Women's Health, Studies, Feminism and Ethics

Sex Work: United Kingdom

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Index

Advocacy and support

Case law

Health and wellbeing

History

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Migration and trafficking

Home Office and Ministry of Justice

Wolfenden Committee 1954-7

Consultation 2004

Strategy 2006

Review 2008

Consultation 2008

Law Commission

Local authorities

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Parliamentary Timelines

Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill 2007

          Responses

Policing and Crime Bill 2008

Petitions

Policy

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Sex workers’ voices

 

Northern Ireland

Scotland

 


*Chronology of Government and Parliamentary Activities

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Law Commission Reports

Consultations

122. Offences against the person 1992

134. Consent and offences against the person 1994

139. Consent in the criminal law 1995

Statute Law Revision Reports

Criminal Law Repeal Proposals 2005 (pdf)


Selected Case Law

Brothels

Singleton v. Ellison 1895[1]

Durose v. Wilson 1907[2]

Mattison v. Johnson 1916[3]

Winter v. Woolfe 1930[4]

Gorman v. Stanton 1949[5]

Strath v. Foxon 1955[6]

Donovan v. Gavin 1965[7]

Kelly v. Purvis 1983[8]

Morris-Lowe 1985[9]

Stevens v. Christy 1987[10]

DPP v. Bull 1994[11]

 

Selected Decisions (including Kelly v. Purvis, sup, pdf)

 

R v. Finch 2010

Media Commentary

Laura Agustin: Prostitute on trial because she didn’t work alone. April 23 2010

Mother 'operated brothel employing 20 women from home'. Telegraph April 26 2010      

'Happy endings' massage boss cleared of running brothel. BBC April 29 2010     

Vice law chaos after mother-of-two, 49, acquitted of running brothel from her village home. Daily Mail April 30 2010    

Diane Taylor: Law on brothels puts prostitutes at risk. Guardian May 3 2010      

We thought of ourselves as calendar girls. Times May 14 2010     

A 'happy ending' for courtesan Claire after trial. Bedford Today May 20      

I ran a brothel in a country village. Guardian June 6   

 

R v. Morris 2011

We thought of ourselves as calendar girls. Times May 14 2010

Suspended sentences for brothel trio. Get Surrey April 4th 2011   

BBC Woman's Hour April 5th 2011

Audio clip 

 

Prostitution[12]

Rex v. De Munck 1918[13]

(Case law definition)

 

Living on the Earnings

Regina v. Massey 2007

 

Legal Resources

SW5: UK Law


*Home Office and Ministry of Justice

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Blogosphere

Cath Elliott: IUSW Jan 2009

Jo Phoenix: Sex, money and politics – is prostitution just another political football? Policy Press October 2

Lords of the Blog: Prostitution and the Policing and Crime Bill. Lord Norton October 29


Safety and Violence

 

Bad laws are putting prostitutes’ lives in danger: It is impossible to stop sex being sold on the streets, so we must protect those who do it. Times May 28 2010  

Merseyside Police supports 'International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers' Dec 2010   


*Scotland

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Northern Ireland Office

Sexual Offences Consultation
Consultation 2006 Vol. 1 (pdf)
Consultation 2006 Vol. 2 (pdf)
Summary of Responses 2007 (pdf)
(see pp. 25-7, 29-30)

The issues for women in Northern Ireland involved in prostitution. Dept Justice Jan 2011 

Media

 

Kerb crawling to become offence. Belfast Telegraph Oct 24 2007

 

Organisations

Escort Watch Ireland


Local Authorities

Sheffield

 

Greater London Authority: Street Prostitution. Nov 2005 (pdf)

Westminster (Response to mini-brothel proposal) 2007


Policy

 

Susan Edwards: The legal regulation of prostitution: a human rights issue. (excerpt)

(in Scambler and Scambler (1996)

Kantola and Squires: Discourses surrounding prostitution policies in the UK Eur J Women's Stud 2004 (abstract)

