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News of raids, prosecutions, robberies, assaults etc from the world of punting

 


A Group Of Women Who Were Sexually Exploited As Teenagers Want Their Prostitution Convictions Wiped

Published by Buzzfeed
5th August 2017


Yorkshire
A group of women who were forced into prostitution as teenagers have launched a landmark legal case to have their criminal convictions struck off. The claim is being brought by three women and is supported by the evidence of several others, who all have criminal convictions arising from soliciting and loitering offences.

The women were all groomed and forced into prostitution as teenagers, which left them trapped in a cycle of abuse and exploitation for years to come.

Fiona Broadfoot, one of the three women bringing the case, was still a child when she was forced to work as a prostitute, repeatedly raped, and then criminalised when she came to the attention of police.

“I met a pimp aged 15 and two weeks later I was thrown into the violent and abusive world of prostitution," Broadfoot, 48, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, told BuzzFeed News. "Rape became an occupational hazard but I was arrested, charged, and criminalised for loitering for the purposes of being a common prostitute. After more than 20 years out of prostitution, I am still having to explain my criminal record to any prospective employer. It feels like explaining my history of abuse.”

She said she has an "eight-page double-sided criminal record" and that all but one of the convictions are linked to prostitution. "It's not a criminal record, it's a catalogue of abuse," she said. "I was missing from home for 18 months, and was finally arrested when I was 16-and-a-half. My pimp was with me when I was arrested, and they charged me for being a common prostitute." The man who was exploiting Broadfoot, who was in his late twenties at the time, was not arrested on that occasion.

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Brothel closed down in Maidstone

Published in The Kent Messenger
4th August 2017


Kent
A brothel was operating just yards from a Maidstone primary school and nursery. Police raided the house in Stagshaw Close, Maidstone following complaints from residents it was being used in connection with prostitution.

Two women were arrested on suspicion of running the business, while five other women were arrested for the same offence at a property in Lower Boxley Road the same day.

Officers served a closure notice and, following a case at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court last Friday, a closure order was granted. It is the first time in Kent such an order has been granted under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Now anyone apart from the owner who accesses the property in the next three months faces a fine or up to a year in prison.

Sgt Nick Hatcher, of the Maidstone Community Safety Unit, said: "This shows the effectiveness of neighbourhood engagement. Residents reported an issue to both the police and the local council and we have taken appropriate action.

"A closure order is not sought lightly but in this case the problems reported by the community were sufficient to justify this course of action. The closure will prevent anyone other than the owner entering the property for a period of three months.

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Police accused of threatening sex workers rather than pursuing brothel thieves

Published in The Guardian
3rd August 2017


London
Scotland Yard has been accused of threatening to prosecute women who work in brothels rather than pursue an armed gang of robbers who have been repeatedly targeting premises used for sex work.

The row over the way in which crimes are prioritised highlights the confusion surrounding prostitution laws in the UK and the way in which the government’s victims’ code is operated.

The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer – who was the director of public prosecutions before he became a Labour MP – has written to the Metropolitan police in support of one of the victims of the armed robbers, who is a constituent of his.

Starmer said letters sent by the Met threatening women with prosecution under the 1956 Sexual Offences Act “could make it more difficult to stay in touch with victims of violent crimes and therefore hinder a future prosecution”.

One letter left by officers at premises in Enfield, east London, said it was suspected the property was being used as a brothel and that “any female at this address now, who is found at this same address in the future, is very likely to be arrested”.

The Met denies there is evidence of connected attacks on brothels and insists that criminalising prostitutes is not a priority. Officershave offered to meet women’s rights campaigners about the Enfield robbery, the force said.

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