There have been calls for a change in the law to make it illegal to pay for sex, following the conviction of Steve Wright for the murder of five prostitutes in Ipswich.
An alarming number of women and young girls are trafficked into the UK to be forced into the sex industry, which many say will not stop until the demand for prostitutes is tackled.
The Government says that 95% of street prostitutes are addicted to class A drugs. According to media reports, 60 prostitutes have been murdered in the last decade.
There is some speculation that the Government intends to adopt a similar system as that which operates in Sweden, where laws against paying for sex that were introduced several years ago had the immediate effect of reducing the level of street prostitution.
The Swedish Government says that since the law changed, there are fewer men paying for sexual services and fewer women recruited into prostitution.
Baroness Cox and Lord Anderson of Swansea, a former Labour MP, have tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill which does outlaw paying for sex. However, other amendments have been tabled which would liberalise the law.
Mark Wakeling, director of the National Christian Alliance on Prostitution, said: “Prostitution brings out the worst in men. The sad thing is that there are attacks and violence, even murders, against these women that are happening regularly. It’s only when five are murdered in one place that all of a sudden it starts to provoke debate.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are clear that street-based prostitution and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation must be challenged. They are not inevitable; they are not here to stay.”