lot of girls that I know, says Patrick: We have a good camaraderie. I treat them as my friends and I feel to some extent they confide and talk to me.
There is one aspect of the media coverage that all three men find irritating - the idea that trafficked or coerced women make up a significant proportion of prostitutes. Patrick, Mark and Pete say they have never encountered a trafficked woman
and that conversations with prostitutes lead them to believe it is rare.
The perception is that everybody is trafficked, says Mark: The figures bandied around for the numbers of trafficked women are absurd. Mark's position is clear. If he did meet a woman he suspected was trafficked he would do something
about it, there and then.
I've never come across one, says Patrick: All the people I've seen, they have always been happy, we have talked beforehand.
All three men are, needless to say, opposed to the Swedish model that is now gaining currency in the UK where, the act of buying sex is criminalised.
Remember the USA Protect Act made it a Federal Felony to have sex with under 18s overseas even if legal in that country; now, in predictable fashion, the US Senate proposed the expansion of that to include ANY "commercial sex". Next
will be a prohibition on all sex outside wedlock. Scary times indeed.
House Bill 3887 sponsored by Tom Lantos of San Mateo, California, (who died on 11 February 2008).
A person who travels in interstate commerce or travels into the United States, or a United States citizen or an alien admitted for permanent residence in the United States who travels in foreign commerce, for the purpose of
engaging in any illicit sexual conduct with another person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
ENGAGING IN ILLICIT SEXUAL CONDUCT IN FOREIGN PLACES:
Any United States citizen or alien admitted for permanent residence who travels in foreign commerce, and engages in any illicit sexual conduct with another person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than
10 years, or both.
Campaigners with widely diverging beliefs last night called on the government to re-examine the law on prostitution following the murder convictions of Steve Wright.
Both those calling for the liberalisation of prostitution laws and those advocating increased sanctions argued that the laws as they stand are inadequate, but they suggested very different solutions.
The present position in British law is complicated: though strictly speaking it is not illegal to buy or sell sex, soliciting and kerb-crawling are both against the law.
Niki Adams, a spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes, said the Ipswich verdicts emphasised the need for the government to follow the example of New Zealand, where the laws against prostitution were repealed in 2003: The impact
that people have found there ... is that it's improved the health and safety of women in the industry, which we consider the absolute priority in policy-making in this area.
Mark Wakeling, director of the National Christian Alliance on Prostitution, said that there was no "human right" for men to buy sex, and advocated instead the adoption of a model derived from Sweden, where buying sex became a criminal
offence in 1999: Prostitution brings out the worst in men. The sad thing is that there are attacks and violence, even murders, against these women ... regularly. It's only when five are murdered in one place that all of a sudden it starts to
The government has been conducting a review into the laws for the past four years. In January 2006, it published a consultation document that advocated steering a middle ground between the two opposing camps, arguing for a more liberal view of
small brothels combined with increased restraints on kerb-crawling.
Last month the Home Office minister Vernon Coaker announced a fresh six-month review, visiting Sweden to examine its policy. The position of the government, which at one point appeared to favour a more liberal regime, is thought to be hardening
in favour of the Swedish approach. We are clear that street-based prostitution and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation must be challenged, a Home Office spokesman said yesterday. They are not inevitable; they are not here to
It's easy to see how the Swedish Model acquired its feminist appeal. The idea of finally turning the tables on the men who benefit from an undoubtedly exploitative industry, but who have up until now walked away scot-free from police raids and
government crack-downs, is admittedly rather enjoyable. However, it is also clear that the criminalisation of clients would indirectly impact upon sex workers too, in some cases making their work even more dangerous than it is under existing
As a result, the International Union of Sex Workers, the English Collective of Prostitutes, the Safety First Coalition (set up in 2006 after the Ipswich murders) and the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe all oppose
the Swedish Model. They claim that women working with clients who are worried abut arrest will have less time to carry out basic safety precautions. Street workers will be deterred from working in more public and better lit areas and will have
less time to assess the client beforehand.
Those working indoors will find it harder to find rented accommodation from which to work and will be put off working with other girls for fear of attracting too much attention. The laws effectively make the sex workers responsible for protecting
their clients from arrest, or otherwise risk loosing custom and their means to earning a living.
The Swedish Consumers Association (Sveriges Konsumentråd) has reacted angrily to one of the ice pops in GB's new line. 'Girlie', a star-shaped, pink ice-cream with glitter make-up stored inside the stick, is entirely inappropriate, according to
A few religious people are terrorists so why not criminalise the buyers of religious services?
The Melon Farmers are updating their guidelines on those adverts which should be accepted on classified pages. It wants its members to be especially aware of the link between organised religion and inhumanity.
The Melon Farmers have already advised their members on how to spot adverts which might be promoting religious services. For example , it tells them to be wary of ads for churches or mosques which might be a fronts for preaching social division.
The Melon Farmers are also concerned that a growing number of young girls are being smuggled into this country and forced into marriage yet nothing is being done to criminalise the buying of religious services.
Local and regional newspapers are being urged to turn away advertisements for sexual services which may encourage human trafficking.
The Newspaper Society is updating its guidelines on those adverts which should be accepted on classified pages. It wants its members to be especially aware of the link between organised prostitution and human trafficking.
The society has already advised its members on how to spot adverts which might be promoting sexual services. For example , it tells them to be wary of ads for massage parlours which might be a front for brothels
The society, which represents most local and regional papers, is suggesting they simply refuse such ads. It also suggests that payment be made by card or cheque so accounts can be traced, and that papers consult with police.
The updated guidance follows a meeting with Harriet Harman last year in her role as minister for women.
Ms Harman, now Labour chairman and the leader of the House of Commons, is concerned that a growing number of young girls are being smuggled into this country and forced into prostitution.
Mean minded nutters are gathering in support of government interest in criminalising the buying of sex.
The Feminist Coalition Against Prostitution is a new group and will formally launch at a public meeting on Monday 11th February, 6.30pm at the Amnesty UK Human Rights Action Centre, nearest tube Old St.
Public meeting is open to all women and men who want a world where nobody is for sale.
The usual suspects have already signed up in support of this group.
It is interesting to see how far this group is pushing for one sided legislation. It would seem most likely that those who genuinely want to end prosecution would want to punish all of those involved.
