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Home Office Consultation on Prostitution and Lap Dancing – get your views in by October 8th

October 5th, 2008

Dr Petra

The Home Office are currently reviewing the legislation for prostitution and lapdancing. If you have a particular opinion on this issue – perhaps you’re a lapdancer, prostitute, punter or someone who works with sex workers (for example in education, outreach, social work or outreach services). You may well have information to share on either prostitution or lapdancing.

If so, here’s a reminder of the proposal letter and what you can do….

PROPOSALS RE: PROSTITUTION LEGISLATION

“Dear Colleague
I am writing to you in the light of the recent announcement by the Home Secretary to amend existing legislation on prostitution and brothels to give greater protection to those trafficked for sex or otherwise controlled for gain, and to give communities and local authorities greater powers through changes in legislation to control the opening and regulation of lap-dancing clubs.

I know that many of you have given advice and guidance during the development of the prostitution strategy and our work on tackling interpersonal violence. With apologies for the very short deadline, I am writing to you to ask for your views on the following proposals, which the Home Secretary intends to place before Parliament at the beginning of December 2008:

(a) a new criminal offence of paying for sex with a person controlled for gain;
(b) a new civil order to enable police to close brothels; and
(c) amendments to the Sexual Offences Act 1985, to remove the requirements of persistence, annoyance and nuisance from the offence of kerb-crawling.

The proposals follows a six month review into tackling demand for prostitution to see what more could be done to protect those involved from exploitation. They aim to tackle and reduce the demand for prostitution by prosecuting those who seek to pay for sex and to support those involved in prostitution to develop routes out, and to send a clear message that the Government will protect the vulnerable, including those trafficked for sex, from exploitation and further harm.

In the case of lap dancing clubs, we want to give local authorities and communities more powers to prevent the anti-social behaviour and nuisance that can accrue from such activities, and we are considering how best to legislate to achieve that end.
Following a recent DCMS consultation with local authorities on the current licensing scheme for such clubs, a majority of those who responded wished to see their control brought under Schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, which would enable them to be redefined as sex encounter establishments (currently, they receive licenses under the Licensing Act 2003 as entertainment establishments). This, they felt, would enable them to address the issues of communities’ reputation as well as the general offence that such clubs can occasion.

I would be grateful for your views on the issues set out in the above two paragraphs.

As you will realise, the timetable is extremely tight. We would be grateful, therefore, if you could respond with your views and comments by Wednesday 8 October 2008. Responses should be sent to Tom.Little6@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk. In particular, we would like to hear your views on the impact of legislation on different communities, both positive and negative, which you believe should be taken into consideration.”

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