Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Temporary brothels in Britain

The Guardian has the story:

How ‘pop-up’ brothels transformed Britain’s suburban sex industry
MPs are investigating a surge in flats being used short-term for prostitution – but the women who work in them say they often have no safer option

"Last month, MPs launched an inquiry into the apparent rise of so-called “pop-up” or temporary brothels. The phenomenon, where sex workers use Airbnb, hotels, or short-term holiday lets as a work base, has caused concern among politicians and the police. But what is the reality for women working in brothels in Britain today, and what is driving them to work in temporary set-ups?
“People think we’re either in five-star hotels or we’re on flea-bitten mattresses with a line of men outside the door,” says Amy, a single mother who works in the north London brothel. “Both of those things are real, both of those things happen, but the vast majority of us are just somewhere in the middle. Demystifying it is really important.”
"After a year, she found her current place with two others. With CCTV and a panic alarm, she says the more permanent setup means she has better security measures: “I honestly can’t imagine working any other way now and it astounds me that what we’re doing is technically illegal.”
Still, she does not want to paint a rose-tinted picture of her new situation. “When [sex workers] are talking to the press, there’s a lot of pressure for us to be like, ‘Oh I love my job, everything’s great’ when it’s not great. It’s like any other job – you have good days and bad days. It’s just like being in any kind of office job, or a call centre, just with more nudity, and dildos everywhere,” she jokes.
"Like many sex workers, trust and communication with the police is a huge issue for her and her workmates. “At the moment, I have absolutely no trust in the police whatsoever,” she says. “You can literally go from being the victim, to being the criminal in a matter of minutes.”
"How the law stands
  • There are an estimated 72,800 sex workers operating in the UK.
  • In a study of 6,000 men, 11% reported paying for sex. More than a half of these said they paid for sex outside the UK.
  • The mortality rate for sex workwers is 12 times higher than average.
  • Keeping or managing a brothel is illegal under the 1956 Sexual Offences Act.
  • The sale and purchase of sexual services is legal in England and Wales, but certain related activities are not.
  • In 2015 Northern Ireland made it illegal to pay for sex. The first prosecution was in October 2017."

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