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Gender, ASB powers and Sex Workers Tracey Sagar Swansea University.

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1 Gender, ASB powers and Sex Workers Tracey Sagar Swansea University

2 1. ASB powers – gendered? 2. ASBOs and Public Nuisance Injunctions (PNIs) against sex workers. 3. ASB mechanisms and multi-agency exit work. 4. A coercive strategy?

3 The gendered construction of the anti-social subject Third Way = ‘Patriarchy Pathology’ Brown (2004) Mothers not fathers paying the price for family ASB. There is a relationship between financial deprivation and the inability to fulfil parenting responsibilities. Lister (2006) ASB is concentrated in deprived areas Millie (forthcoming) Economic solvency equates to social inclusion. Cameron (2007)

4 Characteristics of sex workers Poverty (70% are believed to be lone parent mothers) Homelessness Low self esteem Poor educational achievement

5 New Labour’s approach to tackling street sex work Prostitution is not inevitable Prostitutes are victims who need help Those who exploit prostitutes must be brought to justice The demand side must be targeted The community must be protected

6 The ASBO ASBOs deployed against sex workers in 1999 ASBOs were issued outside of a multi- agency problem solving approach Displacement was an objective

7 Criticisms ASBOs impacted on Human Rights Displacement is not a solution to street sex work Where was the multi-agency approach?

8 Hester and Westmarland (2004) Sex workers have wide ranging needs Services have to be tailored to individual need The exit process is very complicated. Women can access services many times before they leave the streets ASBOs may impact negatively on a sex worker’s ability to access services

9 ASBO’s and Sex workers? Issue ASBOs where appropriate (persistent offenders) Link ASBOs to support services

10 PUBLIC NUISANCE INJUNCTIONS 20 issued against sex workers in Edgbaston in 2002/2003 What is public nuisance? Public nuisance is defined as any nuisance “which materially affects the reasonable comfort and convenience of a life of a class of her majesty’s subjects” (Att. Gen v PYA Quarries Ltd 1957)

11 Section 222 of the Local Authority Act 1972 enables local authorities to apply for injunctions to promote or protect the interests of the inhabitants where the authority considers it expedient to do so. Hearsay evidence is admissible Injunctions can exclude sex workers from a specified area Injunctions can prohibit soliciting and loitering Injunctions can last indefinitely Breach of an injunction – up to two years

12 Reforms ahead? Proposals in the 2007 CCIB (now lost) Persons (not common prostitutes) should face prosecution for persistent soliciting only Offenders should not be fined but ordered to meet a supervisor on three occasions within a six month period to identify ways of preventing engagement in such future conduct Where an offender fails to meet the supervisor on three occasions, he/she is not rehabilitated and should be detained in prison for 72 hours

13 Will coercion into rehab work? Can the criminal justice system and treatment services develop social capital and contribute towards desistance from drug use and offending behaviour by addressing family problems and providing legitimate employment opportunities? McSweeny More research into sex workers’ social networks. Social support can promote physical and mental well-being particularly in times of stress The social structures that cause women to sell sex in the first place need to be addressed.

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