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Offences against Children

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 22nd September 2017.

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Photo of Melanie Onn Melanie Onn Shadow Minister (Housing)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will seek to quash convictions for child prostitution of any victim of child abuse.

Photo of Phillip Lee Phillip Lee The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

There is not an offence of child prostitution. Section 1 of the Street Offences Act was amended by section 68(7) of the Serious Crime Act 2015 so that the offence of loitering or soliciting applies only to persons aged 18 or over. In so doing, it recognises children as victims in such circumstances.

Before the statutory amendment was introduced the legislation applied equally to adults and children, although policing guidance and legal guidance to prosecutors advised that it was not in the public interest to prosecute anyone under the age of 18. The legislation in 2015 confirmed the position in law.

The Secretary of State does not have the power to quash a conviction and there are currently no plans to extend the statutory pardon scheme for historical criminal convictions, including those for child prostitution.

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