Statement in support of Clause 13 of the Policing and Crime Bill
Posted on September 25, 2009
Here’s a joint statement from some of the country’s leading violence against women, women’s and human rights organisations, who are “campaigning in support of Clause 13 of the Policing and Crime Bill 2009 because we believe that it will save women’s lives and combat trafficking and other serious and organised crime”:
– The organisations here listed call upon members of the British Parliament to support Clause 13 of the Policing and Crime Bill. Clause 13 criminalises paying for a sexual service(1) with an individual who has been exploited.
– Clause 13 offers a unique opportunity to tackle the demand for vulnerable women, men and children for the purposes of prostitution as required by international human rights law and has been shown to be effective in other countries in tackling trafficking and securing gender equality.
STATEMENT IN FULL
Prostitution is violence against women
We understand that prostitution is a form of violence against women. International and national studies show that for the vast majority of prostituted women, men and children the experience is one that involves physical, mental and sexual violence which traumatises and de-humanises, causing significant and long-lasting physical and emotional harm. Research carried out on the harm caused by prostitution found that:
• 71% of women interviewed had experienced physical assault;
• 63% had experienced rape; and
• 68% met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. This figure is in the same range as that for combat veterans and survivors of torture.(2)
A comprehensive analysis of routes into prostitution identified that:
– Certain vulnerable groups of girls and women were more likely to become involved in prostitution; these were those who had suffered physical or sexual violence or neglect.
– This group were further marginalised by experiences which included running away, being in local authority care, being involved in crime, drug addicted and being excluded from education.
– These girls and women were then ‘facilitated’ into prostitution as a result of grooming by pimps or other procurers(3).
The world average age for entry into prostitution is 13 years old, with as many as 75% of those prostituted in Britain entering before their 18th birthday(4).
It is evidence like this that caused Sigma Huda, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking to conclude that: “Prostitution as it is actually practised in the world does satisfy the elements of trafficking. It is rare that one finds a case in which the path to prostitution and/or a person’s experience does not involve, at the very least an abuse of power and/or an abuse of vulnerability. Power and vulnerability in this context must be understood to include power disparities based on gender, race, ethnicity and poverty.” (5)
The exploitation of women through prostitution is, therefore, a form of violence against women as defined in the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (CEDAW).(6) This definition has been adopted by the Government in its development of a national strategy on violence against women. Articles 5 and 6 of CEDAW requires States, including the UK, to challenge social attitudes that tolerate discrimination and take all appropriate measures to tackle trafficking and the exploitation of prostitution.(7)
The Committee that monitors States’ compliance with CEDAW has found that “gender-based violence is a form of discrimination that seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men”. In a recent case in the European Court of Human Rights on domestic violence, the Court concluded that a State’s failure to protect women against violence was discrimination because it breached their right to equal protection of the law(8).
The Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others recognises that prostitution and trafficking are “incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person”. Article 9.5 of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2000) requires States to “discourage the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation of persons, especially women and children that leads to trafficking”. The Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings(9) also requires States to analyse the factors that result in women being trafficked and suppress them, including the demand to sexually exploit women.
If we want to secure gender equality and enable girls and women to live lives free from discrimination and violence we need to eliminate the demand to sexually exploit women children and men.
Tackling Demand Reduces Prostitution
The legalisation of the sex industry has been proved to be a failed social experiment. Countries which have legalised the sex industry have seen increases in the number of women who are trafficked. The legalisation of the sex industry also increases associated criminal activity, such as organised crime. In countries where the sex industry is legalised there is clear evidence of the involvement of organised crime networks in both the ‘legal’ and ‘non-legal’ sectors. In Queensland, Australia, the number of criminal offences linked to prostitution increased from 362 in 2000 to 6,000 in 2005-6. In Victoria, the first state in Australia that legalised brothels, the Chief of Police told a parliamentary committee that organised crime gangs had become entrenched within the ‘legal’ prostitution industry(10). In Europe the countries that have legalised the sex industry have the highest numbers of trafficked women. Estimates of the number of trafficked women of those exploited through prostitution is never less than 50% in the Netherlands and reaches as high as 90% in Germany(11). A review carried out by the German Federal Government into the effects of legalising the sex industry in Germany concluded that the legislation had failed to deliver any benefits to individuals who are prostituted: “The Prostitution Act has thus up until now also not been able to make actual, measurable improvements to prostitutes’ social protection. As regards improving prostitutes’ working conditions, hardly any measurable, positive impact has been observed in practice…. The Prostitution Act has not recognisably improved the prostitutes’ means for leaving prostitution. There are as yet no viable indications that the Prostitution Act has reduced crime. The Prostitution Act has as yet contributed only very little in terms of improving transparency in the world of prostitution….”(12)
Compare this with Sweden, a country that introduced legislation 10 years ago which criminalises the purchase of a sexual service. Those who are prostituted in Sweden are not criminalised(13). This approach of discouraging demand has resulted in a considerable decrease in the number of prostituted individuals and a corresponding decrease in the number of individuals trafficked. Indeed evidence from Sweden’s National Rapporteur for Trafficking in Human Beings, Kajsa Wahlberg, indicates that organised crime networks and traffickers no longer see Sweden as an ‘attractive market’ instead focussing their attention on counties such as Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark where the purchase of sexual services is legal(14).
International law requires States to “discourage” the demand to sexually exploit women, children and men through the adoption of laws like Clause 13 and the Swedish law that prohibits the purchase of sexual services. This approach has been successfully replicated in countries as diverse as Norway, Iceland, South Africa and South Korea.
About Clause 13
Clause 13 will discourage the demand to sexually exploit individuals in prostitution by making it a criminal offence to pay, or attempt to pay, for the sexual services of a woman (child or man) who has been subjected to force. Force includes coercion by threats and other psychological means including exploitation of vulnerability.
