Trafficking in women

Meeting: 
MQT on 2007-12-12
Session date: 
December 12, 2007
Reference: 
2007/2821
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

What steps is the Metropolitan Police Service taking to tackle newspapers which publish advertisements from saunas, massage parlours and escort agencies and other 'soft' sex industries which are in fact illegal brothels? What is the Metropolitan Police doing to educate men who frequent these places to the fact that a high number of the women in brothels in London have been kidnapped, imprisoned, possibly tortured and forced into the sex industry against their will? Do you think men's collaboration with such serious crimes by using these brothels should be punishable in law as 'aiding and abetting' kidnap, violence and false imprisonment?

Answer

Answer for Trafficking in women

Answer for Trafficking in women

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The law relating to adverts which appear in newspapers or magazines is currently under examination by the Crown Prosecution Service and was subject of a submission to the Attorney General's Office this year. However a number of boroughs working with the central Clubs and Vice Unit have taken action against individuals who place cards and flyers in telephone kiosks etc. advertising sexual services. Action taken includes the serving of anti-social behaviour orders banning them from possessing such material as well as prosecutions under Section 46(1), Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, which specifically relates to the placing of these types of advertisements.

The MPS (particularly through its Clubs and Vice Unit but increasingly via its Safer Neighbourhood Teams) regularly takes action against brothels - prosecuting those who control and manage them and ultimately closing them down in recognition of the detrimental effect they can have on local communities as well as the possible exploitation of the prostitutes working in them.

The Home Office UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking was published in March 2007. One of its objectives is to reduce demand for trafficked persons in the UK. To support this objective the MPS Human Trafficking Team works closely with the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre who, as part of their awareness and media strategy under development, are targeting publications assessed to be read by men who frequent brothels warning them that trafficked women are regularly placed in brothels. Additionally, specific events (the 2006 World Cup for example) have been subject to media campaigns aimed at men warning them of the fact that trafficked women are forced into prostitution.

I believe that the focus should be on the authorities not treating trafficked women as illegal immigrants and start treating them as victims of crime instead with appropriate support mechanisms and continued action against trafficking networks and premises.