This group want to punish customers whilst totally exonerating the sellers: We are calling for the decriminalisation of all women, children and men involved in prostitution - and demand that all criminal records for loitering and/or soliciting
be wiped so that survivors are not barred from employment branded as 'sex offenders'
Update: Fiona MacMeanMinded at FCAP
Thanks to Donald, 13th February 2008
Julie Bindel is involved with almost all those groups
FCAP speakers included:
Gunilla Ekberg, Swedish specialist advisor on prostitution law and co-Director CATW
Fiona MacTaggart MP, oversaw ‘Paying The Price'
Jan McLeod from Glasgow Women's Support Project
Denise Marshall, Director of Eaves
Julie Bindel, Co-Founder of Feminist Coalition Against Prostitution FCAP
Aravinder Kosaraju, Coalition for the Removal of Pimping CROP
Mean minded ministers want to block the phone numbers of prostitutes who advertise their services in newspapers and telephone booths in an attempt to stifle the illegal sex trade.
Police forces would identify suspected prostitutes to the telephone companies, which would be required to cut off their numbers.
The proposal has emerged in a six-month review of prostitution laws by ministers from three government departments. They are also considering making it illegal to pay for sex.
Vera Baird, the solicitor-general, spewed bollox that it was important to curb “the industry of prostitution” and the demand for call girls if the stream of trafficked women into Britain was to be stemmed.
Critics warned that blocking telephones could drive the trade underground, making it harder to police, and would force more women to walk the streets in the search for business. They also warned that it could criminalise legitimate escorts.
It is 10 times more dangerous to work on the streets than in a flat. It will drive it underground, said Cari Mitchell of the English Collective of Prostitutes.
Last month Baird, Vernon Coaker, a Home Office minister, and Barbara Follett, the women's minister, visited Sweden where it is a criminal offence to pay for sex. All the main Swedish telephone companies have a voluntary agreement with the phone
regulator to cut off the lines of brothels and prostitutes.
The ministers have already spoken to local and regional newspaper representatives about withdrawing advertisements for prostitutes — often promoted under the guise of massage services.
Baird also wants more local newspapers to publicly name and shame men convicted of kerb-crawling as a deterrent to others. She praised local papers in Middlesbrough for identifying men who have been convicted of using prostitutes.
Other MPs fear that the measures could backfire. Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat equalities spokeswoman, said: It is a very good thing that the government is looking at this, but there is a danger that it could drive prostitution
underground. Any moves to try to eradicate the client side would have to be incredibly carefully handled. In an ideal world prostitution shouldn't exist, but we don't live in an ideal world.
A nutter Labour Lord has proposed an amendment to criminalise the buying of sex. As with the Commons rejected amendment the net is cast ludicrously wide and surely must stand zero chance of being accepted.
After Clause 193
LORD ANDERSON of SWANSEA (previously long serving Labour MP, Donald, Anderson)
Insert the following new Clause:
Paying for sexual services
(1) A person ("A") commits an offence if—
(a) he intentionally obtains for himself the sexual services of another person ("B"), and
(b) before obtaining those services, he makes or promises payment for those services to B or a third person, or knows that another person has made or promised such a payment.
(2) In this section "payment" means any financial advantage, including the discharge of an obligation to pay or the provision of goods or services (including sexual services) gratuitously or at a discount.
(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to—
(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or
(b) a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum,
A debate on prostitution has been called in the Welsh assembly by Cynon Valley AM Christine Chapman.
She explains why she supports calls for a law change to make it illegal to pay for sex and help prevent the "oldest exploitation in the world".
Statements like this seek only to stifle the debate and provide excuses. My fundamental argument is one of principle. Do we think that it is right in an age when we have made some progress with
equality for women that women continue to be degraded and exploited though prostitution?
I do think that public opinion towards prostitution is changing and we should therefore grasp the opportunity to have a debate.
Most women I have talked to find it abhorrent; it is discordant with how they view themselves in the world.
I fully acknowledge that there is an argument that it would be better to legalise brothels in order to make it safer for women, but I'm not sure that that is the answer.
Prostitution is not a devolved matter: nevertheless, the Welsh Assembly Government has a responsibility to ensure that there are adequate support services. I would ask that the Welsh Assembly Government works with their Westminster colleagues
such as Harriet Harman and Vernon Coaker as they seek to change the law.
While the focus is on Sweden it's rarely mentioned that South Korea has, after pressure from the US to combat trafficking, also adapted draconian laws ...toughening punishment of pimps and customers and protecting the rights of women in the
trade, eg. revocation of passports, requiring massage parlors to use open rooms, increasing rewards for whistleblowers etc.
The results are not very different from Sweden though as shown by articles from the last few years:
Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill [House of Lords]
Amendments to be moved in committee
After Clause 125
Lord Faulkner of Worcester
Baroness Howe of Idlicote
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer
Insert the following new Clause—
"Definition of brothel used for prostitution"
The Sexual Offences Act 1956 (c.69) is amended as follows.
(2) After section 33A insert—
"33B Definition of a brothel used for prostitution
(1) Premises shall not be regarded as a brothel where—
(a) no more than two women with or without a maid are working together or separately on any given day; and
(b) it is a single enterprise.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in the following situations where there is reasonable suspicion that—
(a) children are involved;
(b) trafficking in persons is involved;
(c) serious and organised crime is involved;
(d) known drug dealing is taking place.""
Is a porn maker or even a porn viewer buying sexual services?
Given the chance to criminalise the buying of sex, various mean minded politicians have suggesting laws that predictably seize the opportunity to extend the definitions of buying sex. In particular the production of pornography, or even the
purchase of a porn DVD could get caught up by new laws.
As background, the interaction between porn production and prostitution law was legally examined in the US back in 2005
In the case of interest, Jenny Paulino was accused of running a prostitution ring on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Among other defense arguments it was claimed that the Manhattan District Attorney's office selectively targets "escort services" for prosecution, while ignoring distributors of adult films, who are engaged in what is essentially the
Justice Budd G. Goodman issued a ruling rejecting Paulino's claim, on the ground that pornography does not qualify as prostitution under the relevant New York statute.
Prostitution, said Justice Goodman, is and has always been intuitively defined as a bilateral exchange between a prostitute and a client. Therefore, the judge explained, the district attorney's office has not ignored one form of
prostitution and pursued another, within the meaning of the law.
What is prostitution legally?
Most of us typically think of prostitution as involving a customer who pays a prostitute for providing sexual services. We intuit that pornography, by contrast, involves a customer paying an actor for providing sexual services to another actor.
In other words, prostitution is generally understood as the bilateral trading of sex for money, while pornography involves the customer of an adult film paying money to watch other people have sex with each other, while receiving no sexual favors
himself in return.
In keeping with this distinction, notes Justice Goodman, the pornographic motion picture industry has flourished without prosecution since its infancy.
Because America contends that 95% of ALL prostitutes are counted as sex slaves
Thanks to Donald
See full article from sacbee.com by Joel Brinkley
During the waning days of the Clinton administration, the Central Intelligence Agency published a groundbreaking study that said at least 700,000 men, women and children around the world are trafficked into slavery each year. New estimates since
then have gradually increased the count. But if the Bush administration is to be believed, the actual number is closer to 7 million.