(Paper PSA Conference 2002) (pdf)

Kantola and Squires: Prostitution policies in Britain, 1982-2002, in The Politics of Prostitution, Outshoorn J (ed.) 2004 

 

Helen Self: History repeating itself. The regulation of prostitution and trafficking. Feminist Crime Research Network 2004

Jane Scoular and Maggie O'Neill: Regulating prostitution - social inclusion and the politics of reform. Brit J Crim 2007 (pdf)

From morality to rights - Women Human Rights and Prostitution. Report July 2007 (pdf)

 

 

Kerb Crawling

Renewal: Prostitution and Kerb Crawling 2002

Kerb crawling operation 'success' BBC March 2007

Campbell and Storr: Challenging the kerb crawler rehabilitation programme Fem Rev 2001 (Word)

Employment and Organisation

BBC: Jobcentre Plus' right to advertise sexual services (August 8 2007)

Ann Summers Ltd. v. Jobcentre Plus: High Court [2003] EWHC 1416 (Judicial Review)

 

Reports

Eaves: Big Brothel – A survey of the off-street sex industry in London. Poppy Project August 2008 (pdf)

Academic Critique (pdf)

 

Policing and Enforcement

Roger Mathews: Policing prostitution - ten years on. Br J Crim 2005 (abstract)

Using ASBOs against clients. Evening Star (Ipswich) Aug 13 2007


Political Parties

Greens back decriminalisation. Oct 18 2007

Policy (RR550-9)

 

Liberal Democrats[14]

Research

Community and Urban Studies

Consultation on a Managed Zone (Liverpool): John Moores University 2004 (Summary - pdf)

Working Together to Create Change: Walsall Prostitution Consultation Research 2004

Full Report (pdf)

 

Living & Working in Areas of Street Sex Work: From conflict to coexistence 2006 (pdf)

See also: Topics in Sex Work Research: Community and Urban Studies

Advertising

Phil Hubbard: Maintaining family values. Cleansing the streets of sex advertising. Area 2002 (pdf)

 

Criminology

Benson and Mathews. Street prostitution: Ten facts in search of a policy. Int J Soc Law 1995 (pdf)

Tracey Sagar: Street prostitution: what works. New Law Journal 2001, 151(7000): 1374 (Word)

Anti-Social Behaviour Orders

Tracey Sagar: On street sex-work and ASBOs Criminol Crim Just 2007 (abstract)

 

Substance Use

Cusick et al. Drug services for sex workers — approaches in England and Ireland. Safer Communities 2010 (abstract)

 


Advocacy and Support

Organisations

UK Network of Sex Work Projects (UKNSWP)

Resource Collection (University of the West of Scotland)

 

PUSSI (Prostitutes United for Social and Sexual Integration) 1975[15]

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Helen Buckingham

 

PROS (Programme for Reform of the law on Soliciting)[16] 1976

English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP)

BBC Woman's Hour: Ipswich Murders: What lessons have been learnt? Cari Mitchell (ECP) vs. Sup. Alan Caton, Suffolk Police

(Audio link: Apr 11 2007)

Safety First launch July 11 2007

Press coverage: Guardian July 17

Remembering Ipswich. Socialist Unity Dec 13 2007

 

Josephine Butler Society

British Association for Sexual Health and HIV

 

Safety First Coalition condemns UK crackdown March 22 2007

 

Local Organisations

Dorset Working Women's Project

Genesis (Leeds)

GAP: Girls Are Proud (Newcastle upon Tyne)

POW: Prostitute Outreach Workers (Nottingham)

 


 

Royal College of Nursing

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Social Inclusion

 

2005 Congress: Resolution on decriminalisation

2009 support for allowing working together

2010 Agenda: Licensing of brothels (Item 14)[17]  

 

British Medical Association
Public Health Conference March 29 2007: Resolution on legalisation

 

Lancet
Editorial: Prostitutes are people too 2005 (pdf)

