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30th December

    No Tolerance for Fiona MacNutter

Based on an article from The Independent

Ministers have been rightfully criticised after dumping plans to create licensed "tolerance zones" to remove prostitution from residential areas. The Home Office was attacked for focusing instead on "zero tolerance" campaigns against kerb-crawlers when it releases its prostitution strategy next month.

Fiona Mactaggart, the Home Office minister, signalled that ministers would shelve plans to reform the laws to allow the creation of formal "red-light" zones, first floated by the then home secretary David Blunkett in a Green Paper last year. He proposed giving councils discretion to set up tolerance zones, small licensed brothels and a register of prostitutes.

Ms MacNutter used an interview with The Guardian to reject the view that prostitutes were "sex workers" and called on police to make greater use of powers to confiscate driving licences from kerb-crawlers.

The Home Office said detailed proposals would be published next month. "We want to reduce all forms of sexual exploitation and the harm it causes," a spokeswoman said.

But ministers faced criticism from opposition parties and some councils, which argued that concentrating prostitution in managed zones could help bring women out of the sex trade and limit the impact of prostitution on residents.

Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: Tackling the sex trade is important as it involves drug money and illegal trafficking. But a tough approach must be matched with realism. Prostitution is likely to remain Britain's oldest profession and the most effective approach to the problem will require managing it rather than attempting to completely end it.

Leaders of the Liberal Democrat-controlled Liverpool City Council defended their plans to introduce "managed zones" for prostitution, warning that simply attempting to stamp out the problem would cost millions and drive prostitutes to new areas.

The city is drawing up plans for Britain's first formal zones, designed to help the authorities target young women, help them give up drugs and offer alternative work to take them out of prostitution. The scheme is based on unofficial toleration zones in Edinburgh and Glasgow. In Bolton, where the town's zero tolerance policy is lifted in a small area at night, officials have helped some women to leave the sex trade.

A survey in Liverpool published last year showed more than 80 per cent of residents felt a managed zone was the best way to tackle street prostitution. Flo Clucas, the city councillor leading the project, warned it would cost millions to police a full zero-tolerance approach to street prostitution and risked spreading the problem. She said the city planned to offer support, drugs treatment and education to prostitutes. I think the idea of a mass crackdown is not going to work. It is not dealing with the root cause of the problem.

Edward Garnier, the Tories' home affairs spokesman, said: We welcome measures to cut down on prostitution but these plans don't look any different from those announced 18 months ago. What is needed to crack down on prostitution is not a reheated announcement but action to tackle the roots of the problem, namely that most people caught up in prostitution are affected by class-A drugs and the need to feed an addiction.

     Update: Grow Up About Sex

3rd January 2005. Comment from Carol Sarler in The Guardian

Sex for sale is the latest target for the handy, one-size-fits-all 'zero tolerance' approach, as the government plans a national campaign designed to stick prostitution where the sun don't shine. Home Office Minister Fiona MacTaggart wants to gee up the police to make more arrests and greater efforts to close brothels because, she says, 'prostitution blights communities'.

Actually, it doesn't; if it did, human civilisation would have collapsed thousands of years ago. No self-respecting libertarian could sensibly gainsay a man or a woman's fundamental right to charge for sex. I even know a married couple for whom his paying her is a fixture of their intimate routine - maybe not your cup of erotica or mine, but the deal is theirs to make.

I have also met, interviewed and candidly admired a fair few prostitutes. I especially liked one gal, very top-end, who had coolly calculated it to be the least toil for the most money, in hours to suit herself, then insisted upon comparing her wages with mine. When it turned out that my week paid her afternoon, she genuinely found my career choice mystifying.

And I shall never forget cheery Miss Whiplash, cosy as a buttered scone, who interrupted delicious tell-tales of famous toffs to pop into the dungeon next door and tighten a thumbscrew.

Such women are in absolute command of their destinies and Miss MacTaggart has no business whatsoever to interfere. She would say there is the nastier end: the girls working the streets to pay for drugs. But she must not confuse herself here. These girls' problem is not prostitution, it is addiction. Without one way to earn their fix, they would find another; anybody who really thinks that hindering commercial access to their genital parts would cure their habit knows as little about sex as they do about drugs and, indeed, one fears for their grasp of rock'n'roll.

Where Miss MacTaggart and I might share a concern, however, is not for what prostitutes do on the streets or at home or in a sauna or massage parlour, but for how they got there. Did they choose or were they chosen? Were they already into drugs or deliberately inveigled into the first taste?

In other words, where the state should come in is not by grabbing votes with promises to smack people just for acting smutty, but by addressing the much graver issue of coercion. If we left to themselves those who elected to trade and focused efforts, instead, on rescuing those who do not, then we'd be clearing up our 'blight'.

