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Sex with trafficked women is rape:UK

Men who have sex with trafficked prostitutes should be charged with rape, ministers believe – a move that could see thousands prosecuted.

Home Office minister Tony McNulty told The Observer: ‘Whenever a man knowingly has sex with a woman against her will, that is rape,’ he said. ‘For example, if a trafficked woman told a man who had paid to have sex with her that she was engaged in prostitution under duress, then he could not reasonably believe that she was freely consenting. To go ahead regardless would be rape.’

Women, some as young as 15, are lured to Britain on the false promise of jobs as nannies or waitresses only to be raped, beaten and forced to work as so-called sex slaves.

McNulty’s statement marks a significant shift towards criminalising men who pay for sex. Men are not now considered to have committed an offence, although it is illegal for women to solicit and for men to ‘kerb crawl’ or to pimp women.

This week the UK and Sweden, where paying for sex is criminalised, will host a seminar in Brussels on trafficking, an issue the government has made a key priority during its European Union presidency. Ministers are increasingly concerned at the growing numbers of women tricked into the sex trade by criminal gangs.

Prostitution and the trafficking of women have become the third highest ‘black market’ income earner after drugs and the arms trade. Unofficial estimates suggest 10,000 illegal immigrants are working as prostitutes in Britain, with three-quarters of women in brothels hailing from the Baltic states, Africa and South East Asia.

The Metropolitan police believes trafficked women coerced into prostitution are often forced to see between 20 and 30 men a day.

In London alone, it is thought that up to 80,000 men regularly pay for sex. Internet sites in the UK suggest the demand among British men for foreign prostitutes is significant, with message boards exchanging comments on women throughout the world.

The former Europe minister Denis MacShane, who has campaigned for a crackdown on trafficking, said: ‘It’s time for honest language. When a man has sex with a frightened, beaten and intimidated woman there is only word to describe it and that is rape. I am pleased that the Home Office now recognises that. We need to see charges against men who have sex with women who are living in fear after being trafficked.’

MacShane said his experiences as a minister had convinced him of the scale of the trafficking problem facing British police, particularly the trade from the Balkan states. ‘Despite their best efforts unless we break the demand this evil trade will continue and grow,’ he added.

Police recently rescued 19 foreign women suspected of having been trafficked from a Birmingham massage parlour. Windows were reportedly boarded up to stop them escaping and electric fences were erected at the rear of the building. ‘We need more than dramatic prime-time raids on brothels in Birmingham. We need the men having sex with these frightened girls to be arrested and put on trial,’ he said.

Although no official figures exist for how many women and girls are trafficked into the UK each year, research by the Home Office suggests around 1,400 women are thought to be smuggled into Britain annually for prostitution.

Individual stories provide grim reading. One case known to Amnesty International involves Maria, a Ukrainian woman, who met a man in Italy who said that he could arrange work for her in Britain. She entered the UK with him, but soon after was beaten, raped and forced into prostitution. She was sold three times while in Britain.

Amnesty International recently met with the new Solicitor General, Mike O’Brien, who also indicated that he wanted to do more to tighten the law.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK director, urged police prosecute men who pay for sex with trafficked women. ‘The law on rape is already clear. The police and criminal justice authorities must be willing to enforce it and ensure that all victims of rape receive the full protection of the law,’ she said.


November 9, 2008 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

Sex uncovered: A beginner’s guide

I’ve gone no further than kissing. I don’t feel the need to do what others are doing.

I’m 16, and I’m in no rush to lose my virginity. I’ve had sexual experiences before, but the thought of oral sex repulses me, and I don’t plan on doing that at all!

I’m 14 and still a virgin. I’ve been with quite a few lads but haven’t had a proper relationship yet. I’ve done things with four lads and I regret it all. After we’d done stuff they moved on.

It may seem like everyone’s having sex all over the place, but look around and remember it’s not necessarily true.

I was 13 when I lost my virginity and I hadn’t done anything up until then. Now I wish I had waited; I’m 17 and would rather be a virgin. Because I have had sex with a few people, I’m seen as ‘easy’, so wait – you’ll get more respect.

I’m 13 and all my friends are ‘poking’ each other. Is it OK to do that? And what is dry sex?

I’m 16, and I plan to wait for as long as it takes me to know I’m in love before I have sex – even if I’m 80. It’s better to wait than to lose your virginity before you’re ready.

It is a good thing to wait, but if you think you’ve got Mr Right go for it. I lost my virginity to my boyfriend when I was 13.

Oh my God, I feel a little bit dorky about it but I know that I’m not a prude. I’m scared about my first time because I won’t know what to do.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Entertaintment, News | , , | Leave a comment