The Oldest Profession

It's not often that I will blog about something that is considered "controversial" but while wandering around on the net today, I discovered, of all things, that there is in fact a brothel in my local area. I know exactly what building is described, and you'd not look twice at it - very upper-class and well maintained, newly built development. I had to look at the address twice because I thought to myself "Surely not!" but there it is.

And my thoughts on living within shouting distance of this place?

Good for them. The place is clean, respected, the people that live around it are aware and don't mind, and the girls are doing it because they want to and not because they are forced to do it. I could hear my blog-mind ticking over as I read about the place, and found an article about a police raid on it. The "owner" faced 5-10 years in jail because of it, but due to the condition of the place (spotless), the care of the girls (she paid privately to have the girls checked, looked after and suchlike), that the girls were all willing (and not involved in human trafficking) and the fact the neighbours were aware an not bothered, she was given community service.

Which, technically, she was doing anyway ;)

Now, you might think this is a very strange thing to discuss, but I have so much respect for working girls, and was ready to write about "how prostitution should be made legal" when, while researching briefly for this post, I made a veeeery interesting discovery.

Prostitution in England is actually legal. From this Wikipedia article:

Prostitution in the United Kingdom is not formally illegal, but several activities surrounding it are outlawed.
Reading the entry further, it basically details that while prostitution is not illegal, it's the practices around it that are against the law. Some of these laws are common sense and NEED to be enforced, but others just make it harder for the girls:
In England and Wales:
  • for a prostitute to loiter or conduct solicitation in a street or public place is illegal, therefore outlawing street prostitution
  • it is also illegal for a potential client to solicit persistently, or solicit from a motor vehicle ("kerb crawling"). (In 1992 the head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Sir Allan Green, was caught committing this offence and resigned.) This law does not apply in Northern Ireland or Scotland although it is likely to be extended there soon.
  • owning or running a brothel is illegal
  • child prostitution is specifically illegal for the person paying (where child is defined as below 18)
  • controlling prostitution for gain is an offence, banning pimping
The last offence replaced the similar "living on earnings of prostitution" under the Sexual Offences Act 1956.

There has been long and widespread debate as to whether the toleration of prostitution similar to that seen in The Netherlands and Germany should be extended. Local police forces have historically wavered between zero tolerance of prostitution and unofficial red light districts.

The Government announced on January 17, 2006, that in England and Wales it was considering allowing small brothels, whilst continuing the crackdown against kerb-crawling, which is seen as a nuisance.
Now, any law that protects the girls AND the innocent girls out there, so much the better. The laws that prevent people hiring the girls, and looking after the girls - well, they just confuse. Take the woman running the local one - while in the eyes of the law she was "pimping" the girls, she was in charge of their well being, covered bills and expenses and generally looked out for them. The other side of the coin is the atypical pimp, beating up and just using his girls for making money.

While we were in Amsterdam, we had a walk around their famous Red Light District. Over there, the laws on prostitution are very lax, but all with an eye to protecting the girls and making their lives safer and easier. They do not work for pimps, and do it because they want to, not to feed drug habits or similar. Added to this, they are entitled to extra tests and care to ensure their well being.

I think making the law easier on these girls and allowing brothels to operate is a good thing. They provide a service to people that need it, and who knows, it may well keep some of the crazier people in check. Putting themselves out there night after night takes a lot of guts, and I know some of them do it out of necessity rather than desire, but if they had a safe place to work, away from the dark corners of the streets, well, who knows, it might improve things.

After a little digging and poking around, I've found that in a one mile circle, there are at least a half-dozen brothels of my home. Some of them are private apartments, some are houses, and some are actually fronted by other businesses. All very strange to me, but I am not in the least bit worried or offended.

I'd be interested in hearing your views on this. Is Prostitution legal where you live or not? Is this good or bad, do you think?


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3 Responses to “The Oldest Profession”

DriedPapercutsAndChickens said... we now know what you will be doing this weekend?

Dan said...

I'm so ugly I can't even pay for it ;)

The Random One said...

Illegal here...

Oh well, I didn't plan on becoming a prostitute so no hopes and dreams ruined for me I guess. lol