Forced Prostitution Vote: November 3 or 5
CARE are urging Christians to write to their representatives is support of pending legislation which is designed to protect the mis-treatment of women in the face of increasind demand for paid sex in the UK.
Nola Leach who is Head of Public Affairs at CARE has written regarding the 'Forced Prostitution Vote' on 3 or 5 November 2009.
The Policing and Crime Bill, which is the first major piece of UK legislation addressing the demand for forced prostitution, will soon reach its critical stage in the House of Lords (probably November 3rd but possibly November 5th). CARE has long campaigned for a change in the law along the lines proposed and I am writing to ask you to consider urgently emailing one or more members of the House of Lords about this important matter. Forced prostitution and Clause 14
In recent years demand for paid sex in the UK has risen significantly. Not only are more British women being coerced by pimps into prostitution but some are even being trafficked from abroad to meet the demands of British men. Clause 14 of the Policing and Crime Bill addresses this demand by making it an offence to pay for sex with someone who is subjected to force, where the definition of force includes coercion by threats and other psychological means, including exploitation of vulnerability. It is a strict liability offence, meaning that proof of knowledge that the victim is subject to force is not needed. Without the strict liability element of the law, the purchaser would simply be able to say ‘I did not know they were coercively pimped or trafficked’.
The consequences of being forced into prostitution can be traumatic and devastating – some of the effects on the victims are severe depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. This abuse needs to be tackled and prevented through legislation wherever possible.
At Committee Stage in the Lords the debate on Clause 14 was discouraging. One Peer even stated that poorer men could only afford to pay for sex with women who were subjected to force and therefore to criminalise this would be social discrimination! There is a need to highlight the fact that forced prostitution is a tragic occurrence, with all kinds of socially damaging side effects, which needs to be stopped.Please write to one or more members of the House of Lords, asking them to support Clause 14.
Together we can use our voices to speak up for those who, at the moment, are unable to speak up for themselves.
Thank you for joining with us in protecting vulnerable people in the UK.
Yours in Christ
Please take action now!
Please email one or more members of the House of Lords. You can find the name of a Peer by going to www.writetothem.com/lords and either typing in your birthday or the area where you live. If you require assistance in accessing email addresses please don't hesitate to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
When emailing or writing it is important to:
- introduce who you are, where you're from and what you do.
- let them know that you are writing to them regarding Clause 14 of the Policing and Crime Bill which makes it illegal to pay for sex with someone who is subjected to force.
- ask them to support Clause 14. You can use some of the arguments set out at www.care.org.uk/demand
- ask them to vote against any amendments that try to remove the strict liability element from Clause 14.
- that the Clause would pass with the strict liability element intact..
- for CARE and other NGOs as we contact members of the House of Lords over the coming weeks. Pray that they read the material we send them and would respond well to our requests for meetings.
- that many Peers to speak in favour of the clause during the debate and that the Government would put forward a good minister to defend the clause.
- that the truth about forced prostitution and the effect that Clause 14 will have will be highlighted in the media – e. g. the fact that there are over 60 organisations supporting this clause!
Please feel free to forward this information to others or print out to give to members of your church.
Further information, as well as copies of the above letter, can be found at www. care.org.uk/demand
CARE works in partnership with Beyond the Streets, a network of over 50 grassroots projects seeking to offer freedom and change to those involved in prostitution.