Bulletin 4: January-April 2017

This bulletin is compiled by the English Collective of Prostitutes from information from our network around the UK and from press reports. It shows that the police continue to take action against sex workers on the streets and working together with others in premises despite the recommendations of a Home Affairs Committee that sex workers should be decriminalised. Police crackdowns against clients also continue using kerb-crawling laws, despite evidence that this pushes sex workers into more isolated areas and increases the risk of attack.

Brothel-keeping law makes it illegal for two or more sex workers to work together. Landlords, security guards, employers and friends are convicted of “causing, inciting and controlling prostitution for gain” even though they weren’t forcing anyone to work.

Civil orders, such as anti-social behaviour orders (along with Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, Criminal Behaviour Orders, community protection notices, Public Spaces Protection Orders and dispersal notices) and closure orders against premises are widely used. These orders rely on police discretion and hearsay evidence and require a lower standard of proof. Breach of a civil order is a criminal offence and can carry a hefty fine and even a prison sentence.

Proceeds of crime laws are draconian and give the police powers to freeze and confiscate people’s assets and income, even before a conviction. The police and the Crown Prosecution Service keep a percentage of any profit, corrupting priorities and fuelling raids.

Migrant women continue to be targeted by police for raids and many are subsequently threatened with deportation.

JANUARY

Pill, police have increased their presence as part of a crackdown on kerb-crawling and soliciting. Here
Pill, a woman was issued a street caution for soliciting, and a man was issued an Acceptable Behaviour Contract after being stopped by police for kerb-crawling. Here
Newquay, police are cracking down on what they refer to as ‘pop-up brothels’. Here
Normanton, a man pled guilty to the charge of soliciting a prostitute. Here
Pontefract, a man was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to managing a brothel. Here
Derby, a man has been fined and given a 12-month conditional discharge after pleading guilty to the charge of soliciting a prostitute. Here
Swindon, a woman has been jailed for 12 weeks after continuing to visit a pensioner, at his request. The Council had previously issued her with an ASBO that ordered her to no longer visit him. Here
Doncaster, police issued five community protection notices for prostitution as part of a crackdown. Here
London, police raided and closed down a suspected brothel. A man was sentenced to ten weeks’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to managing a brothel. Here

FEBRUARY

Slough, police have shut down a suspected brothel. Here
Clacton, police have shut down a suspected brothel. A man has been arrested, and a woman has been handed over to the UK Border Force for immigration offences. Here
Hillfields, police target kerb crawlers. Here
Bristol, police have arrested two women on suspicion of assisting or managing a brothel. Here
London, police raided three brothels in Lewisham. A man and a woman were arrested for immigration offences, and a further man was arrested for managing a brothel. Several others were issued warnings. Here
Bracknell, a man previously found guilty of running a brothel has been ordered to pay back the proceeds or serve a one-year prison sentence. Here

MARCH

Bristol, a woman was given a 12-month suspended sentence and 80 hours of community service after pleading guilty to running a brothel. Here
Gloucester, police issued a closure notice on a premise suspected of being a brothel. Here
Norwich, police patrols target prostitution using new powers to issue dispersal notices. Here
Watford, a man has been sentenced to 12 months in prison after pleading guilty to keeping a brothel and 9 months in prison, to be served concurrently, after pleading guilty to controlling prostitution for gain. Here
Newham, police have published photos of 15 people arrested or wanted for posting advertisements related to prostitution. Here
High Wycombe, new Public Spaces Protection Orders, allowing police and council workers to issue fines of up £1000, have been implemented as part of a crackdown on prostitution. Here
Birmingham, police launch a crackdown on kerb crawlers, with ten men facing court or a compulsory education course. Police indicate future operations are planned, with women caught soliciting and kerb crawlers potentially being taken to court. Here
Leyton, a Public Space Protection Order aimed at addressing street prostitution has been proposed. Here
Sittingbourne, four women were arrested on suspicion of running a brothel. Here

APRIL

Chesterfield, a man was sentenced to two months in prison, and a woman was sentenced to eight months in prison, after both pled guilty to controlling prostitution for gain. Here
Southend, police have installed signs on lampposts as part of a crackdown on prostitution. The ongoing operation also includes anti-prostitution patrols and the issuing of Criminal Behaviour Orders. Here
Stanfield, police have raided a property suspected of being a brothel, and are now working on shutting down the property, although no arrests were made. Here
London, two women and two men have been arrested for a number of prostitution-related offences. Here
Burton, a man is to appear in court after pleading not guilty to assisting in the management of a brothel. Here
London, police closed down a brothel. Here
Derby, a man and a woman been given custodial sentences for prostitution-related offences. Here