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Feminism: Sex and gender discussions

Police officers & lawyers, I need your wisdom please re brothels

226 replies

MrsMcEnroe · 22/08/2012 19:24

Hello all,

Some background: I own a shop in a part of town that has been grotty and neglected for years but which is now, thanks to a lot of hard work from residents and traders plus a Lottery grant, now starting to regenerate.

Across the road from my shop is a brothel. It is acknowledged as such by the local police. Residents and traders are not happy that the brothel is allowed to continue operating. Most people are worried about the supposed "dodgy blokes" (to quote a recent email, not my words, on the subject) that it brings to the area; however, I have more serious concerns regarding the welfare of the ladies working there. I have seen some of them leaving and they don't look well at all.

I am attending a meeting of the local community forum tomorrow, at which the police, council members and planning officers will tell us what they are doing re the brothel (if anything). I know I've read that prostitutes are at much higher risk of violence, including sexual violence, than other women; does anyone have any facts and figures I could use please? Also, is it even legal to operate a brothel? When I was doing my law degree 20 years ago, I'm sure brothel-keeping came under the heading of living off immoral earnings but perhaps this has changed?? I just want to make the point that there are vulnerable women right there in our midst who, rather than being condemned, should be helped. (I never qualified as a lawyer, hence my lack of current knowledge).

Or am I being naive? Or simplistic?

This post comes cross in a very stilted manner - sorry, I'm typing with 2 fingers with a puppy asleep on my lap!


OP posts:
Alameda · 22/08/2012 22:11

found you in unanswered messages and am bumping

(and expressing solidarity at also qualifying but never doing anything much post academic stage)

OldLadyKnowsNothing · 22/08/2012 22:27

Prostitutes working in a brothel are generally safer than those working the street. Most brothel-keepers are not keen on drug-users as they are unreliable.

It is legal to work in a brothel.

It is legal for punters to pay for sex in a brothel.

It is not legal to run a brothel; it's no longer "living off immoral earnings", it's something along the lines of controlling and profiting from the activities of prostitutes.

OldLadyKnowsNothing · 22/08/2012 22:30

And a prosecution would have to show that the brothel-keeper was actually controlling and profiting from the women; the "control" bit can be hard to prove, because most brothel-working prostitutes are allowed to refuse any given punter.

Alameda · 22/08/2012 22:33

you could point the community forum in the direction of the ipswich model not just street prostitution, they often raid brothels and the local press won't advertise 'adult services' or personals or whatever the column was called

ThatVikRinA22 · 22/08/2012 22:37

brotherls are covered by the sexual offences act 1956 - it is an offence for a person to keep or manage, or assist in the management of a brothel under s33, and to be classed as a brothel at least 2 people have to be plying their trade there. so it is still illegal.

i think its safer for women to work in this way rather than alone on the streets. The women who work there will still work somewhere - just not in plain sight of your shop perhaps.

For me, and this is a personal pov - not a police one - i would love to see the practice legalised, vetted, and the women who work in the sex industry be looked after, pay taxes....and not be subject to controlling pimps who take their earnings, i think the industry could become respectable instead of a way to find the money to score.....but thats just me, that said, most of my colleagues who actually work within the police agree with me....

if its common knowledge then its unlikely that the police will not be aware of it - but if it bothers you then i would have a word with the bobbies who go to the meeting - its usual neighbourhood police who attend these type of things and they have more knowledge about the local community and what goes on there. It is possible that they may not know.....

FoodUnit · 22/08/2012 22:39

This might be a useful resource

Alameda · 22/08/2012 22:41

am so glad many of your colleagues in Suffolk don't feel that way vicar, and instead work closely with other organisations to give women more choices than that

and to scare their customers away

FoodUnit · 22/08/2012 22:45

Oh yeah- I just wanted to say that its actually a myth that women are safer in brothels. Some women actually prefer to be street based since they have greater control over their situation.

OldLadyKnowsNothing · 22/08/2012 22:47

Depends on the brothel, I should think.

ThatVikRinA22 · 22/08/2012 22:47

and i looked at a model in Germany, for which i could also see the benefits for the women involved if they chose to work within the industry.

and no i dont work in suffolk.

i am completely against the exploitation of women, but there are models in other countries which take a different approach, and work for the women for whom it is a choice.

ThatVikRinA22 · 22/08/2012 22:52

anyway - all by the by as it is illegal in this country and so OP yes, report it.