Clause 13: A person (A) commits an offence if—
(a) A makes or promises payment for the sexual services of a prostitute (B),
(b) a third person (C) has used force, deception or threats of a kind likely to induce or encourage B to provide the sexual services for which A has made or promised payment, and
C acted for or in the expectation of gain for C or another person (apart from A or B)
A person convicted of this offence will have a criminal record and may be fined.
Strict Liability and Human Rights
Part of Clause 13 is strict liability. This means that the person who buys a sexual service commits an offence whether or not he knows that the person he is buying has been exploited. The burden of proof is on the Prosecution who have to show that the person charged paid, or attempted to pay, for a sexual service.
Strict liability offences are used in the UK to secure the protection of particularly vulnerable individuals. For example, rape of a child under 13 is a strict liability offence under section 5 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Both the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights have made it clear that strict liability offences like this are compatible with the right to a fair trial(15).
Women involved in prostitution who are exploited by, for example, a pimp, trafficker or boyfriend, are a vulnerable group in need of particular protection. Unlike the man who chooses to purchase her, the exploitation that the prostituted woman has experienced results in a situation where he is buying what she has not chosen to sell.
The strict liability element of Clause 13 is important because it ensures those who purchase a sexual service consider the situation of prostituted women. In particular it challenges the pervasive, but false idea that prostitution is always a matter of choice for the woman concerned.
It is this element that makes the offence effective from a law enforcement perspective. The Crown Prosecution Service have advised a strict liability element is the “most effective” way of shifting responsibility on to those that purchase sexual services.(16)These views are shared by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission which concludes “Given that the commercial sex trade is usually characterised by vulnerability to abuse, coercion, exploitation and control for gain, the Commission commends the provision for ‘strict liability’ in the provision”(17).
The following organisations believe that Clause 13 is necessary to tackle demand for commercial sexual exploitation and protect women from violence and discrimination:
1. CARE www.care.org.uk
2. Eaves www.eaves4women.co.uk
3. Justice for Women www.justiceforwomen.org.uk
4. OBJECT www.object.org.uk
5. Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre www.rasasc.org.uk
6. Rights of Women www.rightsofwomen.org.uk
7. Toynbee Hall www.toynbeehall.org.uk
For further information about this statement and to join us in protecting vulnerable women, children and men from violence contact Catherine Briddick, Senior Legal Officer at Rights of Women(18) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) In the Swedish legislation and in Clause 13 the offence refers to “a sexual service”, however, in the Norwegian legislation the term used is “a sexual act” as recognition of the harm caused by prostitution.
(2) Farley, M (2003) Prostitution and Trafficking in Nine Countries: An update on Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the Journal of Trauma Practice.
(3) R Matthews Prostitution, Politics and Policy, 2008, Routlage.
(4) Research indicates that the average age of first involvement in prostitution in the UK is 15 years old see Paying the Price page 16 http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/paying_the_price.pdf?view=Binary.
(5) UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children from 2004 to 2008 in Integration of the human rights of women and a gender perspective, United Nations. E/CN.4/2006/62.
(6) The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defines violence against women in Article 1 as: “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life” (A/RES/48/104 – 1993).
(7) General Recommendation No. 197 (11th session, 1992) goes further in describing the positive obligations on States to eliminate gender based violence (including sexual violence, forced prostitution and trafficking) and makes clear that States may be responsible for private acts if they fail to act with due diligence to prevent the violation of rights or to investigate and punish acts of violence.
(8) Opuz v Turkey  (Application no. 33401/02) para 191
(9) CETS No. 197/2005
(10) S Jeffreys, The Industrial Vagina, The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade (2009).
(11) P Monzini, Sex Traffic: Prostitution, Crime and Exploitation (2005).
(12) Report by the Federal Government on the Impact of the Act Regulating the Legal Situation of Prostitutes (2007) page 79, Publikationsversand der Bundesregierung, www.bmfsfj.de.
(13) See Sweden’s Act on Violence Against Women which was enacted on 1st July 1998.
(14) In her 2004 report the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, Kajsa Wahlberg concluded that the law forbidding the purchase of sexual services “continues to function as a barrier against the establishment of traffickers in Sweden (NCID, 2004, p35). See also The Swedish Law That Prohibits the Purchase of Sexual Services, G Ekberg (2004)
(15) See R v G  UKHL 3 and Salabiaku v France (1981) 26 DR 171
(16) Evidence of Vernon Coaker to the Joint Committee of Human Rights, Tenth Report of Session 2008-9, HL Paper 68, HC 395, page 10.
(17) Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission response to the Policing and Crime Bill, paragraphs 28 and 31. The full response can be read here: http://www.nihrc.org/index.php?page=subresources&category_id=26&from=0 resources_id=112&search_content=&Itemid=61.
(18) Rights of Women aims to achieve equality, justice and respect for all women. Rights of Women advises, educates and empowers women by:
– Providing women with free, confidential legal advice by specialist women solicitors and barristers.
– Enabling women to understand and benefit from their legal rights through accessible and timely publications and training.
– Campaigning to ensure that women’s voices are heard and law and policy meets all women’s needs.
Did you see PSC today in t’grauniad Cath?
In the course of my clinical work I have come across men who employ sex workers because they are unable to find a partner due to pathological shyness, personality disorders, or severe mental or physical challenges. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if accommodating partners, or professional sexual surrogates (who employ sexuality exercises and psychotherapy) were widely available?
Yes it’s all the fault of those evol folks who fail to be “accommodating partners” to these dudes. Nothing to do with said dudes social skills/dress sense/failure to change their underpants more than once a month/general lack of appealingness – sorry ” severe mental or physical challenges”.
And before anyone pops up and starts whining about the poor *disabled* who can’t get a shag. Don’t. It’s patronising, ableist and untrue. And more to the point, sex is not a human right. And PSC doesn’t seem to be having her door beaten down by women who employ sex workers because they can’t get a shag. Funny that.
