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Prostitution: Human Trafficking

Volume 481: debated on Monday 20 October 2008

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps she has taken pursuant to the Government Equalities Office's report of January 2008, Women Not For Sale. (227514)

The Minister for Women and Equality commissioned the report Women Not For Sale to highlight how advertisements for personal services fuel demand for women trafficked for sexual exploitation. Since the report was published the Minister for Women commissioned two rounds of questions into attitudes of the general public towards prostitution and visited the Poppy Project to talk to women who have been trafficked into sexual exploitation.

The Deputy Minister for Women has fed into the Home Office six month review of what more the Government can do to protect those involved in prostitution from exploitation. The review included visits to Sweden and Holland to look at how trafficking is being tackled internationally and will report later this year.

Further the Government intend to strengthen the response to those involved in sexual exploitation. The Home Secretary recently announced:

An amendment to the offence of kerb-crawling, removing the need to prove that a person has acted persistently. This will ensure that kerb-crawlers can be prosecuted on a first offence.

New powers to allow police to close brothels for a period of three months. At the moment, police can only close premises associated with prostitution if antisocial behaviour or Class A drugs are involved.

Alongside this the Government have decided to give greater powers to local authorities and local communities to control the opening and regulation of lap-dancing clubs. This means lap-dancing clubs would potentially no longer be licensed under the Licensing Act 2003.