 

British Medical Journal

Editor's Choice: Vice versa 2006

 

The Economist
Leader: Prostitution Law Reform: It's Their Business Sept 4 204 (abstract)

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!<---SERVICES ---->

Services

Terrence Higgins Trust (Sexual Health)
SW5: Services to male and transgender workers (London)

 

Condom Essential Wear (NHS)

Risky Sex 


Petitions

Criminal Justice Bill 2007

 


Media

ITV: Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Sept 2007

Reactions

Scotsman Sept 27

Dr Petra Boynton Sept 28


History

National Archives 1860-90

 

A Simpson: The mouth of strange women is a deep pit (Prostitution in Georgian London) J Crim J Pop Cult 1996

Julia Laite: The Association for Moral and Social Hygiene (1915-59). Women's History Review 2008 (Abstract)[18]

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Health and Well-being

More dangerous than ever- Ipswich 12 months later. Independent Dec 13 2007

Migration and Trafficking

Anthony Steen: Outlawing prostitution will drive it underground. Times Dec 27 2007

 

Joint Committee on Human Rights Report on Trafficking Oct 2007

Government Response Jan 2008

 

Media

Are 80% of prostitutes in the UK really controlled by traffickers, pimps and drug dealers? BBC More or Less January 9 2009

(Transcript)

Nick Davies: Prostitution and trafficking – the anatomy of a moral panic Guardian October 20

Nick Davies: Inquiry fails to find single trafficker who forced anybody into prostitution. The Guardian October 20

Rahila Gupta: Sex trafficking is no illusion. Guardian October 20

Letters in response October 22

BBC coverage October 21

(Video: Nikki Adams debates Dennis McShane)

 


Sex workers’ voices

Sheila Farmer. Life is hard enough for prostitutes without our work being criminalised. The Guardian January 6 2012  


Prohibitionism

Demand Change (Eaves - Object)

 

Men Who Buy Sex. December 2009 (pdf)

Julie Bindel: Why men use prostitutes. Guardian Jan 15 2010

Bindel. Legalising prostitution is not the answer. Guardian July 2    

 


Quotations

"This awful concept of underclass is really horrifying…you are excluded – outside ... I think we underestimate often the pain of humiliation, being denied the value of your worth and identity, of how you earned your living and kept your commitments to your family and neighbours.”

Zygmunt Bauman[19]


 

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Last updated: March 13, 2013

 

 

 

Dr Michael Goodyear, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada

For any problems, please contact: mgoodyear@dal.ca

 



[1] Singleton v. Ellison (1895) 1 QB 607.

"A house used by a woman for the purpose of prostitution of herself only is not a brothel." "A brothel is the same thing as a 'bawdy-house' -a term which has a well known meaning as used by lawyers and in Acts of Parliament. In its legal acceptation it applies to a place resorted to by persons of both sexes for the purpose of prostitution. It is certainly not applicable to the state of things described by the magistrates in this case,

where one woman receives a number of men." Per Wills J. at p. 608

This case first established a 'brothel' as referring to premises used by more than one woman for the purposes of prostitution, following the suppression of brothels under the CLA 1885. That is, a place resorted to by persons of both sexes for the purposes of prostitution.

[2] Durose v. Wilson (1907) 71JP 263; 96 L.T. 645 DC.

"If several flats in a block of buildings under one roof are used for the purpose of prostitution, the whole block may be a brothel." "a brothel is such a place as that described in that case - that is, premises used by more than one woman for prostitution." Per Lawrence J., at 646

[3] Mattison v. Johnson (1916) 85 LJKB 714.

A single prostitute operating in a premises was not able to permit the premises to be used as a brothel.

[4] Winter v. Woolfe (1930) 1 KB 549.

Two or more couples having ‘illicit intercourse’ under one roof is a brothel whether or not the women are paid. A place resorted to by persons of the opposite sex.

