High-class escort agencies are being targeted by police in a wider clampdown on online prostitution linked to money-laundering and people trafficking. The move, supported by ministers, opens up a new front in the war against sex workers who are
estimated to earn £1bn a year in untaxed revenues.
Critics of the crackdown complain that the police operations are heavy-handed and end in escorts being forced on to the streets or into brothels where they are at risk of violence and exploitation.
In the most recent case, detectives closed down an elite escort agency which worked with 30 women serving the commuter towns of Surrey.
Lorraine Morris, 28, who ran the Cloud Nine agency in Guildford, Woking and Camberley, told The Independent that she had had no problems with the police until her business was raided in October after one of the escorts had reported an assault.
She claims that the inquiry quickly switched from the allegation of assault to the activities of the escort agency. Police later raided the other women's homes, forcing the agency out of business.
British men have spent more than £4bn in 2009 on hush-hush sex behind their partners' backs despite the global recession, a survey has found.
According to the OnePoll survey, men have splashed out £4.2bn this year on sexy extras such as strippers, phone sex, erotic magazines and online pornography without revealing these naughty spending habits to their wife's or partners.
The poll also revealed that more than a million men bed a prostitute on a regular basis and over two million splash out on sexual thrills on stag dos and lads' weekends.
A spokesman for OnePoll, which polled nearly 4,500 men, said: The sex industry is clearly not being affected by the recession in any way. It seems men will find money to indulge in the world's most famous past-time whatever the economic
The poll found that British guys spent the most money in strip clubs. 29% of those surveyed visit strip clubs on a regular basis, with three trips a year emerging as the average. Blokes also fork out around £60 on each visit, leading to a
national spend of more than £1.5bn.
Adult downloads to mobile phones were the second-biggest expense of 2009, with 8% of men paying for porn images every month, leading to an annual spend of nearly £500m in 2009.
13% of men have membership to pornographic websites and download a collective total of £387m worth of adult content every year.
True Companion is set to unveil the first female sex robot at the upcoming Adult Entertainment Expo at the Sands Convention Center Jan 7-10 2010.
This female robot from True Companion is described as an artificial intelligence robot which was been specifically engineered to completely gratify the owner. The robot is said to be fully equipped with the capabilities to carry on a conversation
or to have an intimate encounter.
I told my husband about this new artificial intelligence female sex robot and all he could say was: they made one mistake when they equipped it to talk.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has dismissed a petition seeking a court order to compel county public health officials to require condom use on porn sets or take other reasonable steps to stem the spread of disease.
The petition, filed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, contended that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has passively observed an ever-growing epidemic within the porn industry.
Words alone cannot fight disease, the petition said. For over a decade, county health officials have talked, watched, written and analyzed. What county health officials have not done is act.
Judge David P. Yaffe rejected the petition, noting that the county has broad discretion in how it oversees public health.
The AIDS advocacy group sued the county in July. The action came weeks after an adult-film actress tested positive for HIV and county health officials released data that showed 18 HIV cases and more than 3,700 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and
syphilis had been reported since 2004 by a San Fernando Valley-based clinic that mainly serves the porn industry. Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation officials said at the time that the majority of the cases did not involve working adult
AIDS Healthcare Foundation officials plan to appeal the decision and said they would press for change. We just hope the county will do the right thing without being compelled to do it by a court, foundation President Michael Weinstein
said. This is going to be a years-long battle and it's going to have its ups and downs, but we know in the end that public health is going to win.
Although the Israeli sex trade is said to generate billions of dollars of profit a year, with as many as a million visits to prostitutes each month, the Knesset is adopting a mean minded approach to would-be clients of Israel's flourishing
MK Orit Zuarets (Kadima), chairwoman of the Committee against the Trafficking of Women, filed a bill Sunday that would make the act of hiring a prostitute illegal in Israel.
The significance of placing criminal responsibility on sex trade customers is that it regards prostitution as a forbidden phenomenon that is illegitimate and is rejected by society, explained Zuarets.
Zuarets has initiated a bill that would prohibit consuming sexual services and would allow courts to try sex trade consumers. The bill has won wide support, and is being co-sponsored by 25 MKs from across the political spectrum.
As an amendment to the penal code, Zuarets's legislation would place a possible sentence of up to six months in prison for a sex customer. Any customer found guilty for the first time would be offered the alternative of a community rehabilitation
plan, whereas a repeat customer found guilty more than once will not have the option of participating in the community plan.
Prostitution in Israel is currently legal, whereas the accompanying crimes, including pimping, running brothels, publishing sex advertisements and trading in women, are all criminal offenses. But legislators claimed that the law was
never sufficiently efficient in reducing these phenomena in any significant manner.
Legislators and anti-trafficking organizations were not alone in their support for Zuarets's bill. One of the preeminent rabbis of the national religious movement, Rabbi Yuval Sherlow, the head of the Petah Tikvah Hesder Yeshiva wrote an opinion
supporting according to Jewish law the imprisonment of a man who has hired the services of a prostitute. MK Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home) had requested Sherlow's opinion on the subject, and Sherlow wrote in support of the measure, but opposed
placing sole responsibility on the customer.
Starting next year, consumers in Finnish supermarkets will be able to add items such as dildos to their shopping lists, as the stores such as Kesko's Citymarket chain add sex toys to their range of products.
Shoppers will be able to pile items such as dildos, stimulator rings and massage oils into their shopping carts, making Finland the first Nordic country to offer sex aids in supermarkets.
Maria Kaisa Aula, Finland's Ombudsman for Children, says there seems to have been little forethought behind the decision to introduce sex toys to supermarket shelves. Aula pointed out that the advertising trades had a duty to respect parents'
responsibility to raise their children appropriately.
The Ombudsman said that the placement of sex aids should not force parents into premature discussions about sex with young children. Finland's Consumer Agency has also weighed in on the issue, advising that products intended for adults should not
be placed within children's reach.
In spite of her concerns, Aula is not calling for the removal of the sex products from supermarkets.
Children should not be unnecessarily confused by these things. Children who haven't encountered these items before wouldn't necessarily know about them, or what they're for. There's no point in needlessly confusing them, and for that reason it
would be good to place them in such a way that children won't see them, Aula said
The owner of a brothel more than two hours' drive from Las Vegas said she hopes to hire Nevada's first legal male prostitutes within a month, now that state health officials have approved a method to test men for infectious diseases.
The world is ready for women, or even other men, to legally buy sex, said Shady Lady Ranch owner Bobbi Davis. Plus, being the first to offer male service could boost business in tough economic times, she said.
With so many other male revues going on in Vegas, we thought it was time to give this a try, Davis told The Associated Press.
Until now, men have been effectively barred from legally plying the world's oldest profession in Nevada by the specificity of a state health law requiring prostitutes to undergo frequent cervical testing for sexually transmitted diseases. The
health board approved a regulation to allow urethral testing for men a crucial rule change by the state agency with ultimate power over whether prostitutes can or can't work.
The brothel still needs county approval. Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said: We're going to look at it. We have some concerns. The ramifications of this are going to be statewide . We're going to have to deal with it at our other six
brothels in Nye County if they want to offer the same service. We want to make sure we protect customers and make sure the industry is regulated with clarity and understanding.
Davis said she wants to add two men to the three women she currently has living and working at her compound of trailers off U.S. 95 about 150 miles northwest of Las Vegas. She said the women usually charge about $300 per hour for the five to 20
customers who visit on any given night. We don't know how to structure the men's pricing yet, Davis said.
India's Supreme Court suggested legalising prostitution as a solution to the rampant sex trade that has flourished despite a raft of laws, a report said.
When you say it is the world's oldest profession and when you are not able to curb it by laws, why don't you legalise it? the Press Trust of India quoted the court as telling the country's solicitor general.
Prostitution is illegal in India but police often turn a blind eye to the trade. There are around 1.2 million sex workers in the country, according to the National AIDS Control Organisation, many of whom have been pressing for full legalisation
Last year sex workers were granted rights to collect life insurance and they have also been fighting for protection under India's labour laws.