How? I hoped you'd ask. For credit where credit is (perhaps surprisingly) due. Turkey has shown an interesting lead in the protection of human rights among trafficked women. Six months ago, it set up a well-publicised hotline for women under sexual duress; since then, 100 women have been rescued from slavery and 10 trafficking networks have been busted.

The really interesting thing, though, is that three-quarters of the tip-offs came not from the frightened women but, anonymously, from their clients. It seems that men do, after all, have a pretty good idea when their 'date' is unwilling and, in Turkey anyway, also muster some guilt about it.

Miss MacTaggart, at slender cost, could offer British men a shot at it. At least the potential benefit would be to real victims; both a worthier and a more realistic project than sweeping away prostitution, in its entirety, with 'tough measures', 'clamping down' and dear old 'zero tolerance'


29th December

    Miserable Views on Sex

Behind every insincere statement of concern for health and welfare lurks a nutter who simply thinks that they are holier than thou and that their miserable views on sex should be inflicted on the rest of the population.

Note the total absence of groups representing customers of adult entertainment.

Based on an article from the Evening Telegraph

An official consultation exercise has claimed support for tighter control over Scotland's adult entertainment industry.

Groups including Dundee City and Perth and Kinross councils, the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland and the Scottish Trades Union Congress have come down in favour of regulating entertainments such as erotic dancing and pornography.

Their views were made known to the adult entertainment working group, which was set up by the Scottish Executive to look into the extent of the industry, its impact on society and whether any changes in the law were needed.

Two senior figures from Dundee City Council, administration leader Jill Shimi and depute chief executive Patricia McIlquham, are members of the working group.

The consultation attracted more than 50 responses from councils, licensing boards, community safety partnerships, women's groups and the Church of Scotland, along with individuals. More than 80% of them said the adult entertainment industry should be controlled. An analysis of the results found that 24% of respondents felt such activities and clubs should be banned or shut down.

It was, however, recognised by some that this might not be a realistic option, and therefore much tighter controls were required to protect the rights and physical and emotional health of the performers. The onus should be on the employers to enforce these controls, with the threat of heavy penalties if situations occur where the performers' rights are compromised, the analysis said.

Some of the suggestions made include giving local authorities the power to refuse licences, giving communities the right to object to licences being granted, regular monitoring to ensure compliance with licence conditions, restrictions on the way clubs are allowed to advertise and police background checks on licence holders.

The consultees' views on the scope of the adult entertainment industry varied, although lap, pole and table dancing and stripping generally topped the list. Pornography, saunas and prostitution were also included. The impact of adult entertainment was viewed as strongly negative on performers, the audience and the general public alike. More than 60% felt performers were left feeling degraded, lacking in self-esteem, and open to abuse and at an increased risk of rape, sexual assault and harassment. Concerns were also expressed about their health, including sexually transmitted infections, stress and alcohol or drug abuse.

A similar percentage thought audiences for adult entertainment predominantly consisted of men, with women providing the performances for their pleasure … It was thought this presented a negative and demeaning view of women.

It was also believed that men may develop "unhealthy attitudes", damaging their relationships with women and having a knock-on effect on family life. There was also a significant degree of worry about the wider impact of the industry, with the risk that it promoted gender inequality and could lead to women being objectified by men and seen as inferior.

The findings will be considered by the working group as it continues its deliberations. It is due in April to make its recommendations on the future approach to the adult entertainment industry.


28th December

    Fiona MacNutter Prostitutes herself to Intolerance

I am always fascinated to the depths that nutters go to deprive their fellow man of sexual pleasure.

The Government force sex workers to work outside of the protection of legal employment then whinge that the money goes to fund drugs and crime. The negative sides to sex work are surely the Government's fault and it should be of no concern to the customer who just wants to enjoy some sexual entertainment. Maybe the price of a trick should be considered a political donation to those willing to fight the nasty minded nutters in the British Government.

Previously in her career, Fiona MacNutter was the chairperson of Liberty. This must make for a classic shameful inference: I believe in Liberty... BUT ...not for sex workers

Based on an article from The Guardian

The government will announce plans next month for a national zero tolerance campaign against kerb crawlers and street prostitution after shelving plans to introduce licensed "red light" zones, the Guardian has learned.
The proposals are expected to form a key part of the next phase of Tony Blair's drive against antisocial behaviour. Kerb crawlers will risk having their driving licences confiscated and being named and shamed in local newspapers.

