London mayor Boris Johnson has urged shoppers to challenge newsagents who allow their windows to become advertising boards for prostitutes.
Johnson said people did not realise calling cards offering massage services were often directly
linked to organised crime and violence.
Speaking on International Women's Day at London Bridge, he said members of the public should play their part: I think this is one of those areas where the public can have a huge influence.
Launching his strategy for tackling violence against women, Johnson said he wanted more work to be done to reduce the demand for prostitutes. He said this could be achieved through the better use of existing laws and licensing regulations, publicity campaigns and education for school pupils.
But Sarah Walker from the International Prostitutes Collective criticised the mayor's plans, saying: It's outrageous that Boris Johnson is using International Woman's Day to attack prostitutes. Banning women from putting cards in windows will
drive them out of premises on to the streets, which is 10 times worse. Whatever policies are put place, we have to prioritise woman's safety.
Senior Labour figures in Scotland were shocked last week to learn that the city council leader had a drug problem and had been warned by police that he was in danger of being blackmailed by suppliers.
Even politicians who considered themselves to
be close friends of Purcell said that they had no idea about his problems.
Purcell resigned as a councillor on Friday, spelling the end of his high-flying political career, as speculation about the extent of his problems continued to mount. He had
hoped that by quitting as leader earlier in the week he could take time out to recover and make a comeback in several months. However, as revelations continued to emerge about his lifestyle that strategy had to be abandoned.
It emerged yesterday
that officers from the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforecement Agency visited him at his office in the city chambers last May to warn that he could be open to blackmail. The agency told him that it was aware of a dealer claiming to have evidence of drug use
which could end his career.
Fellow moralist, Jim Coleman, will remain the acting leader of Scotland's biggest local authority until an annual general meeting is held in May.
Glasgow City Council have refused to review any decisions made by its former leader Steven Purcell following revelations about drugs abuse.
Calls were made for decisions at the council to be looked at again. The demands by the GMB union
and SNP opponents came just after the former council leader quit as a councillor and reportedly fled to Australia to recuperate.
Comment: Perhaps to time to review Glasgow
Council's Moralising campaigns
End Prostitution Now is
a campaign led by Glasgow City Council which aims to raise awareness of the harm caused through prostitution and put the focus on the buyers of sex - the DEMAND - who have in the past been invisible from public debate.
Glasgow Council seem to be denying that they are running it.
There are no references to this campaign in the most recent annual Company report of the Glasgow Community and Safety Services Limited Company. And even stranger when Glasgow City
Council were approached under the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland 2002)
The Council is treating your request as a request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
On inspecting our records, it would appear that Glasgow City Council does not hold the information which you have requested. Neither does anyone else hold it on our behalf. Accordingly we are unable to comply with your request.
I can confirm that Glasgow City Council does not run political campaigns.
The truth is that what actually happens during moralistic periods is virtually the same as what goes on in more liberal times; what differs is the lack of openness about people's behaviour and the hidden nature of any harmful consequences. In moralistic
periods, sin, crime and vice get pushed so far under the carpet that moralisers, believing (rather as children do) that what they cannot see does not exist, feel great self-satisfaction. The honesty of more liberal times, and the fact that everyone can
then see harm when it occurs, affronts the moralisers; and they hasten to force it back into darkness.
This is exactly what is happening now. The most obvious example is the profoundly mistaken proposal to further criminalise the sex trade in
Scotland, by making the purchase of sexual services a crime. Already in England it is a crime for anyone to buy the services of a person trafficked into sex work, whether or not the client knows that the individual is a victim of coercion.
Advertisements for massage parlours and escort agencies are to be banned in the next government assault on the sex industry.
Ministers plan to disrupt the sex industry by banning newspaper advertisements for prostitutes and brothels
in a new law put forward in Labour's election manifesto. Failure to comply with the law could carry a £10,000 fine.
The clampdown is being led by Vera Baird, the solicitor-general, and Harriet Harman, the equality minister.
concerned that a request to remove the adverts has had only partial success. Although The Newspaper Society succeeded in persuading some newspaper groups to stop carrying them, ministers are concerned that many others have failed to do so.