[5] Gorman v. Stanton (1949) 1 QB 294

“A bawdy house by definition is a house resorted to or used by more than one for the purpose of fornication” per Parker CJ, at 303

[6] Strath v. Foxon (1955) 2 QB 294, 3 A11 ER 398; 39 Cr. App. R 162; (1956) 1 QB 67.

"Premises were held not to be a brothel where such premises were divided into two self-contained flats (with no common use other than a joint use of a kitchen), which were let separately to two known prostitutes, each of whom used her flat for the purposes of prostitution for herself alone."

[7] Donovan v. Gavin (1965) 2QB 648; 3 W.L.R. 352 (D.C.).

Even separately let rooms may constitute a brothel if they are close enough together to create "a nest of prostitutes”, per Sachs J., at 659.

[8] Kelly v. Purvis (1983) 1 All ER 525, [1983] 2 WLR 299, 76 Cr App R 165; [1983] Q.B. 663

“To constitute a brothel, it is not essential to show that premises are in fact used for the purpose of prostitution which involves payment for services rendered. A brothel is also constituted where the women (for there must be more than one woman) do not charge for sexual intercourse” (post, pp. 669G - 670A).

it is not essential that there be evidence that normal sexual intercourse is provided in the premises. It is sufficient to prove that more than one woman offers herself as a participant in physical acts of indecency for the sexual gratification of men” per Ackner L.J., at 671, page 7.

An element of reward was not required, nor is sexual intercourse. Two women being ‘lewd’ with a man would constitute a brothel. In this case masseurs masturbating clients (relief massage). (section 33, Sexual Offences Act 1956.)

[9] Moris-Lowe (1985) 1 All ER 400. Held that for a woman to be referred to as a ‘common prostitute’ she must be “prepared for reward to engage in acts of lewdness with all and sundry, or with anyone who may hire her for that purpose’. This distinguishes a ‘common prostitute’ from a ‘prostitute’, namely that offers her services to more than one person.

[10] Stevens v. Christy (1987) 85 Cr App R 249

A house or room, or set of rooms in any house kept for the purposes of prostitution

[11] DPP v. Bull (1994) 4 All ER 411. Court of Appeal held that a man cannot be a common prostitute (Sexual Offences Act 1956), per Mann LJ. Considered the Wolfenden Report and concluded that the committee concerned themselves only with female prostitutes. “It is plain that the ‘mischief’ the Act was intended to remedy was a mischief created by women’, at 413

[12] Between 1967 and 1981 five private members bills attempted to remove the term “common prostitute” from statutary law, but none received second reading. The term was finally erased by the Policing and Crime Act 2009.

[13] Rex v. De Munck (1918) 1 K.B. 635. C.C.A.

"We are of the opinion that prostitution is proved if it be shown that a woman offers her body commonly for lewdness for payment in return"; per Darling J at 637

Extended definition of prostitution to mean not just sexual intercourse

[14] Policy Statements on Women:

41. Providing a freephone trafficking hotline for clients to report concerns and for victims to self-report. Advertising of this hotline would be required as part of the licensing agreement for all sex encounter establishments

42. Ending the increasing criminalisation of noncoercive prostitution and increasing efforts to
help those wishing to exit the sex industry

4.4 The latest British Attitudes Survey indicated that the UK is becoming increasingly liberal in its approach to relationships and sexuality. We believe that every individual in the UK should be free to express their sexuality and choose their relationships without fear of oppression or discrimination.

[15] Founded by Helen Buckingham, in response to: Sanford J. Prostitutes. Secker and Warburg, London 1975. British Hookers Want to Push PUSSI. Jet 8 Jan 1976, p. 17

[17] That this meeting of RCN Congress makes appropriate recommendations to the UK government to enable local councils to license brothels

[18] This is a special issue of Women’s History Review, dedicated to Josephine Butler's campaigns in international perspective

[19] Zygmunt Bauman, cited in The Guardian April 5 2003