All forms of prostitution should be legalised, according to the councillor with responsibility for public protection in Brighton and Hove. Green Councillor Ben Duncan said as long as women are not being exploited, the law should be relaxed to allow
brothels and kerb crawlers to operate openly in the city. Duncan said:
It's the oldest profession in the land and it's not going to go away.
The simple act of having sex for money should not be
a criminal act, if you are doing it in an open way and no one is being hurt.
The Green Party believes that the sex worker industry should be completely legalised, as long as there is no coercion or sexual violence.
His comments came after The Argus revealed that increasing numbers of Brighton student girls are being drawn into prostitution because of spiralling debts.
Leader of the Conservative opposition Geoffrey Theobald said he partly
agreed with Coun Duncan's views, but said he didn't believe all forms of prostitution should be decriminalised. But in my view the best interests of the women themselves should always be the priority when looking at these matters.
Decriminalising brothels could solve problems linked to prostitution, says a Greater Manchester Police chief.
Deputy Chief Constable Simon Byrne said he would welcome a debate about alternative approaches to policing prostitution and sexual
Byrne, who leads the policing of prostitution for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), made the comments on the Police Chiefs blog.
He said there was no perfect solution but it had helped in other countries.
There is a great amount of academic research available, much of which supports the view that an alternative approach is needed.
While the decriminalisation and regulation of brothels in Australia and New Zealand was not an answer to all
related issues, he said it was certainly a solution to some . He added: More of those involved in sex work [there] can now access health services with ease, whilst maintaining more personal security.
An approach like this would
help to bridge the gap between tackling neighbourhood nuisance and the exploitation of sex workers by organised criminals and gangs. Byrne added that policing prostitution needed effective partnerships to support victimised individuals and
communities with appropriate legislation and enforcement resources in order for it to work long term.
The International Union of Sex Workers offers a cautious welcome to the new guidance from the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Current law on the sex industry is confusing and complicated: sex workers are at risk of prosecution unless they
work indoors in complete isolation. Legislation on brothel keeping and controlling for gain fail to target exploitation or coercion, but criminalises those working together. For those selling sex onstreet, the definition of persistent
soliciting (more than once every three months) means they can have contact with the police four times a year without risk of arrest.
We are glad to see ACPO recognise that the safety of people engaged in sex work must be paramount to the
police service .
We are also glad to see awareness of the practical work currently underway that increases the protection of people in the sex industry: As currently done by Merseyside Police, to deal with violent and sexual crimes /
incidents on sex workers in the same vein as a 'Hate Crime / Incident' i.e. premium response and service to the victim and ACPO supports the work of the UK Network of Sex Worker Projects, especially in relation to the ongoing development and
enhancement of 'Ugly Mugs' schemes
There is also acknowledgement that Enforcement alone is an inadequate solution, with clear direction to local forces: This strategy supports partner organizations and projects offering support
services to sex workers ... Supporting health, welfare, education and peer-led organisations in promoting safe sex practice by sex workers
However, there remains an inherent contradiction between the police role of protection and enforcement,
and sex workers will continue to bear the consequences of this in terms of violence and other abuses.
The American organisers of Sugar Daddy Parties , where mutually beneficial arrangements worth tens of thousands of dollars per month are struck over cocktails in New York nightclubs, are now seeking venues in London.
they are encouraging prostitution, they say they already have thousands of British sugar babies waiting to meet rich patrons. Typically, they are women in their late teens or early twenties seeking to pay university fees or fund glamorous living.
We have perfected our parties and are now ready to launch in even bigger markets like London, said Brandon Wade, the chief executive of Seeking Arrangement. We are due to start early in 2012.
A recent party at New York's
Hudson Terrace bar was attended by about 600 people. Daddies , aged 38 on average, were charged $100 ( £ 62), while babies , typically 12 years younger, paid $40 ( £ 25). Women outnumbered men by two to one, the organisers claimed.
While some guests struck lucrative deals on the spot, others exchanged phone numbers for further negotiations. $500 per date is common, said Wade: But we know of arrangements worth $10,000 and $20,000 per month.
Arrangement already has thousands of British members on its website, which encourages striking deals online. Male members, many of whom state that they are married, are charged $50 ( £ 31) per month. Sugar babies
can join for nothing.
The large majority of interviewed migrant workers in the sex industry in London are not forced nor trafficked, says a report.
The research team led by Dr Nick Mai interviewed 100 women, men and transgender people - the largest ever qualitative
research into migrants working in the London sex industry.
He discovered 13% of female interviewees felt they had been exploited and only 6% of female interviewees felt they had been deceived and forced into selling sex in circumstances within
which they had no share of control or consent .
The research found:
Many migrants prefer working in the sex industry rather than the unrewarding and sometimes exploitative conditions they meet in non-sexual jobs .
Many migrants working in the sex industry send money back to their country of
origin, thereby dramatically improving the living conditions of their families .
Police efforts to combat organised crime is undermined by the fact that victims of exploitation cannot be guaranteed indefinite leave to remain in
the UK. 'Climate of fear'
The International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW) welcomed the report. Catherine Stephens, of the IUSW, said:
We will only successfully target trafficking within the sex industry when we make policy based on evidence
and in reality.
There is currently a climate of fear amongst London sex workers due to police activity, that is driven by hype and misinformation promoted by NGOs with a financial vested interest in the anti-trafficking industry,
who are ideologically opposed to commercial sex.
It has been confirmed that prosecutions are being considered against innocent men who unwittingly buy sexual services from trafficking victims in Northern Ireland.
Consultation is ongoing in Northern Ireland about enforcing legislation which makes
it an offence to buy prostitution services from a girl if she is under the control of another person.
