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2012: Oct-Dec

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Offsite Article: The Guardian Claims That...


Link Here27th December 2012
The Government is under pressure to review prostitution laws in England and Wales. Miserable politicians and nutter groups back the Nordic model, under which it is illegal to buy sex

See article from guardian.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: Statistical Exploitation...


Link Here22nd December 2012
Full story: Trafficking Hype...Trafficking figures hopelessly over exaggerated
Does legalised prostitution increase trafficking? Who knows, without real data? From the Naked Anthropologist. With thanks to David.

See article from lauraagustin.com

 

 

Updated: Minister for Rich Women...

Jo Swinson whinges when students turn to sex to fund high fees


Link Here14th December 2012

The Minister for Women, Jo Swinson, has urged the police to investigate anyone suspected of taking advantage of students or forcing vulnerable women into prostitution.

In a written response to a question by the Labour MP and former minister Helen Goodman, Swinson said she was aware of the SponsorAScholar.co.uk website, which has now been taken down following an undercover investigation by The Independent.

The man responsible for the site, which offered students up to 15,000 a year in exchange for intimate encounters with wealthy businessmen or sponsors , was revealed this week to be Mark Lancaster, an IT consultant.

There is mounting concern that high student fees could be forcing people into sex work to cover their debt.

Swinson defended the Government's high fees policy:

No eligible student has to pay for their tuition up-front. Loans are available to meet the full cost of tuition charges at publicly funded institutions.

Update: We don't want people having fun or earning money now, do we?

14th December 2012. See  article from  independent.co.uk

Police investigating a website offering payment of tuition fees for female students in return for sex have arrested a man on suspicion of inciting prostitution.

After an undercover expose  by the Independent into a man who claimed to be an assessor for SponsorAScholar.co.uk, Mark Lancaster was detained by police from the Metropolitan Police's Trafficking and Prostitution Unit.

The computer consultant was questioned and released on police bail. He will return to Charing Cross police station in central London in February.

SponsorAScholar.co.uk offered female students aged 17 to 24 up to 15,000 a year in return for what it described as discreet adventures with businessmen in private flats or hotel rooms.

The Independent story followed mounting concern that rising student fees could be forcing young people into sex work to cover their debt with experts claiming the site was the tip of the iceberg .

Update: Trial

27th April 2013. See review from  independent.co.uk

Mark Lancaster, who was arrested by Scotland Yard officers following an investigation by The Independent into the SponsorAScholar website, was told that his case will be heard by a Crown Court.

He is accused of two offences under the Sexual Offences Act allegedly committed between 1 September and 30 September last year. One charge is an allegation of voyeurism and the second accuses him of trafficking a woman within the United Kingdom for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Update: Jailed

20th July 2013. See  article from  independent.co.uk

Computer consultant Mark Lancaster has been jailed for 16 months for voyeurism and trafficking after using sex for fees website to dupe student into having sex with him

The prosecutors took the opportunity to inflate trafficking figures by adding a ludicrous trafficking charge on the grounds that the victim was duped into travelling to meet Lancaster, hence was 'trafficked'.

 

 

Offsite Article: Do we actually want to rid Europe of its sex workers?...


Link Here 10th December 2012
Full story: Sex Work in the EU...Femist Extremist groups call for ban on sex workers in the EU
Treating prostitution as a scourge conveniently ignores the fact that people are not plying their trade in a vacuum

See article from guardian.co.uk

 

 

Euro Miseries...

200 extremist feminist groups call for a European ban on paying for sex


Link Here5th December 2012
Full story: Sex Work in the EU...Femist Extremist groups call for ban on sex workers in the EU

About 200 women's rights groups are calling for laws to make paying for sex a crime across the European Union.

Campaigners will present key policy recommendations for legislation to MEPs in Brussels on Wednesday. A campaign spokeswoman claimed:

Prostitution is a form of violence, an obstacle to gender equality and an open door for organised crime to develop.

The European Women's Lobby (EWL), which leads the campaign, wants EU member states to implement six key policies, including the criminalisation of all forms of procuring, and the creation of effective exit programmes for sex workers.

