One lunacy is ASBOs being used instead of criminal punishment. Effectively it means repeat offenders are jailed. Given that under current law no one is jailed for being a prostitute, this is an increase, not a decrease
An article in the Economist reignited the debate around legalising prostitution in the UK. Dr Brooke Magnanti explores what decriminalisation would look like and says that we're long overdue a rethink of workers' rights
This is a briefing we ( prostitutescollective.net ) have prepared against a clause to the Modern Slavery Bill which aims to criminalise sex workers' clients.
your objections (model letter below) to the clause as soon as possible. It will be discussed next Tuesday 4 November in the Report Stage of the Bill. Please send letters to the Chair of the Modern Slavery Bill Committee
Frank Field MP , the rest of the committee and to
John McDonnell MP .
Briefing against clauses to the Modern Slavery Bill to prohibit the purchase of sexual services.
An amendment and two clauses to the Modern Slavery Bill put forward by Fiona Mactaggart MP aim to make the purchase of sex illegal, remove the criminal sanctions against prostituted women and provide support to women who want to leave prostitution
We support the amendment which would remove the offence of loitering and soliciting for women working on the street . This decriminalisation should be extended to sex workers working from premises. The brothel-keeping
legislation should be amended so that women can work more safely together. In 2006, the Home Office acknowledged: . . . the present definition of brothel ran counter to advice that, in the interests of safety, women should not sell sex alone.
We strongly oppose the clauses criminalising clients , on the basis of women's safety. Criminalising clients does not stop prostitution, nor does it stop the criminalisation of women. It drives prostitution further underground, making
it more dangerous and stigmatising for women.
Any benefit from decriminalising loitering and soliciting will be cancelled if clients are criminalised. Women will have to go underground if clients are underground. Kerb-crawling
legislation has already made it more dangerous for prostitute women and men. In Scotland, since kerb-crawling legislation was introduced in October 2007, the number of assaults on sex workers have soared. Attacks reported to one project almost doubled in
one year from 66 to 126.
Many of the claims that have been made about the impact of the 1999 Swedish law which criminalised clients are false and have no evidential basis.
The Swedish law has not resulted in a reduction in sex trafficking.
The Swedish law has not reduced prostitution.
Since the criminalisation of clients the treatment of sex
workers in Sweden has worsened. (Please see Appendix for examples).
Evidence from sex workers has been ignored.
The criminalisation of clients increases women's vulnerability to violence.
The Safety First Coalition formed after the murder of five women in Ipswich opposes the criminalisation of clients.
Claims that prostitution is an extreme form of exploitation are counterproductive and
ignore the economic reality that many women face.
An unholy alliance with homophobic religious fundamentalists.
The successful New Zealand model
has been ignoredexamples being ignored?
The public support decriminalisation of prostitution on grounds of safety
The criminalisation of clients has been rejected in Scotland  and in France.
Sex workers and campaigners joined forces in the House of Commons to lobby against sections of new Bill which would criminalise clients.
Members of the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) argued that some clauses of the Modern Slavery Bill
could increase the dangers faced by sex workers. ECP spokeswoman Niki Adams said:
We strongly oppose the criminalisation of clients, on the basis of women's safety. Despite claims that loitering and soliciting may be
decriminalised, this will have little effect if clients are criminalised.
Prostitution will be pushed further underground, disrupting informal security systems among women on the street and displacing women into remote areas.
Offering solidarity at the event were members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). RCN president Andrea Spyropoulos said:
It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to criminalise individuals who are
consenting adults having sex.
On health alone it is not sensible to criminalise people because it changes their behaviour and puts them at risk.
Fiona Taggart's amendment to criminalise the buying of sex was withdrawn without a vote.
The government and many MPs didn't seem to have an appetite to include controversial elements to a bill seemingly enjoying the support of most MPs. The only
debate was that Labour wanted to go further than the Tories in measures against the wider remit of trafficking.
As soon as the topic of prostitution was raised it was clearly that some sort of decision had already being taken. An amendment was
proposed that would require the government to review prostitution policy. It seemed widely accepted that far reaching changes of policy on prostitution would be better addressed with some sort of formal reviews being undertaken first. Even Fiona Taggart
seemed to concur that it would be better to go this route rather than suddenly declaring large numbers of men to be criminals. So her amendment did not proceed after these comments and was presumably withdrawn.
But the Taggart's speech triggered a
few strong pro and anti speeches that gave a flavour of the controversy the government seemed keen to avoid.
