New UK law to criminalise men who pay for sex with trafficked women
The UK government has unveiled new laws for cracking down on men who pay for sex. The new laws will apply specifically to trafficked women, or women who are being controlled and pay money to a pimp.
New prostitution laws to be set out today will mean a plea of ignorance is no defence for men facing prosecution for buying sex from a woman who has been trafficked or is being exploited by a pimp.
Under proposals to be published today by the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, a man who pays for sex with a woman who has been trafficked or is under the control of a pimp could face a charge of rape, which carries a potential life sentence.
The new offence of paying for sex with somebody who is "controlled for another person's gain" is to carry a hefty fine and a criminal record.
The decision to criminalise men who pay for sex with trafficked women is likely to have a widespread impact. The Metropolitan police have estimated that 70% of the 88,000 women involved in prostitution in England and Wales are under the control of traffickers.
It forms part of a wider package of reforms to tackle street prostitution, including prosecuting first-time kerb crawlers and implementing stronger police powers to close down brothels.