Legislating P4P

 2010: Jan-March

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28th March   

Updated: Red Letter Day...

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Sweden's justice minister to inform family and friends of those 'suspected' of buying sex
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beatrice ask Sweden's nasty injustice minister, Beatrice Ask, wants families to know if their husbands or fathers are suspected of buying sex.

It is a little like being shamed on the town square, the government minister said in at a seminar on Thursday.

Ask made her controversial statements at a parliament seminar on prostitution on saying that a sex-buyer's family and friends should be informed: I could imagine having envelopes in a very garish colour and sending them home to people suspected of this offence. I think that the worst thing which can happen to many of them who are out there buying sex, is that someone in their circles finds out about it.

Speaking to the Aftonbladet tabloid Ask conceded that the garish envelope idea was perhaps not the best idea in practice, but defended the idea in principle: In practice maybe we can't have coloured envelopes, but we have to show who they are and let those around them know, she said to the newspaper.

Ask now plans to discuss the idea with her colleagues.

Update: Beatrice Ask shamed

28th March 2010. Based on article from thelocal.se

red envelope Sweden's injustice minister Beatrice Ask has bowed to mounting criticism and performed a public u-turn on her suggestion that colour-coded envelopes be sent to suspected sex-buyers.

I regret that I expressed myself so clumsily, the minister told news agency TT.

Ask has now 'conceded' that it is important to respect the principle of innocent until proven guilty and that offenders and suspects of all crimes should be treated equally.

I do not propose that the justice system should send envelopes of a certain colour home to either suspects or the convicted and the government does not plan to introduce any such measure, Ask said.

 

25th March   

Legislating for a Social Phenomena...

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Police warn of the dangers of driving prostitution underground
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The Scottish Parliament Labour's nasty proposals to clamp down on prostitution through new legislation could drive the sex trade further underground, MSPs have heard.

A police chief and a prostitute support service rejected the plans, which would make it a criminal offence to engage in, advertise or facilitate paid-for sexual activity.

Lothian and Borders Police Assistant Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said further consultation was necessary and expressed fears that new legislation would only drive prostitution further underground. Livingstone said: We do have some concerns that you will increasingly drive, or potentially drive, more prostitution further off-street, so it's harder to identify vulnerable women.

He also said he believed police had sufficient powers to deal with prostitution. If the legislation were approved, officers would robustly enforce it but he had concerns about evidence-gathering. Despite being supportive of the overall principle about banning adverts for sex,  Livingstone thought the legislation was narrowly worded . He added: I still have an anxiety about legislating for a social phenomena.

George Lewis, co-chairman of Scot-PEP, an education project for prostitutes, said Labour MSP Trish Godman's amendments for the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill would not tackle the real problems. He said: It just feels like a blunt instrument … it will not work in addressing real issues of trafficking and violence.

However, Ann Hamilton, head of equalities and women's services for Glasgow Community and Safety Services, said there was a need for extra powers, particularly in relation to advertising. She said: What we'd like to see is something that challenges the acceptability of prostitution. At the moment, buying sex is seen as something men do, that is an entitlement and causes no harm.

The vote is taking place after Easter .

See also an excellent article on the topic from Margo MacDonald MSP:

Margo MacDonald Sex trade needs to be managed from news.scotsman.com

It's been déja vu week in the Scottish Parliament, all over again. The same group of Glaswegian gals who tried and failed to abolish prostitution in Scotland found another route into trying to change the law without going to the trouble of drawing up a Bill, putting their propositions on the table and fighting for them.

The high-minded group that includes MSPs, council officials and councillors has latched on to the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill and tabled amendments that would create a ridiculous situation were they to pass into law.

...Read the full article

The committee will also consider proposals by the nutter Nationalist MSP Sandra White to limit the number of lap-dancing clubs in certain areas.

 

13th March   

Scotland Coerced...

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Scottish Parliament proposal to adopt England and Wales ban on customers of 'coerced' sex workers
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The Scottish Parliament Nigel Dan has proposed an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill.

From amendments [pdf] from scottish.parliament.uk

The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (asp 9) to be amended to add:

11E Paying for sexual services of a prostitute subjected to force etc.

(1) A person (A) commits an offence, to be known as the offence of paying for sexual services of a coerced prostitute, if—

(a) A makes or promises payment for the sexual services of a prostitute (B),

(b) a third person (C) has engaged in exploitative conduct of a kind likely to induce or encourage B to provide the sexual services for which A has made or promised payment, and

(c) C engaged in that conduct for or in the expectation of gain for C or another person (apart from A or B).