EWL spokeswoman Pierrette Pape ludicrously claimed to the BBC that even in totally consensual transactions:  imposing sexual intercourse with money is a form of violence that shouldn't be accepted,

So far 36 European MEPs are already supporting the proposal, Pape said.

Initial response by the English Collective of Prostitutes

Selected points from  article from  iusw.org

  • At a time of economic crisis when poverty among women and children is rising throughout Europe (see EWL own research [1]) and more women, particularly mothers, are working in the sex industry to survive, the EWL chooses to mount an initiative against prostitution. To criminalise prostitute women's clients when all the evidence shows that this will push prostitution more underground and make it harder for sex workers to get protection from rape and other violence, shows a total disregard for the lives of women in the sex industry. Criminalising clients will not stop prostitution, nor will it stop the criminalisation of women. But it will make more dangerous and stigmatising for those of us who work as prostitutes.
     
  • Faced with no benefit or job, or only the lowest-waged jobs, many women will sell sexual services. Are we less degraded when we have to skip meals or beg in order to feed our children; stay with a violent partner to keep a roof over our heads; or work 40 hours a week for under ?5 an hour unable to pay our bills? Is it surprising that many women would rather make three times as much working part-time in a brothel? Those who rage against prostitution have not a word for mothers struggling to feed their families. Since student fees were raised, many more women students are paying for their education by working in the sex industry. If governments are offended by the work we do, they should stop welfare reform, abolish student fees, reinstate resources for women fleeing domestic violence and bring in pay equity. With the urgent economic need women across Europe are facing, have women politicians nothing better to do than to attack sex workers?
     
  • The EWL proposal for the prohibition of the purchase of a sexual act (accompanied by the suppression of repressive measures against prostituted persons ) follows the example of legislation introduced in Sweden which decriminalised sex workers and criminalised clients. Yet evidence shows that discrimination and stigma against sex workers has increased, that sex workers have been put more at risk of attack and are less able to call on the protection of the police and the authorities: We have also found reports of serious adverse effects of the Sex Purchase Act -- especially concerning the health and well-being of sex workers -- in spite of the fact that the lawmakers stressed that the law was not to have a detrimental effect on people in prostitution. Where is the outrage at the fact that a quarter of single mothers in Sweden now live in poverty, compared to 10% seven years ago.
     
  • Existing legislation in all EU countries already prosecutes anyone who forces or coerces anyone into the sex industry. Why extend it to consenting sex? The EWL proposal for the criminalisation of all forms of procuring will result in anyone associated with sex workers being at risk of prosecution. Here in the UK there are laws against brothel-keeping, controlling and causing and inciting someone into prostitution, all of which are most often used against people who associate with sex workers rather than people who exploit sex workers. For example, women who place an advert on the web for another sex worker or who pass on a client.

 

 

Offsite Article: How Sex and Drugs Can Help Stimulate Britain's Limp Economy...


Link Here 25th November 2012
If politicians and the public can put aside long-held prejudices, then they may be able to solve some of the tough economic questions Britain has to answer by unleashing the financial power of prostitution

See article from prostitutescollective.net

 

 

Update: Massage On...

Edinburgh council renews massage parlour licences after objector fails to make a good case


Link Here10th November 2012

Saunas across Edinburgh were business as usual after winning the first major challenge to their trade for more than 15 years. Licences are usually renewed every three years but 12 of the 15 premises were hauled before the committee because the challenge issued was the same across the board.

Establishments throughout the city were granted renewed licences after the objector failed to make a good case. Main objector Mike Anthony had  claimed that saunas and massage parlours are actually illegal brothels and that the authorities turn a blind eye to the sex trade. He even claimed councillors on the committee would be allowing a crime to take place should they approve the licences. He told a packed committee room at the City Chambers:

I accept most of the councillors on this committee are new but councillors have been colluding with brothel keepers to this day. The council and police have reason to believe they are brothels and therefore operating as criminal enterprises.

