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'Forced prostitution' BBC article

(42 Posts)
MrsTerryPratchett Sat 04-Feb-17 05:45:00

Human traffickers jailed over Manchester forced prostitution

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-38861805

What I can't understand is how this article can be written without any mention of rape, which is what happened repeatedly to these women. And how no one appears to care that hundreds of men paid coerced women and no one asks about what consent consists of.

Is there no onus on men to find out if the women whose bodies they are using are even consenting according to the pathetically low standards of sex work? The idea that men using prostitutes don't have to worry about sex slavery is repulsive.

bikingintherain Sat 04-Feb-17 06:12:07

I agree. There is a new law going through here in the Netherlands that makes it a criminal offense to have sex with anyone you reasonably expect could have been trafficked.

It is not the solution, as decrees of trafficking are so varied, but it at least deals with some of the more extreme end.

It does not however deal with the women who are coerced and donor realise that they are trafficked by many definitions.

bikingintherain Sat 04-Feb-17 06:13:14

*don't

Gallavich Sat 04-Feb-17 06:46:01

I can't bear the attitude towards prostituted women and johns in this country. Coerced sex is rape. It's never called rape but that's what it is.

CharlieSierra Sat 04-Feb-17 08:07:38

Absolutely Gallavich the women were supplied to be repeatedly raped, yet the article talks about the number of 'customers'. They are still referred to as prostitutes in the article even though they were sold to men to be raped.

bikingintherain Sat 04-Feb-17 08:33:13

Well so far, we all seem to agree which is nice! These threads often don't go that way.

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Sat 04-Feb-17 08:39:59

I agree with your viewpoint, but under English law, rape is an offence with two components - and the mindset of the man is one of them. As the law currently stands then if a man gives money to a woman for sex, she gives every impression of freely transacting in that bargain and he doesn't know that she had a metaphorical gun to her head then she was not raped. Even though from her POV that's exactly how it felt. So that's the BBC's stance - because actually it would be libellous to imply that the punters were rapists!

There are many things you could do to change the law to make punters more accountable for the suffering of trafficked women, and I absolutely think that we should, but until those laws are changed, the BBC is correct.

Xenophile Sat 04-Feb-17 09:36:25

Netherlands is going the right way reference the onus being on the punter to ensure the woman he's about to abuse isn't trafficked, it's just an enormous shame that the lawmakers there can't make the obvious leap from that to understanding that their decrim laws are what has caused the huge surge in trafficked women in the first place. Same with Germany.

bikingintherain Sat 04-Feb-17 09:45:31

I agree Xenophile. I've seem statistics (can't remember where) that say that men are more likely to pay for sex for the first when it's legal, and then are more likely to continue to pay for sex if they return to their home country where it isn't legalised.

I don't know the situation so well in Germany but I've researched a little, and the mega brothel thing they have going on is appalling.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 04-Feb-17 10:55:03

I generally will stand up for the BBC but that article is appalling.

OK I accept they can't probably call them "punters" but they could have gone for the neutral and factual " up to 10 men a day"

"who forced her back to work" could have been "forced her back to the brothel" or as it did later down " forced her back into prostitution"

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 04-Feb-17 14:20:46

Someone here once posted an article about the men who use sex workers. And there was a quote from a man who was asked for help by the woman he was (let's call it what it was) raping. He basically didn't care and carried on.

On what point do we assume the man DID have a responsibility to check if the consent is actual consent? If her English is non-existent and he can't actually check would be a start!

DeviTheGaelet Sat 04-Feb-17 15:54:14

I agree with your viewpoint, but under English law, rape is an offence with two components - and the mindset of the man is one of them. As the law currently stands then if a man gives money to a woman for sex, she gives every impression of freely transacting in that bargain and he doesn't know that she had a metaphorical gun to her head then she was not raped
Loads of assumptions going on there. What does "give an impression of freely transacting" mean? That she doesnt fight back or say no? How is it fair to put the onus on a slave to get out of their slavery? Disgusting. The more i read about its use in rape defence, the more i think the reasonable belief clause needs binning.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 04-Feb-17 16:25:43

Or at least a nod to balance of probabilities or reasonableness Devi. And it would be like that if it weren't pitting men's 'right' to have sex against a woman's right not to be raped.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 04-Feb-17 18:59:40

The law as it currently stands is that a prostitute would have to give some indication to the specific punter that she does not want to have sex with him (assuming she is not so drunk or drugged that she can't consent )

The pro punter lobbyists could argue that if prostitution and brothels were fully legalised (or decriminalised, I forget and don't care what the difference is) the scenario of unwilling and trafficked women could be solved by all women and brothels being licensed. If a punter does not see a licence the buying of sex is a criminal activity on his part. The practicality of policing this is questionable.

