Monday, 24 November 2008

Prostitutes to go self-employed...

In a wonderful piece of new legislation the Government is to encourage prostitutes to go self-employed, according to an article in The Independent.

Ministers have proposed new legislation that would make it a criminal offence to pay to have sex with someone who is "controlled for another person's gain". Under the proposed law, the Home Office would create a "strict liability offence" meaning that prosecutors would not have to prove that a man knew that the prostitute they had hired was trafficked or pimped. Prosecutors would simply have to show that the prostitute was trafficked or coerced and that cash changed hands.

In fairness, the aim is to target men who use prostitutes who have been trafficked or who are being forced into prostitution by pimps or drug dealers. But I’m not sure how the aim and the legislation match. Where is the incentive to catch or prosecute or punish the trafficker or pimp? Whilst all my experience of this field comes from reading fiction my understanding is that the general police view is that most prostitutes are better off having someone to 'look after them' - i.e. a bodyguard. It would certainly seems safer in the light of the fact that they are so often the target for murderers and other nutters. (Oops, sorry, that wasn't very p.c., was it?)

And what about prostitutes who are forced into that life by poverty – is the government going to prosecute itself for failing to have a higher standard of living in the UK?

Ah well, I’m sure it’s a good idea really.

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