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Women and Equality

Women Not For Sale

The Minister for Women and Equality (Ms Harriet Harman): In July 2007 the Ministers for Women set out their priorities.

Their second priority was tackling violence against women. This was to include tackling human trafficking of women for sexual exploitation and in particular, as well as deterring and punishing traffickers and warning and protecting women, tackling the demand side of human trafficking.

This Government are committed to tackling all aspects of the modern-day slavery which is human trafficking.

Today, the Government are publishing “Women Not For Sale”, a report of research into small ads in local and regional newspapers advertising sexual services. The research found that:

29 Jan 2008 : Column 12WS

Following a meeting of the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Gedling (Mr. Coaker), the Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Solicitor-General and myself with the Newspaper Society, we welcome the consultation and discussion that has taken place within this organisation. We welcome the new guidance which we expect the Newspaper Society will be issuing shortly to their members to help ensure that they do not unwittingly advertise brothels in which trafficked women are being exploited. Genuine businesses which advertise services in the personal classifieds should be unaffected by this.

The Home Office recently announced a six month review exploring what more the Government can do to tackle the demand for prostitution. This began with a visit to Sweden earlier this month by the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my hon. Friend the Member for Stevenage (Barbara Follett) and the Solicitor-General, to explore how the Swedish legislation banning the sale of sex is enforced and its impact on the demand for prostitution. As well as any legislative changes, the review will consider the non-legislative options available to challenge exploitation of women by paying for sex.

In this work, the Ministers for Women will continue to work with and alongside Ministers in the Home Office, the Attorney-General’s Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Copies of “Women Not For Sale” will be made available in the Library of the House.

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