Yeah I saw that Polly.
Here’s the link if anyone missed it (or if, like me, anyone has trouble finding the Guardian women’s section, hidden as it is among the Life and frackin’ Style articles….):
And some men who ’employ’ sex workers have partners of course.
Ah Polly the reason why women are apparently not demanding men be made available for sexual exploitation and rape – ergo prostitution is because it is not so widely publicised!! Or perhaps it is that age old excuse, ‘but women aren’t as interested in sex as men are because ‘regular sex for men is a necessity.’ We can ignore the power differentials between women and men and how our culture continues to be defined from the male-centered perspective.
Reality is too many men and prostitution apologists believe it is men’s right to have innumerable women and girls made available for them to rape and perpetrate sexual torture on and in their bodies.
But Polly as you succinctly said ‘sex is not a human right’ or as I say, men do not have an innate or ‘right’ to buy women and girls in order to masturbate into and on their bodies.
Firstly, have you ever met a man who claimed he had a “right” to “buy” women and girls?
Clause 13 and the rest of the PCB will only excacerbate matters in the time honoured Home Office tradition. Look what wonders the criminal justice system did for Amanda Walker here:
and you really should read more widely than Farley and Matthews. Try the two studies here, for example:
Well I’ve never met some of Cath’s more interesting correspondents, but they seem to think that making paying for sex illegal is an infringement of civil liberties.
Which would make it a right?
But I tend to not hang out with da guys so much Stephen, so I’m not the person to ask.
But anyway here’s someone arguing that men have the right to buy sex:
Also Stephen your argument in favour of sex work seems to be that a sex worker was killed by a client – a client who was the person that killed Amanda Walker, not the criminal justice system.
One could argue that he should have been in prison of course. One could argue that sex workers – if they are going to sell sex – should have safe places to work. Neither of which I’d disagree with.
I would very much like to see legal reform which meant that women who do do sex work independently would be able to do so safely. And before Douglas Fox pops back, that means keeping all the money they earn themselves in some sort of co-operative, or legal safe house, not giving it to him so he can buy an even bigger, posher, house.
However kerb crawlers are a menace. Not only to women who do sex work, but to women who don’t – who are unlikely to be warned which punters are dangerous. And if you think that men who buy sex are very rarely violent, you’re having a laugh Stephen. I’ve lived in a red light area, and I’m not easily scared, but on occasion I have feared for my life from the nice men who buy sex.
My word, Polly, that takes me back! It’s how I first came to correspond with Julia O’Connell Davidson – we both had letters on the same subject on the same page of the Guardian.
But no, I don’t think Henry Porter is talking of the ‘right’ to buy sex here. He does quote Joan Smith at one point:
“There is clearly a feminist drive to this measure. Nothing wrong in that perhaps, but it does account for the singular bias of the MacShane proposal. Columnist Joan Smith has suggested that critics responded hysterically to it because they have a vested interest in a man’s right to buy sex from a woman. That is hardly fair. The objection is not that it deprives men of the ability to exploit women, but that it is ill thought out.”
There are sex workers and there are clients of sex workers. That is quite a different thing to saying that clients have a “right” to “buy women and girls.”
There’s a bakers down the road. If I popped in I suspect they’d be quite pleased to sell me some bread. But they would have a perfect right not to sell me bread if they so chose. I do not have a right to their bread unless and until I pay them for it and they agree the exchange.
It would be quite something else for the law to step in and make it illegal to buy their bread. Then Henry Porter and a lot of us (especially the bakers) would be screaming about civil liberties, and quite right too.
Polly, I too have lived in a red light area (Toxteth) during my time as a journalist and wrote a number of articles on prostitution, this in the days before the kerb crawling law.
As you know, red light areas tend to exist in inner cities and corrolate strongly with areas of high violent crime and high rates of drug addiction. Street prostitution is largely a symptom of other problems that need addressing. Furthermore, the internet has resulted in any women who can get it together to leave the streets and use the web, leaving few except the drug addicted, consequently the percentages that are on crack or smack are going up, and figures in the high 80s or even 90% are not uncommon.
The only effective means of dealing with this is outreach work, aiming to reduce health risks and minimise violence, providing effective drug rehab and giving those involved the option to turn their lives around should they so choose. Relationships need to be built up over time. However, if I were a health trust, I would have serious reservations about funding such work knowing that the investment could be ruined overnight by the bloody Home Office turning up and scattering all the women to the four winds, as happened to Amanda Walker, as the result of a kerb crawling drive at the whim of a chief constable.
Stephen. Unsurprisingly I think there are serious flaws in the Suzanne Jenkins study you seem to be so keen to endorse.
My biggest issue with it is her decision to lump every response of “Rarely” in with “Never” rather than with “Sometimes.”
And this isn’t due to my notorious pedantry, it’s because rarely doesn’t mean never, it doesn’t mean it has never happened, it means it has happened, albeit not often, but definitely sometimes.
Had Jenkins put the rarely responses in with sometimes, where they rightly belong, there would have been a completely different interpretation to the study, but as with a lot of these so-called academic studies, it appears that for whatever reason her outcome was decided in advance, and the results were then skewed to fit…
You might have lived in a red light area Stephen.
But you’re not a woman.
Cath – Hmm. I see when we check out
“(4) Research indicates that the average age of first involvement in prostitution in the UK is 15 years old see Paying the Price page 16 http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/paying_the_price.pdf?view=Binary. ”
we discover that the 15 years old actually relates to a small-scale study of male sex workers in Scotland.
However I agree wholeheartedly about outreach work. Which should start with prescribing heroin.
Please note that as survey respondents could skip any questions they wished and they could also tick as many boxes as were relevant to them, percentages will not always total 100. In most cases I will provide the percentage followed by the number of respondents in brackets (as n=).