The court, presided over by a bench of two judges, said no legislation anywhere in the world had successfully managed to stop the sex trade, and legalising it would allow authorities to monitor the trade, rehabilitate and provide medical aid
to those involved .
The Press Trust of India said solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam would consider the court's proposal.
A group of prostitutes has decided to offer free sex to delegates taking part in UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) in protest against the city's attempt to dissuade conference participants from visiting brothels.
The city council has contacted 160 hotels asking them not to arrange prostitutes for guests, reports Avisen.dk.
In collaboration with The Nest International an anti-trafficking organisation and tourist organisation Wonderful Copenhagen, postcards with the slogan Be sustainable don't buy sex have been distributed to hotels as part of the
As mayor I have a duty over which image of Copenhagen will be shown during the summit and I think it's deplorable that you can buy a woman for sex, said Copenhagen Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard, who is hosting her own climate conference for
But sex workers interest organisation SIO is outraged by the unfounded claims that sex tourism increases during high-level summits, and a group of prostitutes are offering free sex to counteract the council's efforts.
It's completely discriminatory. Ritt Bjerregaard is abusing her position when she uses her power to prevent us from carrying out our legal work, SIO spokeswoman Susanne Møller said.
The group has now decided to offer a free service to people who present one of the council's anti-prostitution postcards, along with their official COP15 ID during the two-week conference.
In addition to the postcard campaign, the mayor has written to each of the 500 participants taking part in the Climate Summit for Mayors asking them to abstain from using the services of prostitutes.
While the climate talks remain frosty in Copenhagen, there's something else that's generating heat in the Baltic city. Capitalizing on a statement last week from the Copenhagen sex workers' union offering free sex to the climate conference
delegates, an enterprising shirt maker has started selling Gropenhagen t-shirts.
The T-shirts carry the punchline Gropenhagen, The Climax Conference 2009 and can be bought online.
It all started with Copenhagen mayor Ritt Bjeregaard sending postcards to the city's 150-plus hotels, urging them to advise guests coming for the climate summit not to patronize sex workers. Be sustainable don't buy sex, the cards read.
The prostitutes didn't take the move lying down. Their union, the Sex Workers Interest Group, declared they would offer sex for free to all delegates who produce the offending postcard and their conference ID.
Jorgen Angel, a rock photographer who is said to have suggested the Gropenhagen idea to a UK shirt-maker, was quoted in the media as saying, I found the Lady Mayor of Copenhagen's postcard very silly... I mean, no fossil fuel is used
during 'the act,' as far as I know, and there isn't much CO2 emission, is there?
James Coleman, the mean minded deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, is at the forefront of the End Prostitution Now initiative, which - according to the city council - has attracted support from MSPs, fellow councillors, unions and
The campaign aims to criminalise the purchase of sex, and move the focus onto the men who create the demand of prostitution by buying sex.
Posters highlighting the experience of men who have paid for sex are a feature of the new initiative. The campaign is pushing for amendments to proposed and existing legislation which will create a range of offences designed to target the
purchase of sex.
West Renfrewshire MSP Trish Godman is one of the supporters. She will be pledging her support to the campaign by proposing legislative amendments in the Scottish Parliament in the coming weeks.
You SHOULD be providing your COUNCIL TAX PAYERS with the services they desire, not pushing for this repressive regulation imposed on FREEBORN men and women who wish to make FREE choices about sex matters in a FREE (?)
country. What people do, consensually should have NOTHING to do with you even if one chooses to pay the other it is NONE of your business. Myths lies ? Yes the amount of people trafficked for this purposes is one great myth isn't it ? How many
people have been prosecuted ? Some poeple have no choice other than to use the services of a sex worker. For example a badly disfigured person or one with personality problems. They still have their urges. What do they do ? Your stupid Scottish
prudery makes NO PROVISION for them does it ? Disablity discrimination ?
You pathetic narrow minded people make me utterly sick I'll tell you.
So what if someone goes back to their wife or husband for that matter. Perhaps they do it with the AGREEMENT of their wife. Perhaps for whatever reason she cannot fulfil the marital role any more, and this is a solution for
the couple concerned. What really has it to do with you ?
I'm an ENGLISH MALE who has been with numerous high class escort girls in his time because he has a spanking fetish that would remain unfulfilled had he not crossed over to the Dark Side of prostitution. I always aim to be as charming,
considerate, gentle, generous and polite to the girls I see as I am towards everyone else I meet in my normal life, if not more so. It must have paid off, because for some bizarre reason, TWICE in my experience, girls have left the
escorting scene and have continued to see me to be spanked on a fairly regular basis, with me being their only client (still a paying client, naturally - I'm not THAT charming!).
Now, would someone please tell me how this is the only choice in prostitution when the aforementioned girls have CHOSEN to give up every client except me? How it is harmful when the girls have given up escorting but still want to go
on seeing me - do they like being harmed or something? There are way too many holes in this plot to pick them apart here, but I'm sure you get the picture.
Let's get this straight. Unlike the creators of this deranged website, I am not some Walter Mitty-type fantasist who is making up tales just to prick up people's ears. I am mature and level-headed enough to acknowledge that prostitution in the UK
is multi-faceted, and yes, there are people who enter into it without their full consent, who are exploited, and who need help. I have never and would never use the services of such a person. It's time that these modern-day, wannabe witch-hunters
who wish to criminalise ALL punters were made aware of this, plus the fact which they seem so hellbent on dismissing - that their actions make it less safe for EVERYONE who works within the sex industry.
This is why I'm in the early stages of putting together a book of my experiences, to tell it from an insiders perspective. I'm sick to death of feminazis and self-publicising pricks in this country with no experience or knowledge of a particular
subject being given free reign to spout lies, made-up statistics, anecdotal evidence and being able to control legislation which affects the lives of thousands of other people (this applies to so much NuLabour legislation, from the DPA to
the relentless negativity surrounding the videogames industry), with seemingly no-one there to challenge them.
So this is me throwing down the gauntlet. It's time we punters had a voice, and the truth was heard. We are NOT all rapists, abusers and perverts. Anyone with firsthand experience of punting who'd like to get in touch and speak out against this
nonsense (anonymously if your personal circumstances necessitate it), please let me know. I'm all for stamping out coercion and abuse, but I'm damned if I'm going to sit here and be legislated against (AGAIN!!!) by a rotten bunch of would-be
Communists without at last chucking something back in their general direction.
A marketing campaign for Ann Summers sex shops wishing customers a Merry XXXmas provoked a row with the Church of England. Religious nutters branded the shop's Christmas slogan - in the windows of all its 138 stores - as insensitive and
crass and called for it to be removed. There was also anger over another Ann Summers slogan calling on customers to Have a horny Christmas .
The Very Reverend Chris Dalliston, Dean of Newcastle, said: Without wanting to be a killjoy, [...BUT...] my feeling is that it is insensitive, at best uncomfortable, and at worst a crass marketing slogan. Many people
see Christmas as a sacred and special festival.
That isn't to say ordinary fun and human enjoyment shouldn't be part of it, but people need to be sensitive to the feelings not just of the Church, but of the many people for whom Christmas is an important part of their
relationship with God.
One has to accept this is a time of year which is of great importance commercially. But it is about having awareness of the spiritual significance of Christmas as a celebration of Christ's birth. Let's not throw the Christ
child out with the bath water.
Last night the boss of Ann Summers said she would investigate the complaint - but also pointed out that the company was proud of its marketing campaign.
Jacqueline Gold, chief executive at Ann Summers. said: Our festive campaign was designed to put our customers in the Christmas spirit, with a model accessorising our lingerie with a pair of reindeer horns. The accompanying
slogan is a light-hearted play on words, which if questioned by children, can be explained by the fact the horns are being worn - after all, Rudolph plays a large part at Christmas time. We are proud of our tongue-in-cheek window and marketing
messages, designed to make our customers smile. We aim to offer women the opportunity to feel sexy and have fun.
