Azara Blog: Harriet Harman wants to make it illegal to pay for sex

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Date published: 2007/12/20

The BBC says:

Commons Leader Harriet Harman has told the BBC she wants the law to be changed to make it illegal to pay for sex.

She said ministers were to look at how Sweden brought in such a law, and said a "big debate" was needed in the UK.

It would counter international human trafficking which sees girls bought and sold by criminals in the UK, she added.

Buying or selling sex is legal, but many activities related to prostitution such as kerb crawling, brothel keeping, pimping and soliciting are not.
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 made it illegal to buy sex from anyone aged under 18 and introduced tough penalties for trafficking adults and children for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

It is not illegal for an individual aged over 18 to work as a prostitute in off-street premises but where there is more than one prostitute, the owner of the premises can be prosecuted for keeping a brothel.

Many of the activities associated with street prostitution, such as soliciting and kerb-crawling, are also illegal and it is against the law to advertise sexual services on cards in telephone boxes.

Well it sounds like the current laws already cover all the activities specifically mentioned (in particular, "international human trafficking"). So it just seems like Harman is trying to make excuses for the current set of laws not working. And prostitution is usually deemed to be the world's oldest profession, and no doubt better and wiser people than Harman have unsuccessfully tried to stamp it out over the past zillion years. So what will the prostitutes and men do here to get around this law? Well, besides just ignoring it, they could try to claim that the sex is free but the room service is not.

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