However, after taking legal advice members of the committee, led by SNP councillor and retired firefighter Gavin Barrie, rejected the claims after the first hearing. He said Anthony had failed to supply any first-hand evidence. Barrie said:

The committee is not convinced there is sufficient evidence not to renew the licences. There is no evidence here, you just gave us a few websites to look at.

Prior to the decision lawyer Alistair Macdonald, representing Iain and Charles Haig, owners of Scorpio Leisure on Albion Road, suggested the objections against his client were of a personal nature and not concerning the way the business is run. He added:

I would suggest this objection is vexatious and not in bona fide good faith. You have heard there are no objections from the police.

 

 

Offsite Article: Banning sex work: the non-evidence base...


Link Here5th November 2012
Activists are gearing up a campaign to ban sex work in Scotland. The prohibitionists do not find an evidence-base to defend this harsh, and potentially counter-productive, restriction on individual freedom to be necessary.

See article from backlash.org.uk

 

 

Turning a Blind Eye in the Public Gaze...

Edinburgh's licensed massage parlours up for license renewal. But this time the councillors will have to argue their case in the public gaze


Link Here4th November 2012

It is an element of Edinburgh life that is hidden in plain sight. For years the city's sex industry has operated alongside businesses and homes in some of the wealthiest neighbourhoods without many being aware of its existence.

Edinburgh's licensed saunas, a discreet front for prostitution, are widely regarded as a pragmatic way of managing the sex industry. They sit side-by-side with shops and houses with little to suggest to passers-by that they are anything other than a convenient venue to enjoy a relaxing back massage.

Edinburgh's system is among the most liberal in the UK. Supporters of the system say it has kept many women off the streets and provided a safe environment for those engaged in sex work.

But this week 13 of the city's 15 saunas face a turning point. Their licences, which fall into the public entertainment category, are up for renewal on Wednesday and two objections have been lodged.

One long-time critic, Michael Anthony, has written to members of Edinburgh City Council's licensing sub-committee, pointing out that it is a criminal offence to operate a brothel.

It is well established that Edinburgh saunas are brothels, he wrote. It is a criminal offence to operate a brothel. Anyone assisting committing of crime also commits an offence. Accordingly, councillors cannot grant entertainment licenses, or any other permission to operate a brothel.

For now, the future of Edinburgh's unique method of handling prostitution hangs in the balance. The closure of all or some of the saunas would change the face of the sex industry. Councillor Joanna Mowat, a former committee member, said:

We don't look too closely at what goes on in properties that are licensed for massage. But we may be pushed to change if Mr Anthony has evidence.

 

 

Offsite Article: Sex Work Moralist Admits Trafficking 12,900 Pounds out of Westminster...


Link Here 3rd November 2012
Full story: Trafficking Hype...Trafficking figures hopelessly over exaggerated
Denis MacShane always did have problems with inflating figures. He also notably inflated trafficking stats to suggest that 25,000 sex workers were trafficked to Britain each year.

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 

Update: For Our Rights...

International Union of Sex Workers campaigns against Scotland's proposed persecution of sex workers


Link Here21st October 2012
Full story: Sex Work in Scotland...Bills to ban and to decriminalise sex work

For our human, civil and labour rights. For our inclusion and decriminalisation. For freedom to choose, respect for those choices and the absolute right to say no. For the full protection of the law. For everyone in the sex industry.

Rhoda Grant MSP believes that prostitution in Scotland is a form of sexual violence against women and sexual exploitation. She believes that prostitution is inherently harmful and dehumanising and that the majority of those who are involved in prostitution are unwilling participants. She is proposing to make it illegal to purchase sex in Scotland.

Now, I know, and you know, that her assertions are simply not true. I know from years of experience at various levels in the sex industry that in fact the vast majority of sex workers are working (quite contentedly) of their own volition and to support themselves and their families. Indeed, my colleagues and I have been visiting brothels so we know the truth, and we think it's time that the truth is told.

