Brown backs ban on paying for prostitutes

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has indicated his support for a proposed ban on the purchase of sex.

The campaign to introduce such a ban is being led by Women and Equalities Minister Harriet Harman.

The Home Office is currently reviewing the law on prostitution, and Ministers have looked at the system in Sweden, where only the purchase of sex is criminal.

It is not yet clear whether any change in the law here will involve the removal of current offences relating to the sale of sex, such as soliciting. Selling sex is not in itself illegal.

Opposition to the proposal has come from Conservative MP and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trafficking of Women and Children, Anthony Steen, who said that “whacking a criminal label on prostitution” would not solve the problem.

However, Mr Brown’s spokesman said the Prime Minister believed prostitution is not morally or socially acceptable. He said that as a Government Minister Mrs Harman had the Prime Minister’s backing in her efforts to criminalise those who pay for sex.