UK P4P News

 2011: Oct-Dec



23rd November   

Green Sense...


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Brighton Green Party councillor speaks in favour of legal prostitution
Link Here

green party logoAll 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.

 

7th November   

Police Sense...


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Manchester Police Chief recognises the benefits of legalised prostitution
Link Here

ACPO logoDecriminalising 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 exploitation.

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.

Comment: A cautious welcome

See  article from  iusw.org

international union of sex workers logoThe 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.

 

3rd November   

Sugar Daddies...


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US company to set up in the UK with the idea of men paying for a relationship rather than just sex
Link Here

seekeing arrangement logoThe 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.

Denying that 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.

Seeking 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.

 

1st November   

Update: Busting Myths...

The BBC picks up on the story that the vast majority of sex workers are not under any duress to do so, and simply want to earn some good money
Link Here  full story: Trafficking Hype...Trafficking figures hopelessly over exaggerated

sex migrants workers 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.

 

29th October   

Diary: Migration, Sex Work and Trafficking...

Seminar in London
Link Here  full story: Trafficking Hype...Trafficking figures hopelessly over exaggerated

sex migrants workers Migration, Sex Work and Trafficking
London Metropolitan University
31st October 2011, 3-6pm

Dr Nick Mai will present his recent findings to a seminar on the relationship between migration, the sex industry and trafficking in the UK.

Those findings were published in the the report, Migrant Workers in the UK Sex Industry [pdf]

Executive Summary

Interviews with 100 migrant women, men and transgender people working in all of the main jobs available within the sex industry and from the most relevant areas of origin (South America, Eastern Europe, EU and South East Asia) indicate that approximately 13 per cent of female interviewees felt that they had been subject to different perceptions and experiences of exploitation, ranging from extreme cases of trafficking to relatively more consensual arrangements. Only a minority, amounting approximately to 6 per cent of female interviewees, felt that they had been deceived and forced into selling sex in circumstances within which they had no share of control or consent.

Contrary to the emphasis given in current public debates about cases of trafficking and exploitation, the evidence gathered in the context of this project shows a great variety of life and work trajectories within the sex industry, which were influenced by key factors such as: social-economic background; educational aspirations and achievements; immigration status; professional and language skills; gender and sexuality; family history; and individual emotional history. Interviewees were from privileged, average and underprivileged socio-economic backgrounds, from structured as well as problematic families and their experience of education varied between elementary to post-graduate. In the majority of cases, the decision to migrate is based on the perception of a lack of opportunities of personal and professional development at home, with particular reference to the field of education.

Most migrants did not work in the sex industry before coming to the UK and decided to do so after a long string of work experiences in other sectors, which were seen as comparatively less rewarding both in terms of remuneration and of the working conditions offered. The majority of interviewees were introduced to the possibility of working in the sex industry through friends and colleagues they met in other settings and decided to take up the opportunity after they saw positive examples in their everyday lives, both when they were home and in the country of origin.

The stigma associated with sex work was the main problem for almost all interviewees, who felt that it had negative implications for their private and professional lives. Most interviewees complained that they found it difficult to reconcile working in the sex industry and having stable romantic relationships and that having to lead a double life with their partners, families and friends impacted negatively on their wellbeing. A majority of interviewees also underlined the way the stigma associated with sex work was implicated in legitimating violence against sex workers from a small minority of clients and from petty criminals.

Almost all interviewees felt that the most advantageous aspects of their involvement in the sex industry were the possibility of earning considerably more money than in other sectors, the availability of time and the possibility of meeting interesting people, travelling and experiencing new and challenging situations. In most cases by working in the sex industry migrants were able to bridge an important gap in their aspirations to social mobility and felt that they were able to enjoy better living and working conditions.

Most interviewees underlined that they enjoyed respectful and friendly relations with colleagues and clients and that by working in the sex industry they had better working and living conditions than those they encountered in other sectors of employment (mainly in the hospitality and care sectors). The research shows that most interviewees consciously decided to work in the sexindustry and that only a minority felt that they had been forced to. The research findingsstrongly suggest that vulnerability, particularly to trafficking and exploitation, results from migrants' socio-economic conditions, lack of information about their rights and entitlement to protection in the UK, their personal family and emotional circumstances, but, most of all, from their immigration status in the UK.

Key findings:

  • the large majority of interviewed migrant workers in the UK sex industry are not forced nor trafficked, Dr Nick Mai

  • immigration status is by far the most important factor restricting their ability to exercise their rights in their professional and private lives,

  • working in the sex industry is often a way for migrants to avoid the unrewarding and sometimes exploitative conditions they meet in non-sexual jobs.

  • by working in the sex industry, many interviewees are able to maintain dignified living standards in the UK while dramatically improving the living conditions of their families in the country of origin,

  • the stigmatisation of sex work is the main problem interviewees experienced while working in the sex industry and this impacted negatively on both their private and professional lives,

  • the combination of the stigmatisation of sex work and lack of legal immigration documentation makes interviewees more vulnerable to violence and crime,

  • interviewees generally describe relations with their employers and clients as characterised by mutual consent and respect, although some reported problematic clients and employers, who were disrespectful, aggressive or abusive,

  • the impossibility of guaranteeing indefinite leave to remain to victims of trafficking undermines the efforts of the police and other authorities against criminal organisations,

  • most interviewees feel that the criminalisation of clients will not stop the sex industry and that it would be pushed underground, making it more difficult for migrants working in the UK sex industry to assert their rights in relation to both clients and employers,

  • All interviewees thought that decriminalising sex work and the people involved and making it easier for all migrants to become and remain documented would improve their living and working conditions and enable them to exercise their rights more fully.

The research underlines that the current emphasis on trafficking and exploitation to explain the variety of the trajectories of migrants into the UK sex industry risks concealing their individual and shared vulnerabilities and strengths, the understanding of which could form the basis of more effective social interventions.

 

24th October   

Police State...

Police decide prostitution law for Northern Ireland
Link Here

police psni logo 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.

Northern Ireland 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?

 

10th October   

Updated: Scotland Can't Find Any Trafficking...

So it seems that the authorities have to make it up
Link Here

Scottish Courts logo The Scotsman writes:

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.

Lord Advocate 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:

Sheriff Sam 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 be tolerated.

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?

10th October 2011. See  article from  heraldscotland.com [turn off javascript to skip registering]

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 respectively.

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 prostitutes.

It was an offence that was hardly, as Ken Waddell, the solicitor for Stephen Craig points out, what most people consider to be trafficking.

...Read the full article

Update: Fined £ 45,000

19th July 2012. See  article from  scotsman.com

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.

 

7th October   

Updated: Reprehensible Policing...

Sheila Farmer speaks about her persecution for sex work
Link Here

sheila farmer video 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?

...See the video

No word yet of what actually happened at the trial scheduled for September though.

Update: Trial Delayed

11th November 2011. See  article from  prostitutescollective.net

Sheila Farmer's trial is now set for 3rd January 2012.

 

5th October   

Maybe a Long Wait...

Wrexham ready to provide safe house for trafficking victims
Link Here

bawso logo 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.

 

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