A brothel in central London is being allowed to operate without interference from the police, its owner has told the BBC.
Karl, a former police officer, told the Victoria Derbyshire programme that police leave his brothel alone ‘as long as the women are safe’.
He earns around £60,000 a year from his operation and claims all of the women who work for him do so by choice.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Prostitution & Sex Working claimed that police enforcement has “proven to be an inadequate response to prostitution”.
Assistant Chief Constable Dan Vajzovic added that officers “will now consider a range of factors, including the safety of those sex workers involved” before deciding on whether to prosecute.
In England and Wales, it is not illegal to buy or sell sex, but it is illegal to operate a brothel.
Karl acknowledged that he “could go to prison” if the police did take action against him, but said he has no problem breaking the law because he does not agree with it. He admitted his teenage daughter does not know what he does for a living.
Brothel worker Louise said she chooses to be there so she can pay off student loans.
“I’m stubbornly defiant about my right to do this kind of work without people inflicting their moral judgements on me.”
“I’m just here as a normal person who wants to make money, secure a future for myself and do this kind of work because I choose to”, she added.
However, feminist Julie Bindel has spoken out against brothels and legalisation, saying they are actually more dangerous for women.
“It’s a fantasy that legalisation would help anyone except the pimps.”
She added: “Even the women who choose to, they exist, they are doing it to make ends meet. And we can’t keep accepting and condoning it, the buying and selling of the inside of women’s bodies.”