The shameful Home Office minister Fiona Mactaggart told the Guardian that it was wrong to regard those involved in prostitution as sex workers. She said tough measures were needed to tackle the markets for prostitution. I'm not tolerant of the view that prostitution is the oldest profession in the world and there's nothing we can do to reduce it. Prostitution blights communities. We will take a zero tolerance approach to kerb crawling. Men who choose to use prostitutes are indirectly supporting drug dealers and abusers. The power to confiscate driving licences already exists. We want the police to use that power more.

The police are expected to be encouraged to set up safe houses and other schemes to help the women involved get out of the trade. Greater efforts will also be made to close brothels masquerading as massage parlours and saunas.

Ministers are expected to rule out overhauling the 50-year-old prostitution laws, a decision that spells the end for plans floated by the previous home secretary, David Blunkett, 18 months ago to give local authorities discretion to set up tolerance zones, small licensed brothels and a register of prostitutes.

Cities such as Liverpool have been pressing hard to be given the power to set up these legal zones. Ms MacNutter, however, said effective policing rather than an overhaul of the laws was the answer.

The Home Office estimates 80,000 people are involved in the vice trade. However the number of women cautioned for soliciting fell from 3,323 in 1993 to 732 in 2000. Middlesbrough is responsible for 25% of all national convictions for kerb crawling, and ministers want to see its zero tolerance campaign replicated.

Prostitution has been allowed to slip off the agenda somewhat. I want to ensure our good work on trafficking is joined-up with a prostitution strategy that helps women out of prostitution but also deals with the demand for prostitutes, Ms MacNutter said.

Ministers also want better access for women to health checks, drug treatment and housing and to make them safer from violent attacks.

Niki Adams, a spokeswoman for the English Prostitutes' Collective, said the plans would force women into more dangerous conditions. It's going to have an absolutely devastating impact. The government is just using the promise of access to more services as a cover for their very repressive policies.


13th December

    Anti Social Camden Council

From HamHigh

Prostitutes in Camden should not be punished with anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos), according to a new report from the London Assembly. The Assembly's Safer London Committee has urged the Home Office to provide more funding for out-of-hours referral services and charities that help vulnerable people.

The report found that of the nine London boroughs where street prostitution is a problem, Camden has issued the highest number of Asbos against sex workers.  It concluded that an Asbo criminalises the individual when what they are doing is not illegal and recommended a review of the use of the orders for prostitutes.

The English Collective of Prostitutes, based in Kentish Town, provided evidence for the report and welcomed the committee's finding that Asbos are an inadequate way of dealing with prostitution.

Sara Walker, who works for the collective, said: Camden is slapping Asbos on women, which deny them access to certain areas. Very often they are areas where they get free condoms or access to services. They are driven into back streets which are more dangerous and the clients are more likely to be violent."

Camden Council issued 15 Asbos against prostitutes between April 1999 and December 2004, although none was issued purely for being a sex worker.

Ian Walker, the council's anti-social behaviour officer, said: We totally reject the assertion that our approach, using Asbos, together with support services, is wrong. We only ever use Asbos for sex workers when they are causing concern for others - for example through drug use. It cannot be better for drug-using sex workers to stay on the streets of King's Cross where they are vulnerable."


11th December

    Nutters Relate to Bollox

Based on an article from ic Coventry

Hundreds of nutters have signed a petition against plans to open Warwickshire's first lap-dancing club in Rugby. They quoted the usual location bollox  of a church, a youth club and a marriage guidance office, the headquarters of Relate.

Nutters collected 400 signatures from people who do not want semi-naked women dancing for money in their town.

Pub boss Shaun Sharam wants to open the strictly adults-only club in the former Cairo Jaxx nightclub in Church Walk, Rugby town centre.  He has already converted the interior and has applied for an old condition preventing lap-dancing at the site to be lifted.


3rd December

    Police Escort Public Money Down the Drain

From the Welwyn & Hatfield Times

An escort agency in Hatfield was hit in a series of dawn raids by police. Four people were arrested as vice unit officers searched four addresses in the town at 5am on Thursday.

Operation Bateria was led by the Metropolitan Police and backed by Hertfordshire Constabulary.

Targeted properties included what is thought to be the agency's HQ. It is alleged the agency has girls working in Herts, Greater London, Berks, Bucks, Beds, Essex, Kent, Cambridgeshire and Surrey. It is believed to be the largest escort agency in the south east.

Three men and a woman, were arrested on suspicion of controlling prostitution and money laundering. All four have been bailed to return to police in January. [As far as I can see money laundering is now defined in the law to mean anything dishonest. Nothing to do with mafia type operations. No doubt local rags will continue to use the term in a weighted manner to suggest that crimes are worse than they really are]

Detective inspector Gary Young from the Met's club and vice unit said: These arrests are part of the unit's continued activity to crack down on structures that support the vice trade. This includes important work with our partners and neighbouring forces where the industry is crossing borders. We, together with Hertfordshire, are committed to continuing work like this to disrupt and eradicate the exploitation of women."

