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MP calls time on vice cards in phone boxes.

PROSTITUTES' calling cards in telephone boxes are to be ruled "out of order" under new laws planned by the Government.

It will become a criminal offence to put cards in kiosks - with fines running into tens of thousands of pounds.

And telephone companies will be urged to implement callocks on numbers for good-time girls, to stop calls being made to or from numbers on cards in kiosks.

The Government signals its plans on Wednesday in a 10-minute rule bill from Karen Buck, MP for London Regent's Park and Kensington North.

She has worked closely with the Home Office and Department of Trade and Industry on her Bill, and expects the Home Office to include a clause in this year's Crime and Disorder Bill in the Queen's Speech next month.

Karen Buck launched her campaign against the explicit cards after complaints from constituents in her central London constituency.

But her reasearch shows there is a major problem in "red light" areas in all the major cities. She said up to ten million cards are put in call boxes in central London alone.

BT removed 1.1m cards in just eight weeks at a rate of 150,000 a week - some 20,000 a day. But as soon as BT removed them, they were replaced.

She continued: "My Bill will make it a criminal offence to place these cards in call boxes.

"At the moment, it is a civil offence and you have to be caught five times placing the cards before you can be prosecuted. Even if the case is proven, the fines are miniscule and no deterrent.

"My Bill will make it an offence from the start and the fines will be high."

Karen Buck said the prostitutes' cards were often pornographic. "They feature every kind of fetish in uncompromising language. There are pictures of naked women in all sorts of poses."
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 25, 1998
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