|19th September |
Decriminalising prostitution improves health but licensing is only partial decriminalisation
Based on article from
See also Annual Surveillance Reports from
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.
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
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.
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 regulated.
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
|12th September |
Prostitution to be outlawed in Italy
Based on article from iht.com
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.
|20th March |
Labour look well set to criminalise men for getting laid
Thanks to Donald
See the Solicitor General's
Prostitution Policy: New Directions
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
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
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 its implementation.
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
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
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.
|19th March |
More dangerous for working girls in Scotland
Thanks to Donald
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.
|17th March |
Ensuring that Scots who enjoy life are securely imprisoned
Based on an article
from Evening Times
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 addiction.
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 target brothels.
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
|17th March |
Legalisation of prostitution in Western Australia looks likely
See full article from
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.
|11th March |
UK bans all fun and then whinges when people travel abroad to get laid
I wonder if it is the Government's 'Environmental Impact Report' that when people are not allowed to pay for sex in the UK, that many will simply travel
abroad for fun.
See full article from the
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.
|7th March |
Nutters propose impossible to know extension to rape definition
See full article from the
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.
|4th March |
Mean minded Scottish police arrest 80 for kerb crawling
Based on an article from the
A total of 21 men, mostly white collar workers, have been arrested and charged with kerb crawling in Edinburgh since new legislation was introduced.
Across Scotland, as many as 80 men have been charged since kerb-crawling became a criminal offence
in October last year.
Many of the men lived with wives or partners, were in their mid-40s to late-50s, and were caught during the week.
Most were professionals, and worked as teachers, salesmen, doctors and accountants. A retired
clergyman, a naval officer and a tourist from Kazakhstan were also caught.
Police and support agencies are studying the details of the men charged across the country to build up a more detailed picture of the people involved.
charged under the new Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Act 2007 face a criminal record, a fine of up to £1000 and exposure to family, friends and colleagues.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: Kerb-crawlers should be clear of
the potential legal and social costs of their actions.
|1st March |
Denis MacShane wants the DNA of UK buyers of sex
Labour MPs should also be forced to give DNA samples on the grounds of their predilection for being human rights abusers
full article from the BBC
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.
|28th February |
Straw withdraws prostitution clauses from Criminal Injustice Bill
Presumably this deadline also explains Salter & Lepper's concerns that any Lords amendments to the Dangerous Pictures causes of the Criminal Injustice
Bill won't be contested in the Commons
See full article from the Times
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.
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.
|27th February |
Men who pay for sex
See article from news.bbc.co.uk
|22nd February |
Ipswich killer convicted
See full article from the
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.
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 provoke debate.
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 stay.
|16th February |
Paying for sex from the perspective of the feminist left
See article from workersliberty.org
|12th February |
The Swedish Model: Feminism out of control
Thanks to Donald
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 the
Sexist ice cream enrages Swedish consumer watchdog
|11th February |
So criminalise the buyers of sexual services
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.
See full article from the
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.
|11th February |
Feminist Coalition Against Prostitution
Thanks to Donald
see also FCAP
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
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
|10th February |
Mean minded Labour to bar sex worker's phone numbers
Based on an article from the Times
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.
|9th February |
Labour peer re-proposes criminalising the buying of sex
Thanks to Peter
article from Parliament
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
(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
(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,
|8th February |
Criminalising buyers of sex
Thanks to Donald
It looks like Luxembourg is thinking about the Swedish model too. See article from Sex
Worker (German Language).
The same Austrian site is debating the related issues amongst the German speaking world. It has
some articles in English .
West Australia is legalising .
|7th February |
Criminalising buyers of sex at the Welsh Assembly
See full article from the
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
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.
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.
|5th February |
Experiences from Korea where clients have been criminalised
Thanks to Donald
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:
|4th February |
Lord's amendment proposes the legalisation of mini-brothels
Thanks to Donald
See full article from Parliament
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
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
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.""
|3rd February |
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
Thanks to Donald
See full article from CNN.com by Sherry F Colb
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 same activity.
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.
|29th January |
Nutters call for Ireland to follow the Swedish model
Based on an article from Google News see full article
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
|28th January |
Compulsory rehabilitation of sex workers doesn't work (abbreviated)
Thanks to Donald
From TheyWorkForYou see
Expurgated version, see Parliament section for more complete account of the debate
Baroness Howe of Idlicote (Crossbench)
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 and safety.
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 meetings.
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 matters.
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.
|26th January |
6/10 of Swedes think criminalisation of clients should be scrapped
Thanks to Donald
From Swedish TV station SVT
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%)
From the BBC see full article
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.
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.
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.
|22nd January |
Nothing wrong with paid sex between consenting adults
From the Times see full article by David Aaronovitch
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 leaving
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.
and Harriet. What do you think happens to that “tackled demand” once you've tackled it?
Read the full article
|21st January |
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
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!
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 ICRSE
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.
|20th January |
Mean minded in Scotland
Based on an article from The Sunday Herald see full article
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 -
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.
|20th January |
One way to keep people out of red light areas?
From the Independent see full article
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.
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 electromagnetic reader.
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
|19th January |
Hiding behind Swedish concern about trafficking
Thanks to Donald
From the Sensuell Q Konsult see
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.
Read the full article
Coaker was also due to speak with Pye Jakobsson who has been doing great work in campaigning about sex
work issues. Read more about Pye [pdf]
|18th January |
Calls to ban the glorification of crucifixion?
Thanks to Alan
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.
|14th January |
Sexual Freedom Coalition consult sex workers
Thanks to James
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
- 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.
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
- 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.
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
- 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
- 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
|14th January |
Petition to reject criminalisation of prostitutes' clients
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Decisively Reject The Swedish Model As An Effective Method Of Improving The Health, Welfare And Safety Of Sex
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.
Thanks to David Tong who submitted the petition
|12th January |
Proposals to ban buying sex already drafted
Thanks to Libertas on the Melon Farmers Forum
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
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
|10th January |
Criminalising buying sex amendment timed out
Thanks to Richard for the poster
Thanks to Harvey on the Melon Farmers Forum
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".
|9th January |
Fiona MacMeanMinded outlines her proposals
From Comment is Free see
full article by Fiona Mactaggart
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 demand.
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.
|6th January |
Discussing prostitution issues at Westminster
From Sex Workers in Europe see
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.
- Catherine Healy
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.
- Pye Jacobsen
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.
|5th January |
Probation Service union warns about jailing sex workers
From the BBC see
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
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.
|4th January |
But Theresa May disagrees that paying for sex should be criminalised
Background note about claims of trafficking numbers and Operation Pentameter
Guardian see 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.
Based on an article from 24dash.com see full article
The Conservatives have published a number of measures designed to combat human trafficking, which supposedly involves 800,000 people being illegally trafficked across international borders every year.
The party also said the nationwide
anti-trafficking campaign involving every police force in the UK and Ireland, known as Operation Pentameter, should be made permanent.
But Shadow Leader of the House, Theresa May added that she disagreed with a proposal
put forward by deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman to make paying for sex a criminal offence:
My feeling is that if you introduce an offence you would simply drive it underground.
|3rd January |
Bad and confusing law
From the Guardian see
full article by Henry Potter
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.
Read full article
|1st January |
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
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: 22%
- Yes, but only for buyers: 10%
- No, but not procuring: 37% (ie pimping and others profiting from prostitution should remain criminalised)
- No: 31%
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
- Yes: 29%
- 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.