The amendment to require the review was defeated in a vote. However it did seem to reflect an approach that went down well with MPs. The
timing of being at the end of the 5 year term of this parliament seemed to make it all a bit doubtful for the moment...but the idea has been implanted for the future.
Update: The sex workers are unsurprisingly well pleased
We won! Our collective mobilisation defeated the amendment to the Modern Slavery Bill put forward by Fiona Mactaggart MP which would have criminalised clients. It dropped without even going to a vote. Another amendment put forward by Yvette Cooper
MP, Shadow Home Secretary, calling for a review of the links between prostitution and human trafficking and sexual exploitation was put forward as an alternative to Mactaggart's but that was also defeated.
This is a massive
victory for the campaign against the further criminalisation of sex work. Hundreds of people and organisations responded to the call to write to MPs. The briefing in Parliament on Monday night, that we organised at very short notice, drew a good crowd.
The impressive line-up of speakers included sex workers speaking about the impact the clause would have on their work, Hampshire Women's Institute, Women Against Rape, student representatives, academics and union reps, queers and anti-racists opposed to
this further discrimination. Questions from the MPs (Tories, Labour and Lib-Dem) elicited a productive and informative discussion.
MP John McDonnell's contribution to the debate in the Commons today was outstanding -- we have been
worked closely with him over many years, including on defeating this measure. He made reference to the wide range of opposition, quoting from some of the many briefings and letters people had sent him, and countered the false claims put forward by those
As a result of so many people acting so quickly and so effectively we are now in a stronger position to demand full decriminalisation.
UK Home Affairs Committee sets up a biased inquiry clearly with the intention of jailing men for seeking the simple pleasures of life from sex workers, just so that mean minded feminists can feel good about their 'equality'
The Home Affairs Committee is launching an inquiry into the way prostitution is treated in legislation. In particular, the inquiry will assess whether the balance in the burden of criminality should shift to those who pay for sex rather than those who
sell it. Saying that, the only discussion points on the agenda are in support of the premise.
Inquiry: Prostitution Home Affairs Committee
Terms of Reference
Written evidence is invited on the
Whether criminal sanction in relation to prostitution should continue to fall more heavily on those who sell sex, rather than those who buy it.
What the implications are for
prostitution-related offences of the Crown Prosecution Service's recognition of prostitution as violence against women.
What impact the Modern Slavery Act 2015 has had to date on trafficking for purposes of
prostitution, what further action is planned, and how effectively the impact is being measured.
Whether further measures are necessary, including legal reforms, to: - Assist those involved in prostitution to exit
from it - Increase the extent to which exploiters are held to account - Discourage demand which drives commercial sexual exploitation
Written submissions for this inquiry should be submitted online by midday on Thursday 18 February 2016.
A parliamentary group comprised of MPs seeking to criminalise men for buying sex have commissioned a report from a strident campaign group supporting the same cause.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution commissioned a report from the
campaign group End Demand. And shock horror, the report is a one sided diatribe of nastiness grasping at the vengeful opportunity to jail men just for wanting to get laid.
The extreme proposal from End Demand calls for British men who buy
sex from sex workers while abroad on stag parties should be prosecuted in the UK under new laws that make paying for sex illegal. See proposal from enddemand.uk
Sex tourists and businessmen who pay for prostitutes on expense accounts would also be criminalised under the campaign groups proposals in the Sex Buyer Law report.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution chairman, Gavin Shuker,
Labour MP for Luton South spewed:
Speaking personally, I think the idea has merit for one simple reason: many people's first experience of buying sex takes place abroad.
In its report, Shifting the Burden , the all-party group recommended the introduction, instead, of a sex-buyer offence, of following the Nordic model. It then asked End Demand , a campaign to end commercial sexual exploitation, to find out how this could
be implemented. The resulting report, produced by a commission on the sex buyer law, is to be launched in parliament this week. This concludes -- on the basis of evidence from Nottingham and Suffolk, as well as countries such as Sweden, which criminalise
buyers -- that a similar law is overdue here, to reduce both the human and economic cost of prostitution.
Having participated in that commission, along with, among others, Alan Caton and Diane Martin, a survivor of the sex trade
who has helped others to exit, I find it harder than ever to understand how any politician, local or otherwise, would want to perpetuate, by legalising it, a trade so staggeringly unequal and so dependent on the trafficked and marginalised. In Germany,
which did precisely that in 2002, the resulting brothels are warehouses of migrant women, pimped for bargain basement prices. Legalisation has failed, it turns out, both to inspire more gallantry in clients and to convince many German women that
supplying oral and anal sex on demand could make a nice change from waitressing.
