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Baroness Blatch: I thank the noble and learned Lord for his generous comments. Around three-quarters of the way through my remarks on this issue, my mind switched back to our discussions on children. I apologise to the Committee if I have caused any confusion. I stand by the arguments I made because I believe that they are still valid. However, I referred back to Clause 54 and I apologise for that.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I am sure that we all understood what the noble Baroness meant.

Lord Lucas: Do I understand from what the noble and learned Lord has said that the old concept of the

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crime of "living off immoral earnings" is now dead as a result of this Bill, if it is not dead already? Can no prosecution be brought for that offence?

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I must be careful in my response. Clause 58, covering the intentional control of a prostitute for gain, is the offence we are concerned with here. I think that the old offence mentioned by the noble Lord has gone, but I stand to be corrected. I shall write to the noble Lord to confirm the point.

Viscount Bledisloe: The noble and learned Lord talks of "controlling a prostitute", but Clause 58(1)(a) refers to controlling "any of the activities of" a prostitute. Let us suppose that a boyfriend takes bookings on the telephone for a prostitute, or organises her rate card, or fills in her tax return—if she makes one. Any of those activities would be very wide of what is set out in the Bill. If he is completely controlling the prostitute, then he would be doing what used to be known as living off immoral earnings. Is the response of the noble and learned Lord wholly satisfactory in relation to Clause 58, which refers to controlling "any of the activities"? That would cover even a very limited activity undertaken by a boyfriend or someone else living with the prostitute, but who in no way was driving her into prostitution.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Clause 56 deals with "causing or inciting", while Clause 58(1)(a) deals with controlling,

    "any of the activities of another person relating to that person's prostitution",

which can include controlling her activities as a prostitute. However, the noble Viscount is right to point out that he can also control various activities relating to the other person's prostitution.

Lord Lucas: Would that person be committing a crime? Why would we want to criminalise someone who works out the accounts for his girlfriend?

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The purpose of Clause 58(1)(a) is to cover, primarily, the control of prostitution. The way that is done is by reference to controlling the,

    "activities of another person relating to that person's prostitution".

Usually that would mean the control of, as it were, the entire business enterprise, but it can also cover elements of the activities. Thus we shall avoid the situation where, simply to say that someone else deals with another element, it is not a crime.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: This has been an extraordinarily interesting debate. I am most grateful for the support that my amendment has attracted from every part of the Chamber, which I think may be unprecedented. Support has been expressed from the Bishops' Bench on my left, the Cross Benches on my right, and from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Benches opposite. My noble and learned

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friend may be relieved to know, however, that I do not intend to press the amendment, but I shall read with great care what he has said in response.

One point that has come out of our debate on which I would ask him to reflect most seriously is the general view that Recommendation 53 in Setting the Boundaries, calling for a comprehensive review of the laws covering prostitution, needs to take place. Prostitution was not included in the terms of reference for the Setting the Boundaries team, although it did take a great deal of evidence on it. However, it is clear from the amount of legislation dealing with prostitution, from the Sexual Offences Act 1956 onwards, that we are in danger of simply putting an extra ratchet on to the sexual offences laws without thinking through properly what should be the situation relating to prostitution.

I certainly do not take exception to the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, for preferring the terms of the amendment tabled by her noble friend Lord Lucas. Had he tabled his amendment before mine, I would probably have added my name to it. I am as content with his amendment as I am with my own.

However, at this stage I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 299A not moved.]

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 299B:

    Page 26, line 26, at end insert—

"(1A) No offence is committed under this section by advertising the availability of the services of a prostitute."

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 299B, I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 308B. If we are to have the industry or activity of prostitution based largely inside premises so that it does not greet our eyes on every street corner—we all agree that not only is that safest for the women concerned, it is also more pleasant for local residents and those travelling through the areas where prostitutes ply their trade—then those women must have some way of contacting their customers.

