Prostitution and the sex industry
In response to the Government’s latest proposals for the sex industry, which continues with a piecemeal approach to prostitution, I tabled the following three Early Day Motions:
PROSTITUTION AND THE CRIMINAL LAW
That this House considers that the measures in relation to prostitution contained in the Policing and Crime Bill, though well-intentioned, are deeply flawed; believes that there is no justification for involving the criminal law in consensual transactions that cause no public nuisance; notes the opposition to the proposals from the Royal College of Nursing and other members of the Safety First Coalition, who call for an end to the criminalisation of prostitution, which they consider makes sex workers more vulnerable to attack; further notes that police evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee has cast doubts on the enforceability of the proposals on paying for the sexual services of a prostitute controlled for gain and therefore opposes these provisions in the Bill; and calls on the Government to make more effective use of existing laws against trafficking and sexual exploitation and to enlist the support of purchasers of sexual services to help expose those establishments that use trafficked women.
POLICING AND CRIME BILL PROVISIONS INTRODUCING ORDERS REQUIRING ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS
That this House notes that Clause 16 in the Policing and Crime Bill providing for the introduction of Orders Requiring Attendance at Meetings for those found to be loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution is simply a rehash of the abandoned proposal in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill for compulsory rehabilitation; considers that there is no evidence that compulsion assists in rehabilitation and agrees with the Royal College of Nursing that the proposal will lead to greater detention of some of the most vulnerable, stigmatised and marginalised people in society whose criminalisation helps institutionalise them in prostitution; and therefore urges the Government to concentrate instead on providing high-quality outreach programmes, independent of the criminal justice system, which offer healthcare and support, sexual health advice and drug rehabilitation opportunities that individuals who want to leave prostitution can access.
DEFINITION OF A BROTHEL
That this House notes with disappointment that the Government has failed to use the Policing and Crime Bill to honour the commitment in the Home Office report of January 2006, A Co-ordinated Prostitution Strategy and a summary of responses to Paying the Price, for an amendment to the definition of a brothel so that two or three individuals could work together from shared accommodation; and is concerned that the omission of this provision misses an important opportunity to allow women in the sex trade to work more safely, to have more control over their work and to make it easier for them to leave the trade should they so wish.
For more information:
Click here to read my 2004 submission to a Home Office consultation on prostition: "RESPONSE TO: PAYING THE PRICE".
Click here to read my 2007 response to Harriet Harman's announcement that ministers are to look at bringing in a ban on paying for sex.