Slave trafficking victims are usually promised a good job in a distant country. But once they arrive, they are held against their will and suborned into sweatshop or agriculture labor, domestic servitude or forced prostitution. It is that last
category, sex slaves, that the Bush administration has distorted to the point of absurdity.
Put simply, the administration has concocted the view that every prostitute, worldwide, is actually a slave; the very nature of the work amounts to slavery. That nonsensical position is a favorite of the Christian right, and a few years ago the
administration enshrined it in law and began cutting off funding to aid groups that refused to make opposition to prostitution an official part of their charters.
Ambassador John Miller headed the federal Trafficking in Persons office when the prostitution policy was first enforced in 2003. Before he left office last year, I once asked him if he believed every prostitute is, de facto, a slave.
No, he said, drawing out the word. If you take the Melissa Farley study, in eight or nine countries including the U.S., 89% of prostitutes say they want to leave the job. So I guess you can say 11% are not slaves. Even then,
he added, 50% of those are under 18. The law says they are slaves. So that means the vast majority of them are slaves.
New legislation should criminalise those who buy sex and not the victims of sexual exploitation, the Irish Government has been told.
Feminist nutters of Ruhama called on the Government to learn from laws passed in Sweden nine years ago. The organisation said politicians needed to examine Swedish rulings before passing the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Bill, which is due
before the Oireachtas.
Geraldine Rowley, of Ruhama, said campaigners still had concerns about the emerging legislation: We believe that Ireland needs to send out a clear message that the purchasing of women for sexual services is a crime. After drugs and arms, human
trafficking is the third largest area of criminal activity in the world. Ireland needs to take a stand against organised crime and having the correct legislation in place is crucial to achieving this.
[But nobody seems to be able to find the evidence that sex trafficking is as extensive as stated]
Update: Further Reading
Thanks to Donald
This article about Ireland is more detailed than the one you have linked to, once again a Swedish feminist spreading lies
This is a good example here she says - Ms Bucknell, who has worked with victims of prostitution and trafficking, said the move to criminalise the buyer has also resulted in a significant drop in organised crime in her home country.
While in reality it is
booming like never before : A new report has concluded that organized crime is putting the brakes on growth in the Stockholm region. And one of the most lucrative divisions focuses on human trafficking
Pretoria's metro police have arrested 40 people in a crackdown on brothels, sex workers and their clients. They seized heroin, crack cocaine and a variety of drug paraphernalia.
They are using the recently promulgated Sexual Offences Act, which allows the police to charge clients of sex workers.
In the past, clients of sex workers were released without charge as there was no offence to charge them with, said the unit's head, Superintendent Mark Newham. Their latest raid was on a brothel in Monument Park, in which an alleged pimp, three
sex workers and two clients were arrested. The men were released on bail of R1 000 each, bringing to six the number of clients being charged after raids on brothels by the unit.
Meanwhile in Joburg, metro police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said there were no plans to raid brothels. It is just not on our list of priorities at the moment, he says.
Nicole Fick, a researcher for the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat), saids the organisation had objected strongly to the amended Sexual Offences Act because there was very little public participation about it.
I welcome the provision that defines a brothel, but I fear that the proposals on compulsory rehabilitation, and the possibility of 72 hours' imprisonment for failure to attend this, will not make women safer. Instead, they will add pointlessly to
the prison population and will not address the depth of the problems that some of these women face. I hope that we can persuade the Minister to look again at these proposals and to consider seriously their utility and practicality in terms of the
use of resources. Is it intended that these measures should apply not only to those who work in prostitution, but also to those on the buying side? Surely there should be equal provision—although I would prefer that the whole of this area be
taken out of the Bill.
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (Liberal Democrat)
The fact is that prostitution happens. People are willing to pay for sex and others are willing to sell it. Within that framework, whether we like it or not, it is going to take place. The responsibility of the legislation is to make prostitution
as safe as possible so that it presents a small health risk to both the buyer and the seller and minimises as far as possible the physical risks for the women who operate in the trade. It is also a question of striking a balance between privacy
It is a mistake to regard all prostitutes as victims or unwilling participants, but that is the line the Bill is taking. It is a Victorian Bill because it talks a lot about rehabilitation of prostitutes. I was interested to learn that Ministers
have been to Sweden, which has gone down the criminalisation route. It has criminalised the user as well as taking the further step—I know the Minister will deny this—of criminalising the seller. The Bill will criminalise those who do not fulfil
their rehabilitation orders.
The Ministers could have chosen to visit New Zealand, which has gone down the decriminalisation route, and seen if that has worked better since legislation was introduced there. That is a point I will want to explore in Committee. Women who own
brothels and run them well and safely should be able to do so without fear of prosecution under the trafficking laws if they are employing people who are there of their own free will. I believe that that would be safer. But I do not believe we
can achieve all this in this Bill, and I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, that we need to remove the clauses dealing with prostitution in their entirety.
Lord Dholakia (Liberal Democrat)
The new sentence requiring convicted prostitutes to attend three meetings with a supervisor has been controversial. On the one hand, this would be a better option in many cases than the self-defeating sentence of a fine, which drives the offender
straight back to the streets to earn more money to pay the fine. In some cases the new sentence could steer prostitutes towards services that will help them to sort out the drug and housing problems that are usually driving them to solicit. On
the other hand, it would be unfortunate if the new sentence led to a procession of women, who have failed to turn up for meetings with supervisors because of their chaotic lifestyles, being brought back to court and jailed for failure to attend
Baroness Stern (Crossbench)
The committee supported wholeheartedly, as will all noble Lords, the need for rehabilitation of the very many vulnerable people involved in prostitution. This would be a human rights-enhancing measure. But we were very concerned that enforcement
could result in 72-hour detention and might lead to imprisonment. We hope that the Minister will consider deleting this provision.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Labour) Link to this | Hansard source
We have to bear in mind that the street-based sector represents only about 15 per cent of the total of perhaps 80,000 sex workers, a statistic which is either ignored or misunderstood by a number of politicians and others who comment on these
In Paying the Price, serious consideration was given to the possibility that local authorities would be allowed to sanction red-light toleration zones, with sex workers licensed and regular health checks introduced, an approach followed in a
number of other countries, including Australia and Holland. These are worth looking at, as is the kind of decriminalisation introduced in New Zealand. Paying the Price was a real step forward, and it was the hope that legislation to implement its
proposals would not be long in coming, but unfortunately we are still waiting, because this Bill is certainly nowhere near that.
