Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Former Prostitutes Challenge UK Law Requiring Disclosure of Past Convictions

Former Prostitutes Launch High Court Challenge to UK Law

A group of former prostitutes have taken a groundbreaking legal challenge to the high court, arguing that government policy criminalises victims of abuse and trafficking.

 

The women argue they have been stigmatised by the existing law, which requires people convicted of crimes to disclose their past when applying for a range of jobs or volunteering activity after DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks.

 

It is the first time the system of recording and disclosing convictions has been challenged on the grounds of gender discrimination, said Harriet Wistrich, the women’s solicitor.

 
The women argue that it is unlawful to record and disclose criminal convictions for soliciting offences, saying it is discriminatory and breaches their right to a private life. ***
 
 
Lawyers representing the women argue that they are victims of trafficking, and that the requirement to disclose past convictions is at odds with government anti-trafficking policy. “It is entirely outmoded that we are still penalising women for street prostitution offences, many of which happened many years ago,” said Wistrich. “It is out of sync with current understanding that those women are often victims of abuse rather than perpetrators of crime.

 

“The women in this case all exited prostitution many years ago but continue to be blighted. It is grotesquely unjust that these convictions are still following them around.”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/gender_law/2018/01/former-prostitutes-challenge-uk-law-requiring-disclosure-of-past-convictions.html

Human trafficking, International | Permalink

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