Coverage of Related Issues
The murders refocused press attention on a number of controversial issues in British politics.
The first is that of prostitution in the United Kingdom. The murders have highlighted the vulnerability of prostitutes and the lack of action taken by the government, whether to be more punitive in the hope of reducing the numbers of prostitutes on the streets, to move towards legalised brothels and other measures to improve the safety of the women, or to target the demand for prostitution through prosecution of the clients, as is done in Sweden. The government has moved in the direction of tough "anti-prostitution" laws which target the clients. The government had at one point considered allowing "mini brothels", but abandoned this plan after fears that such establishments would bring pimps and drug dealers into residential areas. Instead, the laws became tougher: the Policing and Crime Act 2009 made it illegal to pay for sex with a prostitute who has been “subjected to force” and this is a strict liability offense (clients can be prosecuted even if they didn’t know the prostitute was forced).
The second is that of drug use and whether it should be legalised or decriminalised, provided on prescription to registered addicts, or penalised more harshly. High numbers (95% according to the Home Office) of street prostitutes in the United Kingdom have a history of substance abuse, and prostitution is one means of funding addiction, known to have been used by one of the victims, Tania Nicol.
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