The POPPY Project was set up in 2003. It is funded by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform (reporting to the Ministry of Justice) it provides accommodation and support to women who have been trafficked into prostitution. Their Outreach Service works to improve the safety and well being of women from all over the UK who have been trafficked and who are in need of short term support and advocacy.
POPPY Research and Development provides education, training and lobbying to raise awareness about trafficking and exiting prostitution. This area of POPPY’s work is funded by London Councils. Their latest report, Big Brothel is a 64 page study of unlicensed brothels operating under a thin veil of legitimacy in London . It reveals remarkable evidence about the scale of the live sex industry in London and challenges many of the misconceptions of the off-street sex industry.
In January 2003, the Government Equalities Office through Harriet Harman, Minister for Women & Equality, commissioned research which was published as Women Not for Sale: a report on advertisingwomen in small ads in local newspapers - this established the nature and scale of the illegal advertisement of women for commercial sex acts in classified sections of regional and local UK newspapers.
This report is a follow - up - it established comprehensive details of nearly a thousand brothels.
#Full sex available for fifteen quid
# Kissing, oral or anal sex without a condom for an extra tenner
# Average age of women on offer is 21 years old
# Women representing over 75 different ethnicities are available
# 85% of london’s brothels operate in residential areas
# Three out of four massage parlours and saunas are situated on the high street
# Four out of five newspaper adverts for ‘personal services’ provide sex on the premises
# London’s local papers advertise an average of 28 brothels per borough
# Between £50-130 million is generated by brothels through illegal advertisement in newspapers
Primetime documentaries and dramas, such as Secret Diary of a Call Girl, *** Glamour Girls, and Respectable, (a comedy sitcom set in a brothel) customarily depict a glamorous, fun and victimless offstreet sex industry.
In May 2008, the Newspaper Society issued guidelines restricting the nature and publication of classified advertisements offering commercial sex acts, whether blatant or implied.
In November 2007 Harriet Harman had said when meeting the press representatives , “Sex trafficking is modern day slavery. The police are catching traffickers and punishing them, but to really stop this evil trade, we need to tackle the demand for these vulnerable victims."
“Small ads at the back of local papers are often used to sell trafficked girls – things like ‘new girls every day’, ‘international ladies 24/7’ - which police believe can fuel the demand for these trafficked girls and perpetuate this trade."
A total of 921 operational brothels were surveyed across London’s 33 boroughs. Premises were identified in every area of central and greater London, with an average of 28 brothels per borough.
The highest number of advertised brothels was found in the borough of Westminster, with 71 premises identified - this has nothing to do with the proximity of the Houses of Parliament. The lowest frequency of advertised brothels (8) was found in the borough of Southwark, which perhaps reflects their policy of banning classified ads offering commercial sex.
The full report is an astonishing read ... this business flourishes in town centres, leafy suburbs, it generates millions of pounds and is closely allied to some violent people involved in human and drug trafficking and money laundering.
Harriet Harman made a Statement today which is available here and the Press release had 2 interesting points ...
# In 2003, a Home Office study on organised crime markets estimated that there were 4,000 women in the UK who had been trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
# In January (five years later) the Government announced that it will ratify the Council of Europe Convention against trafficking in human beings by the end of the year.
This Convention was open for signature from May 2005 - list of signatories to date here Full text here Art 4.d defines "Child" shall mean any person under eighteen years of age
The UK hasn't signed but for example Georgia (not an EU member) did on 14th March 2007 but with a caveat : Georgia declares that, until the restoration of the territorial integrity of Georgia, the Convention shall apply on the part of the territory of Georgia where Georgia exercises its full jurisdiction.
UPDATE Sunday 7th September News of the World Secret Diary Of A Call Girl begins on ITV2 on September 11 at 10pm - "Pregnant Billie Piper looks swell in these exclusive first pictures from the second series of drama Secret Diary Of A Call Girl." - The 25-year-old star - who plays high-class call girl Belle de Jour - has become a big star in the States thanks to the raunchy show's massive success there.