(2) The following are irrelevant—

(a) where in the world the sexual services are to be provided and whether those services are provided,

(b) whether A is, or ought to be, aware that C has engaged in exploitative conduct.

(3) C engages in exploitative conduct if—

(a) C uses force, threats (whether or not relating to violence) or any other form of coercion, or

(b) C practises any form of deception..

Oral evidence is going to be taken by the Justice Committee on all the myriad of prostitution proposals from the following:

  • ACPOS (Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland)
  • Glasgow City Council ('End Prostitution Now' Campaign)
  • Scot-PEP (Scottish Prostitutes Education Project)

See agenda [pdf] from scottish.parliament.uk

Scot-PEP is generally against any proposal which will make sex work more dangerous (which is most of them), Glasgow City Council will no doubt support the BAN EVERYTHING NOW, AND WHO CARES ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES approach, and I don't know what line ACPOS will take.

As previously reported, the mean minded Labour MSP Trish Godman is using a series of amendments to attempt to make it a criminal offence to engage in, advertise or facilitate paid-for sexual activity.

The independent Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald, suggest to make the buying and selling of sex an offence only where it causes alarm or nuisance to another person.

Written evidence can still be submitted for now.

 

8th March   

Nasty Government...

UK Home Office 'celebrates' International Women's Day by gloating over new law to prosecute totally innocent men paying for sex
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walk in a punter advert Men seeking out paid-for sex on the street can now be arrested on their first offence with nasty new measures to tackle the demand for prostitution, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell announced to coincide with International Women's Day.

A series of laws to protect vulnerable women by reducing the demand for prostitution, including the police no longer having to show kerb-crawlers are persistent before arresting them, will come into effect on 1 April.

A new poster campaign was also launched today, warning of the criminal penalties involved in paying for sex with someone who has been exploited.

Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said: We are determined to tackle the demand for prostitution and provide help for those who wish to leave prostitution.

 Prostitution measures introduced from 1 April include:

  • a new strict liability offence that will make it illegal to pay for sexual services with a prostitute who is subject to exploitative conduct, which includes force, deception or threats. It will no longer be an excuse to say I did not know and men who ignore this risk a fine of up to £1,000 and a criminal record.
     
  • walk in a punter text advert giving courts the power to close down premises associated with certain prostitution and pornography offences. Currently there is little to stop such premises continuing to operate even when they have been raided by the police.
     
  • a new penalty for the offence of loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution. The penalty will include a requirement for women to attend meetings to address the causes of their involvement and is supposedly designed to help them to leave street prostitution, it can be used by courts instead of a fine.
     
  • changing the law to amend the term common prostitute as this term is outdated and offensive.

The prostitution measures come into effect on 1 April as part of the Crime and Policing Act 2009 .

 

6th March   

So Much to Ban and So Little Time...

Scottish parliament ask for evidence to support a hurried ban on paying for sex
Link Here

The Scottish Parliament Following the recent resignation of Steven Purcell due to ill health, Councillor Jim Coleman is now the acting leader of Glasgow City Council - highly likely he now believes it was an 'act of God' and the 'crusade' to rid Scotland of any sexual pleasure/titilation must continue.

Scottish Parliament's 'Justice' Committee is calling for evidence on Trish Godman`s attempt to ban all 'paid-for sexual activity' (among other things).

See article from scottish.parliament.uk :

Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill - call for written evidence on Stage 2 amendments

The Justice Committee has agreed to take evidence at Stage 2 on some of the amendments lodged for Stage 2 which it considers raise significant new issues that were not considered during the Committee's Stage 1 inquiry.

Amendment 8 (lodged by Trish Godman) proposes changes to the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 to create three new offences – engaging in a paid-for sexual activity, advertising paid-for sexual activities, and facilitating engagement in a paid-for sexual activity, all to be subject, on summary conviction, to a fine of up to £1,000.

Amendments to amendment 8 (8A-8D, lodged by Margo Macdonald) propose the addition of two further offences – causing alarm etc. by engaging in a paid-for sexual activity and profiting from coerced paid-for sexual activities – subject to the same penalties.

These amendments are grouped for debate with consequential amendments 9 and 9A, which specify which of the new offences are to be classed as “exploitation offences” for the purposes of the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004.