Can I suggest that a survey of a self selecting sample using these methods has some pretty serious flaws already?
I am not here to defend Suzanne Jenkins’ study (which sadly we only have a link to the abbreviated version of anyway). Obviously Keele University thought it good enough to award her a doctorate. I think I have an email address for her, however, and will notify her of the discussion when I’ve time.
And 2% of the women surveyed by Jenkins ‘serviced only female clients’. She’s having a laugh. Lesbians buying sex are rarer than hens teeth Stephen.
While there are women who pay other women for sex and companionship, most of the responses to escort ads in the lesbian press are apparently women wondering about becoming a lesbian escort themselves.
One might, of course, wonder what exactly has motivated these diverse bodies to put out this statement at this time. After all, Clause 13 and the rest of the PCB is done and dusted in the Commons. It did get an awful roasting at committee stage in the Lords, however, and anyone watching or reading the debate and how poor Lord Brett tried to fend off the combined forces of Baroness Miller, Baroness Stern and Baroness Howe might reasonably be moved to start a Stop Violence Against Men campaign.
When it comes to report stage, I rather fancy it will be a tattered remnant of the Part 2 of the PCB that makes it back to the Commons, given no Government majority there and an unfortunate tendency of the Lords to listen to debate thoroughly and apply common sense.
That would be Baroness Miller who’s such a free thinker she tabled an amendment to the lap dancing proposals that was practically written for her by paid lap dance association lobbyists.
So who wrote her speech for her this time round? The ECP or Dougie Fox….
Yes I saw that story. A complete non-story, I thought. If there’s a Lap Dancing Association it’s hardly likely to play dumb over legislation affecting the lap dancing industry. It’s obviously going to lobby, and very likely to pay professional lobbyists like any other industry. Lap Dancing Association Not Bound, Gagged and Stuck in Cellar During Legislation Being Passed in Regard To It might make headlines in Zimbabwe but fortunately not in Britain (yet) (except in the Times).
I think trying to get us to feel sorry for the noble Lords is a bit of a lost cause Stephen. And while groups having paid lobbyists is one thing, their lordships acting as their sock puppets is surely another. There’s a difference between listening to someone and parroting what they say.
At least there’s a lively debate going on, which is how democracy should work.
Long may it continue – preferably without the government’s proposals ever reaching the statute book!
One of the features one notices about the radfem anti-sex work movement in the UK is that it is very nearly devoid of support from UK academics studying the UK sex market. There’s only Roger Matthews, whose work seems confined to the small and much troubled street sector, among what one might call the big names. I suppose there’s Kelly and Regan, if you count them, and that’s about it.
Their academics have to be largely imported. Melissa Farley from Massachusetts, Gunilla Ekberg from Sweden, Sheila Jeffreys from Australia, P Monzini (Italy, I think).
Whereas differing from them is a very large array of UK criminologists, sociologists, social geographers, philosophers, criminal psychologists, etc enough to staff several universities.
The Government remains fearful of publishing the academic responses to its so-called review of demand (whose terms of reference, incidentally, precluded questioning whether ‘reviewing demand’ was in any way a useful thing to do). Most of them, I suspect, would take very long and well researched forms of saying ‘up yours’.
People do not alter their sex lives as a result of legislation. The UK’s gay community did not magically become heterosexual with the passage of the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act, which rendered sodomy illegal, and remain heterosexual for decades until it was repealed, then become magically gay again. A fact which Jacqui Smith and Harriet Harman may be usefully reminded of when they go street soliciting for votes in the near future.
You’re right about the flaws in the Jenkins study. If you separate “rarely” and “never” it shows clearly that there is a significant problem of exploitation. For men.
(And transgendered people, of course, who are the population in the study reporting the most feelings of exploitation. Interestingly, I could find no evidence that any of the signatories of the above statement are taking any action to help trans people involved in prostitution.)
Interesting you should talk about pre-determined results and skewed results. The same charge has been leveled at Melissa Farley, whose research is used in the statement to directly associate prostitution with violence against women. As a critic put it: “In no area of the social sciences has ideology contaminated knowledge more pervasively than in writings on the sex industry. Too often in this area, the canons of scientific inquiry are suspended and research deliberately skewed to serve a particular political agenda.”
The plural of “anecdote” is not “data”. Do you have any actual evidence to reject a figure 2% of women servicing only female clients? And, as a reminder, not all women who have lesbian sex are lesbians.
I strongly suggest Lucy you read The Industrial Vagina by sheila Jeffreys in order to gain a better understanding of just how pro-prostitution academic researchers twist the reality of prostitution so that this particular form of male violence against women becomes ‘just a job.’
Nor must we forget that for too long mainstream male-centered science was ‘deemed fact’ because the male-centered view was defined as ‘fact’ and women’s experiences were ignored because women’s lives were irrelevant.
Oh so any research on prostitution particularly if it is research which takes the stance prostitution is male violence against women, is non-research if the authors are not British nationals. The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women has a large section on research and whilst research has been undertaken in differing countries there are many similarities.
Given the fact the sex industry is now global as is prostitution many of prostituted women’s experiences are similar despite the fact they do not all live in the same country.
Going to the root of the issue – prostitution is male sexual violence against women and the reason why it continues unabated is because of male demand. Now challenging men’s pseudo sex right to women’s and girls’ bodies, specifically challenges male power and it is for this reason, there is immense resistance.
We must not forget that until fairly recently slavery was considered acceptable because non-white groups were deemed non-human. A very, very long struggle ensured. So it is with prostitution – but eventually men who attempt to buy women for the purpose of masturbating into their bodies and/or committing rape will be criminalised.
Sweden has criminalised male buyers, so has Norway and Iceland. But the UK government is very afraid of men’s power and not forgetting the sex industry which earns immense profits from prostitution and its brother pornography.
News flash – women are not for sale!
