Victory for child campaign MP
STOCKPORT MP Ann Coffey has won her campaign to remove the phrase ‘child prostitution’ from all legislation.
The child protection champion said it was ‘wonderful’ ministers had agreed to her proposal – and have tabled it for debate later this month.
She made the call after launching a report into the scale of grooming across Greater Manchester last year.
There is no such thing as a ‘child prostitute’ and the phrase is an ‘insult’ to abuse victims, she said.
Yet several pieces of legislation still use it – while children aged 10 or over can even now be prosecuted for the offences of ‘loitering’ or ‘soliciting for prostitution’.
Now Ms Coffey has heard back from the solicitor general, Robert Buckland, that the government will back her call by amending the Serious Crime Bill currently going through parliament.
She said: “This wonderful news. It is the most fitting end to this Parliament. These amendments have been supported by MPs of all parties who have worked hard to tackle child sexual exploitation.
“There has never been a better time than now to consign the term child prostitute to the history books in the wake of the shocking cases in Rochdale, Rotherham, Oxford, Derby, Telford, Stockport and the string of celebrity cases.
“The term child prostitute is inappropriate and is an outdated insult to innocent victims who have been robbed of their childhood and then stigmatised and blamed.
“There is no such thing as a child prostitute – only a sexually abused or exploited child.”
Mr Buckland said that he ‘commended’ her determination, adding: “You can properly take the credit for the new clause we have tabled today.”
MP Ann Coffey