causing or inciting or controlling prostitution

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The offence of organizing or encouraging the sale of sexual services. For the first time, ss 48 to 50 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduce specific offences relating to causing inciting or controlling child prostitution. The prosecution need not show that the offender acted with a view to gain. It is a defence for the offender to show that he reasonably believed the child to be over 18 years of age provided that the child is over 13 years of age, but it is for him to make both the fact of belief and that it was reasonable a live issue. Where the child is under 13, a belief that he or she is over 18 is irrelevant. Sections 52 and 53 of the Act repeal and replace a number of offences that appeared in the Sexual Offences Act 1956 but leave untouched legislation such as the Street Offences Act 1959 (see brothel; kerb crawling; soliciting). They are intended to increase the rate of prosecution of those who recruit adults into prostitution, by force or otherwise, for gain. For all of the new offences, the prostitution or pornography itself does not need to take place for the offences to be committed. The causing or inciting or controlling must take place in the UK but the prostitution or pornography can take place, or be intended to take place, in any part of the world. Unlike some of the offences which they replace, the new offences are framed in gender neutral terms. The definition of ‘prostitute’ (s 51(1) and s 54(2) ) is a wide one so as to bring within the protective ambit of the legislation not only a person who has offered or provided sexual services for payment or a promise of payment voluntarily but also one who has done so under compulsion. Such offer or provision need have taken place on only one occasion (compare common prostitute; soliciting). Payment is defined widely (s 51(3) ) in terms of financial advantage including the discharge of an obligation to pay or the provision of goods or services (including sexual services) gratuitously or at a discount. An additional element of the adult prostitution offences is that the offender must act in the expectation of gain for himself or a third person. Gain is expressed partly in terms of financial advantage. Financial advantage is widely defined by s 54(1). However, the definition of gain not only reproduces the definition of payment given in s 51(3) but adds a reference to the goodwill of any person which is, or appears likely in time, to bring financial advantage.

Section 48 makes it an offence for a person intentionally to cause or incite a child under 18 into prostitution or involvement in pornography in any part of the world. The offence is targeted at the recruitment into prostitution or pornography of a child who is not engaged in that activity at the time. Section 49 makes it an offence for a person intentionally to control any of the activities of a child that relate to the child's prostitution or involvement in pornography in any part of the world. For example a person in the UK might give directions over the telephone regarding the price that a child prostitute in Asia should charge for sexual services. Section 50 makes it an offence for a person to arrange or facilitate the involvement of a child in prostitution orpornography in any part of the world. For example, the offence is committed by a person in the UK who makes arrangements over the Internet for the filming of a child in a pornographic film in Europe. The three offences are triable either way and each carries a maximum penalty of fourteen years.


Subjects: Law.

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