On the surface, Clause 124 may appear a well meaning effort to get people out of the sex industry. I respect my noble friend Lord Hunt for putting forward that point of view in his opening speech. Indeed, it is linked to a proposal in Clause 123
to do away with the term "common prostitute", which dates back to the Vagrancy Act 1824. That is long overdue. Yet what chance is there that women such as Judy, to whom I referred a moment ago, would ever turn up for these
rehabilitation sessions? The answer is almost none at all. Have we forgotten what we know about addiction? Compulsion does not work, and the person must be willing and supported in order to be able to change her life.
The Safety First Coalition believes that a failure to appear would lead to a summons back to court, possible imprisonment for 72 hours and that,
"women could end up on a treadmill of broken supervision meetings, court orders and imprisonment".
This is clearly a view with which the Joint Committee on Human Rights concurs, in its paragraph 155 on page 117, as the noble Baroness, Lady Stern, pointed out in her brilliant speech a little earlier. In other words, this measure could increase
the criminalisation of consensual sex with the effect that, instead of seeking help to get out of the sex industry or deal with a drug dependency, it would be driven further underground. Driving prostitution underground is guaranteed to increase
sex workers' vulnerability to rape and other violence, as violent men would know that the risk of arrest deters sex workers from reporting assaults.
I would like to be able to say that these clauses were extensively debated in the other place, before they came up to us here. Sadly, that was not the case, as the noble Lord, Lord Henley, pointed out in his opening speech. The longest debate in
the other place was whether Britain should adopt the practice adopted in Sweden of criminalising the purchase of sexual services but not their sale. I do not intend to take up the House's time tonight by debating what has been happening in
Sweden, but I counsel my noble friend that there are as many or more powerful arguments against doing what Sweden has attempted as there are for trying it. I for one will certainly oppose such a proposition if it comes before us during the later
stages of this Bill.
Finally, bearing in mind that we are promised a substantive piece of legislation reforming the law on prostitution in the next Session—David Hanson, the Prisons Minister, is on record as saying this—it would be better to drop Clauses 123 to 125
and Schedule 25 from this Bill now. I hope that there will be substantial support for this point of view in all parts of the House, and I intend to table amendments in Committee which will do that.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice)
We have had a very interesting, almost cameo, debate about prostitution. I certainly accept the comments of my noble friend Lord Faulkner and the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, that we need to see this in the round, as part of a comprehensive
approach. Noble Lords have rather made fun of my ministerial colleague's recent visit to Sweden, but it should be seen as a positive, fact-finding tour and a contribution to this wider debate. It feeds into a six-month review in tackling the
demand for prostitution. My noble friend Lord Faulkner accepted that the intent of the clauses in the Bill is positive. It deals with the revolving-door problem of people being consistently caught by the police, brought before the courts and then
reoffending. That is the aim of the clause; it aims to help people to address the causes of offending. The consensus I sensed from the comments of noble Lords is that we need to have programmes that are designed to help people get out of the
position that they are in.
The issue is still keenly debated in Sweden and public support is not as high as UK prohibitionist politicians would like us to believe.
In yesterday’s (January 24th) Debatt (Debate) Swedish celebrity interviewer Stina Lundberg Dabrowski lead a debate about prostitution on SVT (Swedish equivalent to BBC) with guests including; former prostitute Isabella Lund, researcher
Petra Östergren as well as various social workers, politicians and others who are for/against “Sexköpslagen” (the law against purchase of sexual services) viewers could give their opinion and vote on SVT's site on the internet.
This weeks question:
Should Sexköpslagen be scrapped?
62% Voted YES (before the debate the figure was 60%)
38% Voted NO
Since Sweden criminalised paying for sex in 1999, the number of prostitutes has dropped from 2,500 to 1,500 in 2002, according to government estimates. But the figures are disputed.
Social anthropologist Petra Ostergren has studied Swedish prostitutes over a 10-year period: No-one knows if there are fewer prostitutes. According to her studies, prostitutes feel more vulnerable because they now have to operate secretly.
Other figures suggest that the number of women trafficked to Sweden has more than doubled, according to Kajsa Wahlberg, a detective inspector and Sweden's national rapporteur on trafficking.
While the sex law has intensified and widened the debate about prostitution, it is not clear whether it has helped women who sell sex.
Former prostitute Isabella Lund, 45, has gone public to speak on behalf of her former colleagues. She argues that the Sexkopslagen might have led to fewer women working on the streets, but more women now have to work underground to avoid their
customers being caught in the crime.
On her website, Ms Lund writes: Sex workers in Sweden advocate decriminalisation and better working conditions, because underground profiteers, pimps and traffickers flourish and we would rather avoid them.
She argues that the strict sex law has made trafficked women even more vulnerable, as the trade has been driven underground. Paradoxically, these are precisely the women the UK government wants to help, as it examines Sweden's experience.
In January 1999 the Swedes made it illegal to pay for sex (but not to sell it). The punishment for the crime of obtaining casual sex for compensation could be as high as six months in Scando-clink, though a fine would be more usual. The sex can
be any kind of sexual act involving contact and encompasses homosexual as well as heterosexual encounters. To prosecute the (usually) male clients successfully, the Swedish police must produce evidence of a prior agreement for compensation -
which need not be financial. The word “casual” here leaves open the intriguing possibility that men or women who pay their spouses for sex are deliberately exempted.
A number of Labour MPs have been so seduced by the imagined Swedish experience that they have co-sponsored an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill that would allow councils and police chiefs to set up zones in which persons buying sex could be
prosecuted. And Labour's deputy leader and Minister for Women, Harriet Harman, has launched a consultation suggesting that an adoption of the Swedish system could “tackle the demand” that lies behind the sex trade. Their belief seems to be that
there is something inherently bad and socially unacceptable about the purchase of sex, quite beyond the issues of trafficking and safety.
I don't buy it. We should have, and do have, laws already to stop trafficking, punish sexual abuse and to stop the sale of illegal drugs. Despite the rhetoric, it is of no use whatsoever to a woman who has been sexually abused in childhood to
tell her that years later she may not offer hand-jobs for a living. And it is a fair guess that any Swedification of the law in Britain will drive the street prostitutes and low-income clients from their familiar haunts to God knows where, while
Search my conscience as hard as I can, I cannot think of anything in principle wrong with a man or a woman choosing to pay for sexual contact, or to charge for it. As long as there is no coercion and no harm to others, I cannot see why I would be
entitled to replace their judgment with mine. Experience - and the internet - suggests to me that there is enormous variation in human sexual appetites and interests, and that, yes, there are women who much prefer sex work to cleaning, and men
who keep themselves afloat on the fantasies that they buy. I may not know why, any more than I understand why this gal is married to that loser, or why some women think running 13 sweaty miles in lace is attractive.
