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Less censorship, more regulation...

UK police body announces a change of direction in policing sex work websites


Link Here5th November 2019
Moves to shut down websites used to sell sex have been abandoned by the National Crime Agency .

Under a new strategy, the agency will instead advise the adult services websites on how to improve their standards to stop the exploitation of slaves.

Those running the websites will be told how to verify the age of the women or men selling their bodies and to be alert for suspicious signs such as several people being advertised by one person.

Other warning indicators include bait-and-switch adverts, where a photograph of a woman is used to lure a customer who finds a different person when they arrive to have sex.

Law enforcers say this can indicate that one slavery victim has been swapped for another -- or that the woman selling sex is doing so because she is being controlled by organised criminals.

The NCA's aim is to persuade those who run the websites to stop them being used to promote unlawful activity.

I wonder if this is related to the recent government announcement putting an end to its porn censorship regime. Maybe the police would prefer these things to be open and monitorable rather than forcing large numbers of people to hide their internet browsing behind VPNs, Tor, encrypted messaging and encrypted DNS.

 

 

Government credited with forcing women into prostitution...

House of Commons hears how Universal Credit and restricting benefits does indeed force women into sex work


Link Here 27th October 2019
The English Collective of Prostitutes has been giving evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee Inquiry into Universal Credit and survival sex

Laura Watson from the English Collective of Prostitutes, which gave evidence to the Committee says:

The fury against Universal Credit (UC) is growing. Women and children are its first targets and single mothers have been hit particularly hard losing on average 2380 per year -- that's 40-50 a week.

The committee, by listening to sex workers and the organisations that support us, has recommended action against some of the worst aspects of universal credit, for example, abolishing the five week delay that has massively increased destitution and homelessness and pushed many more women into survival sex As a result, the report strengthens demands for universal credit to be scrapped.

Along with other organisations, the ECP gave evidence about an increase in women going into prostitution because of UC and in some cases going back into prostitution having left. The report quotes a woman in our group who spoke about being terrified of what will happen because she will lose money when she is transferred over to UC and she is already living on the breadline struggling to support her children. The report specifically mentions evidence we gave that many of those who turned to survival sex were single mothers, who may also fear losing custody of their children.

We are particularly glad for the emphasis in the report on the five week wait before any money is paid. The Committee acknowledged that this alongside sanctions and the debt that resulted from being made deliberately destitute drives women to engage in survival sex. The five week wait is called a fundamental design flaw and the Committee reiterated its recommendation that it must be eliminated.

In addition, the Committee recommends that benefits be raised in line with the cost of living saying that even when people get their money the amount they receive is simply not enough to live on. People will continue to be driven to survival sex for as long as benefit rates fail to match the amount of money that they actually need to live on .

The report recommends that alternatives to the digital application system, that appears to be designed to put obstacles in the way of people making an application, are put in place -- shockingly it reports that this results in one in five applications are closed without payment because people don't comply with the universal credit process.

 

 

No gain, only pain...

Government commissioned report finds that criminalising of buying sex in Northern Ireland hasn't reduced demand for sex work, nor has it reduced trafficking. All it does is make life more dangerous for sex workers


Link Here19th September 2019

Section 15 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act 2015 requires the Department to review the operation of Article 64A of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 which criminalises the purchase of sexual services.

The Department commissioned research from Queen's University Belfast to assist in fulfilling this statutory requirement.

The report provided by QUB provides findings which allow for an assessment of the operation of the legislation, including the impact of the law on the two particular specifics targeted by section 15, namely the safety and wellbeing of sex workers and the extent to which the offence has operated to reduce human trafficking.

Assessment of impact

On the basis of the findings in the research report, the Department has concluded that there is no evidence that the offence of purchasing sexual services has produced a downward pressure on the demand for, or supply of, sexual services.

Evidence obtained from the survey with people who purchase sexual services shows that the legislation has had a limited deterrent effect on client behaviour. For example, a majority of clients in Northern Ireland (53%) state that the law has made no difference to how often they purchase sex and they will continue to purchase sex with the same frequency. A further 27% are likely to continue to purchase sex at a reduced level. 11% said they would stop buying sex. Almost 76% of those surveyed felt that the law had no impact on the ease with which they purchase sex. The research also found that there had been no reduction in sex worker advertising, which would have been expected had demand fallen post 2015.

Safety and well-being of sex workers

On the first of the specific areas on which the Department is required to make an assessment, ie the impact of the offence on the safety and well-being of sex workers, we have concluded that, although the incidence of serious offending against sex workers is comparatively rare, there are other implications for well-being which the report describes in some detail. The research into self-reported data supplied by Uglymugs.ie (UM) does indicate there while there have been increases in several kinds of more serious offences, overall, the incidence is still lower than elsewhere.

