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Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

With the House’s leave, I would like to present a petition that has been signed online by 176 people and has been presented to the Leader of the House. As we do not currently allow online petitions, I have collected some human signatures too.

The petition states:

The Petition of the undersigned, declares that the current laws on Prostitution in the UK are outdated for the twenty-first century. The problems with trafficking in the UK demonstrate how the current laws do not assist in reducing prostitution nor do they help to protect vulnerable women who have been coerced or in many instances forced into prostitution. Although slavery was abolished in the UK almost 200 years ago, slavery still exists for many women in prostitution in the UK. We believe that serious action is now needed to combat this horrific human rights abuse.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the government to review the current laws on the supply of sex and prostitution. The undersigned request that new laws are introduced following the bold stance taken by the Swedish government in 1999 which made the demand, rather than the supply, illegal. We believe that prostitution is inherently an abuse of women and does not exist to allow women freedom of choice, but is a symptom of the lack of choice for many women. We believe that prostitution will only be reduced in the UK if the demand for prostitutes is tackled in a thorough and comprehensive manner.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.