One or two questions have been raised about our new Christmas windows and we are listening to feedback from our customers and staff to ensure that we achieve the right balance. We value customers opinions and we will always
investigate any complaints, however few and far between.'
Matt King, who passes Ann Summers every day on his way to work at Newcastle University, contacted his local councillor, Nick Forbes, to raise his concerns about the window display and to ask him to take it up with the council:
I think it brings a highly sexual language to the high street. Everyone who can read, whether they are four years old or 80, is being wished this message, which they may not want. I would have thought the council would be concerned that this
would end up being a seedy end of town as a result.
Councillor Forbes said: I can see how this would be extremely offensive to Christians at this special time of year. I would have thought that sex shops would be aware of the potential offence they could cause and I would
urge them to stop using the slogan immediately.
A council spokesman said: We have received a complaint about this window display. It is in poor taste and inappropriate in a main shopping street, but we have no powers to make the shop owners take it down.
Two Nigerians accused of using curses to force about 140 Nigerian girls into prostitution in Europe were sentenced to jail terms of four and and four-and-a-half years.
Four other defendants received terms of one or two years while three were found not guilty by a court in the Netherlands.
The trial, on charges of human trafficking and membership of a criminal organisation, opened in March.
Prosecutors said about 140 Nigerian girls brought by the gang into the Netherlands as asylum seekers had disappeared from asylum centres in 2006 and 2007.
About a dozen of the girls were traced, while the rest were thought to have been forced into prostitution in Italy, Spain and France. Their ages ranged from 16 to 23.
The Netherlands allegedly served as a transit point for the girls, sent by the suspects from Nigeria with false identity papers and instructions for an asylum application.
The suspects used voodoo to influence the girls, said a prosecution statement. They had to give blood, nails or a piece of clothing and make a promise to a voodoo priest to repay the 'debts' incurred for their travel to Europe --
between 30,000 euros (44,400 dollars) and 60,000 euros each.
That means that they would have had to have forced sex about 3,000 times and give up the proceeds. In a foreign country, far from home, with no way out -- living with the fear of going crazy or dying if they disobey their handlers, said
Despite a highly trumpeted New York State law in 2007 that enacted tough penalties for sex or labor trafficking, very few people have been prosecuted since it went into effect, according to state statistics.
In New York State, there have been 18 arrests and one conviction for trafficking since the law was signed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer and took effect in November 2007, according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. There is one
case pending in Manhattan, one in Queens and two in the Bronx.
The situation is not all that different in New Jersey or in roughly 30 states that have laws against human trafficking defined as using fraud or force to exploit a person for sex or labor. A federal law passed in 2000 with lifetime prison
penalties has resulted in 196 cases with convictions against 419 people, according to statistics from the United States Department of Justice.
The scale of those numbers contrasts starkly with the 14,500 to 17,500 people the State Department estimates are brought into the United States each year for forced labor or sex.
Amsterdam and prostitution have for a long time been bedfellows and the city's red light district attracts thousands of tourists who come to take advantages of the liberal laws. But these thrill seekers may soon have to get their kicks elsewhere,
because the Dutch government wants to criminalise sex tourism.
The Netherlands has proposed a Prostitution Regulation Law targeting both those who buy sex as well as those who sell it. Lawmakers say it will identify women who are forced into the industry against their will.
At the moment only prostitutes who work in brothels require a license many choose to work as escorts or provide services from their homes instead. Under the new law, all women working in the industry would be forced to register, and their
details will be available to the police and justice department.
The idea has caused concern in a number of organisations, including the Red Thread, which represents sex workers. Jan Fisher is its chairman: It will be the reverse. The ones who want to work know how devastating the stigma could be, and will
be. They will try to work outside this system and they'll be vulnerable when they're detected by the police and tax office, and the ones who are trafficked may be forced by their pimps to register so they have a kind of legal status.
Another major fear is that the Netherlands will move towards a Swedish model, where it is a crime for men to visit prostitutes. Pye Jakobsson, who has worked in the Swedish sex industry for several years, says the Dutch plan is even more
stupid than the restrictive regime she works under: The Swedish experience tells us that if you're vulnerable or under the radar as you will be if you're unregistered you're more prone to meet dangerous clients as the good ones, the
decent ones, who will want to buy sex from registered workers. And there will be women, for one reason or another, who don't want to register and they won't have the choice to say 'no' to bad clients.
Increase in violence Pye believes there will be an increase in violence against sex workers if the law is introduced in the Netherlands and is urging lawmakers to rethink the plans. If the idea is to combat people trafficking, she says, the
government should use existing labour laws. Pye argues most women in the trade do the job through choice.
New research out of the University of Montreal suggests that pornography is so widely digested, and with such a seemingly low correlation to pathological behavior, that it is grossly over-demonized. The research is funded by the
Interdisciplinary Research Center on Family Violence and Violence Against Women.
Simon Louis Lajeunesse, a postdoctoral student and professor at the School of Social Work, set out to examine the effects of pornography on men, which would involve studying men in their 20s who've never consumed pornography. We couldn't find
any, he says.
Still at an early stage of the study, Lajeunesse has so far recruited 20 heterosexual male university students who, as consumers of pornography, are representative of, well, heterosexual male university students. The objective of the study, he
says, is to observe the impact of pornography on the sexuality of men, and how it shapes their perception of men and women.
Subjects shared their sexual history, beginning with their first experience with pornography, which for most boys happens by the age of 10. The research so far shows that 90% of pornography is consumed online and 10% through video stores. On
average, men who are single watch porn about three times a week for about 40 minutes, while men who are in relationships watch about 1.7 times a week for about 20 minutes.
All test subjects report that they support gender equality, and that they feel victimized by rhetoric that demonizes pornography.
Pornography hasn't changed their perception of women or their relationship which they all want as harmonious and fulfilling as possible, Lajeunesse says. Those who could not live out their fantasy in real life with their partner simply
set aside the fantasy. The fantasy is broken in the real world and men don't want their partner to look like a porn star. (Naomi Wolf has famously argued the opposite.)
Even though he has only interviewed 20 men so far, Lajeunesse says his work is already refuting pornography's role in changing sexual behavior. If pornography had the impact that many claim it has, you would just have to show heterosexual
films to a homosexual to change his sexual orientation.
Presidential candidate Sergey Tigipko has said he supports the legalization of prostitution in Ukraine.
I would support this. Actually we should not be hypocrites. If certain things exist we should speak about them openly and resolve [problems] if necessary, he said during an Internet chat on the Korrespondent Web site.
Today we say that we have free medicine, although everybody pays for its, we say that we have free education, although everybody pays for it. That's why we should be honest with ourselves and it will be easier to
People in Canada believe the country's laws on prostitution should be modified, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion published in Maclean's.
50% of respondents would prefer to decriminalize some of the actions surrounding prostitution that are currently illegal and allowing adults to engage in consensual prostitution.
Conversely, 25% of respondents would prohibit prostitution entirely, and make it illegal to exchange sex for money. Only 16% of respondents would keep the status quo, which criminalizes some of the activities surrounding prostitution.
Under current regulations, exchanging sex for money in Canada is legal. However, the Criminal Code makes many activities surrounding prostitution illegal, including the public communication for the purposes of prostitution, and owning, running,
occupying or transporting anyone to a bawdy house (or brothel).
Last month, three Ontario sex workers launched a legal challenge to the country's prostitution laws, claiming that current regulations violate their constitutional rights and threaten their physical safety. The Ontario Superior Court of
Justice has not issued a decision. A similar case is expected to be heard in British Columbia in January 2010.
Generally speaking, which of these policy options would you personally prefer to deal with the issue of prostitution in Canada?
Decriminalizing some of the actions surrounding prostitution that are currently illegal and allowing adults to engage in consensual prostitution...50%
Prohibiting prostitution entirely, and making it illegal to exchange sex for money...25%
Keeping the status quo, which criminalizes some of the activities surrounding prostitution... 16%
A lap-dancing club where rich clients could buy sex and drugs in the heart of London's West End has been shut down after a six-month operation, police said.