On the other hand we could just make buying sex illegal in all circumstances. For anyone working in law, accountancy, teaching, medicine , financial services, the armed services , the emergency services, licensed taxi drivers , alcohol licensed trade and similar where the public is required to have an element of faith in the integrity of these individuals a conviction should result in a barring from work.

bikingintherain Sat 04-Feb-17 19:06:54

It's legalised in the Netherlands including the licensing of brothels. Estimates of trafficking in Amsterdam vary from 15% to 80%. If that says nothing else it says that nobody really knows. And therefore I do not believe should be an argument for legalisation. It clearly doesn't work.

bikingintherain Sat 04-Feb-17 19:12:54

And that is with a police officer whose job it has been over the last 10 years working solely in this area. 5 years ago he had a team who worked along side him. Nowadays that team is no longer available to him as they have been reassigned to anti terror.

I think the law should protect these women no matter what the climate is, or where police funds are choosing to be spent.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 04-Feb-17 19:29:10

See that's the thing. 15-80% chance someone is being raped. Surely anyone who wasn't essentially no better than any other rapist would think that was a reasonable risk. And that's one time. If you've used a sex worker a few times, you've definitely raped someone.

Do the users not think about it, enjoy it or don't care?

bikingintherain Sat 04-Feb-17 19:39:23

I don't think they care. There was some other research done, asking men who used prostitutes if there was (something like ) 20% chance of a women being trafficked would they still have sex with her. And the majority said yes. The deterrent would come from the law for them, not morality.

I'm sorry I'm not quoting directly any of these studies. I did a lot of reading and research several years ago, and a lot of it is in books on my shelves. But I can't for the life of me remember what came from where.

M0stlyBowlingHedgehog Sat 04-Feb-17 20:33:35

From the OP: "Is there no onus on men to find out if the women whose bodies they are using are even consenting according to the pathetically low standards of sex work? The idea that men using prostitutes don't have to worry about sex slavery is repulsive."

I wrote to my MP about this in the summer (to try to counter Keith Vaz's committee whitewashing prostitution as choicy-choice all good clean consensual fun). He wrote me a very supportive letter and passed my letter on to the home office, then sent me their reply.

Having sex with a trafficked woman is a "strict liability" offence already, apparently. (Strict liability means "but I didn't know, honest, gov" is no defence - it is the material fact that a man had sex with a trafficked woman which is the only thing that matters). So the law is already on the statute books - the problem is no-one is prosecuting the bastards.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 04-Feb-17 20:46:55

Why the hell not? Trying not to speculate about sex worker use in the Police and judiciary...

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Sat 04-Feb-17 20:50:19

Oh that's interesting and heartening Hedgehog. Except of course it doesn't seem to be being used.
www.criminallawandjustice.co.uk/features/Sex-Workers-and-Policing-and-Crime-Act-2009

bikingintherain Sat 04-Feb-17 20:50:33

I wonder what the laws definition of trafficked is? Anyone know?

M0stlyBowlingHedgehog Sat 04-Feb-17 20:52:01

Just tried to find the letter - unfortunately it was hard copy so I've put it somewhere (not sure where).

But yes, why is it not being prosecuted?

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Sat 04-Feb-17 20:58:42

That specific law doesn't talk about trafficking - it talks about "exploitative conduct" (force, threats etc) which covers British women subject to abusive pimps as well.

bikingintherain Sat 04-Feb-17 20:59:11

I think that's a huge question hedgehog, but I think the fact that trafficked women are often from difficult backgrounds and are not seen as valued members of society. It stinks, but if were predominantly middle class girls from some private school there would be a hell of a lot more outrage about it.

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