Alameda · 22/08/2012 22:57

maybe when all else is equal it could be a choice for some but it's a bit of a far off utopian dream isn't it, when renting out your orifices is on a par with being a gymnast or an actuary or something,

I don't suppose anyone would ever have invested so much money into the women and children exploited in Ipswich if it wasn't for the murders but look how well it works: Jacci

FoodUnit · 22/08/2012 23:01

Equally depends which streets you walk in.

But really neither play as much a part in the woman's safety - as the man who chooses to buy her, and what he likes to do to the women he buys.

FoodUnit · 22/08/2012 23:03

Legalisation btw massively expands the illegal sector in all the countries that adopt it.

OldLadyKnowsNothing · 22/08/2012 23:03

Agree with Vicar.

The Ipswich murders were of streetworkers, not brothelworkers, but I'm glad that some good has come out of that particular horror.

Alameda · 22/08/2012 23:04

yes, see the netherlands for example

as if it should come as a surprise, the legitimisation of drug dealers and pimps does not suddenly make them respectable and law abiding, decent business people

OldLadyKnowsNothing · 22/08/2012 23:05

FoodUnit, please can we not rehash the whole "legalisation" BS yet again? It is legal to work as a prostitute, and it is legal to engage his/her services.

FoodUnit · 22/08/2012 23:11

'Legalisation' referring to Vicars desire to make it 'respectable' presumably like Australia or Holland, with health and safety legislation 'licenced' brothels, etc, where the illegal sector of trafficked women flourishes.

It is not legal in this country to buy sex from someone who has been exploited, by the way.

ThatVikRinA22 · 22/08/2012 23:13

so we need a tougher approach to prostitution then? the thing that stands out from that peice alameda is that "jacci" came to the conclusion that she had to "sort herself out" - she admits that the scheme angered her and she had to shoplift to fund her habit until that time when she decided she had had enough - the reality is that for many addicts it takes years and years, and then, sometimes never.

most of my regulars, the people who i arrest time and time again, for petty crime have drug habits - they are offered access to drug rehabilitation services each and every time they come into custody - few accept help and fewer still actually come off drugs.

most reoffend. im on first name terms with most of ours. To give up an addiction takes will, before any help can be of any use at all.

and the cynic in me also knows that only the good news stories get put out to the media - jacci clearly is a good news story and im very pleased for her - but many others arent ready to sort out their underlying issues.

OldLadyKnowsNothing · 22/08/2012 23:14

Perhaps we could do the legalisation of brothels rather better than other places, using the benefit of their experience. I think it's a topic worthy of discussion without the usual distractions.

Of course it's illegal if she's not consenting. We call that rape.

It's also illegal if she's under 18. I'd like to see that increased to 25.

ThatVikRinA22 · 22/08/2012 23:17

whoa - you know what - i give up. i have no "desire" to make it "respectable" - but i also work within the law and i see the issues that some of these women face.

i think a NM is on the cards for me. When i speak as a police officer, i speak only for myself, and i have done myself no favours in being open about my profession, clearly.

the thread asked for police officers to comment - so i did, and ive stated the stance as far as the law goes.

Alameda · 22/08/2012 23:22

but Jacci and all the others like her from Ipswich have also had lots of money spent on them before they were able to draw upon their inner resources or whatever. seven months in rehab is not cheap and that's just one part of it.

I hope they keep finding money for it all. I wish they would do it everywhere.

MrsArchieTheInventor · 22/08/2012 23:23

Like it or not, prositution isn't called 'the oldest trade' for nothing. There's nothing you can do to stop it but there are things that can be done to make the environment sex workers work in safer.

Maybe the New Zealand is one approach that might work in certain circumstances here...

(I still don't know how to post links correctly so forgive me if the linky doesn't work on first attempt!)

FoodUnit · 22/08/2012 23:23

I also find it a bit weird to believe women can refuse a punter in brothels. I've heard it said that you can refuse an 'act' - but the whole point of a brothel, where men get to choose who they want and what they do to her, would be totally undermined by giving the women the power of refusal. Customers aren't expecting to be rejected are they? And since rape happens in brothels, even if the woman refuses an act the man can still do what he wants by force.

LastMangoInParis · 22/08/2012 23:24

I totally support OLKN and VIAT's comments on this thread.
Don't give up, Vicar, it's worth having a practical voice rather than an academic or idealistic one.

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