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Crime and victims

Prostitution

The cost of prostitution to our society is too high and we are committed to tackling the problem.

The facts

Most women involved in street-based prostitution are not there through choice. They are among the most vulnerable people in our society. Nearly all prostitutes are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Many of them have been trafficked into the country by criminals, and are held against their will. Many were abused as children, and many are homeless. 

Kerb crawlers, on the other hand, have a choice. Men who pay for sex are indirectly supporting drug dealers and organised crime groups, and funding violence and abuse.  

Kerb crawling fuels the exploitation of women by indirectly supporting drug-dealers and abusers. If you frequent prostitutes, you could be contributing to the violence and abuse these women already face, often against their will.

In 2005, we developed a strategy to help communities deal with prostitution and sexual exploitation. Our strategy focuses on tackling demand and challenging the existence of street-based sex markets.

Tackling demand

In January 2008, the Home Office launched a six-month review to explore what further action could be taken to reduce demand for prostitution. The findings of this review were published in November 2008 in the report Tackling the demand for prostitution

The report calls for laws to be changed to make it easier for police to target those who pay for sex.

Kerb crawling - it costs more than you think

Raising awareness of the issues related to prostitution, particularly among those who create the demand for prostitution, is vital. We want to send a strong message to kerb crawlers that their behaviour will not be tolerated.  

We developed a campaign to deter kerb crawling to offer both rational and emotional arguments against visiting prostitutes, in order to encourage would-be sex clients to think about the consequences of their actions.

If convicted of kerb crawling you could face:

  • a £1000 fine
  • losing your driving licence
  • exposure of your habits to family, friends and work colleagues 

If convicted of paying for sex with someone who is under 18, you could face life imprisonment.

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Related documents

Home Office websites