The report also makes clear that it is not possible to say that the change in the law is responsible for any increase in crime against sex workers. Other factors may include the increase in the number of sex workers active in Northern Ireland, existing sex workers fulfilling higher levels of demand, more sex workers using the UM app, better reporting or recording techniques, and a more enhanced awareness of crime amongst the sex worker population in general.

However, what the UM data featured in the report does suggest is that there has been an increase in instances of anti-social and abusive behaviours since 2016. This has led to a heightened fear of crime, and the report suggests that the legislation has contributed to a climate whereby sex workers feel further marginalised and stigmatised.

Human trafficking

The extent to which Article 64A has operated to reduce human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation was also covered by the research.

There is no clear evidence presented in the report to suggest that the legislation has had an impact on the levels of trafficking for sexual exploitation. The research found that the legislation had minimal effect on the demand for sexual services therefore it is difficult to see in what way it could impact on human trafficking for sexual exploitation. The referrals from Northern Ireland to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) have remained fairly constant. The report also points out that the very small numbers from Northern Ireland involved in the NRM make it problematic in social scientific terms to suggest that Article 64A has had any impact on referrals with any degree of statistical significance.

 

 

Offsite Article: Window dressing...


Link Here22nd May 2019
Amsterdam puts to end guided tours of its red light district on 1st January 2020

See article from thrillist.com

 

 

Offsite Article: How The New UK Porn Block Could Put Independent Sex Workers At Risk...


Link Here15th May 2019
Age verification measures pose a tangible threat to sex workers' income and safety.

See article from elle.com

 

 

Offsite Article: The UK Government Risks Facilitating a Porn Monopoly...


Link Here 14th April 2019
Spare a thought for how age verification censorship affects British small adult businesses and sex workers. By Freya Pratty

See article from novaramedia.com

 

 

And the sex workers have been thrown out on to the streets...

Owners of Sandy's Superstars brothels in Manchester convicted


Link Here 4th February 2019

The Sandys Superstars brothels in Manchester were operated by Sandy Hankin and her husband, Christopher. The couple has now been convicted of brothel keeping.

The couple were running two brothels with an agreement with the authorities. Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court heard Greater Manchester Police (GMP) did not take any action in shutting down the brothels due to limited resources. Instead, GMP agreed that as long as there was no underage services, no trafficking of women, that the business wasn't used as a front for other crime and that it did not affect the local community, then they could continue. Local authorities also knew, and tax was paid on the business, reports the Manchester Evening News.

The two premises, advertised by a website, were selling sex at 50 to customers for half an hour. Both branches were registered limited companies, and the women, who were all British, were provided with security, health care, fresh towels and clean premises, the court heard.

Sandy Hankin was described as kind and generous by her defence barrister, who added: (The couple) provided exemplary working conditions.... the working women flourished. Many bought homes, had saving bank accounts, and were real providers for their families for the first time. All aspects of the women's health and well being was provided for.

However the business was targeted  by a local investigative journalist and both premises were shut down after police finally raided them in November 2016.

Following days of legal argument, Sandra Hankin, Christopher Hankin, and 2 others pleaded guilty to keeping brothels to use for prostitution. The Hankins were sentenced to six months custody suspended for two years. They have also been hit with Proceeds of Crime Act orders demanding that they hand over 350,000.

Comment: Tarts turned out on the streets

Thanks to Alan

Re report in Sunday Mirror. Christopher and Sandy Hankin - suspended porridge and ordered to hand over 350K proceeds of crime in Manchester.

They'd been running their knocking shops quite openly for ten years, paying taxes and with the police turning a blind eye. Then in 2016 they got raided, allegedly after complaints. In other words, when Mr Plod was allowed to take a cut of proceeds of crime, the pound signs appeared in his piggy little eyes, the safe, well-run brothels are closed, the owners nicked, and the tarts turned out on the streets.

It's years since it was recommended that sex workers - and, ideally, sex work - be decriminalised, but this idiocy continues. The problem may in part lie on the Labour benches. While Jeremy Corbyn and, especially, John McDonnell have made friendly noises in the past, they risk the wrath of authoritarian feminist zombie Blairites like Jess Phillips and Harridan Hatemen - before her sad metamorphosis the rather good civil liberties lawyer Harriet Harman. Across the floor, there's the usual hypocritical mix of authoritarianism and quiet visits to a discreet lady.




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