Oh, and Harriet. What do you think happens to that “tackled demand” once you've tackled it?
A smile on his face after visiting Swedish sex workers
Thanks to Donald
From Isabella's blog, the
Sensuell Q Konsult see
full article .
Isabella’s blog was voted “best political blog in Sweden 2007” (it wasn’t possible to vote for professional politicians though)
Isabella’s blog January 8th – (translated from Swedish)
Nothing is impossible…
When I read in the Guardian this weekend that a British minister would come here to meet various people and inform himself about Sweden’s law against purchase of sexual services I thought “here we go again”
Well, isn’t that just typical that nobody has contacted us at SANS so that he gets to meet those the law really concerns – us the Swedish sexworkers!
I wondered, who arrange those kind of meetings and who is he actually going to meet? I called the government offices who directed me to the British embassy. I called them and talked to a very nice girl. She said she had done her best to put
together a program for the British home office minister.
She thought it would be impossible to find any sexworker who would be interested in participating and willing to represent the sexworkers in Sweden .
Because during the minister’s visit to, for example, the “prostitution group” in Stockholm he wouldn’t get to meet any prostitutes, only social workers.
That the “prostitution group” in Stockholm do like that is no news, the opposite to what the Norwegian “prostitution center “does. In the recent report from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, published in December 2007, it says
very clearly that social workers in Stockholm consider that they can speak on behalf of us. But they can’t, and they don’t have our permission to do that either. Especially not since they say the opposite to what we ourselves say. Nothing is
impossible, the girl at the British embassy was happy that I had called. She contacted England to ask if they were interested in meeting us and if she could squeeze in another meeting… and yes the English Home office minister was interested in
meeting us, he wouldn’t have been if he had been a Swedish minister. For example Sweden’s minister of Justice said in our parliament that the government in Sweden should not listen to sexworkers in questions concerning us!!! I myself wasn’t able
to go, but I got hold of Pye Jakobsson and she was able to.
Isabella’s blog January 11th – (translated from Swedish)
Breakfast with English ministers at the home of the British ambassador in Stockholm, and in addition interviewed by English newspapers, radio and TV.
This morning Pye Jakobsson and Louise Persson had breakfast at the home of the British ambassador. They where warmly welcomed by the ambassador and met a very nice English home office minister, Vernon Coaker. They also meet the Solicitor General
in England, Vera Baird.
Pye will write about the meeting tomorrow.
After the breakfast meeting Pye were interviewed by BBC Politics Show , the interview will be shown on TV January 20th in England.
Isabella’s blog January 12th – (translated from Swedish)
Today Pye writes about her meeting with Vernon Coaker, she was there to talk about the experiences Swedish sexworkers have of the Swedish laws. Louise Persson (a feminist debater) was also with her.
I have to admit that I was nervous, to say the least, when I stood outside the British ambassador’s, Andrew Jonathan Mitchell, residence
Even though I have experience of the political scene this was on a completely different level compared to what I have experienced before, in addition I had slept too little because of BBC terrorizing me.
Andrew showed us around and was just so friendly only people trained in diplomacy can be.
Then Emma Squire from the Home Office turned up and turned out to probably the sweetest person I’ve ever met. In addition she forwarded a greeting from the lovely Bam Björling at ” Kvinnoforum “ (forum for women) and added She speaks very
highly of you , after that all the nervousness was gone.
Vernon Coaker came into the room a few minutes later and, after we had sat down around the breakfast table, gave evidence of such a respectful attitude totally without prejudice that my jaw dropped.
He asked a lot of intelligent questions and was very interested in what I had to say.
He was very surprised that nobody in Sweden had listened to us and stressed several times that he wasn’t going to make the same mistake. When I told him what Beatrice Ask (the Justice Minister) had said he raised his eyebrows in a very British
way and said Really?, why?
After half an hour Vera Baird dropped by, excused herself that she had been on the phone and then said in a very arrogant way that surely I must think that the Swedish law was good.
I told her that I couldn’t find one single positive side effect and I hoped that they’d be more enlightened in England when they’d make their decisions. Then she started to rant about rehabilitation of English sexworkers who had been arrested.
Finally my new friend Vernon interrupted and we continued our conversation.
He was very respectful and didn’t question my experiences one single time, he also thought it was peculiar that Swedish politicians ignore my competence while at the same time the social service administration in Finland use me as consultant.
Finally I gave him some material to read on the plane, texts written by Isabella and me as well as information about
Ambassador Andrew had to remind us twice that the car was waiting before we were done and Emma Square who was responsible for the planning during his Sweden visit took my card and told me that we’d be meeting again next week in London. (Pye has
been invited to Houses of parliament for this
It couldn’t have gone better, me and Louise got the possibility to say everything we had on our well prepared list and it was with light steps I walked to the interview with Paola from BBC’s The politics show , Vernon said you’re gonna
get interviewed by my channel
A smiling Andrew followed us to the door and said - That went very well, hope to see you again and me and Louise walked positively surprised back to the depressing Swedish reality.
A campaign aimed at clamping down on kerb crawling has been launched by the Scottish government. Police in four Scottish cities will enforce new prostitution legislation, backed by a high-profile publicity campaign under the slogan Kerb
crawling - it's criminal.
The posters will raise awareness of the trumped ip offences and penalties under the Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Act 2007, which criminalises the kerb crawler.
Injustice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: The Scottish parliament and government have acted to tackle this invidious practice and we will support the police and other local agencies in enforcing the law, in providing women with routes out of
prostitution and in making our communities safer and stronger. The campaign we are launching tomorrow aims to highlight the new law and the consequences of breaking it - to kerb crawlers, and to the wider community who we seek to protect.
The new offence of kerb crawling carries a fine of up to £1000. The Scottish government is also working with Westminster for new legislation which will allow the courts to have the power to disqualify offenders from driving.
The campaign will run for four weeks, involving outdoor and indoor washroom advertising, centred around the four key cities in which street prostitution is a significant problem, a government spokesman said.
Posters will be distributed around Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen. The Scottish government last year gave them a total of £1 million to help tackle street prostitution.
But experts raised concerns about the legislation, suggesting that prostitution should be legalised instead.
Dr Nicoletta Policek, senior lecturer in criminology at Lincoln University, carried out research from 1993 to 2003 on outdoor sex workers in Edinburgh: To criminalise sex work, I think, is immoral. Sex work should be legalised and
decriminalised. The way to solve this is to give sex workers safer areas as well as improved legislation. They also need social and health support, for example needle exchanges.