Jennifer Drew – I dealt with the main thrust of your argument in a previous comment.
I have never said that “any research on prostitution particularly if it is research which takes the stance prostitution is male violence against women, is non-research if the authors are not British nationals.”
But I would say its research value was little if any if it failed to achieve ethical standards, or lacked a proper and transparent methodology, which sadly is the case with much of Farley’s work, for example.
And in any case, isn’t the great dearth of UK academics of any gender taking this line somewhat surprising, given the considerable number who oppose it – all those mentioned here, for example:
For one (of many) critiques of Farley, see
I did read about research in Jeffreys’ book as you suggested and have decided I now agree even more with the critic I quoted above. Research in this area does seem deliberately skewed by the ideology of the researchers. The criticisms that Stephen linked to further strengthen this conclusion. People seem to have chosen the conclusions that they will reach and then do their research. (I do have to say that I find the issues raised regarding possible lack of consent by research subjects in the Big Brothel and Farley Scotland surveys particularly disturb me since these same researchers argue that prostituted women can not consent to prostitution, yet the researchers seem to have no qualms about ignoring consent themselves.)
Believe me, we agree with feminist criticisms of science. Man as the unmarked norm, the issue of gender affecting what questions were even considered for research let alone how research was conducted, and so on and so on.
“Firstly, have you ever met a man who claimed he had a “right” to “buy” women and girls?”
Yes, often, and it’s called slavery. So, all the time if you are asking the question.
I also ( as far as I know) am the only person who has ever rescinded a sex trafficking conviction against a pimp in the United Kingdom.
My operating mantra is –
“Is it true”
hmm. personally i think clause 13 sounds good. i agree with a lot of the statements – especially that prostitution is violence against women. i think it is violence against all women. living within an atmosphere where women’s bodies are considered commodities to be bought, paid for and used does violence to me. it encourages an atmosphere where women are seen as sexually available objects, it encourages an atmosphere of harrassment and worse.
i think in this day and age we have to stand up and recognise that *many* women are damaged by prostitution and that most women are not prostitutes by choice. and even if women are – there isn’t really a freedom of choice when we live in an atmosphere that sees women’s bodies as commodities.
in terms of academic research – it’s tricky as each side will always find a piece of academic research that supports their view. but i think we need to be careful, a lot of academic research is concerned with theory and debate, and not the real life happenings that effect women’s daily lives.
Oh right, Gregory. So you meet traffickers ‘all the time’ then? So I guess there must be an awful lot of them in Northern Ireland? It’s just that the PSNI jail the wrong ones? This is strange, because if these people go about claiming they have the ‘right’ to ‘buy’ women and girls, I would have thought they would be fairly easily identifiable.
However, my reading suggests that the route into the UK across the border with the Republic is an established trafficking route into the UK and thence in most cases to the mainland.
Westminster won’t say how many sex trafficking victims it’s found, believe it or not it claims it doesn’t even count them. It claims the figures are ‘not collated centrally’, word of the existence of the phone network apparently not having reached Marsham Street yet.
But even if we assume the total sex trafficked found is double the 255 found in the two Pentameter anti-trafficking combined operations, it’s still a long way from 1 percent of the 80,000-strong estimated UK prostitute population.
But in the context of Cath’s post, what good would criminalising the punters do, given that it is the punters who in many cases (thus far) enable the rescuing of the trafficked?
Oh, and for Jennifer, Cath and others the full version of the Ron Weitzer paper Flawed Theory and Method in Studies of Prostitution which Lucy’s quoted from and which provides critiques of Melissa Farley, Sheila Jeffreys and others is well worth reading and can be downloaded at
“Oh right, Gregory. So you meet traffickers ‘all the time’ then? So I guess there must be an awful lot of them in Northern Ireland? It’s just that the PSNI jail the wrong ones? ”
Limerick was the (official) murder capital of Europe when I was there,
Northern Ireland? The PSNI trial in question was at a magistrates court, I hardly think ‘jail’ came into it.
The pimp I rescued from the disgrace or infamy of a sex trafficking conviction was sufficiently in terror of the judicial process to give the waiting journalists a middle finger on his way out.
“Cops: sex slaves on rise across Ulster”
As for Crimestopper rescue mission, with the children, the punters have sex with them first, I took the trouble to look into that, it was important as it related to a political position vis a vis UUP and ACPO.
If Ruhama, Poppy Project, Object etc.; had adopted positions advised by Donna Hughes etc. We would ( in our own heads at least) be in a more legitimate place, as opposed to the circus opf spin doctoring we find ourselves in today.
I have exposed aspects of P1 and P2 as being fraudulent, or difficult to accept. Marki Russell was part of P2 and his conviction was (quite literally) a fake one.
My operating mantra is –
“Is it true”
There is a reason for that, the cause of abolition requires success ( and truth) at each step, otherwise etc.
If the ‘sex worker’ industry is so clued up, and so expert, & knowing etc.; why do they need me to liberate their pimps from the slings, arrows & errors of new labour spin doctoring?
It took six months to get the autrhorities to concede the Mark Russell conviction was a ‘clerical error’.
Funny how nobody noticed, Stephen, if I were you, or the ECP or etc. or interested in the ‘falseness’ of certain things, you could do worse than pick up a few crumbs from my table.
The provenance ( via yours truly) of the Mark Russell gift to pilgrims in search of the truth, has the merit of being friends of the last president of the United States.
A thinking ‘sex is work’ lobbyist would have grabbed that.
Response as follows-
The defendant was charged by Police on 12 January 2008 with the following offences;
* Trafficking within the UK for Sexual Exploitation, contrary to section 58(1)(b) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003;
* Controlling Prostitution for Gain ,contrary to section 53(1) of the Sexual offences Act 2003
On receipt of the police investigation file the PPS considered the available evidence and found that the Test for Prosecution was met only in relation to the offence of Controlling Prostitution for Gain .