Comment: Disgraceful article by Catherine Bennett in today's Observer
22nd February 2016. Thanks to Alan
There is an appalling article by Catherine Bennett in today's Observer, pimping the Nordic model . I'm baffled that a purportedly liberal newspaper should print this grotesquely illiberal crap, taking any bullshit spouted by an authoritarian
Swedish pseudo-feminist as gospel. So, for Bennett, the nasty Swedish minister of injustice points out blah, blah, blah.... Err, no, point out is a factive verb, claiming veracity for what follows. The minister actually tendentiously claims
blah, blah, blah....
The Guardian and Observer really seem all over the place where sex is concerned. They seem to have a check list of approved sexual behaviours/persons. Hence they're all for buggery by male homosexuals, whom
only a bigot would prevent from marrying one another, but Bennett has a fit of the vapours at the very idea of a lady of the night letting a bloke up her bum. At least the traditional taboos imposed by religion had a logical secular motive - to encourage
legitimate offspring by condemning sexual practices that couldn't produce kids (buggery, masturbation) or cast doubt on their legitimacy (adultery). The Guardian/Observer system seems to pick its does and don't at random.
to say, totally absent from Bennett's drivel is any input from women who actually work in the industry. When one considers that Max Mosley' lady friends were routinely described as prostitutes (and Lord Justice Eady seemed to acquiesce in that
description), I wonder whether Bennett and the Observer might not more usefully consider why a woman with a Ph.D. in organic chemistry finds it more satisfying and/or remunerative to have her bum spanked than to use her academic qualifications in lecture
theatre or lab.
Jeremy Corbyn supports the legalisation of sex work and says that he does not want to automatically criminalise people. Labour PC extremists soon respond saying that they DO want to criminalise everybody, or at least men
Jeremy Corbyn told students in London he wanted a society where we don't automatically criminalise people , The Guardian reported. He said:
I am in favour of decriminalising the sex industry. I don't want people to
be criminalised. I want to be [in] a society where we don't automatically criminalise people.
Let's do things a bit differently and in a bit more civilised way.
Of course it did not take long for the nasty wing
of the Labour party to crticise their leader and re-iterate that they would like to see men jailed just for wanting to get laid.
Ex-Labour deputy leader Harriet Hatemen claimed prostitution was exploitation and abuse not an industry .
Labour MP Jess Phillips spewed on Twitter:
Man says we should decriminalize a known violence against women. Why did it have to be this man,
But the English Collective of Prostitutes, which
campaigns for decriminalisation, voiced its support for Corbyn's comments. Supporters of decriminalisation include Amnesty International, which says it would mean sex workers are no longer forced to live outside the law .
Comment: Right Whinger
6th March 2016. Thanks to Alan
Corbyn's de facto number two, the shadow chancellor John McDonnell, also has a laudable track record of fighting the corner of sex workers.
The nonentity Jess Phillips is a right-whinger with form for trying to undermine Corbyn.
As for the bollox spouted by Harridan Hatemen, it mat be worth noting that the International Union of Sex Workers affiliated to the GMB, a TUC-affiliated union, which certainly seems to make them workers. Since HH's old man, Jack Dromey, is a former
union official, I'd love to be a fly on the wall of the Dromey-Hatemen kitchen at breakfast!
I never cease to be amazed by the capacity of purported feminists like Hatemen and Phillips to spew crap about prostitution
without ever talking to a few tarts.
Update: Corbyn is right -- prostitution must be decriminalised
UK Parliament Committee recommends an immediate end to laws prohibiting soliciting and brothel keeping (when adult and consensual)...but will then consider whether men should be criminalised for buying sex
If the committee realises that current prohibitions endanger sex workers then it seems unlikely that they can recommend the criminalisation of men. Even if the crime of soliciting is repealed, then instead of soliciting, the sex workers will be
guilty of inciting men to commit a crime.
The Committee introduces an interim report saying:
The Home Affairs Committee publishes an interim report on prostitution, saying that soliciting by sex workers, and sex
workers sharing premises, should be decriminalised.
Home Office should change legislation
The Committee says the Home Office should immediately change existing legislation so that soliciting is no
longer an offence and brothel-keeping laws allow sex workers to share premises, without losing the ability to prosecute those who use brothels to control or exploit sex workers. There must be zero tolerance of the organised criminal exploitation of sex
The Home Office should also legislate to delete previous convictions and cautions for prostitution from the record of sex workers, as these records make it much more difficult for people to move out of prostitution into
other forms of work if they wish to.