Detective inspector John Chapman, of Hertfordshire Constabulary, said: This operation is designed to target people who trade in the exploitation of others and these raids send a message that we are not willing to house them in our community.


2nd December

    Welsh Prudes

Based on an article from ic Wales

Topless pole dancers at a seaside nightclub have provoked anger amongst local nutters.. Aberystwyth nightspot Club Yoko's began staging the controversial shows last week when new licensing laws came into force.

On the S4C current affairs programme Y Byd Ar Bedwar , Ceredigion AM Elin Jones deplores the shows, describing them as immoral and degrading: I'm extremely disappointed that this type of thing is being allowed to happen in a place like Aberystwyth. It really is very worrying. This kind of thing is harmful to the image of women. It's so degrading. I also have very serious worries about the women who do things like pole dancing and lap dancing, and believe that many of them are being exploited.

A student union women's officer prude at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, agreed with the AM. It really is disgusting, ' said Menna Jones who went with the programme to see the club's first topless dancing show. I was shocked by what I saw. Some of the things these dancers were doing were very explicit. I'm not a prude by any means, BUT ... I just wasn't comfortable at all watching that.

Jones also said she was saddened to see the reaction of some of the men in the 200-strong audience. Some men had perched themselves in seats there right at the front, and cheered like a sad bunch of perverts,' she said.

But Club Yoko's manageress, Eleri Ifan, said protesters were over-reacting. It's all harmless fun. No one has to come here if they don't want to. We're not doing anything wrong here. Ceredigion Council have granted us a licence to do this, and we're complying with the conditions set out in that licence.

After 1.30am the club is also allowed to stage lap dancing in one of a handful of private booths. Here women take all their clothes off for customers who pay them £20 for a private dance behind a set of curtains.

Ceredigion County Council has granted the controversial adult entertainment licence to two other places in the Aberystwyth area. Licensing officer Dafydd Roberts said it was difficult to refuse applications made under the new law.


30th November

    Scotland Only Tolerant of Nutters

From The Scotsman

Margo MacDonald has abandoned her high-profile campaign to allow councils to run tolerance zones because she says new legislation gives local authorities the powers to provide support services wherever prostitutes gather. MacDonald, Independent MSP, said last night that the welfare and provision of health and drug counselling for streetworkers had been her aim from the outset.

MacDonald said she had decided to withdraw her bill from the parliamentary process after the Scottish Executive published hard-hitting proposals on kerb-crawling which also allows local authorities to manage prostitution in their areas. She said the plans, including making clear the duty of care councils had towards prostitutes and the community, were a step beyond the old notion of tolerance zones.

However, MacDonald denied the new law would allow local authorities to create tolerance zones in all but name. She highlighted the "recognised red-light area" in Aberdeen where there were very few houses but a drop-in centre relatively nearby as a model which was likely to continue: I am not advocating 'managed zones' as geographical places where prostitutes gather. 'Managed zones' are a concept to where resources are delivered by agencies such as local authorities, health trusts and police.

She added: In Edinburgh there are places still in the docks area which the council might decide would be a bit more suitable for women to be soliciting and I think the women would go there. And I think there would be a negotiation amongst the agencies concerned - health, police, voluntary and advice agencies and so on - and the services would be located in that area.

MacDonald twice lodged bills at Holyrood which would have allowed councils to establish so-called tolerance zones where women could tout for business without fear of prosecution and receive health, educational and other support. This was a response to the demise of the unofficial tolerance zone in Edinburgh's Leith district in 2001, which resulted from the gradual rise in residential properties in the red-light area.

MacDonald yesterday conceded that the term tolerance zone had "bedeviled" the debate, despite her assurances that she was not endorsing prostitution.

After her first bill was defeated, ministers set up an expert group in 2003 to review the law. Following the group's report, deputy justice minister Hugh Henry pledged on 1 November to end the anomaly of only prostitutes being criminalised for their activities.

The new offence, to be introduced through a new Sentencing Bill by 2007, will focus on the nuisance or harm arising from street prostitution-related activities, whether caused by seller or purchaser.


27th November

    Lapping it up in Coventry

Based upon an article from ic Coventry

A lap dancing club could be up and running before Christmas after being given the go ahead.

Councillors agreed to let the Red bar, in the heart of the city's main shopping area, become a venue for pole and lap dancing - despite objections.

