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Anorak | Who better than MPs to ‘flush out’ Airbnb brothels?

Who better than MPs to ‘flush out’ Airbnb brothels?

by | 24th, October 2017

Our elected reps have decided to investigate pop-up brothels. Given the furore over men abusing rank for sex with young women, MPs paying for sex looks like a step in the right direction.

A pop-up brothel is, of course, nothing of the sort. It’s just that prostitutes are looking for new premises, and that means hiring a place through short-term holiday letting places, like Airbnb. We’re not yet at the stage where sex is sold on ‘artisan’ stalls.

The Guardian says, rather specifically, such lets include “holiday resorts and the Lake District”. Well, you can stare at knobbly knees and wander lonely as a cloud for only so long.

It’s not illegal to sell your body for sex in England and Wales. But running a brothel is a crime. Hence: you rent out places in desirable locations and operate on the QT. It’s nothing new. The West End of London is full of “models” in flats they don’t own. It would take a real enthusiast to sell their body for sex when they own a central London flat off Baker Street (current market rate: £1million plus).

The thinking is that the “internet has changed the shape of the off-street sex trade, allowing customers to contact hundreds of workers more easily”. Supply and demand, right?

Labour MP Gavin Shuker, who is chairing the inquiry, tells media: “A lack of enforcement action and a lack of interest from politicians means we normally only see the tip of the iceberg. What we’re hoping to do is flush out the true scale of what brothel-keeping looks like.”

Flush out?

Laura Watson from the English Collective of Prostitutes, takes a different tone: “Closure orders are being widely used and every closure makes it harder for sex workers to insist on decent working conditions. Some have been forced to move multiple times in a few months. They can’t invest in security measures like CCTV, or employ anyone to help keep them safe, and they have less chance to refuse clients – a key marker of exploitation.”

What to do, eh?



Posted: 24th, October 2017 | In: News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink