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The CPS focuses on the prosecution of those who force others into prostitution, exploit, abuse and harm them. Our joint approach with the police, with the support of other agencies, is to help those involved in prostitution to develop routes out. The context is frequently one of abuse of power, used by those that incite and control prostitution - the majority of whom are men - to control the sellers of sex - the majority of whom are women.
However CPS recognises that these offences can be targeted at all victims, regardless of gender. In addition to attracting significant sentences, these offences also provide opportunities for seizure of assets through Proceeds of Crime Act orders and the application of Trafficking Prevention Orders. For those offences which are summary only loitering and soliciting, kerb crawling, paying for sexual services and advertising prostitution the police retain the discretion not to arrest or report to the CPS those suspected of committing an offence, or they can charge the offence without reference to a prosecutor, regardless of whether the suspect intends to plead guilty or not guilty.
This guidance provides practical and legal guidance to Prosecutors dealing with prostitution-related offences. The individual policies that sit within the VAWG framework will be applied fairly and equitably to all perpetrators and victims of crime, regardless of gender. The CPS works closely with the police on all prostitution-related offences. Prosecutors should be aware that there is autonomy as to how forces police prostitution within their area.
For those offences which are summary only — loitering and soliciting, kerb crawling, paying for sexual services, keeping a brothel and advertising prostitution — the police retain the discretion:. However, the police guidance provides practical advice when dealing with prostitution-related issues to ensure consistent levels of service, whilst balancing the need to protect those involved in prostitution from crime.
The strategic principles for policing prostitution emphasise that those who sell sex should not be treated as offenders but as people who may be or become victims of crime. Prostitution should be tackled in partnership with other organisations and projects offering support services. The Police guidance recognises the diverse nature of prostitution and the different challenges in responding.