There had been claims by nutters that the club in City Arcade would be bad for the city centre's image.

Licensing chiefs granted a late licence at a hearing yesterday. It means the lap dancing club can open until 4am on most days.


20th November

    Off with their Bollocks!

Based upon an article from the BBC

Nutters against street prostitution have held a protest outside Holyrood "dressed like tarts". They handed in a letter complaining that proposed new Scottish laws on the vice trade do not go far enough.

Ministers have unveiled plans under which kerb crawlers would face criminal charges, as well as prostitutes.

However, members of the Leith Links Residents Association said penalties must be tougher. They called for anti- social behaviour orders to be used. Spokesman Ben White said: We feel that there is very little action being taken by the Scottish Executive and indeed the legal system regarding the issue of prostitution around this area. We want to see these recent laws go much further and to be more robust."

White said that his group had petitioned the executive to come up with more robust legislation a year ago. They were informed that anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) would be used to stop prostitutes coming into the area, he said. White added: Only four Asbos have been served over the past two years and three of those were interim.

Edinburgh councillor Sheila Gilmour said: Our commitment is to protect the communities from the consequences of this behaviour. I think Asbos probably are not yet doing enough. I'm not sure it is the best remedy. One of the reasons is that we want to see the new legislation from the parliament. It seems right to me that we should dealing not just with the seller but with the buyer. Without buyers there would be no prostitution. It does depend upon the new law being properly enforced by the courts, more than the existing law is.We have had some difficulties with the courts and sheriffs in this regard.

Figures from 2004 estimate that there are about 1,400 street prostitutes operating in Scotland.

The new legislation should be in force by 2007.


4th November

    Tolerance in Doncaster

Based upon an article from Yorkshire Post Today

Research has been carried out in Doncaster that could lead to the creation of a "managed zone" for prostitutes, it has emerged.

Doncaster Council has conducted a study into six areas where, potentially, such a zone could be established, to rid residential areas of prostitution where girls work on the streets. Doncaster Council has confirmed the sites it has examined as St Sepulchre Gate West; Marshgate/Power Station Road; Wharf Road/Chappell Drive; Middle Bank, off White Rose Way; Kelham Street, Balby Bridge; and Carr Hill, Balby. It insists that the research was hypothetical and finished around six months ago. No action had been taken to move the suggestion forward since then.

If the scheme goes ahead, it could become the first in the country to follow the example of the Continent, where in some places prostitution is tolerated but actively controlled by the authorities.

It is understood a change in the law would be needed to make the Doncaster scheme workable and the council would need co-operation from South Yorkshire Police to enforce it.

Doncaster Mayor Martin Winter said: There are no detailed plans in place to introduce tolerance zones in Doncaster. When we decide to implement such zones it will be after full consultation with local people, the police and support organisations such as Streetreach. Earlier this year we looked at a few areas as part of research into how we can best deal with prostitution in Doncaster. I am committed to tackling this problem which damages lives and causes misery for local residents. The safety of prostitutes and the well-being of residents are my priorities and I will not rule anything out in my search for a solution to the issue of prostitution in Doncaster,.


4th November

    Home Office: Maintaining an Unsafe, Unjust and Intolerant Society

Based upon an article from ic Liverpool

Lives are being put at risk because of the Government's failure to respond to calls for a managed prostitution zone, a city councillor claimed last night.

Cllr Richard Marbrow wrote to the Home Office after prostitute Anne-Marie Foy was murdered in the heart of Liverpool's red-light district. It is feared the 46-year-old mother-of-four was killed by a serial attacker.  Cllr Marbrow, executive member for community safety, asked ministers to make a decision on the city's plans to set up "safe areas" for sex workers. In the letter he argued that the people of Liverpool are in the "worst possible situation", with unregulated vice zones causing outrage among residents and exposing prostitutes to danger.

But he has been told he will have to wait at least another month for a response.

He said: "It's bureaucracy gone mad. Pen pushers in London are putting lives at risk by shuffling papers from one department to another instead of giving us a reply. All we need is a simple yes or no so we can go ahead with our plans our find an alternative. They have got a department to acknowledge letters and a unit to track where the letters are but no-one can come up with an answer to them. I've been told it will be at least be the middle to end of November before we hear anything.

We originally wrote to the Government 18 months ago about this issue and were told it would be dealt with straight after the General Election. That hasn't happened and the need to act is more pressing than ever in light of what has happened."

Miss Foy, from Kensington, was strangled and beaten to death before her body was dumped behind bushes in the heart of Liverpool's red-light district last month. It followed a number of attacks on prostitutes, whose faces had been slashed. Detectives believe her killer used a blunt weapon during what appears to have been a frenzied attack. Police patrols were stepped up round the red-light area, which runs near several University of Liverpool buildings.