Vice squad detectives arrested seven people accused of helping to run the basement Capricorn Club and raided houses in London and Essex on Thursday.
Scotland Yard said the private-members' venue, close to the British Museum and the Oxford Street shopping district, catered for wealthy customers, including financial professionals and other white-collar workers.
Despite its small, nondescript entrance on Goodge Street, the club soon built a reputation and began to make large profits, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement: (The club) was known to its affluent clientele as a place where sex and
drugs were freely available, it added.
Newspapers said the club was a celebrity hangout, but internet reviewers said it was more a place , where customers pay large amounts to have a drink with a woman. Customers paid up to £250 to have sex inside the club or £300
to go to a nearby hotel, police said. They had to buy a bottle of champagne for £135 and could also get cocaine.
It is hard to believe that in the middle of a well-known area like Goodge Street, these shady dealings were blatantly going on, said Detective Inspector John Anderson, of the Metropolitan Police. This type of criminal activity is a
nuisance and a blight on the community.
Police arrested five men and two women. Eighteen women aged in their 20s and 30s who worked at the club were being interviewed.
The Hoerengracht, by Ed and Nancy Kienholz
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London
18th November 2009 - 21st February 2010
Amsterdam's infamous red-light district is being recreated in central London's National Gallery.
Visitors will peep through windows and doorways at mannequins dressed as prostitutes in the installation.
The Hoerengracht, by US artists Ed and Nancy Kienholz, opened on 21st November 2001 and will run until 21st February 2010
A gallery spokesman said it would "shed light" on its collection of Dutch 17th Century masters. These will include Jan Steen's Interior of an Inn, a bawdy pub scene, and de Hooch's Musical Party in a Courtyard.
The gallery's head of education, Colin Wiggins, said: Visitors will be able to walk into the installation, which is like a succession of streets.
Wiggins said the gallery would not warn children against entering the installation: If you look at the National Gallery as a whole, there are more things to warn against .
The Utah Supreme Court has ruled that a state tax on strip clubs is constitutional but that the same tax on escort services is not.
Passed in 2004, the tax levies a statewide 10% tax on admission and user fees charged by sexually-explicit businesses, defined as any business where a nude or partially denuded employee or contractor performs any service. Utah-produced
merchandise, food and drinks sold by these businesses also are subject to the tax.
The statute also levies a tax on escort services, which are defined as any person who furnishes or arranges for an escort who is compensated to accompany another individual for companionship. An escort is any individual who is available to
the public for the purpose of accompanying another individual for compensated companionship.
Associate Chief Justice Matthew B. Durrant said that the state's Sexually Explicit Business and Escort Service Tax is content-neutral when applied to nudity.
In this case, application of the tax is triggered by nudity, which the Supreme Court has specifically declared 'is not an inherently expressive condition, Durrant wrote. Because it is not inherently expressive, nudity is unprotected
conduct rather than protected expression.
Regarding the taxing of escort services, Durrant found that the language was fatally overbroad, but opened the door to a legislative revision that included more specific language. Nowhere does the statute define an escort in terms of nudity,
he wrote. The statute also fails to define the term 'companionship.' Therefore, according to the plain terms of the statute, individuals who are paid for providing care for the elderly as well as those who are paid as tour guides would fall
within the definition of an 'escort,' and any person or business who employs them would be subject to the tax.
Over 1,000 men pay for sex in Ireland every day, according to Fine Gael's Denis Naughten.
In a Dáil debate on a Fine Gael motion aimed at stamping out people trafficking, he said that 97% of the 1,000 women believed to be involved in indoor prostitution were migrants.
The Fine Gael Private members motion criticises Government policy and calls for an urgent examination of our prostitution laws.
Naughten said changes to the law on prostitution in the UK could push illegal traffickers out of Northern Ireland and into the Republic, making us a red light country.
His party colleague Simon Coveney said prostitution would never be eradicated entirely, but if we were to help those people who were trafficked in here, then those who paid for prostitution had to be criminalised.
He said it had been claimed that trafficking produced 15.5 billion in profits during 2005, so it was probably higher now. Most of them were aged between 18 and 24 years and in this country, most were women.
The Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, denied allegations that the gardaí or the national immigration unit were not doing enough to target people traffickers.
Bigger fines for the clients of prostitutes have been urged in a clampdown effort by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.
The proposal, to be put to the National Assembly, had the support of the chairmen of provincial People's Committees, the ministry said.
The fines had yet to be defined, but would be several times higher than the current fines for clients of up to VND1 million (US$55.50) the first time and up to VND5 million($277) the second time, the ministry said.
As the law stands, convictions are reported to the clients' employer, which could result in loss of respect, disgrace or even sacking.
The ministry's Social Evils Prevention Department said more than 160 prostitution cases had been investigated since the beginning of the year, mostly in HCM City, Ha Noi, Hai Phong and provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Ben Tre.
While the number appeared low, it was nearly 60 per cent higher than the same period last year.
However, prostitution appears far more prevalent than the figures show. The Ministry of Public Security inspected 5,000 communes and found evidence of prostitution in 1,350.
Department policy unit head Do Thi Ninh Xuan said punishments were currently aimed at the prostitutes, while the clients were let off lightly.
This made control and prevention of prostitution difficult, she said. It was necessary to shift the focus to the clients.
Under the present law, only people convicted of paying money for sex with someone under 18 years old could be punished severely, she said. They could be jailed for 5-15 years.
Xuan said when clients were caught they would say they did not carry ID to avoid having their employer informed, but no one was responsible for following up to see their IDs.
Although it has been illegal to pay for sex in Sweden for ten years, only two people have been sentenced to prison for violating Swedish laws criminalizing the purchasing of sexual services.
In addition, 228 people have been fined under the law, according to Sveriges Television (SVT).
According to the law, people who pay for sex can be punished with up to six months in prison, but so far the harshest penalty has yet to be meted out.
There are also large differences in the number of people indicted for buying sex from one part of the country to another. In several areas, not a single charge has been filed since the law came into force.
Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask said that a lack of indictments in parts of the country and only two prison sentences nationwide points to the need for changes in the law.
It remains to be seen, after all of the cases have been thoroughly analyzed, but that sounds like very few cases for such a long time. That likely indicates that the rules are in need of modernization, she told SVT.
A government-appointed commission is currently reviewing Sweden's current laws which outlaw the purchase of sexual services.
No more bars and no more mistresses, say Chinese government officials, in a morality campaign to control corruption in their ranks, says a new AP report.
Apparently, a huge majority of officials recently investigated for corruption have one or more mistresses, and because of that, might be tempted to do whatever it takes to get or keep them, leading apparently desperate men to do desperate things
- such as abuse their power to get money.
Other attempts by the communist party to whet their population's collective appetites include morality enforcers who want bars, lewd or pornographic material, and other freedoms ended or curtailed.
This is certainly in keeping with party control of the Chinese people in a number of other invasive ways, such as forced abortions (even for married couples), internet shut-downs, and the lack of freedom suffered by most as the toil in factory
jobs and other struggling industries.
News reports are talking about the movement of many modern Chinese to quit the Chinese communist party. It seems almost certain that the new ethics drive will accelerate this movement!
For years ministers have insisted that thousands of women are being smuggled into Britain and forced into prostitution. But when police staged a multi-million pound operation to smash the gangs, how many traffickers did they find? Not one
The overblown language was more red-top tabloid than heavyweight Government announcement. Issued by the Home Office, the press release bragged about the success of the largest-ever police crackdown on human trafficking - one of the worst
crimes threatening our society .
Breathlessly it went on to detail how women were being brought to this country and then sold as commodities for the purposes of sexual exploitation .
But now, it continued, thanks to nationwide police operation Pentameter 2, a staggering 528 criminals involved in this abhorrent crime had been arrested.
At its core, this operation was about striking a blow against one of the most distressing aspects of serious and organised crime in this country - that of people-trafficking for sexual exploitation, said Dr Tim Brain, Chief Constable of
Gloucestershire and the man who headed the operation, announcing the figures in July 2008.