On 21 May 2008 a decision issued from PPS to prosecute the defendent for the offence of Controlling Prostitution for Gain.
The Trafficking charge before the court was not withdrawn. This was an administrative error which has now been brought to the attention of the PPS . Steps are now being taken to recitify this error.
People do not alter their sex lives as a result of legislation. The UK’s gay community did not magically become heterosexual with the passage of the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act, which rendered sodomy illegal, and remain heterosexual for decades until it was repealed, then become magically gay again.
So are you saying Stephen, that buying sex is a sexual orientation? Because if you’re genuinely lesbian/gay, being heterosexual isn’t really on the cards.
Polly: No, clearly buying sex is not a sexual orientation.
Are you and Cath saying that the passage of Clause 13 etc of the PCB is likely to mean that David Smith, a man that had….
raped a woman at knifepoint in front of her children and was jailed for four years; who received a two-year suspended sentence for attacking a woman in a car who only escaped by kicking her way through the windscreen; and who escaped an attempted murder charge because a sex worker attacked by him with a knife in a hotel room was too frightened to give evidence; and whose later acquittal of the 1991 killing of Sarah Crump, whose body had been mutilated in the same manner as Amanda Walker’s, had been followed by a police statement that they were not looking for anyone else….
…would instead of slaying Amanda Walker, given Clause 13 et al, stay at home and watch Coronation Steet?
And are you saying that the likelihood of the Amanda Walkers of this world finding themselves in Paddington instead of their home areas is not enhanced by Clause 13 + the PCB?
It seems to me you, Cath and Object are living in the rarified atmosphere of Portcullis House and really ought to get out more often!
“A police source said: ‘Smith was a lorry driver travelling up and down the country. We believe he was a serial killer and are going back in time to bring closure for victims’ families.’
He was a lorry driver, he was capable of offending anywhere, and Ms Crump used her own flat,
I don’t see how protecting the demand side re: Clause 13 + the PCB, will stop the demand side from murdering on a whim should it wish to do so.
I’ve never been in Portcullis House in my life Stephen and I get out a lot round the grand city of Mancunium (more than you I’d venture, if you want to compare social diaries). Where I encounter the sex industry, and it’s lovely, lovely customers a LOT.
No of course Clause 13 won’t stop men like David Smith murdering women, it’s not intended to. What will stop men murdering women is throwing men like David Smith up and throwing away the key.
It is meant to make men think, next time they’re buying sex, that they had better ensure that that woman isn’t being coerced in any way. A good thing no?
Obviously I practically live in Portcullis House. That’s when I’m not hanging out with all my meeja pals in Islington cafes, drinking decaf non-fat latte and chowing down on olives and sundried tomatoes 😉
But Clause 13 is “trick and trap” legislation, Polly, because paying for sex is to remain legal. That is contrary to the basic principles of British justice. The strict liability element means that there is an automatic presumption of guilt irrespective of whether or not the defendant knew of the circumstances, with no right to a properly constructed defence and no right of appeal. This completely disregards the issue of intent when assessing guilt or innocence.
I would therefore be very surprised if Clause 13 ever reaches the statute book in anything like its present form.
If it does, the next government will probably repeal it anyway. Baroness Hanham, a magistrate and the Conservatives’ spokesperson in the Lords, opposed Clause 13 particularly strongly during the Lords’ Committee Stage debate on 1st July.
See column 258:
Polly, Cath et al – Clause 13 is a strict liability offence committed at the point sex is arranged. In as much as the offence is ostensibly intended to ensure protection of women forced or coerced, I have no problem with its aim, and indeed would support it wholeheartedly, but its strict liability nature renders it counter-productive to those who would aid victims.
Because sex is arranged in the off-street parts of the industry either via the net or phone or in a parlour/brothel before the parties actually meet on a one to one basis, by the time a victim has a chance to communicate with a client/punter that she/he is coerced/trafficked or whatever, or the client has a chance to tell, the offence will have already been committed by the client.
The client would therefore already be guilty, with no defence, irrespective of whether he then rescues the woman directly; walks out of the situation; informs the authorities; or proceeds with the sex. Furthermore, due to the peculiarities of the existing law, by this point he is likely to have already paid for the occasion, but we’ll let that pass.
Now how many punters are going to attempt to help trafficked persons at the cost of a £1,000 fine and their mugshots all over the papers?
The potential for blackmail as a result of this proposal is also, of course, huge, blackmailers having had a poor time since the anti-sodomy laws were repealed.
So if some of us on the sidelines hesitate before joining the ovation signalled by this post, you will perhaps understand why.
Whilst it is true that Clause 13 itself would not impact on the Amanda Walkers of this world directly (as she was not trafficked/coerced) the remainder of Part 2 of the PCB would have considerable effects.
It defines “persistently” soliciting as twice in a period of three months instead of a week (as it is at present) meaning the street sex workers will find themselves in court a lot more often, therefore liable to be fined a lot more often, causing much additional wear and tear on the revolving door and probably meaning they will have to work the streets a lot more to pay the fines, as quite where all the ‘suitable persons’ to provide three compulsory rehab sessions are coming from, nobody knows. As I understand it, failure to turn up at these sessions could result in temporary incarceration again with God knows what consequences for dependents.
This measure, along with the removal of warnings for kerb crawlers (whose offence in the past had also to be ‘persistent’) signals another of Marsham Street’s infantile get tough campaigns despite the fact that resultant increased violence to, and murders of, street sex workers, as in the Walker case, is known to result and has now been measured.
Yet another clause enables buildings housing brothels to be closed for three months, despite existing legilisation which enables buildings to be closed for that period if they are used for strong drugs or events causing public nuisance. So this can only be for those annoying brothels which are drug-free and causing no public nuisance.