And the Police Service of Northern Ireland is also studying a Swedish model which has dramatically cut down on human trafficking in that country
by banning the purchase of all prostitution services, even between consenting adults.
Upper Bann MP David Simpson, who is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking, last night welcomed the news.
is becoming more and more exposed to this vile crime and I welcome the PSNI and authorities taking any steps which will help victims, he said. Notably not offering any objectivity to the scale of the problem.
Last month the PSNI attended a
conference in Dublin organised by the Immigrant Council of Ireland and anti-prostitution group Ruhama, which involved senior members of the Swedish and Norwegian police forces and the Garda. The conference organisers argued that a law banning the
purchase of all sex would reduce sex trafficking of women and girls right across the island of Ireland. A PSNI spokesman told the News Letter afterwards: We are aware of the proposals made at the conference to change legislation and we are
studying them. So do the police decide on the law in Northern Ireland?
The News Letter can also report that criminal justice agencies in Northern Ireland are consulting about enforcing section 14 of the Policing and Crime Act, which came into
force last year. Again, do the police decide on the law in Northern Ireland?
Police have vowed to eradicate human trafficking after securing the first sentencing for the crime in Scottish history.
Stephen Craig was jailed for three years and
four months for arranging travel, accommodation and advertising for 14 women.
His co-accused, Sarah Beukan, was jailed for a year and a half for her part in his human trafficking network.
Frank Mulholland called it a landmark case , while Detective Inspector Stephen Grant said it should act as a warning to others who are involved in this abhorrent way of life that we are coming to get you .
BUT... then proceed to describe the case further explaining that
Sheriff Sam Cathcart accepted that no pressure or force or threat was directed at any of the individuals involved.
The 23 sex workers involved with Craig's business were from Brazil, Bolivia,
Nigeria, Fife, Glasgow, Inverness, Airdrie and elsewhere in the UK. Craig had no part in bringing in the girls in from abroad.
In fact is believed the prostitutes were previously working independently as sex workers before being recruited by the pair.
Craig merely arranged accommodation and travel for the girls to work in his business. Pre-paid credit cards were used to transfer money and pay for the rental of properties, so the women would not carry cash when they travelled. They also provided
accommodation for them to work from, put advertisements in newspapers and online.
In return for this, the sex workers gave Craig a reasonable one third of their earnings.
Craig and Beukan had been running four brothels in Glasgow, at Argyll
Street, Wallace Street, Newton Terrace, and Clyde Street. They also ran a brothel in Aberdeen, at James Street, and one in Queens Square, Belfast.
But the prosecutors had the last nasty words:
Cathcart told Craig and Beukan there was no alternative to custody. He said that, by their actions, they had exerted control, direction or influence over the movements of the women, but accepted that no pressure or force or threat was
directed at any of the individuals involved.
DI Grant, of Strathclyde Police, said that Craig and Beukan were despicable individuals . Human beings are not products which can ever be bought and sold, and this will never
Frank Mulholland, QC, said: This is a landmark conviction for human trafficking in Scotland and represents the success of close working between police and prosecutors across the UK.
Offsite Comment: Is there really a sex-trafficking epidemic?
Last week Stephen Craig and Sarah Beukan, the first people to be convicted of human trafficking in Scotland, were given the short jail sentences of 40 months and 18 months
For many of those who followed the case -- which exposed a vice ring that moved prostitutes round the country, between brothels in Glasgow, Belfast and Aberdeen -- it seemed a puzzling conclusion.
In the lead up to the sentencing there were reports of threats and intimidation; a police debriefing described how one witness said Craig had threatened to pour boiling water down her throat . But last Monday, based on the
facts provided to him by the Crown, the presiding sheriff stated that there was no pressure, force or threat on the women. Rather, the pair pled guilty to, and were convicted of, arranging travel, accommodation and advertising for around 15
It was an offence that was hardly, as Ken Waddell, the solicitor for Stephen Craig points out, what most people consider to be trafficking.
A man convicted of running a brothel (with an unlikely sounding link to trafficking) has been ordered to pay £ 45,000, the Crown Office said.
Lindsey Miller, head of the serious and
organised crime division of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: Stephen Craig took part in a criminal prostitution operation that spanned the United Kingdom. Today's confiscation order for £ 45,000 represents the full
amount which is available to us at this time from Stephen Craig.
June 11 was the London slut walk, Niki Adams from the English Collective of Prostitutes condemns the UK laws and the police for the danger prostitutes are put in. Shelia Farmer also speaks from personal experience on what happens to us when we work
together for safety. We can end up going to prison, loose all all earnings for the last 7 years through the proceeds of Crime Act. Changes to the law brought about by the Labour Government have exacerbated the problem allowing brothels to be closed
quickly and POCA to be used against us.
The Proceeds of Crime Act was designed to recover earnings from serious crime. It is now used to recover earnings from us, mothers and women providing consensual sexual services working together. The money
recovered is split between the police, the CPS and the state. This encourages the police to target prostitutes as an easy money earning exercise. This along with a general state hatred of us and pressure to criminalise our clients has forced us to work
more circumspectly and never to trust the persons in blue.
Where are our human rights to work together in safety? What other job forces you to work alone?
A Wrexham based voluntary organisation, the Black Association of Women Step Out (BAWSO), has been selected by the Welsh Government to deliver the Diogel Project which includes a refuge for up to three trafficked women and provides a safe and supportive
environment for them while their cases are being processed.
The development of this work to support victims of human trafficking is identified within the Welsh Government's Right to be Safe strategy which is a six year integrated strategy
for tackling all forms of violence and domestic abuse against women.
A recent report estimated that 32 adults and 30 children have been trafficked into Wales.
Mutale Merril OBE, BAWSO Chief Executive, said: We are delighted that so many
colleagues from partner organisations came along to the launch of the Diogel Project in Wrexham.