The public consultation on Rhoda Grant's proposals for a new law to criminalise the purchase of sex is open until 14th December. This is an open consultation -- you do not have to be a resident of Scotland or the UK to respond.

All of us at SCOT-PEP have been campaigning to stop this law going through and we will continue to do so but we need YOU to use your voice too.

Are you a sex worker, a client or an individual interested in human rights and safety for sex workers? Politicians need to know the realities of sex work, so let's tell them!

  • If you are a sex worker and enjoy your job, if you do not feel exploited or that it is dehumanising, harmful or degrading, SAY SO.
     
  • If you choose to work as a sex worker because it is the best available option for you, SAY SO.
     
  • If you see disabled clients who would otherwise never experience the joy of skin to skin contact, SAY SO.
     
  • If you feel that making it illegal for your clients to pay you is not going to tackle trafficking or reduce demand but deprive you of a living, SAY SO.
     
  • If you are a client, who uses the services of sex workers and have yet to find a victim of coercion or trafficking, SAY SO.
     
  • If you work in health services and come into contact with sex workers who don't fit *that* stereotype, SAY SO.

Here's what you can do.

You can write to Rhoda Grant and tell her what you think of her proposals.

The consultation document asks specifically for answers to 8 questions -- but you can also just write in with your opinion if you prefer. Your letter will be much more powerful if you can add your own views and experiences, although at Scot-PEP we have prepared some template letters here which you can use as a guideline for your own letter. In fact you can simply print the letters off and sign them.

You don't need to use your real name, for example you can use your work name or an alias to send in your opinion. If you do use your own name you must ask for your response to be treated as anonymous if you do not wish your name to be published on Rhoda Grant's website and by the Scottish Parliament. (Only names will be published -- not contact addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses etc.)

You can email your letter to: Rhoda.Grant.msp@scottish.parliament.uk

or post it to:

Rhoda Grant MSP Room M1.06 Scottish Parliament Edinburgh EH99 1SP

It has never been more important to stand up for your rights and to have your voice heard. Please don't let this new proposal drive our already clandestine and stigmatised jobs further underground and please don't allow politicians to tell you how you feel or how you ought to live your life. Enough is enough.

 

 

Hate Legislation Against Prostitution...

Two public consultations about banning prostitution in Scotland and Northern Ireland


Link Here4th October 2012

Not one, but two consultations advocating “the Swedish solution” to make criminal the purchase of sexual services have been announced in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The first, in Northern Ireland, is part of the Human Trafficking & Exploitation (Further Provisions & Support for Victims) Bill presented by Lord Morrow. While CAAN is against all forms of non-consensual behaviour – including trafficking for the purposes of sex slavery – CAAN is firmly of the issue that criminalising the purchase of sex is not the way forward.

The second, in Scotland, is a stand-alone bill ( Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex (Scotland) Bill (2) from Rhoda Grant MSP) that follows in the footsteps of the earlier bill from Trish Godman.

Both of these bills amount to hate legislation against prostitution, an effort to drive the industry underground in a flurry of fear and disgust brought on by the fact that the acts involve sex. They may be couched in terms of saving the poor and unlucky victims of trafficking, and may have lofty goals of gender equality, but they will do nought but bring further harm to prostitutes in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

How is this different from the last few times that prostitution has been challenged? This time the anti-sex campaigners are riding a rising right-wing tide across the Western world that has led to discussions outlawing prostitution in France and Ireland. Denmark has also seen prostitution under attack, although the Danes in general were sceptical of criminalising prostitution. The current consultations also seem to be marginally better researched, now that more time has passed since Sweden passed their law.

In both of these consultations, numbers matter. CAAN encourages you, as an individual, to put forward your opinion on these new consultations. You may just have the one argument that turns the tide against the sex-negative campaigners. Your voice counts!

The Northern Ireland Consultation closes 5pm on Thursday 18th October 2012.
You can read the consultation in full with all directions of where to send it here .

The Scotland Consultation closes 14 December 2012.
You can read the consultation in full with all directions of where to send it here .

PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ANY PARTIES YOU FEEL WOULD BE INTERESTED.




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