Crown Prosecution Service has already studied a similar law in Ireland and concluded that it would work in the UK.
The new law would also inform publishers which kind of ads will be banned by defining, for example, the difference between a massage
parlour which is actually a brothel and spas offering therapeutic massages.
Sex phone lines, carried in many tabloid newspapers, would not be caught by the law unless they are a front for arranging prostitution.
It would also make it a
criminal offence to print or distribute telephone-box cards advertising prostitutes. Under the current law, it is an offence only to be caught in the act of posting such a card.
Baird said: It is now appropriate to move against people who make
money from advertising prostitutes. The Newspaper Society tightened its guidance on taking such ads but there is still a market that we now have to look to legislation to disrupt.
The nightclub boss Peter Stringfellow has warned that he would appeal under human rights laws if he was forced to close his lapdancing clubs under new government regulations.
Hundreds of lap-dancing clubs will have to seek new licences under
powers that are expected to force some premises to close. The new licensing regime will start on April 6, when clubs will be called sexual entertainment venues . They will all have to apply for a fresh licence.
Local councils in England and
Wales will be able to ban clubs from opening near schools or other buildings in quiet or busy neighbourhoods. The public will be given the right to oppose an application to open a club on the basis that the premises are inappropriate .
Stringfellow and the Lap Dancing Association are threatening to go to the European Court of Human Rights if any club given specific permission to conduct lap dancing loses its licence. They claim that loss of the licence breaches human rights because it deprives them of their possession.
Stringfellow said that the regulations had been brought forward because Jacqui Smith, the former Home Secretary, and Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, were entranced by the radical feminist organisation known as the Fawcett
You will have seen the advertisements in the back of some newspapers: New young models. Open 24 hours. Come and relax and have a professional massage.
If Vera Baird, the UK Solicitor General has her way such ads will soon be a thing of the
past. Baird, along with Fiona Mactaggart, Harriet Harman and other feminists in Westminster, is looking to the Republic of Ireland for inspiration on how to legislate against third-party profiteering from the sex industry – namely by newspapers.
Ireland's legislation, in place since 1994, reads:
A person who publishes or causes to be published or distributes or causes to be distributed an advertisement which advertises a brothel or the services of a
prostitute in the State or any premises or service in the State in terms, circumstances or manner which gives rise to the reasonable inference that the premises is a brothel or that the service is one of prostitution shall be guilty of an offence.
The legislation includes those advertising prostitution services in other ways, for example displaying notices or posters, circulating leaflets or cards (such as those in telephone boxes) or on radio, television, computer, telephone,
fax or photography.
At Baird's instigation the Crown Prosecution Service here in the UK has taken a close look at the legislation and decided that it could be useful in prosecuting those directly involved in profiting from this abusive industry
and could also reduce the numbers of men paying for sex.
If police can confirm that an ad being published or distributed is for a brothel the publisher is sent a warning of possible arrest and prosecution if the ad runs again. The penalty is a
fine of up to £10,000.
Prostitution is seen as a market opportunity for organised gangs trafficking women into Scotland, a police body warned MSPs yesterday. The claim was made at a Scottish Parliament committee investigating the economic impact of human trafficking and
The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) said people-smuggling generates large amounts of money for gangs and opportunistic criminals, particularly in the Strathclyde force area.
In a submission to Holyrood's
equal opportunities committee, Acpos said: The existence of an illicit sex industry in Strathclyde and the rest of Scotland is seen as a market opportunity, and there is evidence that criminal gangs, involved in large-scale organised prostitution
rings, traffic women into the UK.
Prostitution and escort services generate vast amounts of profit for the criminals, not to mention the harm to the individuals, who are exploited and require intensive support to reclaim their lives.
Politicians have called for dedicated government funds to tackle the problem before the Commonwealth Games comes to Glasgow in 2014. It was claimed last year that
well-paid construction workers might increase demand for prostitution in the city.
The Scottish Government has said it is funding the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency to establish a new unit which will target human trafficking as
well as other forms of organised crime.