FOI release

Government plans to help young people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) who are involved in the sex trade.

21106 We have received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the following:  I would like to know what the Government plan…

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21106

We have received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the following: 

I would like to know what the Government plan to do to help young people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) who are involved in the sex trade.

We released the following information on 28 February 2012.

 

The Home Office is committed to tackling exploitation and harm caused to those involved in prostitution and we believe that individuals who want to leave prostitution should be given every opportunity to find routes out.

The safety of people involved in prostitution is one of the key issues we considered in our work on effective practice in responding to issues relating to prostitution.  We conducted a review of approaches to prostitution in different local areas to identify best practice, in terms of policing, exiting, minimising harm and general multi-agency working. This document has been published on our website and can be found at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/crime/responding-to-prostitution

The Policing and Crime Act 2009 was introduced on 1st April 2010 and introduced section 14 which makes it an offence to pay for the sexual services of a prostitute who is subject to exploitative conduct. Exploitative conduct is force, threats, coercion or deception. It is a strict liability offence so it is not relevant whether the person who pays for sex knew the prostitute had been subject to exploitative conduct. The intention of this is to act as a deterrent for those who might think of paying for sex with someone who had been subject to exploitative conduct.  It also ensures people only paid for sex if they were absolutely sure the person had not been forced, threatened, deceived or coerced.

This Act also took steps to improve the safety and support available for individuals involved within prostitution through the introduction of Section 17, Engagement and Support orders. This legislation provides the courts with an alternative to fining those convicted of loitering or soliciting and instead requires attendance at meetings with a court appointed supervisor. This is deemed to be an effective tool in providing support and access to services which might otherwise be out of reach, including medical care, housing and drug/alcohol dependency programmes. This is considered to be more a constructive long term holistic approach.

You may also be interested to know that the Home Office has recently announced a national pilot scheme to help protect sex workers from violent and abusive clients. The 12 month pilot will bring together a number of locally run ‘Ugly Mugs’ projects, which encourage sex workers to report incidents of violence and abuse. Details of perpetrators are then shared with other sex workers to help improve safety and can be passed on to the police if the victim consents. Ugly Mugs’ projects encourage individuals to report incidents so others can be safeguarded in the future and more perpetrators can be brought to justice.

The Home Office is providing £108,000 to establish a national online network to collate and distribute information between existing ‘Ugly Mugs’ schemes in local areas. The initiative will be run by UK Network of Sex Work Projects (UKNSWP) and will also measure how effective it is in encouraging reporting of crimes.