Charity Praises UK Police for Sex Trafficking Arrests

CHASTE (Churches Alert to Sex Trafficking Across Europe) has come out in praise of Cambridgeshire police after their "vigilant" clampdown on brothels in the county that has led to 25 arrests.

Peteris Kalva, a 38-year-old Latvian, was the first person in Cambridgeshire to be brought to court on sex trafficking charges when he appeared before Cambridge Crown Court for a pre-trial hearing earlier in February. Kalva, who pleaded not guilty to two counts of trafficking a woman for sexual exploitation, will stand trial on March 31.

His arrest is one of the successes of Operation Radium, a swoop on sex traffickers in the county by Cambridgeshire police last August.

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CHASTE is an ecumenical organization which over the last three years has developed a network of safe houses for women who have been rescued or fled prostitution.

Its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Carrie Pemberton, applauded the work of Cambridgeshire Constabulary that has resulted in the 25 arrests and the closure of a network of brothels.

She pointed, however, to the need to eradicate the demand for paid sex which continues to fuel the sex trade in the UK.

"This trade is absolutely insidious and it will take nerve, resources and total commitment by all sections of British society to see stamped out," she said.

"Whilst we have worked hard to see adequate numbers of bed spaces provided for those who are being rescued … we must also not neglect looking at the driver for this abuse in these Islands – the continued demand by British men for paid sex without any accountability."

CHASTE is planning to tackle the demand for paid sex through a new campaign called Not for Sale UK, which will include a number of regional initiatives on May 18 and aims to turn the focus on the clients who purchase sex.

The CHASTE head joined Radio 4's debating program, Moral Maze, Wednesday night, alerting the panelists to the great harm that prostitution causes for the person prostituted and the wider social fabric affected by "pay-as-you-go-sex."

She said: "The difficulty is that this issue of prostitution seems to be accepted as part of the necessary fabric of society rather than as inherently dangerous, abusive and punitive to the women, children and indeed young men who become embroiled in it.

"Trafficking is only the worst manifestation of a trade which has abuse written through every element of its life. We need new approaches to legislation to eradicate it from our third millennium experience of social relationships."

She highlighted the example of Sweden which has passed down legislation that makes clients culpable for purchasing.

"It is the only country which has seen a turnaround in trafficking numbers over the last 10 years. There is a great deal that we could learn from them," she noted.

Pemberton said CHASTE would continue to support the efforts of local constabularies to crack down on the pimps and traffickers "who ruthlessly exploit women and children for their own financial gain."

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