The result of that, of course, is aimed to reduce the indoor sector, and presumably to force the women in it into the outdoor sector, where the police can then come in with their soliciting and kerb crawling clampdowns and drive the girls into back allys and unfamiliar areas out of their home territories where the David Smiths of this world can more easily get at them.
How wonderful to see the radfem women’s movement in such joyous cheer while all this passes beneath their eyes. Perhaps we should send them the bill for the hospital fees and the funerals of the sisters they care for so much?
I have tried in vain to discover some morsel of progress in the PCB, but apart from its doing away with the term ‘common prostitute’, which is purely symbolic, can find none.
I am just happy that the inhabitants of Marsham Street spend their working hours there, and are not let out on the streets, where they might cause so much chaos.
“Now how many punters are going to attempt to help trafficked persons at the cost of a £1,000 fine and their mugshots all over the papers?”
You mean they’re ashamed of paying for sex?
I wouldn’t worry about it, they always have sex with the women or children before they do anything useful.
“The philosophy is a retail variation of the pimp as social worker theme,” Carlin added. “The typical clients are the type of men for whom the abuse of a teenager constitutes a satisfying sexual encounter. The ACPO may have a solitary case which differed from the general trend.”
(Note: Catholic web site)
Gregory – How fascinating. Was ACPO planning an amnesty for punters before the PCB had even been drafted? How very forward thinking. Or did they just discover there wasn’t an actual offence to grant their planned amnesty for (given the punters don‘t know they‘re coerced), and thus had to start from scratch?
Ah, I get it. They’re creating the offence so that they can declare an amnesty for it, thus hopefully achieving improved cooperation. How clever! Maybe we could speed things up by getting the amnesty built into Clause 13?
Oh, by the way Gregory, I wonder what aftercare may have been given to the three poor, desperate victims of sex trafficking in this horrific Ipswich case today. http://tiny. cc/CyUEc
They seem to have been trafficked in the form of a taxi ride from the local rail station.
I do hope they get over their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder before, now deprived of their workplaces, the next Steve Wright happens by or they are trampled to death by an army of rescuers.
Sorry that link broke. It’s
stephenpaterson – What an appalling story has been revealed in your link about the Yan Yang case. I hope her legal team launch an appeal.
It’s exactly that sort of police persecution that led to the five Ipswich murders by driving sex workers into the more dangerous conditions on the streets…..when will they ever learn?
Gulfstream5 – indeed. It really does require somewhere with the skills of Marsham Street to manage to give anti-trafficking campaigns a bad name.
The ‘trafficking’ in that case consisted of arranging a taxi to take the girls from the station to the brothel. This is very foolish in the UK. If she’d left them to walk, or get a bus or a taxi themselves, she wouldn’t have been charged with trafficking.
Since the judge rightly thought she was somewhat mean in taking such a large share of the sex worker’s income, charging her with trafficking for arranging a taxi would seem counterproductive to encouraging generosity in the future, but there we are.
She could have got 14 years for arranging that taxi.
And did you know, the Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides all manner of new and exciting novel ways of becoming a human sex trafficker, most of which have nothing whatsoever to do with prostitution. You really should explore it sometime.
Now, you don’t get that with most governments.
VORE NEW LABOUR AND GET INCARCERATED!
That photo doesn’t look so good.
I am questioning in relation to these police operations.
It is about legitimacy – and it isn’t obviously there.
Gregory – Yes, it certainly looks as if she has been subjected to violence. It needs to be determined who is responsible. Any member of the police involved should be sacked.
Gregory + Gulfstream5: Yes, Yan Yang’s appearance does give cause for concern, though I don’t think we can jump to conclusions over the police. What bothers me more is the totally inappropriate use of the trafficking charge. Consensual activity between adults was not what those drawing up the Palermo Protocol had in mind at all, but I’m afraid an appeal would get nowhere as that hiring of a taxi was clearly human trafficking under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, S 58:
Seven years for running a brothel, 14 years for hiring the taxi. The Victorians would only have given you three months for running the brothel. but things are so much more liberal now (?!).
It is like this, I am en route to zilch three sex trafficking trials.
I jump to ask questions, the first one being ‘is it true’ because everything revolves on that head.
“Yes, Yan Yang’s appearance does give cause for concern, though I don’t think we can jump to conclusions over the police.”
If the police circulated that photo as an illustration of ‘success’, then you really do need me on the case.
“I’m afraid an appeal would get nowhere as that hiring of a taxi was clearly human trafficking under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, S 58”
It also has to involve the commission of a relevant offence.
“Jailing her for ten months Judge Peter Fenn accepted that she had not coerced or corrupted the girls working for her and they had not been under-age.”
And, that isn’t the most damning description of a relevant offence I have encountered.
You brought this to my attention, the first step is obvious, = the photo.
They’ve certainly got the laws on trafficking sewn up, haven’t they?
Oh gawd, don’t tell the Home Office! If I’m not wrong 10 is the age of criminal responsibility here. It’s even lower in Scotland, where I think they’re chewing over having everyone born in prison and just let out for good behaviour.
Their laws on trafficking are almost as bad as their enforcement, + that’s f***in’ awful. If you think the Yan Yang case is bad enough, try this corker from last May in Canterbury Crown Court from my annals. Putting everything together, here is a woman (also Chinese) who looks like she’s been trafficked into managing a brothel being sentenced to eight months, four and a half of which she’s already served waiting to come up due to the courts being bunged up with crap like this:
Nuts. Bonkers. Completely Marsham Street.
“four and a half of which she’s already served ”
The Anglo-Saxon accomplices get bail.
I also have a database. We seem to have a dope growing cartel involved in two hundred or so brothels.
Yeah: it’s what’s known as a joke Gulfstream5. I think you’ll find it’s been illegal to actually sell people in this country for quite a while anyway. (about a couple of hundred years)
Even outside of ebay.
Whoops formatting went all wrong there, but you get the point.
