MPs to investigate the rise of ‘pop-up brothels’
An inquiry has been launched into the rise of short-term lets being used for sex work.
MPs will investigate how firms like Airbnb are facilitating the emergence of temporary brothels across the country.
Police have said that the impermanent nature of the new phenomenon makes it more difficult to protect vulnerable people working in the sex industry from trafficking and exploitation.
According to sex workers, however, the growth in these ‘pop-up brothels’ is due to police forcing them out of long-term accommodation.
Labour MP and inquiry chair Gavin Shuker said: “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.”
Laura Watson from the English Collective of Prostitutes said: “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.”
The all-party parliamentary group on prostitution will begin its inquiry tomorrow.