The Government is carrying out a review of how city authorities deal with prostitution before deciding on the proposal for a managed zone. After months of research, Liverpool councillors voted in favour of applying for what would be the first zone.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: We are in the middle of a comprehensive review of prostitution following an extensive public consultation last year. It includes the option of managed zones. We understand Liverpool is keen to pilot managed areas but there is no legal provision for that at the moment. We are in the process of developing a strategy, which will be announced next year."


3rd November

    Coventry Prudes

Based upon articles from ic Coventry

Coventry is set to have a lap dancing club in the city centre.

A Birmingham firm wants to turn the Red bar in the City Arcade into a club featuring semi-naked women dancing around poles - and the venue could be open by Christmas.

Russell Kenny, a director of Ace Ltd, has taken over the lease on the building and wants to employ 15 dancers who would perform pole dancing and lap dancing.

He says it would be run as a nightspot open to the public rather than the sort of private members clubs that have made Birmingham the "lap dancing capital of the UK".

Kenny said the dancers would strip down to G-strings and there would be a strict "no touching" rule. He insisted there would be a "sophisticated" atmosphere.

A public hearing will now be held into the plans after a last minute objection from a church nutter and a city councillor.

Prudish Viv Gasteen, Methodist Central Hall minister, lodged an eleventh hour objection to plans to convert the Red bar in the City Arcade in to a pole and lap dancing venue. He said: I'm not a prude and none of my family are prudes. I have three grown up sons and six grandchildren aged between eight and 23 and so I know what young people enjoy. BUT ... there is a limit.

City councillor Dave Nellist (Socialist, St Michael's) has also lodged an objection, saying that 'such entertainment would go against licensing committee objectives. These are prevention of public nuisance, protection of children from harm, prevention of crime and disorder and public safety.


1st November

    Soliciting Alarm or Nuisance

From the Daily Record

Men who pay for sex with street prostitutes will be targeted by new Scottish laws announced today. Ministers will unveil a legal shake-up designed to cut street prostitution. And for the first time, the laws will apply to the buyers as well as the people who sell their bodies.

The offence of soliciting, which punishes hookers for attempting to sell sex, is to be scrapped. In its place will be a new offence of buying or selling sex in a way that causes alarm or nuisance. Penalties will be tougher with fines of up to £500.

At present, women convicted of soliciting are fined £75 on average for a first offence Local councils will also be given permission to set up "managed areas" where street prostitution would not constitute a nuisance. But they would be allowed to set up such zones only if health, welfare and counselling services were available to prostitutes. Councils will also have to provide help to women who wish to stop working as prostitutes.

The new laws will be unveiled by deputy justice minister Hugh Henry this morning.

They follow a report last December by an expert panel led by former Strathclyde assistant chief constable Sandra Hood.

Ruth Morgan Thomas, project manager at the Scottish Prostitutes' Education Programme, welcomed the new law. She said: Women want to be treated fairly


23rd October

    I'm Not a Prude...But

From EDP 24

A landlady's idea to liven up her pub by encouraging the staff to go topless have been slammed by a councillor who says it could turn Lowestoft into a "seedy" place like Yarmouth.

The idea started as a bar-side joke after the new landlady of the New Globe Inn on the High Street, Maxine Griffiths, couldn't shake the pub's old image, leaving the bar empty and the takings low.

But now an advertisement in the local job centre has raised concerns that the move will lead to lap-dancing clubs and sex shops along the seafront.

She said: I spent a year trying to change the pub's reputation and I thought I've got to do something to get people in here. The bar was empty, people just weren't coming in.

But the move has been met with anger from ex-mayor & prude Terry Kelly. He said: I'm not a prude BUT ... I don't think sex shops and lap-dancing clubs are a good idea, and I don't think I would like to see Lowestoft going that way.

I know this is a topless bar but Lowestoft is a family resort, can't we leave the lap-dancing to Yarmouth? Hopefully in Lowestoft we can hold our heads a bit higher than that. I worked in Yarmouth for a long time, but it is seedy and these sort of clubs appeal to those sort of people.

However, Griffiths said: It is not going to be a lap-dancing club and it is not going to be seedy, also we have got door staff to prevent trouble, it is just meant to be a bit of fun. Personally I like to look at a nice young man so if people can come here, have a drink and look at the bar staff I'm not sure what's wrong with that.

Waveney District Council spokesman David Holland said: From a licensing point of view they don't need a special licence, they can start when they want.

