Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Market for sex workers, and human trafficking

The AP reports UK Government Unveils Plan for Sex Trade Crackdown, which has drawn some nuanced reactions from sex workers and others.

"The British government announced plans Wednesday to make it illegal to pay for sex with women forced into prostitution and to name men who solicit sex on the streets -- measures that prostitutes say will put more women at risk.
As part of the Home Office's ''name and shame'' campaign, people who pay for sex with a prostitute ''controlled for another person's gain'' could face criminal charges and a fine of 1,000 pounds ($1,500).
The crime would be a ''strict liability offense,'' which means men would be held accountable even if they didn't know a woman had been trafficked or was working for a pimp, according to the Home Office."
"Sex trade workers, however, said the wording of the proposed law would make it illegal for men to use prostitutes who work for other women at brothels or in other voluntary arrangements.
''This is a very dangerous moral crusade,'' Cari Mitchell, spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes, said Wednesday. ''What this will ultimately do is drive the sex trade further underground and put the focus on criminalizing clients that, for the most part, women aren't complaining about. This plan is of no benefit to women.'' "
"[Home Secretary] Smith said there was no public support for a ''wholesale ban'' on paying for sex and the measures were aimed at cutting down on exploitation."
"Under current laws in England and Wales, it is illegal to loiter and sell sex on the streets or elsewhere in public. Keeping a brothel is unlawful, but a lone woman selling sex inside is not. Similarly, paying for sex is legal. But solicitation has largely been tolerated."

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