Also keen to weigh in with her observations was the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. Pentameter 2 has been a great success, she said: I would commend all those involved who have made a real impact in rescuing victims and bringing to
justice those who exploit them.
As intended, the media lapped it up, encouraged by Dr Brain's claim that the number of trafficked sex workers in Britain was actually 18,000 - five times more than previous highest estimates.
No doubt the Home Office was delighted with the coverage its press release achieved. But not any more. Fifteen months on and those words have come back to haunt them with a vengeance.
Last month, an investigation by the Guardian newspaper disclosed what Pentameter 2 had really achieved - the conviction of not one genuine sex trafficker.
UK courts are being prepared to handle
the new law
New measures to repress the public, increase police power and tackle crime and disorder were welcomed today by the Home Secretary Alan Johnson after the Policing and Crime Bill received Royal Assent.
New measures include the introduction of a mandatory code of practice for alcohol retailers, the creation of a new offence of paying for sex with a prostitute who has been coerced or deceived and the power for police and local authorities to
apply for injunctions against people involved in gang-related violence.
Further measures include:
Giving greater powers to Local Authorities to restrict the opening and regulation of lap-dancing clubs;
Strengthening police powers to deal with young people drinking alcohol in public;
* Lowering the number of times premises can sell alcohol to young people before incurring a penalty and toughening the penalties for those premises;
* Making sure that those subject to football banning orders in England and Wales are also banned from attending regulated football matches in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Increasing police powers to close premises associated with prostitution and pornography related offences for a set period;
Protecting vulnerable individuals by increasing the maximum duration of foreign travel orders, requiring those sex offenders banned from travelling anywhere abroad to surrender their passport, and increasing the penalty for the offence of
failing to provide access to suspected encrypted indecent photographs of children;
Increasing the efficiency of the Criminal Records Bureau, and make amendments to strengthen the working of the new Vetting and Barring Scheme.
Making a number of small amendments to clarify HM Revenue and Customs powers;
Strengthening the arrangements for recovery of assets obtained through criminal means;
Improving the efficiency of arrangements for judicial co-operation between UK and its international partners.
Enhancing inter-agency co-operation in establishing airport security arrangements with greater clarity of roles and responsibilities;
Introducing a systematic regular assessment of how threats to airports are being mitigated;
Enhancing airport security planning at UK airports both locally and nationally as Airport Security Plans will help ensure more effective deployment of resources to mitigate threats;
Bringing in a consistent funding process for dedicated police activities at airports that ensures police authorities are reimbursed by airport operators for agreed dedicated policing costs, in turn benefiting the taxpayer.
Roberta Blackman-Woods, the mean minded MP representing Durham, has welcomed the fact that the Policing and Crime Bill has passed its final parliamentary hurdle, with amendments between the two Houses of Parliament resolved.
The Bill contains provisions to restrict the licensing of lap dancing clubs, which Roberta campaigned for and persuaded the Government to include.
Blackman-Woods said : The new licensing regime will give local councils and local people far more of a say over the number and location of lap dance clubs in their area.
Despite Liberal Democrat amendments in the Lords supporting the lap dancing industry which would have substantially weakened the Bill, the Government held firm and made sure that local people would come first and that lap dance clubs would be
subject to strict but fair licensing arrangements. The Government has also announced that it is conducting a review of the whole issue of 'Temporary Event Notices' which is something I have been pressing for.
I will be urging Durham County Council to adopt the provisions and use the powers this Act will give it to as soon as possible.
Romania's independent presidential candidate Sorin Oprescu has said he was inclined to support decriminalisation of prostitution.
But, he claimed that the country's healthcare system wasn't ready for such a move and added he was strongly opposed to legalisation of recreational drugs.
Sorin Oprescu, currently Bucharest mayor, said: As a doctor, as someone who has operated on AIDS patients and patients with sexually-transmitted infections, I am inclined to say I would agree that prostitution should be kept under control. But
state control entails dedicated police and medical structures. Romania's healthcare system can't handle that right now.
A presidential commission analyzing social and demographic risks released a report in September proposing the decriminalisation of drug consumption and prostitution, claiming that would reduce, in certain conditions, several public-health risks.
For years, prostitutes caught in police raids in Taiwan were punished under the law, while their clients walked free. However, this law was challenged as unfair by two judges in a recent case involving two elderly prostitutes, and the
justices' petition for a judicial review has led to an upcoming change in the rules.
The Constitutional Court has decided that the relevant article in the Social Order Maintenance Act violates the principle of equality enshrined in the Constitution, and that new regulations should be worked out by the administration and the
As amendment of the regulations and penalties pertaining to prostitution requires administrative and legislative review and planning, the Constitutional Court ruled that the existing law will be retained for two more years until Nov. 5, 2011.
Meanwhile, the judges suggested that the police and judicial authorities show leniency when dealing with the punishment of prostitutes, whom they described as socially disadvantaged individuals.
Clients of unlicensed prostitutes in the Netherlands may in future risk prosecution under a proposed new law, the cabinet said.
The draft law, yet to be approved by parliament, will make it compulsory for prostitutes to go through a registration process.
Municipalities will decide how many brothels to allow in their borders, and where.
Prostitutes will become liable for prosecution if they work without the required registration, or in a business with no permit, said the statement.
Clients who make use of the services of illegal prostitutes can be prosecuted, because by doing so they help sustain a form of prostitution in which abuses and exploitation are more difficult to prevent.
Prostitution has been legal in the Netherlands since 2000, but only brothels and businesses letting out streetside windows to prostitutes have hitherto required municipal authorisation.
The Amsterdam city authorities were on the verge of shutting down landmark erotic theatre Casa Rosso in the red light district. Owner Jan Otten resisted - and won.
Jan Otten is the face of the Amsterdam red light district. His erotic theatre Casa Rosso is the most prominent landmark in the historic area of window prostitutes, sex shops and cannabis selling coffee shops. Its illuminated facade has
appeared on TV shows across the world and Otten has contracts with 180 travel organisations.
Otten prefers to sit behind the till himself, welcoming guests to the shows, which feature intercourse on the stage.
It was world news therefore when it was announced three years ago that Otten's businesses were being shut down by the municipality. In addition to Casa Rosso, Otten owns the Banana bar and a number of peep shows and sex shops in Amsterdam's red
light district. On Tuesday it was disclosed that Otten will after all be granted his entertainment and operating licences from the municipality of Amsterdam, after a long legal battle.
The national Bibob agency, which supervises the integrity of licensees, had advised against Otten's retaining his licences. It alleged Otten had connections with criminal circles and that criminal money may have been laundered via Casa Rosso.
At first I thought it was a comedy, Otten said. I said: go ahead and look into it, none of those stories about criminal money are true. I've done nothing wrong. But when the licences were not forthcoming, it turned into a very
bad movie. Once, when he got into an argument with one of his employees, he thought about selling the whole damn business .
Shutting down his windows became part of the city's plans to close brothels, sex shops and marijuana cafes to drive organised crime out of the tourist haven. The Bibob agency connected Otten with laundering ransom money that had been paid in the
1983 for kidnapped beer magnate Freddy Heineken. Those stories were quickly refuted, Otten said. Nonetheless the investigation took a very long time because not all of his investments were transparent.
In the meantime Casa Rosso suffered under the threat of closure. I have had a great deal of trouble from all the stories that have come out since 2007. Whether involving human trafficking or forced prostitution, Casa Rosso is brought into the
picture in all the stories about abuses in the red light district. And I have nothing to do with that, Otten said.
And then there are the costs he has had to incur to secure his licence. All those lawyers and advisers. It certainly cost a million euros. For a licence. That ruins a business owner, Otten said. In retrospect I do have the feeling that
they wanted to ruin me.
In a rare instance of sexual frankness, a Chinese official has called for conjugal homes and short-stay hotels to meet the needs of sex-starved migrant workers in Guangdong, the province known as the workshop of the world .
