Decriminalize Prostitution Now Coalition
Your Tax Dollars Are Being Wasted Ruining Citizens Lives
Instead of fighting real crime

Prostitution Reform Study in the U.K.

Reforming a profession and taking on the rightwing moralists!

January 2, 2004 Highlights from the Guardian

Almost 50 years on from the Wolfenden committee, the last comprehensive review of the laws on prostitution, there is an echo of a familiar theme. In the 1950s there was much public concern, stoked by an xenophobic press, about foreign pimps. Last week Luan Plakici, an Albanian who posed as a Kosovan asylum seeker, was found guilty of bringing 30 east European women to Britain and forcing them to work in illegal brothels in London, Bedford, Luton and Reading. But prostitution is a much more complex problem than just foreign pimps. A new Home Office-led review is promised.

There are several grounds for applauding this move. First because a return to evidence-based policy-making is long overdue, not just in the Home Office, but across Whitehall. Secondly, because it is another sign that ministers are finally ready to take on rightwing moralists who generate so much social harm.

Dave notes..."rightwing moralists who generate so much social harm." I like that :)

A reason for welcoming the review is the confusion and contradictions in the current laws. Although prostitution is not illegal, some 35 separate offences, such as soliciting, criminalise the trade.

One issue facing ministers is whether they should opt for "zones of toleration" or introduce legalised brothels. The problem with toleration zones is that they are only likely to be acceptable in rundown commercial zones, where there are no residents. Even a Church of England spokesman this week said it would prefer legalisation. Legalising the trade - as Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have already done in different ways - offers sex workers much better protection from the three most common threats: pimps, violent clients and disease. It also means the work can be taxed.

We Should Learn from Our Friends in the UK Prostitution laws face overhaul December 30, 2003 BBC News

Dave notes: Like most of the world except the U.S., private outcall prostitution is legal in the U.K. However street prostitution and incalls with more than one women in a flat is illegal.

The GMB (major labor union) wants to de-stigmatise sex work An overhaul of Britain's prostitution laws gives ministers a golden chance to make women safer and free up police time, says a leading trade union. The Home Office is due to unveil the first review of the prostitution laws for 50 years early next year. A spokesman told BBC News Online: "It is the right time to have a sensible debate and consider all the options." The review will be published some time after January.

Most people would say that it's much, much safer for two or three sex workers to work together in a flat. Mr Smith said the GMB, which has an entertainment and sex workers branch, had been one of the organisations consulted over the last six months but did not know the details of the plans.

Prostitution itself is not illegal but there are 36 offences linked to it, such as soliciting in a public place, kerb crawling and living off "immoral earnings"

.'Safety zones' Mr Smith said his union's main concern was to try to make sure the laws protected women in the industry - something with which senior police officers agree. Many of the current laws created crimes, he said. He pointed to the problem of a 14th century law still used which bans sex workers from work together. "Most people would say that it's much, much safer for two or three sex workers to work together in a flat.

"The GMB is pushing the idea of "safety zones" which exist in Australia, where sex workers can escape prosecution, work in groups in flats, advertise and receive health checks. An experiment with a "tolerance zone" in Northampton had proved "disastrous" because allowing street walking in a certain area led to more assaults, said Mr Smith.

"Most people, whatever they think about sex workers, would argue that changing the law to make it safer for women makes sense." And reform would enable the police to focus more resources on tackling the key problem of trafficking of sex workers. The idea of special zones where sex workers can operate won backing earlier this month from Metropolitan Police commander Andrew Baker

Moral objections But organisations like CARE, a Christian campaign group, have argued the legalising prostitution allows sex workers to continue to be victims. Setting up special zones would be a "legal and moral minefield", said the group.

A Home Office spokesman said: "It is the first time we have looked at it for over 50 years." The review would include strategies to prevent people being drawn into prostitution but also to help those who were involved in the industry, he said. The "practical impact" on communities affected by prostitution would also be addressed, he said. The Home Office published a consultation document in 2000 saying no consensus had been found on the idea of regulating prostitution.Dave notes only street and incalls needs regulating outcall sexwork is legal with no regulating needed as in most of the world except the U.S.