Too often the public view sex workers as responsible for the spread of disease and as the catalysts for the decline and degeneration of society, but Scotland should be at the forefront of developing legislation so sex workers can work safely
and in a healthy environment. Then Scotland would finally be a civilised society.
Ministers are planning to implant "machine-readable" microchips under the skin of thousands of offenders as part of an expansion of the electronic tagging scheme.
Amid concerns about the security of existing tagging systems and prison overcrowding, the Ministry of Justice is investigating the use of satellite and radio-wave technology to monitor criminals.
But, instead of being contained in bracelets worn around the ankle, the tiny chips would be surgically inserted under the skin of offenders in the community, to help enforce home curfews. The radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, as long as
two grains of rice, are able to carry scanable personal information about individuals, including their identities, address and offending record.
The tags, labelled "spychips" by privacy campaigners, are already used around the world to keep track of dogs, cats, cattle and airport luggage, but there is no record of the technology being used to monitor offenders in the community.
The chips are also being considered as a method of helping to keep order within prisons.
A senior Ministry of Justice official last night confirmed that the department hoped to go even further, by extending the geographical range of the internal chips through a link-up with satellite-tracking similar to the system used to trace
stolen vehicles. All the options are on the table, and this is one we would like to pursue, the source added.
The move is in line with a proposal from Ken Jones, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), that electronic chips should be surgically implanted into convicted paedophiles and sex offenders in order to track them more
easily. Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is seen as the favoured method of monitoring such offenders to prevent them going near "forbidden" zones such as primary schools.
More than 17,000 individuals, including criminals and suspects released on bail, are subject to electronic monitoring at any one time, under curfews requiring them to stay at home up to 12 hours a day. But official figures reveal that almost
2,000 offenders a year escape monitoring by tampering with ankle tags or tearing them off.
The tags, injected into the back of the arm with a hypodermic needle, consist of a toughened glass capsule holding a computer chip, a copper antenna and a "capacitor" that transmits data stored on the chip when prompted by an
But details of the dramatic option for tightening controls over Britain's criminals provoked an angry response from probation officers and civil-rights groups. Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: If the Home Office doesn't understand
why implanting a chip in someone is worse than an ankle bracelet, they don't need a human-rights lawyer; they need a common-sense bypass.
Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, said the proposal would not make his members' lives easier and would degrade their clients. He added: This is the sort of daft idea that comes up
from the department every now and then, but tagging people in the same way we tag our pets cannot be the way ahead. Treating people like pieces of meat does not seem to represent an improvement in the system to me.
The US market leader VeriChip Corp, whose parent company has been selling radio tags for animals for more than a decade, has sold 7,000 RFID microchips worldwide, of which about 2,000 have been implanted in humans.
Consumer privacy expert Liz McIntyre said that one company plans deeper implants that could vibrate, electroshock the implantee, broadcast a message, or serve as a microphone to transmit conversations : Some folks might foolishly discount all
of these downsides and futuristic nightmares since the tagging is proposed for criminals like rapists and murderers. The rest of us could be next.
When England’s Home Office minister Vernon Coaker visit Sweden later this week he will meet a bunch of people who will do their best to export Sweden’s law against purchase of sexual services to England.
Unfortunately they will be dishonest and try to do this with lies and propaganda and once again I will be ashamed of being a Swede.
The original motivation for Sweden’s prostitution laws wasn’t as a measure against trafficking, but as time has gone by, so has the argument.
That’s because the radical feminist ideas that the law was based upon has often been questioned which has led to trafficking increasingly being associated with the law as a way to defend it. After all, everybody is against trafficking, which is
why they try to refute criticism on that level.
The trial has just begun of a man accused of murdering a number of prostitutes in Ipswich. It has been noted that the bodies of some of the alleged victims were left as if they had been crucifie d. When will the clamour begin for the
banning of books describing this vile practice, and the closure of buildings in which it is graphically represented?
I note that the case was reported last night by the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star. In the same issue, there was coverage of a "crackdown" on prostitution in the A460 lay-by near junction 11 of the M6, with threats of ASBOs for
the tarts and fines for the punters, including a telephone hotline for anyone wishing to grass up their neighbour.
The girls are apparently working the lay-by having been driven out of the traditional red light district by an earlier "crackdown". Looks like Mr Plod will keep cracking down until they're all working unlit fields on Cannock Chase,
followed, of course, by a flood of crocodile tears over the inevitable murders.
Harriet Harman, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice and Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham, holds that a Swedish-style law against buying sex is necessary to stem demand for sex workers trafficked into Britain.
The Sexual Freedom Coalition and Ariana Chevalier have consulted sex workers, clients and academics, gathering together many views, all of which disagree Harriet's proposal. Here is a summary of these views.
Banning the buying of sex on the grounds that prostitution is violence towards women, is invalid as this is a fundamentalist feminist propaganda and untrue.
How can it be immoral to pay for something but not immoral to sell something?
Evidence from other countries (including Sweden) suggests that a policy of suppression, whether focused on clients or sex workers, can have very negative consequences for those who trade sex.
Harriet's notion is simplistic - because not all clients are men and not all sex workers are women. Couples, disabled women, older women and wealthy women hire sex workers of both gender and many married men hire male sex workers.
It is an infantile view that all sex workers are poor helpless victims and all clients are the proverbial dirty/violent old man in a raincoat. Isn't it about time thinking on this issue grew up?
Sex work seems to be gaining more acceptance; e.g. there was a recent BBC TV programme about some disabled people going to Spain to visit a brothel with the reasons being given that able-bodied people didn't see them as viable partners etc. The
point is there doesn't seem to have been any backlash against it.
It is not true that once demand for something gets beyond a certain point you cant control it, but this encourages a snooping society etc.
One London dominatrix always votes for the conservative family values crowd because they're amongst her best clients.
Even evangelical Texas and other states in the US where religion is much stronger have not taken Harriet's approach.
This is the labour equivalent of the Tories' back to basics' campaign.
The government's concern about sex trafficking appears to have helped immigration officers meet their targets for deportations
Harriet Harman's claim that a Swedish-style law against buying sex is necessary to stem demand for sex workers trafficked into Britain was supported by former Europe minister Denis MacShane, who insisted there are 25,000 sex slaves in the UK,
which has been proved to be untrue.
If men caught buying sex are put on the Sex Offenders Register, there will be millions more men out of work, signing on, needing state housing, etc, which will cost the Government zillions of pounds.
Harriet's proposal is a gross infringement on civil liberties. It is also unnecessary as the major problems related to prostitution (trafficking, drug addiction) are focused on street prostitution and brothels, and can be dealt with by laws
relating specifically to those parts of the sex-industry.