The family planning official, Zhang Feng, said millions of workers lived a lonely existence away from their families and he encouraged them to use sex toys rather than the thriving prostitution industry.
In this province we have 30m migrants living apart from their wives or husbands whose hunger for sex has never been recognised by society or the government, Zhang said.
If we go on like this our society will end up riddled with Aids, so I suggest that we provide conjugal homes and rooms by the hour and I also suggest using sex toys it's not shameful and it avoids disease.
Zhang was speaking in a local newspaper interview to coincide with the opening of the seventh Guangdong Sex Festival, which is attracting hordes of visitors to an exhibition hall this weekend. On display were scanty underwear, inflatable dolls,
medicines and sex toys, manufactured by the million in factories around the city.
Many are made by the very migrants Zhang was talking about young people from the countryside who live in factory dormitories or cramped communal rooms, divided by gender and often policed by security guards.
People who are full should understand those who are hungry, said Zhang, whose titles include vice-chairman of the China Sexual Association, a professional body.
Rhode Island Senate lawmakers have approved the bill to make prostitution a misdemeanor offense regardless of where it occurs. Prostitutes would face a maximum six-month prison sentence for a first offense, while their customers could face up to
The bill now goes to the state Governor for approval into law.
Rhode Island is the only state, besides parts of Nevada, that currently allows indoor prostitution. More than two dozen brothels are now operating across the state.
With a new by-law which comes into force next month, Granada becomes the first town in Andalucía to introduce fines for street prostitution.
Ondara on the Costa Blanca has now followed their example and will be voting at a council meeting next week on its own by-law with fines for anyone who offers, solicits, negotiates or accepts, directly or indirectly, sexual services on the
public way .
The fines range from 80 up to 500 , but sexual relations taking place in the street will be considered a very serious offence and could be fined by as much as 2,000 .
The local Town Hall told El Mundo newspaper that the measure will only be applied to those who re-offend knowing that the ban is in place, adding that the municipal social services department is on hand to help and advise any prostitutes who work
locally who want to give up their profession.
The southern Spanish city of Granada has started imposing fines on street prostitutes and their clients in a rare crackdown on a profession that lies in legal limbo.
City councilor Eduardo Moral says the new municipal order that went into effect Tuesday imposes fines of up to $4,500 for soliciting or offering sex within 200 meters (660 feet) of a school, residential area, shopping center or business complex.
Outside that limit, the fine can be as much as $1,100.
The number of foreign prostitutes on Oslo streets is nearly back to what it was before the ban on the purchase of sex services was introduced last year, public broadcaster NRK reports.
Figures compiled by the Oslo Pro Centre shows that the number of prostitutes on Oslo streets is again at the level of two years ago. It is now nearly one year since the ban on the purchase of sexual services was put into effect.
Leader of the Centre, Liv Jessen, says to NRK that she is surprised at the number, and the fact that so many are from Nigeria.
The Pro Centre (Pro Sentret) is a Norwegian national resource centre on all matters related to prostitution and a health and social service centre for women and men in prostitution. Founded in 1983 and financed by the Municipality of Oslo and the
Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, the Pro Centre is run by the Municipality of Oslo.
The Internet has spawned a virtual subculture of customers who share information electronically about prostitution, according to a new study co-authored by a Michigan State University criminologist.
The research by MSU's Thomas Holt and Kristie Blevins of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte challenges the common perception that sex customers act alone and do not interact for fear of reprisal or scorn. The study appears in the
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.
Holt, assistant professor of criminal justice, said today's Web-savvy customers use the Internet to solicit prostitutes and to provide each other with warnings of prostitution hot zones and stings, which can hamper the efforts of law enforcement
The growth of these deviant subcultures has made it more difficult for law enforcement, said Holt, who has helped police devise prostitution stings. On the other hand, it gives us a new opportunity to use the way the offenders
communicate to better target their activities.
The study analyzed prostitution Web forums in 10 U.S. cities with the highest rates of prostitution arrests: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dayton, Elizabeth, Forth Worth, Hartford, Inglewood, Las Vegas Memphis.
In the Web forums, customers provide detailed information on the location of sexual services on the streets and indoors, as well as ways to identify specific providers, information on costs and personal experiences with providers.
The open nature of the forums led the users to carefully disguise their discussions with a unique language, or argot, based largely on code and acronyms. This argot may help customers and sex workers to avoid legal sanctions and any social stigma
associated with participating in the sex trade, the researchers said.
The study also said the customers place significant value on the notion that paid sexual encounters are normal and nondeviant. These Internet communities help these individuals justify their behavior, Holt said.
A movement to make porn films condom-only is sure to gain further traction as two groups plan to protest the Marriott hotel chain.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Pink Cross Foundation claim Marriott acts as a middleman in selling condom-less porn productions because it makes millions from the pay-per-view lineup it offers in its hotel rooms.
The groups are planning a Porn In at the downtown Los Angeles Marriott. They also will announce a viral and print ad campaign for a hotel boycott.
They will protest in front of the Figueroa Street Marriott with banners and three-foot wide condoms. Later, a press conference will be held in a hotel room with streaming porn on the room's flat screen.
Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said that until he gets a commitment from Marriott officials to block condomless adult films to their hotel guests he will urge a public boycott of the entire Marriott chain, which
pencils out to about 3,000.
We want to highlight the brazen hypocrisy the Mormon Marriott's moral masquerade of such a so-called family oriented hotel chain profiteering off adult films that endanger the lives of the performers acting in them, Weinstein said.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has taken a stand after an adult performer tested positive for HIV several months ago.
A report by The UK Insolvency Helpline Debt Advice Service warned the increase in high cost credit such as store cards, credit cards and door strep lending has put women at risk of joining the sex industry to pay of debts.
Thousands of women of all ages have started working in massage parlours, brothels and sex parties in an effort to make extra money to fight of the risk of bankruptcy. There are reports of women being able to earn up to £50 pounds for sexual
intercourse for 15 minutes work.
Research from The UK Insolvency Helpline Debt Advice Service states there is considerable evidence to suggest that such an increase in debt and the ease in becoming a prostitute have had an impact on this problem.
This new study from The UK Insolvency Helpline Debt Advice Service newspaper is in line with a previous study from the debt advice charity stating that One in four people who contacted a debt helpline last year admitted that some of their
financial problems were caused by spending money on sex, a report showed today.
The UK Insolvency Helpline said sex industry spending was now the third most common reason for people to get into debt after spending on drugs and alcohol, and shopping.
The group said a quarter of the callers aged between 25 and 49 it helped between January and September last year admitted they had paid to see pornography or visited a lap dancing club or brothel.
It said sex addiction could have a wide-ranging impact on people's finances, with some running up high levels of debt paying for prostitutes or visiting lap dancing clubs, as well as by subscribing to pornographic internet sites or running up
huge bills on premium rate telephone sex lines.
The UK's biggest ever investigation of sex trafficking failed to find a single person who had forced anybody into prostitution in spite of hundreds of raids on sex workers in a six-month campaign by government departments, specialist agencies and
every police force in the country.
The failure has been disclosed by a Guardian investigation which also suggests that the scale of and nature of sex trafficking into the UK has been exaggerated by politicians and media.
Current and former ministers have claimed that thousands of women have been imported into the UK and forced to work as sex slaves, but most of these statements were either based on distortions of quoted sources or fabrications without any source
While some prosecutions have been made, the Guardian investigation suggests the number of people who have been brought into the UK and forced against their will into prostitution is much smaller than claimed; and that the problem of trafficking
is one of a cluster of factors which expose sex workers to coercion and exploitation.
Acting on the distorted information, the government has produced a bill, now moving through its final parliamentary phase, which itself has provoked an outcry from sex workers who complain that, instead of protecting them, it will expose them to
When police in July last year announced the results of Operation Pentameter Two, Jacqui Smith, then home secretary, hailed it as a great success . Its operational head, Tim Brain, said it had seriously disrupted organised crime networks
responsible for human trafficking. The figures show how successful we have been in achieving our goals, he said.
