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Inquiry into prostitution launched

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Women and Equalities Committee, inquiry, prostitution, inequality, harms, written submissions, closing date, 20 September 2019‘We will look at prostitution with a focus on inequalities and harm.’

The Women and Equalities Committee has launched a new inquiry into prostitution.

The Committee will be looking at:

What harms are associated with buying and selling sex?

How effective are government policies in tackling this?

What more could be done?

The Committee is also interested in hearing about how those with specific protected characteristics under the Equality Act or other vulnerabilities are affected.

The Committee is keen to hear views from organisations and is particularly interested in receiving submissions which address:

What, if any, are the inequalities and harms associated with buying and selling or trading sex? Who is affected? How?

What local initiatives are you aware of that address inequality and harm? Are they effective? Why?

What, if any, are the challenges for those facing inequality and harm in accessing services – for example, healthcare; support services; advice? What needs to change?

What relevance does the Public Sector Equality Duty have for the way that public authorities address prostitution in their area?

How could law and policy be improved to address inequality and harm?

How effective are different international approaches at addressing any inequalities and harm associated with buying and selling or trading sex?

According to a report on prostitution published by the Home Affairs Committee in 2016 there were at that time between 60,000 and 80,000 prostitutes in the UK; the majority of prostitutes are women, and research suggests that the majority of buyers are male.

That report also said that around 11 per cent of British men aged 16–74 had paid for sex at least once.

The Committee’s Chair, Maria Miller, said: “This inquiry presents an important opportunity.

“Previous reviews of law and policy have focussed on the important issues of reforming the criminal law and which legislative model is most effective.

“This inquiry casts the net wider, and we will look at prostitution with a focus on inequalities and harm.

“We want to look at how prostitution impacts different groups, and how policy and services could be tailored to address particular kinds of inequality and harm.

“All women – indeed, anyone negatively impacted by prostitution – must have equal access to safety and justice.

“We need to bring some new ideas to this debate, and we particularly welcome views from those who are or have been involved in prostitution.”

The closing date for written submissions is Friday 20 September 2019.

To make a written submission – or find out how to – click here.

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