It is completely outrageous that in 21st century Britain, someone might end up in court, or even in prison, for having sex with another consenting adult, especially if this took place in their own home.
The kinds of problems that the government have been talking about, like trafficking and drug abuse, can be dealt with by the relevant laws and dealing with these specific problems, having researched them thoroughly. There's no justification at
all for a complete ban on buying sexual services.'
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with someone paying for sexual services. It is perfectly possible, and normal, for someone to pay a person for sexual services and to treat that person with respect. In any case, it's up to the individual
sex worker to decide whether or not being paid for sex is exploitative, and whether it's in his/her interest to be involved in sex-work. It isn't the job of the government to decide that for sex workers.
Individual sex workers are capable of deciding for themselves what the dangers are of becoming involved in sex-work, and whether becoming involved in sex-work is the right thing for them. It isn't the job of the government to make that decision
for sex workers. To imply that most sex-workers are being coerced into doing sex-work is simply false. On the other hand, if what people mean by saying that women aren't choosing to be prostitutes is, for instance, that women are being forced
into sex-work by poverty, then of course the reason why most people do most jobs is to avoid poverty.
Some women are leaving successful careers elsewhere to enter sex work as a positive career move.
Harriet's proposal takes no account of the different men who visit sex workers, nor their varied reasons for doing so, and fails to differentiate between different types of sex worker and their reasons for working. It shows that the government
do not understand the nature of the sex industry and the wide spectrum that exists of both sex workers and clients. It's a "one-size fit's all law" that by it's nature shows a lack of research on the part of the government.
It assumes all men who visit escorts are intent on harm/abuse and that the commercial relationship could never be mutually satisfying or rewarding – contrary to a study by
Teela Sanders , Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Crime and Deviance, Leeds University. Her study, entitled Male Sexual Scripts: Intimacy, Sexuality and Pleasure in the Purchase of Commercial Sex found that general understandings of
sex work and prostitution are based on false dichotomies that distinguish commercial and non-commercial sexual relationships as dissonant. What her study showed was that there was mutual respect and understanding between regular clients and sex
workers, dispelling the myth that all interactions between sex workers and clients are exploitative. This study goes much further and shows that apart from finances, sex workers also expressed that they gained in other more human ways from the
commercial sex relationship in a way that mirrored the non-commercial relationship.
The proposed law treats all women involved as brainless victims which is an insult to those who enjoy their work and gain a considerable amount of job satisfaction from doing their work. Women should be allowed the human right to choose to use
their body how they wish. This proposed law infantalises women and treats them as idiots who cannot make rational choices for themselves.
If the law is passed in such a way that it takes no difference into account of the needs for certain groups such as disabled people (who are prohibited from having, for example a care assistant "give them a hand" sexually) then it
could be argued that the government are acting in an abusive (negligent) way towards the sexual health needs and therefore health needs of disabled people.
The World Health Organisation defines sexual health as:
“The integration of physical, emotional, intellectual and social aspects of sexual being, in ways that are positively enriching and that enhance personality, communication and love.” Having access to a sex worker can be the only way some people
can achieve this integration. To deny a person this, or worse - to make them out to be a criminal is an abuse of their human rights.
The sex industry will continue if the proposed law is passed but in a more dangerous way. It will be client-led in practice instead of sex-worker lead, and will operate more along American lines. It will be impossible for the woman to initiate
sex so the client will lead. This can only be more dangerous for women. It will also make it harder for a woman to say what she will and won't do in practice. Currently men can easily find out what a woman will and won't do so match service
provider to service wishes. The proposed law will make it harder for woman to make her boundaries clear because she will have to avoid making any direct references to what she is and isn't happy to do. This is less safe for women.
The types of men who sex traffic women are not the sort of men who will take any notice of the proposed law. They are already acting illegally so the new law will make no difference to them. In reality it will only affect the men who are not
intent on harm or exploitation.
It is an infringement of civil liberties to prosecute a consenting man and woman or two men or two women who engage in sex in the privacy of their own room. It wasn't long ago that homosexuality was illegal. The government have no right to
impose a moral agenda on sexual issues in a multicultural multi-religious society.
Dr Tuppy Owens
Chair, Sexual Freedom Coalition
and Founder of the TLC Trust
The Swedish Model is an attempt to suppress the oldest profession by criminalising the client only. This is in breach of the basic requirements of sexual equality. Results have shown that prohibition drives the industry further underground into a
area of greatly increased risks to sex workers. This is unacceptable. The Swedish Model would also be extremely difficult and costly to enforce in the UK, and would divert resources from the prevention of trafficking. Most workers in the industry
favour decriminalisation of their profession, and that is seen as the basis for constructive legislation.
A few thoughts about recent comments that the proposed "paying for sex" offence will be dropped following the government fact finding mission to Sweden and Netherlands.
I understand that the individuals going on this trip are all (with the possible exception of Vernon Coaker), outspoken supporters of the proposal. Thus they are hardly attending with an open mind - they are looking for evidence to support their
existing world view and will ignore anything which does not support it (lookup cognitive dissonance)..
In terms of practicalities, the way these visits normally work is via an inter-governmental meeting with officials and politicians from the host nation. Given the explicit spin with which Sweden has represented their approach, I think it highly
unlikely critics of the proposal will even be heard.
In order for the government to demonstrate balance, they are also visiting the Netherlands who they claim are proponents of legalisation. However, this is not as straightforward as it might appear. Recent years have seen a dramatic growth in
illiberal policy. The country was once an outspoken advocate that peoples sex lives are a private matter warranting minimal state intervention - the logical approach to prostitution being that, as long as coercion or disorder is not involved, the
state should not intervene.
Hiwever, I have to tell you that this policy has utterly changed in favour of a belief that sex work is undesirable and state interference is legitimate.
However, being pragmatists the Dutch public have no appetite for prohibition so politicians have steadily introduced restriction by stealth - for example, the mayor of Amsterdam has already closed 1/3 of the red light district.
So, I predict we will see the following as outputs from the visit:
Explicit acceptance of the view that payment for sex = exploitation
Support for the idea that prostitution can and should be eliminated
Explict acceptanve of the link between trafficking and prostitution
Statements that prohibition reduces demand
That the Swedish model is a huge success with minimal unintended consequences
The following facts will be dismissed:-
that popularity for prohibition has diminished in Sweden
that prostitution has merely been forced underground
that better off customers now travel to Denmark leaving the less wealthy and more abusive visiting Swedish women
prices have gone down, pressure for unsafe sex has increased, and more women are being exposed to abusive clients and are less willing to report it
that trafficking is actually less in Sweden than Finland because of geography and because sex establishments are now more hidden making detection difficult
that levels of sexual infections amongst sex workers have risen dramatically
The fact finding mission will totally ignore regulation models in other countries (such as New Zealand, Spain etc) where the agenda is of state interference only to protect the vulnerable rather than to regulate consenting sex.