Those figures credited Pentameter with arresting 528 criminals associated with one of the worst crimes threatening our society . But an internal police analysis of Pentameter, obtained by the Guardian after a lengthy legal struggle, paints
a very different picture.
The analysis, produced by the police Human Trafficking Centre in Sheffield and marked restricted , suggests there was a striking shortage of sex traffickers to be found in spite of six months of effort by all 55 police forces in England,
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland together with the UK Border Agency, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, the Foreign Office, the Northern Ireland Office, the Scottish government, the Crown Prosecution Service and various NGOs in what was
trumpeted as the largest ever police crackdown on human trafficking .
Arrests announced but never happened
Arrested but released without charge
Arrested but released after caution
Charged, non trafficking, not convicted
Charged, non trafficking, convicted
Charged, trafficking offences, not convicted
Convicted, transporting willing sex workers
Convicted, transporting coerced sex workers
Total reported arrests: a great success !
The analysis reveals that 10 of the 55 police forces never found anyone to arrest. And 122 of the 528 arrests announced by police never happened: they were wrongly recorded either through honest bureaucratic error or apparent deceit by forces
trying to chalk up arrests which they had not made. Among the 406 real arrests, more than half of those arrested (230) were women, and most were never implicated in trafficking at all.
Of the 406 real arrests, 153 had been released weeks before the police announced the success of the operation: 106 of them without any charge at all and 47 after being cautioned for minor offences. Most of the remaining 253 were not accused of
trafficking: 73 were charged with immigration breaches; 76 were eventually convicted of non-trafficking offences involving drugs, driving or management of a brothel; others died, absconded or disappeared off police records.
Although police described the operation as the culmination of months of planning and intelligence-gathering from all those stakeholders involved , the reality was that, during six months of national effort, they found only 96 people to
arrest for trafficking, of whom 67 were charged.
Only 22 people were finally prosecuted for trafficking, including two women who had originally been rescued as supposed victims. Seven of them were acquitted. The end result was that, after raiding 822 brothels, flats and massage parlours
all over the UK, Pentameter finally convicted of trafficking a grand total of only 15 men and women.
Police claimed that Pentameter used the international definition of sex trafficking contained in the UN's Palermo protocol, which involves the use of coercion or deceit to transport an unwilling man or woman into prostitution. But, in reality,
Pentameter used a very different definition, from the UK's 2003 Sexual Offences Act, which makes it an offence to transport a man or woman into prostitution even if this involves assisting a willing sex worker.
Internal police documents reveal that 10 of Pentameter's 15 convictions were of men and women who were jailed on the basis that there was no evidence of their coercing the prostitutes they had worked with. There were just five men who were
convicted of importing women and forcing them to work as prostitutes. These genuinely were traffickers, but none of them was detected by Pentameter, although its investigations are still continuing.
The head of the UK Human Trafficking Centre, Grahame Maxwell, who is chief constable of North Yorkshire, acknowledged the importance of the figures: The facts speak for themselves. I'm not trying to argue with them in any shape or form, he
He said he had commissioned fresh research from regional intelligence units to try to get a clearer picture of the scale of sex trafficking. What we're trying to do is to get it gently back to some reality here, he said: It's not where
you go down on every street corner in every street in Britain, and there's a trafficked individual. There are more people trafficked for labour exploitation than there are for sexual exploitation. We need to redress the balance here. People just
seem to grab figures from the air.
Update: Government Still Claiming Operation Pentameter a Success
A new system to identify and support victims has dealt with nearly 150 people in its first three months, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell announced today.
New figures from the national referral mechanism, established in April 2009 as a new system to identify and aid trafficking victims, show 40 children and 108 adults have been identified by UK Border Agency officers and police as possible victims
The statistics were revealed as the government signalled its continued determination to crack down on trafficking, including calls for a new EU-wide strategy to tackle the problem. The annual trafficking plan published today includes:
more international action to target trafficking at its source
more training for frontline officers and judges to help ensure more traffickers are caught and punished
a continued focus on the Olympics, to make sure work surrounding London's 2012 games remains free from the scourge of trafficking.
The Home Office Minister, Alan Campbell said:
The plan builds on anti-trafficking work over the last three years, which has seen the establishment of the UK Human Trafficking Centre, the successful national operation pentameter and the ratification of the
European convention on human trafficking.
Notes to editors:
Operation pentameter was launched in two waves over 2006 and 2007. The UK's largest ever clampdown on trafficking saw 255 victims identified, more than 750 arrests and more than £500,000 recovered. [...But
pentameter 2 didn't find a single trafficker]
Update: Nominated for the Erotic Awards 2010: Writer
Nick Davies was elected because of his ground-breaking piece in the Guardian on Tuesday, 20th October Inquiry fails to find single trafficker who forced anybody into prostitution .
Nick has won many awards. He has been named Journalist of the Year, Reporter of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year for his investigations into crime, drugs, poverty and other social issues. Hundreds of journalists have attended his
masterclass on the techniques of investigative reporting.
The United Nations claimed there could be around 270,000 victims of human trafficking in the European Union and urged greater efforts to combat the illegal trade.
Authorities in Europe were aware of only a tiny proportion of the victims, said the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), estimating there were 30 times more people affected than were known about.
The claims came on European Anti-Trafficking Day on Sunday, which aims to draw attention to the plight of victims of the trade who are forced to work illegally after being smuggled across borders.
Antonio Maria Costa, UNODC executive director, highlighted few human traffickers were caught and blamed police for not taking enough action. Less than one in 100,000 people were convicted for human trafficking in Europe, he said in a statement,
adding this was less than for rare crimes like kidnapping. Perhaps police are not finding the traffickers and victims because they are not looking for them, he added.
A large majority of people in Spain back a proposal that would make prostitution a regular occupation, according to a poll by Instituto Noxa published in La Vanguardia. 76% of respondents support regularizing prostitution, while 17% oppose it.
While prostitution in Spain is not illegal, owning or running a brothel has been illegal since 1956.
The Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC)a Catalan nationalist partyis proposing that prostitution be regularized across Spain, in order to offer protection to voluntary sex workers and combat illicit human trafficking organizations. The ERC has
also put forward a bill that would ban all ads selling prostitution in print publications. ERC lawmaker Joan Tardà has called the ads disgusting and said that they denigrate women.
Last month, Tardà declared: Regulating is the only way to guarantee social and labour rights to the people that practice it [prostitution], bring them back from the fringes....It will also make it easier to track crime associated with
The Archbishop of York has condemned the glamourisation of prostitution as a middle-class trade .
Dr John Sentamu attacked the books and television programme based on the character Belle de Jour, a high-end London call girl, for misleading the public over the reality of prostitution.
He said that the lifestyle portrayed in the works was in stark contrast to the suffering endured by the majority of women involved in the sex trade: There is a myth that has been perpetuated in recent years that many people who prostitute
themselves do so not because they are being oppressed or desperate for money, but because they see it as an easy way to make money through a relatively 'safe' and lucrative career, he said.
Archbishop Sentamu continued: We are meant to believe that these sex workers are independent women, empowered by the hold they have over men, who sell their bodies for money but who treat it like any other day job. This attitude can be
evidenced by the popularity of books and television programmes such as The Secret Diary of A Call Girl , where the heroine, Belle du Jour, a high-end call-girl, has two very distinct lives.
His comments come on the eve of a vote in the House of Lords on laws proposed in the Police and Crime Bill that are designed to tackle prostitution. The archbishop expressed concern that there are moves to weaken the legislation.
He urged for the inclusion of a new offence proposed in the Bill targeting men with court action if they use prostitutes who have been trafficked, are controlled by pimps or are working for drug dealers.
Two people have been jailed after threatening an undercover policeman at a clip joint in Soho, central London. Had he been a genuine customer, he would have been another victim of what is a well-established scam.
Video footage captures a man throwing his wallet onto the floor and offering to pay anything to escape.
