Child protection guidance for social workers will be tightened up to help prevent vulnerable children becoming involved in prostitution, the government said today.
The move is part of a new prostitution strategy, announced by Home Office minister Fiona Mactaggart. Plans include new training for teachers, nurses and police to spot the signs and risks of sexual exploitation of children.
The long-term strategy aims to reduce street prostitution. It rules out the idea of licensed red-light zones. It promises more support for prostitutes including better links between police and projects that work with prostitutes and more access to drug treatment and housing for women wanting to leave prostitution.
Tougher treatment for kerb-crawlers is also in the strategy.
“Prostitution blights communities and the lives of those who participate. While kerb-crawlers could choose not to pay for sex, women involved in prostitution often have very limited choices in life. They come from difficult backgrounds, might have drug problems or nowhere safe to live. I want them to have help and support to leave prostitution,” said Mactaggart.
“We will not eradicate prostitution overnight, but we must not condone this exploitative industry. I want to see a tough approach to kerb-crawling, combined with much better work to prevent children being drawn into prostitution and give those involved a route out,” she added.
The prostitution strategy is published today.