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Should brothels be legalised?

(117 Posts)
trisher Tue 06-Nov-18 10:23:36

I watched "Doing Money" last night. It's the harrowing true story of a girl held and forced to have sex for money. Her testament led to the passing of the anti people traficking act. But I wonder about the men who paid for sex with her. They got off scot free. Should it be illegal for men to pay for sex, or would it be better if all brothels had to be registered and all sex workers had to be licensed? I found it very hard to understand what sort of men would pay for sex with a girl covered in bruises and afterwards rate her and give reviews on the website. Unbelievable! The most chilling thing though was when the detective said that the brothels were busiest on Thursday evenings because the wives were late night shopping so the men were free to go. The people trafficking act is great but I suspect it hasn't dealt with the problem. What would you do?

maryeliza54 Tue 06-Nov-18 10:36:03

I don’t think there’s any reliable evidence anywhere that legalising brothels protects women from exploitation. What it does do imo is normalise the sexual exploitation of women.

Jane10 Tue 06-Nov-18 10:41:44

There was a channel 4 documentary on once about a brothel. It was a very down to earth sort of place. It seemed to be run by women. The 'girls' were very no nonsense sort of ladies. Not particularly young, slim or glamorous!
Trafficking is diabolical and, as stated above, what sort of man just carries on regardless of these poor bruised, damaged, sad and not very willing girls. I don't know what the answer is. Some men though angry

maryeliza54 Tue 06-Nov-18 10:45:41

From what I’ve read, in countries where brothels have been legalised, there still seems to be links between (some) of them and organised crime ( which includes drug and people trafficking).

Greyduster Tue 06-Nov-18 10:47:11

I have always thought it would be a have legalised brothels and get prostitutes off the streets where they can be abused. I worked, briefly, for a solicitor who represented a lot of these ladies in court. They existed in a circle of being picked up, taken to court and fined, and then having to go back out on the streets to earn the money to pay the fines (and feed their kids!). We saw the same ones turn up for court time after time. These were not high end hookers, but women whose hard lives and miserable experiences on the streets were etched into their faces. I can’t imagine anything worse than having to do that for a living, but if they have to, let them at least be somewhere reasonably secure and warm. I don’t know if or how it would work for many of them though. I suspect some wouldn’t want to work in a brothel. There may be some that brothel owners would not want working some women for them.

Greyduster Tue 06-Nov-18 10:48:23

“It would be a good thing”!

M0nica Tue 06-Nov-18 11:04:20


It has been tried in the Netherlands (where else!) and it hasn't worked.

At the end of the day, none, but a very small minority of women become prostitutes by choice. Most are driven into it poverty, addiction and force - if not trafficked, controlled by a husband or 'boyfriend'.

trisher Tue 06-Nov-18 11:17:17

It is a complicated question and I do wonder if our attitudes are still dominated by historic perceptions. That it is the women who are at fault and who should be punished. I said legalised brothels and licenses for sex workers because that would provide some record of the women. The question of the men remains of course. In some states in the USA it is illegal to pay for sex, but opinions on if this makes much difference are divided.

TerriBull Tue 06-Nov-18 11:23:12

I saw "Doing Money" it only confirmed what many of us know has been going on for quite a while and how horrific it is. I believe AirB&Bs are now being used as pop up brothels nationwide. Yes the men (punters) were sickening, they MUST have known these girls were trafficked . I'd like to see the perpetrators behind the movement and enslavement of women or men for that matter, get much stiffer sentences.

I don't know what the answer is prostitution has been with humanity since the beginning of time. If anyone wants to do it by choice, I can't imagine there are too many, that's fine as long as they are in control, again how often does that happen there's usually some pimp in the background.

What was really sickening at the end of the programme I believe it stated that there are 5 million women and girls worldwide who are drive into this way of life.

We have more slaves in the world now than we had at such a time when slavery was legal.

EllanVannin Tue 06-Nov-18 11:24:35

Would anyone want one near them ?

If it must be so then far out into the countryside they should be and not littering our towns and cities.

trisher Tue 06-Nov-18 11:27:33

Watching the programme last night EllanVannin there may be an illegal one, trading trafficked girls near you already. You just wouldn't know. Is that any better. These places rent properties short term and move the girls regularly.

TerriBull Tue 06-Nov-18 11:33:13

Forgot to mention I followed a thread on MN a while ago about an area in Leeds , I think, where there was an experiment to legalise street prostitution. Many women who lived in and around that neighbourhood said the ramifications for local women and girls going about their daily lives was horrendous.

maryeliza54 Tue 06-Nov-18 11:34:06

I don’t see why brothels should be far out into the countryside. If they exist ( and imo they shouldn’ ) then I’m pleased they ‘litter’ our towns and cities so we know they exist and should have a hard look at ourselves.

Cherrytree59 Tue 06-Nov-18 11:50:24

Legalised or not it is the oldest industry in the world.
It will be here forever more.

Personally I'm in favour of legalised (registered) brothels.

M0nica Tue 06-Nov-18 11:56:11

trisher I do wonder if our attitudes are still dominated by historic perceptions. That it is the women who are at fault and who should be punished.

Obviously there will still be a few people who think like this, but not many.

To those who favour legalised brothels. All I would say, is read the article about The Netherlands. It doesn't work and doesn't stop illegal exploitation of women - or men.

pensionpat Tue 06-Nov-18 11:58:33

If brothels were made legal the girls would have the protection of employment law, they would pay tax, they would be subject to health checks. And all that costs money. Prices would reflect that. There will always be more desperate who would under cut the prices and work outside the law. So not much difference probably.

M0nica Tue 06-Nov-18 12:01:02

But does no-one realise that legalising brothels does not get rid of illegal prostitution or trafficking.

EllanVannin Tue 06-Nov-18 12:05:55

trisher I get what you're saying as not a million miles from me there'd been a raid which initially allegedly had been ignored when young girls had been rescued from the clutches of many Asian men and who are now in prison. This had been going on for years. I remember crying as I was reading it in the local news. The incident was in Birkenhead.
I don't hold with brothels or unlicensed massage places.

maryeliza54 Tue 06-Nov-18 12:08:02

MOnica yes of course some of us do

trisher Tue 06-Nov-18 12:56:28

M0nica I don't think that legalisation alone would work but combined with making it an offense for men to use unlicensed women or brothels it might help. Presumably most men wouldn't want to be criminals.

maryeliza54 Tue 06-Nov-18 13:07:03

I expect it’s the old fashioned feminist in me but the phrase ‘unlicensed women’ sends a shiver down my spine - women reduced to purveyors of licensed sex. Also I really don’t think it would ever work - look at all the failures in trying to license landlords, the faked gas safety certificates - the brothels and women without licences would go deeper underground and be even more dangerous places just like illegal lettings and sweat shops are - but yes, make it illegal to buy sex

Jane10 Tue 06-Nov-18 13:16:15

Yes make it illegal to buy sex.

trisher Tue 06-Nov-18 13:30:23

That was my first thought as well. Then I thought how would that work in practice? Would the women really give evidence against the men? How would you get a conviction? Which made me think it would need a range of legislation to help.
Some feminists would argue that if the women choose to sell sex they should be supported and licensing would do that.

maryeliza54 Tue 06-Nov-18 13:36:23

I agreetrisher I basically think it’s an insurmountable problem that has got much much worse in recent years with the trafikking aspect - added to the links to Greg’s and organised crime. I really can’t accept the argument of dome feminists that it’s the woman’s choice - as pps have said, there’s rarely any real choice about it at all

maryeliza54 Tue 06-Nov-18 13:36:58

Greg’s? Sorry - drugs