The UK's anti-trafficking policy is undermining the rights of sex workers, leaving them vulnerable to arrest and conviction or, in the case of migrant workers, detainment and deportation. The UK is also failing to meet its human rights
obligations to trafficked persons, particularly men, transgender people and people trafficked into non-sexual labour, says a report by sex worker rights network, x:talk.
Human Rights, Sex Work and the Challenge of Trafficking [pdf] describes how the UK's anti-trafficking policy has created new crimes around the selling of consensual sexual services between adults and how its implementation has resulted in an
increase in arrests and convictions for sex workers and others in the sex industry. The combination of anti-trafficking raids, brothel closures and increased surveillance of the indoor sex industry has caused serious disruptions to sex workers'
working environments and made the industry less safe, especially for migrant sex workers. The report describes the UK anti-trafficking measures as causing an unprecedented incursion into the lives and work of people employed in the indoor sex
It finds that many undocumented migrants are unable or unwilling to exercise their rights as workers, or access basic services, such as healthcare. Provisions in the Policing and Crime Act 2009, introduced to combat trafficking, have resulted in
a situation where migrant sex workers do not seek redress when they are wronged or abused and are more vulnerable to exploitation and rights abuses.
Ava Caradonna, sex worker and spokeswoman for x:talk, said:
We have always suspected that attempts to address human trafficking have been co-opted by people with another agenda—the eradication of the sex industry. What the x:talk report has highlighted is that, rather than
assisting and supporting trafficked people, anti-trafficking policies have been most effective at putting the safety, health and even the lives of sex workers at risk. They have also helped to make sex workers a soft target for the Border
x:talk has recently filed an Freedom of Information request for details of the Poppy Project, to coincide with the report's release. The request aims to find out how the Poppy Project have spent more than £9m granted by the government and
what support it is provided to trafficked women – information that is not currently publicly available.
New plans to tackle prostitution by criminalising pimps, brothel keepers and customers are to be launched in the Scottish Parliament.
Labour MSP Trish Godman, who unsuccessfully attempted to add a prostitution amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill that was passed in the summer, is to launch a consultation on a new private members bill, with people able to comment on it until
The Criminalisation of the Purchase and Sale of Sex (Scotland) Bill , focuses on the people who facilitate and purchase sex, while treating the sex worker as a victim.
Ms Godman said: Prostitution should be regarded in Scotland as an abuse and an exploitation that will not be tolerated - we must call time on the punters, pimps and brothel keepers. My legislation will challenge the whole acceptance of men
Thanks to Melanie-H
Trish Godman has published a worthless one sided, and presumably private 'consultation' which only allows for opinions supporting her aims:
to make the purchasing/selling of sex indoors illegal;
and to strengthen existing legislation to criminalise activities linked to prostitution, specifically advertising and facilitating
She has put together a 'consultation' document with no provision whatsoever to oppose the proposal. It asks:
Which option do you favour? Please explain the reasons for your choice.
Option 1 is to criminalise both the seller and the purchaser;
Option 2 is to criminalise only the purchaser.
What penalties would have a deterrent effect for the purchaser/seller?
What are the barriers to policing and enforcing a prohibition on advertising?
What penalties are appropriate for those who advertise brothels or prostitution, bearing in mind these may range from individuals such as prostitutes to organised crime gang members?
What are there barriers to policing and enforcing this aspect of the proposal?
What penalties are appropriate for those that facilitate prostitution, bearing in mind these might be individuals such as prostitutes or organised crime gang members?
What other costs might arise as a consequence of this proposal?
Are there any equality issues that arise from this proposal?
Newspaper editors across London have been sent letters by police threatening that they could be prosecuted for sex adverts involving women who have been trafficked.
A letter was sent to more than 170 editors by the Metropolitan Police Service telling them they could be held criminally liable if adverts in their titles turn out to be linked to human trafficking, exploitation or proceeds of crime.
The letter from Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Martin, head of the Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Unit, asks editors to put a system in place to ensure they do not accept adverts which are a front for such criminal activity.
The letter from DCS Martin says advertising in newspapers could play a key role in allowing the exploitation of trafficked victims. He writes:
The adverts in question often purport to be massage parlours, saunas or escort agencies, but are in reality a front for criminal networks to advertise trafficked victims for sexual services.
I am therefore seeking your support to help us address this issue by ensuring that your publications do not allow advertising space to be utilised to promote these practices.
Advertisements that offer multi-national or young women or which are sexually suggestive in tone are often the type found to be linked to the provision of sexual services and / or the presence of trafficked women.
It is these types of adverts I am seeking your support in preventing. I would ask that you put in place a system to satisfy yourselves that those seeking to place advertisements are genuine concerns or businesses and not a
cover for the types of criminal activity highlighted above.
As you will appreciate, criminal liability can arise in certain circumstances where evidence clearly shows that the advertising in question supports or promotes offences associated to trafficking, exploitation or proceeds