Oral evidence

The Committee plans to take oral evidence on all three topics at its meeting on Tuesday 23 March.

Formal proceedings on the amendments will not take place until the oral evidence has been heard.

 

Call for written submissions

 

The Committee would welcome written submissions

The closing date for written submissions is Wednesday 17 March (to enable all submissions to be circulated in advance of the 23 March meeting).  

Submissions should not normally exceed four sides of A4.  The Committee prefers to receive written submissions electronically in MS Word format. These should be sent to:

cjlb@scottish.parliament.uk

You may also make hard copy written submissions to:

Justice Committee

Room T3.60

The Scottish Parliament

Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

Already some submissions have been received and published here , including some from sex workers themselves. These include those from Margo MacDonald, UK Network Sex Work Projects and Teela Sanders.

 

28th February   

Updated: An Advert for Miserable Scotland...

MSP proposes amendment to criminalise prostitution, customers and advertisers
Link Here

End Prostitution NowJames Coleman, the mean minded deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, is at the forefront of the End Prostitution Now initiative, which - according to the city council - has attracted support from MSPs, fellow councillors, unions and religious nutters.

West Renfrewshire MSP Trish Godman is one of the supporters. She has now proposed legislative amendments in the Scottish Parliament as follows:

Offences of engaging in, advertising and facilitating paid-for sexual activities (1) The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (asp 9) is amended as follows. (2) After section 11 insert— Engaging in, advertising and facilitating paid-for sexual activities

11A Engaging in a paid-for sexual activity

(1) A person (A) commits an offence, to be known as the offence of engaging in a paid-for sexual activity, if A knowingly engages in a paid-for sexual activity with another person (B).

(2) A sexual activity is paid for where B engages in that activity in exchange for payment.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), it is immaterial whether the payment is made—

(a) by A or by another person, or
(b) to B or to another person on B's behalf.

11B Advertising paid-for sexual activities

A person commits an offence, to be known as the offence of advertising paid for sexual activities, if that person knowingly advertises, by any means, the availability of sexual activities that can be engaged in for payment.

11C Facilitating engagement in a paid-for sexual activity

(1) A person (A) commits an offence, to be known as the offence of facilitating engagement in a paid-for sexual activity, if A knowingly facilitates the engagement of another person (B) in a paid-for sexual activity with another person (C).

(2) A sexual activity is paid for where C engages in that activity in exchange for payment.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), it is immaterial whether the payment is made—

(a) by A, by B or by another person, or
(b) to C or to another person on C's behalf.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (1), facilitating the engagement by B in a paid for sexual activity includes (but is not limited to)—

(a) arranging B's engagement in the activity,
(b) making payment to C or to another person on C's behalf,
(c) making available premises in which the activity takes place, or
(d) transporting B, or arranging transport for B, to where the activity takes place

Update: Who is Behind the End Prostitution Now campaign?

28th February 2010. From Melanie-H  on the Melon Farmers Forum

This amendment criminalises all selling and buying of sexual services. Prostitution definitely but if Councillor Jim Coleman gets his way could apply to strip clubs, peep shows, lap dancing.

All Saunas and Agencies would be illegal. No advertisements in any paper, or Internet. (The Sport advertisements would be illegal, only foreign websites would work, adult-work maybe, but punter link would stop). Escort sites would have to be hosted offshore.

No doubts the End Prostitution Now propaganda tool will have a major influence on the outcome.

From their website www.endprostitutionnow.org

End Prostitution Now is a campaign led by Glasgow City Council which aims to raise awareness of the harm caused through prostitution and put the focus on the buyers of sex - the DEMAND - who have in the past been invisible from public debate.

But Glasgow Council seem to be denying that they are running it

There are no references to this campaign in the most recent annual Company report of the Glasgow Community and Safety Services Limited Company and even stranger when Glasgow City Council were approached under the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland 2002).

See article from whatdotheyknow.com

Dear Glasgow Council

Please could provide me with the following information, regarding the political campaign initiated by Glasgow City Council to change Scotland's laws regarding prostitution:

a) The cost to the Glasgow taxpayer of your 'End Prostitution Now' political campaign and associated activities.

b) Any additional funding or assistance received from other sources towards the End Prostitution Now' political campaign and associated activities.

c) Details of the number of people employed by Glasgow City Council working on this political campaign and associated activities, and of any other persons involved in this Glasgow City Council political campaign and associated activities not employed by the council.

d) Minutes of the meeting at which funding and approval for this political campaign and its associated activities was given.

e) Copies of any communication, or details and minutes of any meetings, between Glasgow City Council employees and outside campaign groups, campaigners, or politicians regarding the setting up or operation of this political campaign.

f) Brief details of any other political campaigns currently or recently being run by Glasgow City Council.