He shouts: What's the problem? I'll pay whatever it is ... what, £300? I'll pay, I'll pay ... take my wallet. I don't want to be hurt. Leave me!
Unfortunately for those fronting Twilights, this was an undercover policeman armed with a hidden camera and microphone and he had caught them red-handed.
Kingston Crown Court was told that in December last year, a man fled the bar, in Rupert Street, in fear of his safety after being threatened and ordered to pay £300.
Stacey Crossley and Agnieszka Wolowska have since been found guilty of blackmail and false imprisonment.
Crossley was jailed for three years and his co-defendant was locked up for 14 months and recommended for deportation to her native Poland.
They were arrested by uniformed police officers as the scammers chased the undercover officer outside.
The scam involves customers, often foreign tourists, being enticed inside hostess bars with false promises of adult entertainment , Westminster Council explained. The bars, known as clip joints, employ women to stand outside or near their
premises and bring the customers in for a small charge, in much the same way as other licensed bars and clubs employ staff to hand out leaflets promoting their offers. Once inside the clip joints, customers are served soft drinks, usually by a
pretty young woman. But when the customer goes to leave, they will usually find themselves faced with a charge of several hundred pounds for having been in the woman's company.
If they refuse to pay, the customer may be threatened with violence by bouncers or frog-marched to a cash machine and forced to hand over cash.
Part of the problem in the past was that clip joints exposed a legal loophole. They did not need a licence to operate because they did not serve food or alcohol or provide entertainment. But in September 2007 the London Local Authorities Act
reclassified clip joints as sex establishments, meaning they required the relevant licences, closing the loophole.
Councillor Daniel Astaire, Westminster City Council's cabinet member for community safety, said: Today's hearing marks the end of a long battle to close down all known clip joints in Westminster which lured in men under the false premise of
adult entertainment, then charged them exorbitant rates for soft drinks in the company of so-called hostesses.
Most people who were ripped off were simply too embarrassed or scared to report the matter to police, and as these venues exploited legal loopholes to operate on the fringes of the law, our powers to close them down were extremely limited.
Canada's prostitution laws will be put to the test by a trio of sex-trade workers in a court challenge that has begun in Toronto.
Terri-Jean Bedford, a dominatrix, along with two other prostitutes, Valerie Scott and Amy Lebovitch, have filed papers in Ontario Superior Court arguing that the criminal code violates their constitutional rights and threatens their physical
The criminal code prohibits communicating for the purposes of prostitution or the keeping of a common bawdy house. But the women say they are professionals and are urging the courts to strike down those laws, which force them to work on the
streets and not in their homes.
The women have compiled a wide range of documents as part of their case, including parliamentary and government reports, as well as various affidavits from academics, experts and NDP MP Libby Davies.
A lap dancing bar is commendably allowing its dancers to have physical contact with their customers.
Divas Lap Dancing Bar, in Gover Lane, is using the ambiguous terms of their premises licence to allow contact between dancers and customers to continue.
The club was slapped with repressive operating conditions at a court hearing earlier this month - including the three foot rule, which prevents dancers from going within 36 inches of their clientele.
However, these terms only require the three foot distance to be maintained during a private performance, it has been discovered. Divas owner Alan Whitehead: The three foot rule only applies during a private performance and not in the rest of
the club. When the girls are not doing a private performance they are free to go and sit on a guy's lap - they are not breaking any rules.
The hearing at Liskeard Magistrates' Court in September saw Divas and their legal team lose out to Cornwall Council. The court appeal hearing had taken 11 months to get to court, after Restormel Borough Council originally imposed new conditions
on the club, following a review.
Despite volunteering 12 operating conditions, Divas disputed the three foot rule , which stated: There shall be no physical contact between the customer and dancer during their performance. Divas argued at the hearing that clubs
which operate under the three foot rule usually fail.
In a statement, Cornwall Council confirmed that Divas were operating within the law. The council were informed by the solicitor acting for Divas that they had obtained legal advice relating to the condition that was upheld by the court. It is
true that the condition does require that during the performance the performer will keep a minimum distance of three feet away from the customer. It was suggested that this is expressly limited to during the performance .
The Council has also obtained its own independent legal advice in response to this suggestion. Having sought advice, the council agrees that the three foot rule only applies during the performances.
The Police have been advised of this position and if they are of the opinion that the operation of the premises is undermining the licensing objectives then there is provision in the Licensing Act 2003 to apply for a review of the licence.
Harriet Hatemen, the minister for Intolerance and Inequality addressed the Labour Party conference and brought up the subject of her personal pet hate, prostitution:
And on prostitution. We know that prostitution is not work - it's exploitation of women by men - often women who have mental health problems or drug or alcohol addiction. So we're introducing a new criminal offence of
having sex with a prostitute who's being controlled by a pimp.
We're stepping up our action to tackle human trafficking. We're determined to ensure that, especially in the run up to the Olympics, international criminal gangs don't trick and abduct women from abroad and sell them for
sex in London.
And there is a very sinister development which we are determined to stop. You know trip advisor - a website where guests put their comments on line for others to see. There is now a website, like that, where pimps put women
on sale for sex and then men who've had sex with them put their comments on line. It is Punternet and fuels the demand for prostitutes. It is truly degrading and puts women at risk.
Punternet has pages and pages of women for sale in London. But Punternet is based in California so I've raised it with the US Ambassador to London and I've called on California's governor Arnie Schwarzenegger to close it
down. Surely it can't be too difficult for the Terminator to terminate Punternet and that's what I am demanding that he does.
Galahad, host of PunterNet has replied in an open letter:
Dear Mrs. Harman,
I have a few points to make regarding your recent remarks regarding my website and your fantastic demand that the Governor of California close it down.
Firstly, PunterNet is not violating any laws. If it were, then surely the many websites catering to the US prostitution scene (where sex for pay is almost completely illegal) would already have been closed down.
In the USA, there is a concept called freedom of speech which is considered the most important personal right guaranteed by the Constitution. It exists specifically to prevent the sort of abuse of power that you are
attempting. The Governor (indeed, even the President) has no authority with which to shut down a perfectly lawful enterprise such as PunterNet.
PunterNet was not the first, and is certainly not the only, website in the UK with the same subject matter. Rather than creating the demand for commercial sex, sites like PunterNet are a response to that demand, which has
existed since the dawn of mankind and certainly long before the advent of the Internet!
One of the missions of PunterNet is education - to provide information and guidance in hopes that the commercial sex scene is limited to consenting adults and those who choose of their own free will to engage in it.
If sites like this one did not exist, and if prostitution were outlawed, then it would effectively be handed to organised crime on a platter - just as happened with liquor during Prohibition. If, on the other hand, sexwork
is recognised as a legitimate, honourable profession, then there will be no market for the criminal elements, and the truly despicable aspects of the scene such as sex slavery and trafficking will die out. Surely that is a far more desirable
goal than driving it back underground where it will then consist only of criminals and victims?
In closing, I would like to thank you for the huge influx of traffic to my website which your actions have caused. I am sure that the ladies who are a part of the PunterNet community thank you as well, as they will no doubt
benefit financially from the many new clients who might otherwise never have found them.
Comment: Censorious authoritarian
2nd October 2009. From Alan
I suppose Harridan Hatemen's latest piece of nonsense is fairly typical of the woman.
Quite how a (rather good) young civil liberties lawyer has turned into a middle-aged censorious authoritarian baffles me.
So much for evidence-based policy, when the evidence conflicts with the predetermined victim feminist ideological line.
I should think that those running Punter Net could probably clap a writ for defamation on her, since some of her claims were blatantly false.
Harriet Hatemen, the minister for Intolerance and Inequality, claims it is harassment to put up saucy pics at work.
The small print of the Government's flagship Equalities Bill declares: An employer who displayed any material of a sexual nature, such as a topless calendar, may be harassing employees where this makes the workplace an offensive place to work.
Critics fear a witch-hunt against workers. Tory MP Philip Davies fumed: This is crazy - the nanny state running riot.