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====== Paying for Sexual Services
With effect from 1 April 2010, section 53A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, as inserted by section 14 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009, creates a new offence of paying for the sexual services of a prostitute subjected to force etc.
Section 53A provides:
1. A person (A) commits an offence if:
a. A makes or promises payment for the sexual services of a prostitute (B); b. A third person (C) has engaged in exploitative conduct of a kind likely to induce or encourage B to provide the sexual offences for which A has made or promised payment; and c. C engaged in that conduct for or in the expectation of gain for C or another person (apart from A or B).
2. The following are irrelevant :
a. Where in the world the sexual services are to be provided and whether those services are provided; b. Whether A is, or ought to be, aware that C has engaged in exploitative conduct.
3. C engages in exploitative conduct if:
a. C uses force, threats (whether or not relating to violence) or any other form of coercion; or b. C practices any form of deception.
The offence is one of strict liability. This means that it is irrelevant whether A is, or ought to be, aware that B is subject to exploitative conduct by C.
“Sexual services” is given the same meaning as section 4(4) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, if the service provided involved penetration of B's anus or vagina, penetration of B's mouth with a person's penis, penetration of a person's anus or vagina with a part of B's body or with anything else, or penetration of a person's mouth with B's penis.
“Prostitute” is defined in section 54(2) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as: “A person who, on at least one occasion and whether or not compelled to do so, offers or provides sexual services to another person in return for payment or a promise of payment to that person or a third person.”
“Exploitative conduct” is conduct which involves the use of force; threats (whether or not relating to violence); any other form of coercion; or deception. Force should be given its ordinary meaning and would involve physical violence against B.
“Gain” means any financial advantage, including the discharge of an obligation to pay or the provision of goods and services (including sexual services) gratuitously or at a discount; or the goodwill of any person which is or appears likely, in time, to bring financial advantage. A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
Charging Practice This offence has been introduced to address the demand for prostitution services and reduce all forms of commercial sexual exploitation. It has been developed, in part, to enable the UK to meet its international legal obligations to discourage the demand for sexual services in support of Conventions to suppress and prevent trafficking for sexual exploitation.
It is anticipated that this offence will be considered most often in relation to off-street prostitution. If the police apprehend someone who has paid for sexual services with a person involved in street prostitution, it is likely that soliciting (section 51(A) Sexual Offences Act 2003 - see Kerb Crawling below) would be a more appropriate offence to pursue as this does not require proof of exploitative conduct.
The offence is most likely to arise in police brothel raids where there is enforcement against suspects controlling or exploiting prostitution for gain and where clients are apprehended in the operation. However, the offence is not limited to particular types of premises. It could therefore apply to premises which may have a legitimate business, for example a nightclub, as well as online internet-based services.