So is it absolutely impossible to communicate before having sex then Stephen. Are the what – three – seconds it takes to ask “are you doing this voluntarily” so precious? Because if you haven’t ACTUALLY HAD SEX, you haven’t committed an offence, have you?
The offence has to be a strict liability one, because it would otherwise mean that punters would just say “but I never knew”. This puts the onus on them to check.
And do you really mean to have me believe Stephen that there is no way sites such as good ol’ punternet could be used to check?
Of course it may be slightly more expensive to find a legit, working for themselves sex worker.
Ok I missed the ‘promises payment’ bit, my mistake, but how do you know someone has ‘promised payment’?
It seems to me that to promise payment you have to promise it to someone. Unless you’re the kind of person who is so trusting they just give their credit card details to anyone willy nilly, in which case I know some people who would be really happy to let you help them transfer several million pounds into this country and give you a cut of it.
Now if you are promising it to a third party, other than the person you expect to have sex with, it seems to me MORE THAN LIKELY that that person is being ‘controlled for gain’.
So the answer Stephen, is only to deal with independent workers, or say you’ll only make a deal once you have ascertained for yourself that the worker is working independently. Shouldn’t be too hard to do should it? Some kind of kitemark system, maybe?
Stephen has a point.
Handing over linen is good enough for a sex trafficking trial – as it now stands.
It is inevitable the ‘head girl’ will be prostituted, an ex-prostitute or part timer, in charge of the unit.
She will be clobbered instead of her bosses.
There is a reason I am opposing brothel raids in some cases.
I am horrified by the mistreatment by the British police of prostituted women, as a factor of these raids.
“It is inevitable the ‘head girl’ will be prostituted, an ex-prostitute or part timer, in charge of the unit.”
prosecuted not prostituted, sorry for typo.
Polly – it is apparent that in at least some ways what we call the UK sex industry is similar to other industries. Among sex workers, there are many who value their independence as self employed. But, as in other industries, there are many who have no desire to be self-employed, as self employment carries many other responsibilities and complications.
Migrant sex workers in the UK, for example, may have poor English language skills which inhibit their capacity for marketing.
Among those sex workers with good language skills, many are frustrated at being besieged by time wasting email rallies which don’t lead anywhere on the net. Independence also has implications for safety, as who is there to raise the alarm or turn to if things go awry? Then there’s the whole area of tax and NI contributions and admin that goes along with self employment in any area of life, which many don‘t have the time or skills for.
For all those reasons and doubtless others, many get involved in agencies or parlours. I am sure there is good and bad among both agencies and parlours. But being involved in an agency or parlour clearly does not render one coerced per se.
In addition to the other downsides of Clause 13 already mentioned, I would point out that the longer someone knows somebody, the more chance there is of discovering that they are coerced. Consequently, it is the sex worker’s regulars who, if the clause works, will abandon them first.
The result of this will be that the sex workers concerned will have to have sex with more partners to maintain the same income level. This in turn has implications for both their vulnerability to violence and for STI transmission, both to the sex workers concerned and the wider community.
So what do we have so far?
Reduced chance of rescue for trafficking etc victims due to client fear of criminalisation
Massively increased possibilities for blackmailers
Loss of regular income for the weakest, coerced sex workers leading to a need to service more strangers, leading on to
Greater possibilities of violence and
Increased risk of STI transmission
And that’s just Clause 13. For thoughts on the rest of Part 2, see my previous comments.
Even the elected government (which isn’t quite what we’ve got at the moment) cannot make the law say whatever it likes. There is a long-standing tradition of fairness in British justice, a good deal of which now also appears in the Human Rights Act.
Look what she’s holding in her left hand:
Basic principles with which all legislation is supposed to comply include:
– The presumption of innocence until guilt is proved;
– The right to a fair trial with a proper defence;
-The objectives of the legislation must be legitimate and it must be capable of achieving them in practice;
-The intent of the defendant when committing the alleged offence must be taken into account.
Clause 13 as drafted fails to comply with any of those requirements because paying for sex is to remain legal, and without the strict liability element it would be pointless because it would be impossible to prove what the defendent knew or did not know at anywhere near the level of proof required in a British court.
Section 2a line 35 also clarifies that, as drafted, it is irrelevant whether sex took place or not once payment has been made.
See statement following the list of amendments to Clause 13:
In other words she will propose that Clause 13 be deleted from the Bill altogether, a move likely to be supported by a large majority in the Lords.
Baroness Hanham (Conservative) stated during the 1st July debate (column 280):
To which Lord Brett (for the goverrnment) replied:
Hope that helps.
“The presumption of innocence until guilt is proved;
The right to a fair trial with a proper defence”
That has gone. The recent brothel raids in NI came with a security minister’s pronouncement of de facto guilt.
What Paul Goggins meant was that the PSNI were good enough to go to a house and drag out some Chinese women so they could be filmed for a press release he wanted to do.
Or, they’ve taken to foce filming victins of sexual offences, and he wanted to condemn the alleged culprits before they were tried.
Such press statements were once a ‘free pass’. If a criminal was lucky enough to be judged by a Minister, he was off the hook.
Of course, smearing people, is in New Labour’s DNA.
Gregory – Well, presumption of innocence until guilt is proved, and the right to a fair trial with a proper defence, are what the law says should apply, as detailed in Article 6 of the Human Rights Act.
However, it seems that there are frequent breaches of these rights when brothels are raided, a point frequently raised by the ECP.
Seizure of assets prior to any conviction would also appear to be in violation of Article 6.
The justice system in Britain is being prostituted out to the requirements of spin-doctoring.
“Well, presumption of innocence until guilt is proved, and the right to a fair trial with a proper defence”
Unless you are Chinese and over thirty or so, in which case you get promoted from victim to sex trafficker.
A cop actually handed that very troubling photo out to the media.