Around 11% of British men aged 16--74 have paid for sex on at least one occasion, which equates to 2.3 million individuals.
The number of sex workers in the UK is estimated to be around 72,800 with
about 32,000 working in London.
Sex workers have an average of 25 clients per week paying an average of £78 per visit.
In 2014--15, there were 456 prosecutions of sex workers for loitering and
An estimated 152 sex workers were murdered between 1990 and 2015. 49% of sex workers (in one survey) said that they were worried about their safety.
There were 1,139 victims of
trafficking for sexual exploitation in 2014 and 248 in April to June 2015 (following implementation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015).
With regards to changing the laws on buying sex, this inquiry will continue. The Committee will be seeking further evidence on the impacts of the recently introduced sex buyer laws
in Northern Ireland and France, and the model of regulation used in for example New Zealand, to make a better assessment for its final report. The laws on prostitution need ultimately to be reconsidered in the round, not least to give the police much
more clarity on where their priorities should lie and how to tackle the exploitation and trafficking associated with the sex industry.
Trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation is an important and separate issue from
prostitution involving consenting adults. It is too early to assess the impact of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 on levels of trafficking, but the Crown Prosecution Service identified 248 victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in the first three
months of the Act's operation, compared to 1,139 in 2014.
Research on prostitution
Despite the obvious difficulties involved in getting data on an essentially covert industry, the Committee is
"dismayed" at the poor quality of information available about the extent and nature of prostitution in England and Wales. The figures cited above must be considered in this context.
Without a proper evidence base, the
Government cannot make informed decisions about the effectiveness of current legislation and policies, and cannot target funding and support interventions effectively. The Home Office should commission an in-depth research study on the current extent and
nature of prostitution in England and Wales, within the next 12 months.
Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
This is the first time that
Parliament has considered the issue of prostitution in the round for decades. It is a polarising subject with strong views on all sides. This interim report will be followed by final recommendations, when we consider other options, including the
different approaches adopted by other countries.
As a first step, there has been universal agreement that elements of the present law are unsatisfactory. Treating soliciting as a criminal offence is having an adverse effect, and
it is wrong that sex workers, who are predominantly women, should be penalised and stigmatised in this way. The criminalisation of sex workers should therefore end.
The current law on brothel keeping also means sex-workers can be
too afraid of prosecution to work together at the same premises, which can often compromise their safety. There must however be zero tolerance of the organised criminal exploitation of sex workers, and changes to legislation should not lessen the Home
Office's ability to prosecute those engaged in exploitation.
The Committee will evaluate a number of the alternative models as this inquiry continues, including the sex-buyers law as operated in Sweden, the full decriminalised
model used in Denmark, and the legalised model used in Germany and the Netherlands.
Almost half of British people support the legalisation and regulation of prostitution, according to new polling conducted by Survation for Left Foot Forward.
Asked which of three legal models would be best for the UK, 48.2% supported legalising and
regulating the industry, while just 11.3% support decriminalising the sellers of sex but criminalising the buyers (the so-called Nordic model). 22.8% favoured criminalising the industry altogether.
The Survation poll was conducted ahead of a Left
Foot Forward fringe event at Labour Party Conference, which will discuss which legislative approach should be adopted by the Labour Party.
Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have both publicly supported decriminalisation, but many of their
Among Labour supporters, 48.4% support legalising prostitution, while 14.5% support the introduction of the Nordic model.
Overall, 44% of people supported a change to the law, while 38% think it should stay the same.
Warning: Fake News Alert: When did politicians ever care about a robust evidence base when issues of morality are at stake?
In July the Home Affairs Committee said soliciting for sex in England and Wales should
no longer be a criminal offence. MPs also suggested sex workers should be able to share premises rather than risk working alone.
However such policies are way to liberal for the government and so they have commissioned another research report, no
doubt hoping that it will reach a more proscriptive solution. After all there are still lots of men to jail for the heinous crime of simply trying to enjoy the pleasures of life.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said that a robust evidence base
was needed before policy changes were addressed. And so another Home Office research project has been commissioned and will report back next June. Rudd commented that any government response should include:
Ensuring those involved in prostitution and sex work are safeguarded, that traffickers and those who exploit vulnerable people can be effectively targeted, and ensuring that community concerns about prostitution and sex work can be addressed.