MP reads harrowing comments lefts by the men fuelling ‘brutal’ sex trafficking


Labour’s Dame Diana Johnson has warned of a “sexual exploitation scandal” playing out across the UK and called for both payment for sex and enabling or profiting from the prostitution of another person to be criminalised.

Reading the harrowing comments from men who’d reviewed sex workers online Ms Johnson made the case that paying for sex should be made a criminal offence.

But fellow Labour MP Lyn Brown (West Ham) said the proposed change of legislation would “put women at greater risk” and drive the industry “underground”.

Introducing her Sexual Exploitation Bill in the Commons, Ms Johnson also proposed that selling sex should be decriminalised.

She told MPs: “This is a Bill to bust the business model of sex trafficking.

“Today, the UK is a high-value, low-risk destination for sex traffickers. Why? Because our law fails on two critical fronts: first it fails to discourage the very thing that drives trafficking for sexual exploitation – demand, and second it also allows ruthless individuals to facilitate and profit from sexual exploitation.

“So what does this mean in practice? It means the minority of men in England and Wales who pay for sex do so with impunity, fuelling a brutal sex trafficking trade and causing untold harm to victims.

Ms Brown called for MPs to act to make the women who are working as sex workers safer

“And it means profit making pimping websites operate free from criminal sanction, helping sex traffickers to quickly and easily advertise their victims and reap the enormous profits from doing so.

“Right now, there is a sexual exploitation scandal playing out in towns and cities across the UK.”

Reading harrowing reviews men had written about women they paid to have sex with, Ms Johnson continued: “Now to stop women being raped and abused for profit we must dismantle the business model of this sex trafficking trade.

“This will require two key measures: one, prevent the demand-driving sex trafficking by criminalising paying for sex, two – stop website companies and other third parties aiding and profiting from this appalling crime by making it a criminal offence to enable or profit from the prostitution of another person.”

But opposing the Bill, Ms Brown told MPs she could not support making it illegal to pay for sex.

She said: “I hope I don’t need to spell out that we all oppose trafficking, we all oppose exploitation, it is real, it is utterly horrifying and it is rightly illegal. We absolutely need laws that target exploitation and abuse and we need them to be better enforced.

“The part of (Ms Johnson’s) Bill that I cannot support involves putting into the law of England and Wales what is called the Nordic Model.

“The Nordic Model is not about tackling trafficking or exploitation directly, it criminalises the buying of sex and it can also criminalise many of the means by which sex workers market their work.

“I believe that it is counter-productive and I believe it will put women at greater risk.

“In France, after the model was introduced in 2016, 42% of sex workers said they’d become more exposed to violence and tragically there is some evidence that murders of sex workers increased significantly.”

Ms Brown added: “Reports on the implementation of the Nordic Model have found that it has caused sex workers to be less likely to refuse risky clients as income has fallen. They are also less likely to report violence to the police.”

She continued: “The Nordic Model even made 38% of sex workers less likely to use condoms because their power to refuse clients has reduced, making it harder to insist on safe sex only and this is why criminalisation is opposed by the World Health Organization, by Stop Aids and by the Royal College of Nurses.

“(Ms Johnson) has quoted despicable comments about women posted online, none of us like that, the comments create a society in which women are objectified. But shutting down the websites will push them underground, moving them to encrypted message apps or sites on the dark web instead.”

The disagreement on the approach to sex work divides feminists

The Bill passed its first hurdle in the Commons without a vote with its second reading scheduled for January 29.

It has little chance of making further progress in its current form without Government backing.Paying for sex should be made a criminal offence, an MP has said.

Labour’s Dame Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) warned of a “sexual exploitation scandal” playing out across the UK and called for both payment for sex and enabling or profiting from the prostitution of another person to be criminalised.

But fellow Labour MP Lyn Brown (West Ham) said the proposed change of legislation would “put women at greater risk” and drive the industry “underground”.

Introducing her Sexual Exploitation Bill in the Commons, Ms Johnson also proposed that selling sex should be decriminalised.

She told MPs: “This is a Bill to bust the business model of sex trafficking.

“Today, the UK is a high-value, low-risk destination for sex traffickers. Why? Because our law fails on two critical fronts: first it fails to discourage the very thing that drives trafficking for sexual exploitation – demand, and second it also allows ruthless individuals to facilitate and profit from sexual exploitation.

“So what does this mean in practice? It means the minority of men in England and Wales who pay for sex do so with impunity, fuelling a brutal sex trafficking trade and causing untold harm to victims.

“And it means profit making pimping websites operate free from criminal sanction, helping sex traffickers to quickly and easily advertise their victims and reap the enormous profits from doing so.

“Right now, there is a sexual exploitation scandal playing out in towns and cities across the UK.”

Reading harrowing reviews men had written about women they paid to have sex with, Ms Johnson continued: “Now to stop women being raped and abused for profit we must dismantle the business model of this sex trafficking trade.

“This will require two key measures: one, prevent the demand-driving sex trafficking by criminalising paying for sex, two – stop website companies and other third parties aiding and profiting from this appalling crime by making it a criminal offence to enable or profit from the prostitution of another person.”

But opposing the Bill, Ms Brown told MPs she could not support making it illegal to pay for sex.

She said: “I hope I don’t need to spell out that we all oppose trafficking, we all oppose exploitation, it is real, it is utterly horrifying and it is rightly illegal. We absolutely need laws that target exploitation and abuse and we need them to be better enforced.

“The part of (Ms Johnson’s) Bill that I cannot support involves putting into the law of England and Wales what is called the Nordic Model.

“The Nordic Model is not about tackling trafficking or exploitation directly, it criminalises the buying of sex and it can also criminalise many of the means by which sex workers market their work.

“I believe that it is counter-productive and I believe it will put women at greater risk.

“In France, after the model was introduced in 2016, 42% of sex workers said they’d become more exposed to violence and tragically there is some evidence that murders of sex workers increased significantly.”

Ms Brown added: “Reports on the implementation of the Nordic Model have found that it has caused sex workers to be less likely to refuse risky clients as income has fallen. They are also less likely to report violence to the police.”

She continued: “The Nordic Model even made 38% of sex workers less likely to use condoms because their power to refuse clients has reduced, making it harder to insist on safe sex only and this is why criminalisation is opposed by the World Health Organization, by Stop Aids and by the Royal College of Nurses.

“(Ms Johnson) has quoted despicable comments about women posted online, none of us like that, the comments create a society in which women are objectified. But shutting down the websites will push them underground, moving them to encrypted message apps or sites on the dark web instead.”

The Bill passed its first hurdle in the Commons without a vote with its second reading scheduled for January 29.

It has little chance of making further progress in its current form without Government backing.





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