And Suffolk Police spokeswoman Anne-Marie Breach said: As far as we are concerned we will only intervene if it causes a public nuisance. So long as the pub is adhering to licence conditions and the topless bar staff are not in the public view from outside the bar then the police would not get involved."


20th October

    Policies To Get People Killed

I see that forcing girls to have sex is an abhorrent crime but somehow think that it is a very small part of the business. I think that the vast majority of foreign girls offer sex totally consensually and the only element of illegality is that some are working without a visa.

It would seem ludicrous that normal customers would ever get to know any reasons why the girl is working. It would be an absolute nightmare situation if a working girl told you she is working against her will. Guido the killer pimp may be in the next room and if you kicked up a fuss or walked out without paying then he may assume that the games is up. The girl and/or customer may end up getting murdered.

Of course any men who knowingly seek out girls in this situation surely deserve to be prosecuted. But there does not seem to be any justification whatsoever for the politicians to misleadingly suggest that the high demand for foreign girls means that there are a large number of customers who seek out girls working under duress.

From The Guardian

Men who have sex with trafficked prostitutes should be charged with rape, ministers believe - a move that could see thousands prosecuted.

Home Office minister Tony McNulty told The Observer: Whenever a man knowingly has sex with a woman against her will, that is rape. For example, if a trafficked woman told a man who had paid to have sex with her that she was engaged in prostitution under duress, then he could not reasonably believe that she was freely consenting. To go ahead regardless would be rape.

McNulty's statement marks a significant shift towards criminalising men who pay for sex. Men are not now considered to have committed an offence, although it is illegal for women to solicit and for men to 'kerb crawl' or to pimp women.

This week the UK and Sweden, where paying for sex is criminalised, will host a seminar in Brussels on trafficking, an issue the government has made a key priority during its European Union presidency. Ministers are increasingly concerned at the growing numbers of women tricked into the sex trade by criminal gangs.

The Metropolitan police believes trafficked women coerced into prostitution are often forced to see between 20 and 30 men a day.

In London alone, it is thought that up to 80,000 men regularly pay for sex. Internet sites in the UK suggest the demand among British men for foreign prostitutes is significant, with message boards exchanging comments on women throughout the world.

The former Europe minister Denis MacShane, who has campaigned for a crackdown on trafficking, said: It's time for honest language. When a man has sex with a frightened, beaten and intimidated woman there is only word to describe it and that is rape. I am pleased that the Home Office now recognises that. We need to see charges against men who have sex with women who are living in fear after being trafficked.

Although no official figures exist for how many women and girls are trafficked into the UK each year, research by the Home Office suggests around 1,400 women are thought to be smuggled into Britain annually for prostitution.

Amnesty International recently met with the new Solicitor General, Mike O'Brien, who also indicated that he wanted to do more to tighten the law.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK director, urged police prosecute men who pay for sex with trafficked women. The law on rape is already clear. The police and criminal justice authorities must be willing to enforce it and ensure that all victims of rape receive the full protection of the law,' she said


1st October

    Leith Blighted by Vigilantes

Based on an article from The Scotsman

Edinburgh nutters have vowed to renew vigilante patrols in a fresh bid to rid Leith of prostitutes.

Placard-wielding groups of protesters are planning to confront the vice girls as they tout for business on residential streets. The move is in protest at what nutters say is a lack of action by the police and council to tackle the problem. Only three antisocial behaviour orders have been served on working girls in the last two years.

Other protests are being considered over the next few weeks at the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood, the law courts and outside the base of a prostitute support group.

The Leith Links Residents' Association claims that more and more residential streets are reporting problems with prostitutes. Patrols were first mounted in the spring of 2003, inflaming tensions between the residents' association and the local prostitute support group Scotpep, which accused the campaigners of harassment and intimidation.

They were called off by the campaign group after pledges by the council and the police to deploy antisocial behaviour orders against the vice girls.

But Rob Kirkwood, chair of the residents' association, said: We are not at all happy that just three Asbos have been served to date, especially after so many of us spent a great deal of time collating evidence and compiling diaries about the activities of prostitutes in the area.

We feel that the council, in particular, have not been pro-active enough in clamping down on the problem and what's happening now is that it is gradually moving to other areas, such as side streets off the Links and Claremont Park, where it hasn't been an issue before.

We have been told by the council and the police that the courts are reluctant to issue Asbos in the belief that they are not an appropriate way of dealing with prostitutes, that is why we're looking at having a demonstration there. We have a red-light district on our doorstep and yet it seems so difficult to get anything done about these prostitutes. There must be at least 20 of them operating in this area on a regular basis.

