But sex-worker-rights campaigners say the proposal would be “a disaster”.
Three organisations – the Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (Swarm), the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), and the xTalk collective – are planning a demonstration outside Parliament at the time of this Wednesday’s debate to protest against the suggested law change.
They describe the idea as being a “Trump-inspired” effort to kick sex workers off the internet and put them into “more exploitative and harmful situations”.
It concluded that prostitution procurement websites were “the most significant enabler of sex-trafficking in the UK”.
“Websites such as Vivastreet and Adultwork are key to the typical ‘business model’ used by the organised crime groups and third-party exploiters who dominate the UK’s off-street sex trade,” the report concluded.
“Any notion that prostitution websites introduce ‘safety’ to the sex trade by making procurement visible is a dangerous and misleading fallacy.
“They hide sexual exploitation in plain sight.”
Sarah Champion – the Labour MP for Rotherham – will lead a follow-up debate in Westminster Hall.
“Across the UK, men are paying to sexually exploit vulnerable women and girls that they have ‘shopped’ for online,” she will say.
“We need to join the dots – between prostitution, modern slavery, trafficking and child sexual exploitation.”
The MP is also calling for new rules to criminalise the payment of sex in any location, but an end to penalties for loitering and solicitation.
Both Vivastreet and Adultwork make money by charging those who post “adult” adverts rather than the people who then make use of them.
“We take the issue of exploitation extremely seriously, and we are working closely with the Home Office to help develop an industry-wide approach to identifying and preventing online trafficking,” Vivastreet told the BBC.
“We are committed to eradicating any potential exploitation from our platform, and we have a wide range of measures in place to detect and remove inappropriate material. “
Adultwork could not be reached for comment.
Both sites are also active in the US, where they and other classifieds services are now banned from running ads relating to the sale of sexual services, after the introduction of a new law.
President Trump signed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (Fosta) in April.
But it now faces legal challenges of its own, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) among others claiming that itboth trespasses on free speech lawsand hinders efforts to help sex-trafficking victims.