The UK Parliament's All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prostitution has launched an inquiry on pop-up brothels using short term lets.
The APPG inquiry will obviously be biased against sex workers as it describes such brothels in
pejorative way explaining that the investigation has been prompted by growing reports of organised crime groups establishing 'pop-up' brothels to sexually exploit women
It will now look to gather evidence on the scale of the practice, who
is involved, and what action the Government should take.
You may recall the APPG's previous inquiry into prostitution in 2014 and its remit to develop proposals for government action with a focus on tackling
demand for the sex trade. Unsurprisingly, the inquiry's conclusion was to recommend the blanket criminalisation of sex workers' clients, as well as targeting sex workers with draconian ASBOs, which carry up to five years in prison if breached. These
proposals were influenced unduly by the original secretariat of that group, a Christian charity called CARE, which has a track record of homophobia and fundamentalist Christian views. This inquiry was discredited when the chair of the APPG refused to
publish the evidence on which its recommendations were apparently based.
The demands that sex workers are making are being disparaged and ignored. We have repeatedly told parliament, including the APPG, that decriminalisation in
New Zealand has made it safer for sex workers and that those who claim to want to abolish prostitution must say how else we are supposed to survive.
Austerity cuts (which have targeted women in particular) and policies such as
benefit sanctions have led to a big increase in prostitution like in Sheffield which reported a 166% increase. Why aren't these issues being addressed by politicians who claim to want to save women from prostitution? Or why not an inquiry into the
epidemic of violence sex workers are facing? Our experience shows that when sex workers report violence they often face prosecution themselves while little is done to catch their attackers.
We want to stop this Committee in its
tracks and make them listen to people who have to live with the horrendous impacts of the unjust prostitution laws.
You'll see that the questions are biased, make various unproven assumptions and misdirect people into answering in
a particular way. We need as many people as possible (and particularly sex workers) to respond to the inquiry so that our shared views are reflected in the final report.
A Co Armagh man has become the first person to face prosecution for allegedly paying for sexual services since a law prohibiting it was introduced in Northern Ireland in 2015.
The first victim of the law is accused of attempting to buy sexual
services in Dungannon, County Tyrone, in August 2016.
The Public Persecution Service (PPS) confirmed that this is the first case in which someone has been charged over allegedly paying for sex. The case is due to be heard at the end of January,
following a pre-trial review taking place in December.
A legal prostitution zone should be introduced in a bid to tackle sex slavery in the West Midlands, an expert has said. The expert, who was intriguingly described as a 'slavery investigator' whose identity cannot be revealed, said it would help ensure
the safety of women, while reducing the amount of pop-up brothels.
The idea has also been backed by the English Collective of Prostitutes, which say the zone would mean sex workers could report violence without fear of arrest. Spokesman Laura
Watson added it would mean an end to police action, which saw 800 cautions given to sex workers in two years.
Speaking to the Express & Star, an ex police officer said: It (legal prostitution zone) would be helpful in terms of the girls safety
and looking at the issue from the victims' point of view. It is not something that can be done overnight and would take a great deal of work. But it could provide a way for us to get on the girls' side, provide security and tackle pop-up
brothels. These girls often do not trust the police or authorities. [Hardly surprising when police have added to the criminal records of 800 sex workers in 2 years].
Ms Norman, the 70-year-old woman who was arrested because she stayed to try to save the life of a man who had collapsed in the brothel where she was working as a cleaner, was today found guilty of assisting in the management of a brothel.
Cari Mitchell from the English Collective of Prostitutes, which has been supporting Ms Norman and who was present in court, commented.
It is a terrible injustice that a woman who performed a civic duty by
trying to save another human being's life should find herself with a criminal record for her efforts. Shame on the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Judge. If they had any morals or were in anyway concerned for women's safety this prosecution
would never have been brought or Ms Norman would have been found not guilty. How was prosecuting Ms Norman in the public interest?
Ms Norman was too upset to comment and was very distressed at getting a criminal record. She
thanked her supporters and the ECP for sticking with her throughout this ordeal.
This prosecution sends a signal to sex workers everywhere that the police are more concerned with their targets and consequently their funding than
with the value of human life. Sex workers who are victims of rape and other violence will be deterred from reporting for fear of being put on trial for prostitution. Violent attackers are more likely to go free as a result.
Norman was convicted of assisting in the management of a brothel because she helped post ONE advert and recorded the details of some clients. Everyone knew that she was the cleaner and not the manager or owner. She got paid 2£6 an hour. She was given a
conditional discharge and has to pay towards court costs. A criminal record wrecks havoc with someone's life 203 affecting everything from travel to housing to insurance cover. We now wait to see if the police and courts further persecute Ms Norman by
trying to take her savings and assets under proceeds of crime law.
This prosecution flies in the face of the National Police Chiefs' Council policing strategy which recognises sex workers as a vulnerable group that we have a
responsibility to protect. Evidence from New Zealand where prostitution was decriminalised in 2003 found that 70% of sex workers said that since decriminalisation they were more likely to report incidents of violence to the police.* In the UK. there are
significant differences in the numbers of sex workers reporting violence depending on police policy in that area. For example, in Lancashire, where police made known that their priority was harm reduction, 46% of sex workers reported when they were a
victim of crime. This compared to 5% of victims in Nottinghamshire where police had a policy of arresting both sex workers and clients.
A man who paid £30 for sex was fined £410 for an unknown offence when the case was heard by Nottingham magistrates.
A police community support officer was in plain clothes in a hot spot for prostitution , off Forest Road East, when she saw a
man approach a known prostitute. She called the police and the victim was apprehended.
The man was said to be in drink. so presumably not kerb crawling, as drink driving would surely have been cited. Ali Zaki prosecuting
He said he had been in Nottingham city centre for a few drinks and went to the vice area and paid £30 for oral sex.
The victim was found guilty of soliciting to obtain sexual services of
a prostitute in Forest Grove and was fined £410.