Victory for child cam­paign MP

Stockport Times West - - BIG PICTURE -

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

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