How does this relate to Melon Farmers?
The proposals - which, I'm reliably informed, officials have already drafted - make no distinction on the purpose of the transaction - thus Ben Dover would be just as guilty of "paying for sex" to make his films as anyone else. Thus the
proposal would limit domestic production of adult material as an indirect bonus
The Criminal Injustice and Immigration Bill had its report stage/third reading in the Commons on 9th January.
The government timetabled it so there was no time to debate the extreme porn offences, let alone take a vote on the proposed amendments.
Of course the same process of time constraint meant that the amendment by Mactaggart, MacShane etc. regarding P4P, bit the dust too.
The government had already announced a six-month review of the prostitution laws in response to the move by Fiona Mactaggart MP to fine those who repeatedly pay for sex in misleadingly named "safety zones".
I am proposing an amendment to the criminal justice and immigration bill on on the subject of prostitution. It will allow the criminal prosecution of men who use prostitutes and give the power to communities affected by prostitution to declare
themselves "zones of safety" where action against punters can be initiated. The bill will be debated on January 9.
The way in which prostitution is tackled now and has been through most of history is by targeting the women selling sex. It doesn't work. Prostitution exists because of the demand from men. Making paying for sex illegal will begin to tackle the
The amendment will permit local authorities, or the police, to make areas of towns into zones of safety. All that would be needed would be demand from residents or evidence that prostitution has contributed to an increase in crime in the area.
Wednesday 16 January 2008 4-6pm
House of Commons, Committee Room 10
Westminster, London SW1
Hosted by John McDonnell MP
Clause 72 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (CJIB) is currently passing through Parliament, introducing compulsory rehabilitation for prostitute women under threat of imprisonment. The criminalisation of clients is also being
discussed, supposedly to deal with trafficking. Before you decide on these issues
The Safety First Coalition invites you to hear first hand about
New Zealand’s decriminalisation of prostitution, Sweden’s criminalisation of clients, and their effects on women’s health and safety.
Key to New Zealand’s successful decriminalisation of prostitution in 2003, Ms Healy was appointed by the Minister of Justice to the New Zealand Prostitution Law Review Committee. She is a founding member and the national co-ordinator of the New
Zealand Prostitutes' Collective. She is frequently sought by national and international organisations for advice on issues affecting sex workers.
Organising for sex workers’ rights since 1994, Ms Jacobsen is a founding member of Sex Workers and Allies in Sweden (SANS) which organises against the criminalisation of sex workers resulting from the criminalisation of clients.
The Safety First Coalition is made up of members of the church, nurses, doctors, probation officers, drug reformers, anti-rape organisations, residents from red light areas, sex workers, sex work projects and others who came together in the
aftermath of the tragic murders of five young women in Ipswich, to press for women’s safety to be prioritised and for an end to the criminalisation which makes sex workers vulnerable to attack. It opposes Clause 72 which increases
criminalisation. It is co-ordinated by the English Collective of Prostitutes.
Clause 72 is being promoted as an alternative to a fine but it is an additional power. It requires anyone arrested for loitering or soliciting to attend a series of three meetings with a supervisor approved by the court “to promote
rehabilitation, by assisting the offender to address the causes of their involvement in prostitution and to find ways of ending that involvement.” Women will be humiliated by being asked to reveal intimate circumstances while no resources are
being made available to “address the causes”. Failure to attend will result in a summons back to court and a possible 72-hours imprisonment. Women may end up on a treadmill of broken supervision meetings, court orders and imprisonment, on top of
fines and prison sentences for non-payment of fines. Even the Magistrates Association has expressed concern.
Many prostitutes face being jailed for up to 72 hours if they fail to attend counselling sessions under proposed new laws, a probation service union claims.
Napo said the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill reintroduces custody by the "back door".
It says prisons, community homes and police stations could be "overwhelmed" by women in default of their orders.
It has urged MPs to vote to delete the measures from the bill when they debate it in the Commons on 9 January.
Under the proposed law, women convicted of loitering and soliciting could be ordered to attend three one-hour counselling sessions. And they may get three days' detention for not attending.
A Napo briefing note on the bill said: Thousands of prostitutes will be criminalised and face three days needlessly in jail at the time when the system is in meltdown.
The vast majority of women have no obvious alternative source of income or employment and the majority have severe problems with drugs and alcohol. Three compulsory counselling sessions are hardly going to help. The threat of a short period of
incarceration for failure to turn up turns the clock back 25 years. If the probation service or other organisations are to be involved they must have the resources to offer the women real alternatives.
But Theresa May disagrees that paying for sex should be criminalised
Background note about claims of trafficking numbers and Operation Pentameter
full article By Professor Julia O'Connell Davidson, University of Nottingham, noted for work in the field of prostitution.
When 515 indoor prostitution establishments were raided by police as part of Operation Pentameter last year, only 84 women and girls who conformed to police and immigration officers' understanding of the term "victim of trafficking"
were "rescued". At this rate, the police would need to raid some 150,000 indoor prostitution establishments to unearth MP, Denis MacShane's, 25,000 sex slaves. The fact that there are estimated to be fewer than 1,000 such establishments
in London gives some indication of how preposterous MacShane's claim is.
A bill to criminalise prostitutes' clients will do nothing to help the victims of trafficking
Denis MacShane may be well-intentioned but his amendment is bad and confusing law because it seeks to remedy a failure by police and immigration officials - which may not even exist - by attacking the choice made by two consenting adults.
Swedish support for prostitution law is a lot less than claimed
Thanks to Donald
One of the claims used by Swedish campaigners touting the “swedish model” is that 80% of the Swedish population support the law.
That claim is based on a 7 year old survey, so what do the Swedes think about the law now when they’ve had time to evaluate it?
The tabloids Aftonbladet and Expressen surveyed their readers in spring 2007. This showed that the support for the sex-purchase law was only 36%.
On September 27, 2007. the Morning newspaper SVD asked their readers for their opinions, this was the result:
SVD: Should Prostitution be criminalized?
Yes, but only for buyers: 10%
No, but not procuring: 37% (ie pimping and others profiting from prostitution should remain criminalised)
On December 17 Expressen did once again ask their readers for their opinions.
(NB there was no "scrap the law" option to vote for)
Expressen: Should there be tougher penalties for those who pay for sex?
No, fine as it is: 4%
No, should be lower: 66%
These are the main morning and evening newspapers in Sweden, they represent the entire political scale left-centre-right, the polls give the same result: Two thirds of Swedes DO NOT support the sex-purchase law.
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