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