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Prostitution

Volume 705: debated on Wednesday 19 November 2008

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Jacqui Smith) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today I am publishing the findings of the Government’s review into tackling demand for prostitution. The review explored both the legislative and non-legislative options available, drawing on the experiences of other countries, such as Sweden and Holland. Copies have been placed in the House Library.

The review makes several recommendations that shift the focus for reducing prostitution on to the sex buyer, the person responsible for creating the demand for prostitution markets, which in turn creates demand for the trade of women to be trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Specific legislative recommendations include: creating a new strict liability criminal offence of paying for sex with someone who is controlled for another person’s gain; removing the need to prove that a person has acted persistently in order to be prosecuted for kerb-crawling; and powers to close premises associated with sexual exploitation. Non-legislative recommendations include a marketing campaign to raise awareness among sex buyers about trafficking for sexual exploitation and a national anti-kerb-crawling campaign, to support the police in their efforts to reduce street-based prostitution.

I accept the report’s recommendations and will take forward action to implement them as soon as possible.