London (Brussels Morning) A parliamentary group looking at commercial sexual exploitation said Monday that, “The industrial-scale sexual exploitation of Romanian women by UK men is a national scandal”.
Dame Diana Johnson, who chairs a cross-party parliamentary working group — the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Commercial Sexual Exploitation — made the comments before an online summit with an audience of politicians, police and diplomats.
The group stressed that evidence points to thousands of women falling into sex work in the UK due to criminal gangs using the UK’s relaxed law around prostitution.
The group’s own inquiry in 2018 found that there were 212 ongoing police investigations into slavery involving sexual exploitation and 39 percent of them involved Romanian women.
Police forces around the country found that as high as 86 percent of women in some brothels were Romanian.
In the UK, prostitution is not illegal but various offences linked to it are, such as controlling a prostitute for gain or keeping a brothel.
One detective sergeant who led a trafficking investigation of Romanian women across north-west England also said the business model of sex trafficking needed to be broken by culling demand and cracking down on pimping websites, reported the Guardian.
“Right now, sex trafficking is too profitable and too easy in this country”, he said.
He called on Patel to stop Britain from being “a pimp’s paradise”, by decriminalising the prostitutes and providing them with support while making soliciting and paying for sex and online pimping criminal offences.
France, Ireland and Sweden are countries that have adopted a similar model but critics still say there are problems with criminalising buyers of sex by driving the trade underground and increasing a sex workers’ vulnerability to violence.
A Home Office spokeswoman said, “Our priority is to protect victims from harm and exploitation, and target those who exploit vulnerable people involved in prostitution”.