THE ARMY is drawing up plans to ban troops sleeping with sex workers.
The crackdown could also include sailors on port calls abroad – but prostitutes say it would make them scapegoats.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This is about a change in culture. Fundamentally it is catching up.
“There are plenty of countries where the British Armed Forces are based, in Northern Europe, where the sex industry is legal and licenced and everything else. But that still doesn’t make it an acceptable part of the 21st century culture,” he said.
“We’re in a different era and the challenge is we’ve got lots of women, we want more women serving, and what does that say to those women if half the platoon goes out, does all that and comes back in?”
However, Catherine Stephens, from International Union of Sex Workers, said: “If the minister wants to make the Army more welcoming to women recruits, he needs to take action to prevent violence against women in the army by their comrades.
“Forbidding British soldiers from paying for sex – an activity which is legal in the UK, as the Minister should be well aware – will increase dangers and discrimination faced by sex workers wherever the British army is stationed.
“Our consent counts and should always be treated with respect – by punters and by politicians.”
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The crackdown follows unsolved murder of Kenyan sex worker Agnes Wanjiru who was found in a septic tank at a hotel after sleeping with British soldiers in 2012.
Fourteen troops at the brothel on the night she disappeared have been named as suspects by Kenyan police.
Mr Wallace said it was unclear if the Army could ban its troops from a legal pursuit when they were off duty.
“But what I do know is that in countries in Africa and Central America the sex industry is driven by exploitation and poverty and I think the army has to uphold the values of today’s world, of today’s values,” he added.
“I can see a scenario where the regulations are tied down to implement a policy that respects women, and that could cover sex workers as well.”
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