Prostitution overhaul welcomed

SUFFOLK police today welcomed the first major overhaul of prostitution laws in 50 years.Home Office ministers are set to begin a radical review of the way the oldest profession in the world is dealt with.

SUFFOLK police today welcomed the first major overhaul of prostitution laws in 50 years.

Home Office ministers are set to begin a radical review of the way the oldest profession in the world is dealt with.

It is expected to focus on tackling the involvement of organised crime and drugs in the sex trade.

Minimising the public nuisance prostitution causes will also be a priority with a crackdown on pimps and kerb-crawlers expected.

Laws on keeping brothels and soliciting are also likely in the first full review of the issue since 1954.

The moves come just days after the killing of Ipswich woman Cara Martin-Brown, whose body found in an alleyway near to the Alderman Road recreation ground in the town, in the early hours of December 23.

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It is thought Miss Martin-Brown's death was linked to prostitution in the area.

In Ipswich, the Handford Road, West End Road and Portman Road areas have long been associated with the problem.

Suffolk police recently introduced vice patrols as part of a crackdown in the area and today backed the get-tough government policy.

A spokeswoman for the force said it would also like to get involved in discussions about how to police the laws.

She said: "In Suffolk, we work closely with our partner agencies to address issues relating to the health and welfare of men and woman involved in prostitution, as well as those relating to the general public nuisance and crime associated with this activity.

"As with any proposed changes to legislation affecting policing, we would welcome the opportunity to participate in any discussion about this issue, as and when the Home Office requests the views of police forces."

A Home Office spokesman said the time is right for a "sensible debate" on issues arising from prostitution, which are "numerous and complex".

"We want to do a thorough job as this is the first discussion of these issues for over 50 years. We hope to publish as early as possible next year."

Prostitution is currently legal but there are more than 35 offences governing the trade.

Some, such as "living off immoral earnings", date back more than five decades.

There has been growing pressure from senior police officers and some councils, such as Birmingham, to legalise "zones of toleration".

However, an experimental scheme in Edinburgh was recently abandoned.

N What do you think of prostitution laws being overhauled? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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