Glasgow Council replied:

The Council is treating your request as a request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

On inspecting our records, it would appear that Glasgow City Council does not hold the information which you have requested. Neither does anyone else hold it on our behalf. Accordingly we are unable to comply with your request.

I can confirm that Glasgow City Council does not run political campaigns.

 

22nd February   

Union of the Mean Minded...

Unison women vote to support the criminalisation of men buying sex
Link Here

UNISON logoDelegates at the Unison women's conference voted overwhelmingly to support the decriminalisation of prostitutes and criminalisation of the buyers of sex.

They backed the so-called Nordic model which also includes practical and financial support to give prostitutes the confidence and job skills needed to escape the industry.

The approach has been adopted by Sweden, Norway and Iceland - countries that top the global charts in terms of gender 'equality'.

Conference welcomed government legislation to criminalise the buying of sex acts contained in the Policing and Crime Bill, labelling it an important step towards tackling sex trafficking and prostitution. The law is due to take effect on April 1. But delegates argued that the changes did not go far enough.

National women's committee speaker Cath Elliot rejected arguments that decriminalising the whole industry and treating prostitution as any other job would protect women from violence.

Delegates called on Unison to support the Demand Change! campaign by urging its parliamentary group of MPs to actively lobby for the Nordic model.

Conference also voted to take the Demand Change! motion to Unison's national conference in Bournemouth this summer. It's time for our male members to take a stand on this issue, Elliot said.

 

11th February   

Director of Public Persecution...

Attempt to twist UK law to criminalise the buyers of sex thwarted
Link Here

  Britain wants to prosecute
YOU!

An attempt to prosecute a man for asking a woman for sex in a Nottingham red light district was slammed as reprehensible by a High Court Judge

The case, from July 2008, had been thrown out by magistrates previously, but prosecutors tried to reopen it.

A police sting operation took place after complaints from Mapperley residents about the impact of prostitution in the area. A police officer posed as Sarah , a prostitute, and agreed a price for sex with the man after he approached her.

The man was arrested but magistrates cleared him of any offence, ruling he had done nothing wrong.

But the Director of Public Prosecutions tried to re-open the case in the High Court.

However, Lord Justice Elias said the attempt was quite hopeless and upheld the ruling a single incident of asking a woman for sex in a known red light district could not amount to a nuisance.

He added a single, otherwise lawful, act does not become a criminal offence just because other people are carrying out similar, otherwise lawful, activity in the same area.

Observing prosecuting authorities were using wholly artificial concepts to criminalise lawful conduct which they considered to be reprehensible , Lord Justice Elias urged all courts to have no truck with it .

Offences of engaging in, advertising and facilitating paid-for sexual activities (1) The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (asp 9) is amended as follows. (2) After section 11 insert—

 

11th February   

Sweden Not Worth Fighting For...

Swedish attempt to persecute troops paying for sex abroad fails
Link Here

Swedish Army logo18 Swedish soldiers who bought sex in a brothel while on military exercise in Germany last August have escaped punishment.

Sweden's prostitution law, like Norway, makes it illegal to buy sex but not to sell it, with the prostitute seen as a victim. However unlike Norway, Sweden's law doesn't stretch to forbidding sex with a prostitute abroad, while prostitution is legal in Germany.

Following an investigation by the Swedish armed forces, it was explained the troops can neither be charged or face disciplinary measures.

The 18 soldiers from K3 platoon in Karlsborg were in Germany for a joint exercise with German soldiers. They had a few days free time after the exercise was finished and it was then that they visited the brothel.

Investigator Gunnar Jonason told Swedish public service radio Ekot that they couldn't be charged because buying sex in germany was not illegal and because the men were using their own free time then they couldn't face disciplinary measures from the army.

We obviously think that it feels very wrong not to do something, because we have very clear values in the armed forces., Jonason told Ekot.

Offences of engaging in, advertising and facilitating paid-for sexual activities (1) The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (asp 9) is amended as follows. (2) After section 11 insert—