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Prostitution: Licensed Brothels

Comment 3rd July 2010

In early May this year, a trial took place at Luton Crown Court where a lady named Claire Finch was arrested for running a brothel.  Prostitution is not an offence in this country, but it seems she had several friends who used to work at her house … And that constituted a brothel, according to the prosecution.  

I am aware that the lady works in a quiet part of a village with the full awareness – and consent – of her neighbours, and she has done so for many years. Indeed, it was through support from her friends, neighbours, and the English Collective of Prostitutes that she was able to afford a decent defence …

In the end, after a week's trial, the case was laughed out of court. She was found not guilty by a unanimous decision from a jury of eight men and four women. However, the arrest (which involved a raid at her home by over 20 police) was traumatic for her, as you might imagine. And for the fourteen month period between her arrest and her trial, she stood – not only to go to prison – but to have her life savings – and her home – confiscated by the police and the local authority (this kind of State-sponsored pimping is allowed, I believe, under a law which was introduced by the last Government).

What made matters worse – far worse, in my opinion – was that during that fourteen month period between her arrest and trial she was forced to work alone. And this was the point of her defence. She had not had any client problems during her ten or so years in practice, but she was always aware of her potential to be isolated – and therefore vulnerable. Prostitutes are allowed to work alone, but not as a group. Therefore, if they wish to stay "legal", the law as it stands forces them to work at risk. They therefore become vulnerable to the deranged and insane – like the Yorkshire Ripper, the Essex Murderer, and the more recent Sheffield murderers … And others, as everyone must surely know.

I think the law should be changed – and as a matter of urgency –  to allow those who choose to work in the sex industry (never mind the hype, there ARE those who choose to) should be allowed to work together on grounds of safety and personal security.

This is not so much about the rights and wrongs of prostitution, but about our responsibility as a Society to protect its citizens. A law that forces women to work alone in sometimes appauling circumstances is iniquitous. It HAS to be wrong!

As it stands now, the law facilitates street walkers, abused teenagers, drugs use, pimps and murderers. And I would urge that the laws that allow courts to ruin prostitutes be repealed – and with some urgency. Also, that some system of licensing and controlling brothels be introduced before we have any more terrible – and avoidable – tragedies.

Why does this matter?

My idea is important because the safety and security of some people has been placed at risk by a bad law … But also because the whole manner of how we deal with prostitution is counterproductive and in my opinion not only helps to facilitate those who wish to cause violent harm, but also actually encourages drug abuse, coercion, abuse by pimps and people traffiking.

We need to put the protection and security of ALL our constituents first. We need to grow up.

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