In that regard, in some areas the police can present a considerable obstacle. They will prosecute a newsagent who displays in a quiet corner of his shop a board containing prostitutes' advertisements, although the same newsagent cannot be prosecuted for having row upon row of disgusting magazines on the top shelf. The police will even prosecute a sex shop for displaying such advertisements. They have prevented the Yellow Pages from carrying advertisements for sexual services, while noises even seem to have been made in the direction of some magazines which carry such advertisements.

Prostitutes must be able to contact their clients in a way that does not cause offence. I fully understand why people object to stickers in phone boxes, but if we do not allow this to happen in a reasonable and regulated way then stickers in phone boxes is what we will get—and quite right, too, because they will have to find an outlet somewhere.

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The purpose of the amendments is to ensure that advertising a sexual service, carrying advertisements or facilitating advertisements is not of itself an offence. The amendments will ensure that those who wish to provide advertising services to prostitutes are able to do so without fear of prosecution. I beg to move.

Lord Northbourne: I support the amendment. I was wondering whether to raise the issue of legal brothels but I am sure that the Government do not want me to do so in connection with this Bill. As to the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, legalised prostitution may, if properly run, tend to save some of the child abuse that we are seeing today. The Government should at least consider carrying out research on the subject.

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, and I, too, support the noble Lord, Lord Lucas. One of the objects of the Bill is to reduce the incidence of rape. A wise man once said to me that it is largely thanks to prostitution that our wives, mothers and daughters walk the streets in safety. I do not believe that they now walk with quite the safety that I enjoyed when I was young—we have to accept that—but it is very important that prostitutes are not persecuted and driven onto the streets. They should have the opportunity to pursue their industry, not only in safety but in reasonable comfort.

Baroness Howarth of Breckland: I do not support the amendment simply because of its width. I seek clarification. Having worked for 10 years as a regulator with ICSTIS, where premium rate industry sex lines could be advertised, I am concerned about being very precise about the kind of magazines in which you cannot have this type of advertising and those in which you can. If we introduce simply the broad category in the amendment, such advertisements will appear everywhere. There will be an outcry because people find them largely offensive. There are places where one can find these advertisements with no problems, but we have to be very precise.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: I support the amendment. The noble Lord, Lord Lucas, is seeking to do what he and I sought to do with the previous amendment—that is, to ensure that if prostitution is conducted it is conducted in safe premises rather than dangerously on the streets. If women who work in the sex industry are able to advertise—and I see no reason why such advertising should not be severely regulated in order to counter the point made by the noble Baroness—I cannot see where any public mischief would arise.

As far as I am aware, the only research conducted into unauthorised advertising in pay phones was undertaken on behalf of British Telecom, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police and Westminster City Council, in June 1994. The research dealt with the issue of cards in phone boxes. Curiously, the public response was far less condemnatory of simple advertising—a simple card with, perhaps, a woman's name and phone number on it—than many

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would expect. For example, in the survey, only 10 per cent found those simple cards offensive and 58 per cent felt that prostitutes should be allowed to advertise their services.

The noble Lord, Lord Lucas, is pursuing a cause that should be looked at. If there is to be the review of prostitution we called for in the previous debate, this is clearly an issue which would need to be covered in some detail.

6.45 p.m.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I hope that I can set minds at rest. Advertising the availability of the services of a prostitute would not in itself constitute causing or inciting another person to become a prostitute, nor would it constitute controlling any of their activities relating to prostitution. It is possible, obviously, that advertising the services might be evidence, along with a variety of other evidence, used in support of a charge but it would not constitute an offence in itself. If, for example, a pimp advertised the services of a prostitute over whom he had control so that she received more clients and he got more money, that might be one of the many factors used in evidence for a charge of controlling prostitution for gain but it would not be an offence in itself.

I understand the concern of the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, that we should not make advertising of itself an offence. Neither Clause 56 nor Clause 58 does so. There is already provision—the noble Lord referred to this—in Sections 46 and 47 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 which makes it an offence to place cards advertising the services of prostitutes in telephone boxes. Anyone advertising the services of a prostitute in this way, whether or not excluded from the offences under this Bill by an amendment such as the one we are discussing, would therefore already be guilty of an offence under the earlier Act. I hope that in the light of what I have said the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

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