Page last updated at 02:43 GMT, Monday, 8 March 2010

Kerb-crawlers to be arrested on first offence

A prostitute talking to a car driver
The law change will make it easier for police to arrest kerb crawlers

Kerb-crawlers can be arrested on their first offence under new laws, Home Office minister Alan Campbell said.

From 1 April the police will no longer need to establish that a man is "persistently" kerb-crawling before arresting him.

New criminal fines will mean a £1,000 penalty for having sex with someone forced into prostitution.

A poster campaign, launched to coincide with International Women's Day, will warn potential "punters" of the fines.

The legal changes will also see the term "common prostitute" - regarded as outdated - removed from English law.

Mr Campbell said: "We are determined to tackle the demand for prostitution and provide help for those who wish to leave prostitution.

"These new measures build on the significant action we have already taken to tackle prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation. They will help bring greater protection to vulnerable people".

Once the law comes into effect, a man paying for sex with a prostitute who is being exploited through force, deception or threats will be breaking the law, whether or not he is aware that she is selling her body against her will.

Courts will be empowered to shut premises associated with certain prostitution and pornography offences, and a new penalty for soliciting will mean women are required to attend meetings at which they will be helped to leave the sex trade.

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