The Executive is still to decide whether to press ahead with new legislation that would allow the creation of designated tolerance zones as well as the creation of a new offence which would target people either buying or selling sex, from causing alarm, offence or embarrassment to the public.

Lorne councillor Phil Attridge said: There's no doubt there's been further displacement of street prostitution recently and complaints are coming forward from people who have not had to experience it before.  My own view is that the council is doing all it can at the moment, under the existing legislation. It's really up to the Scottish Parliament to get on with producing new legislation.

A spokesman for the city council said today: For their own safety we would encourage people not to patrol areas used by prostitutes. If anybody is dissatisfied with the work of either the council or the police then we would ask them to contact us directly to discuss the matter.


29th September

  Opening Despite Barrow Loads of Nutters

Based on an article from the Northwest Evening Mail

Despite massive efforts from the local council to oppose it, table dancing will be coming to Barrow after all.

Soon half naked dancers will be doing their thing at Evolution, in Holker Street. After battling public opinion, some prejudices and the council, promoters of Barrow's first lap-dancing club is finally opening it's doors next Friday.

Backers promise a new kind of experience for Barrow night life, claiming it will be classy, safe, relaxed and trouble free. In the private dancing area bikini bottoms will stay on.The claim is that lap-dancers on the main stage might be in catsuits, racing suits and bikinis but they will not be nude.

Up to 20 girls from all over the North West will be dancing on any one night at the former Bluebird Club. Entrance fee to the club will be £5 with an extra £5 for private dances in a closed off area. It will be open seven nights a week from 8pm to 1am and till midnight on Sundays.


23rd September

    Tories Not Fit to Decide

Based on an article from the Sutton Guardian

A political row has erupted after a survey by Conservative councillors revealed opposition to an application for a lap dancing club in Sutton.

Equipped with megaphones and trestle tables, the Conservatives took to the High Street for three weekends in a row and surveyed nearly 1,000 shoppers on the plans for a new nightspot in St Nicholas Road.

After collating the results, the Tories said 93 per cent of respondents were against a lap dancing club being allowed in town.

The Liberal Democrats, however, claim the Tories run the risk of "fettering their judgement" when the application comes to committee and may not be able to vote on the scheme. The group has also stressed that just because it had not issued a blanket condemnation of the proposal, it should not be inferred councillors would ignore public concerns.

Lead councillor for planning Leslie Coman (Lib Dem) said the Conservatives had misunderstood their responsibilities in the planning process and that all applications had the right to be heard fairly.

She also raised the question of whether the council's monitoring officer would need to look at the Conservatives' activities to see if they ran the risk of being excluded from determining the fate of the application altogether.

To "fetter your judgement" in town planning means to have made up your mind or appeared to have made up your mind about a planning matter before all sides are heard. A council which comes to a decision but is shown to have fettered judgement risks legal proceedings


21st September

Updated 22nd September

    Downmarket Heacham

Based on an article from EDP24

Nutters of a Norfolk seaside resort have reacted with predictable disbelief at plans to allow lap-dancing in their village. The Silver Sands Beach Club, at Heacham, wants to hold adult entertainment nights with kissagrams, pole-dancers and strippers.

Owner Charmain Appleton said yesterday it was just a bit of fun, but some caravan owners who holiday near the venue are distraught. It will attract all the wrong people, this is not Thailand.

Nutters in the quiet resort have also expressed dismay, and North-West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said the plans would drag Heacham downmarket. It is a very small-scale resort with a very established clientele and I wouldn't imagine there would be the demand for this sort of adult entertainment.

The application is being considered by West Norfolk Council's licensing committee today. Appleton, who runs the venue with her husband Lawrence, has applied to extend Silver Sands' opening hours and for permission to hold dance performances.

A licensing application seen by the EDP shows the club has asked for permission to host "semi-nude dancing" and "lap-dancing" nights. Customers at the venue will also be able to book stripograms and kissagrams for their own entertainment. The adult evenings would be held irregularly, and Silver Sands has promised to put up signs outside the venue to warn visitors if they are on. Appleton has also told the licensing committee the club will specify "adults only" in all advertising of the events.

Update 22nd September:

Lap and pole dancing is set to be a feature at a Heacham club, it was decided yesterday.

Silver Sands Beach Club has been granted permission to allow stripograms and kissograms booked by customers to perform in its North Beach premises, and pole and lap dancing will also be allowed.

The decision was made by West Norfolk Council's licensing sub-committee yesterday afternoon.
An application, made to the sub-committee, stated no under- 18s would be in the club from 8pm when such events were held, adverts would specify "adults only", and signs would be displayed on entrances when it was known kissograms and stripograms were planned.

The club also applied to extend its licensing hours from 10am until 1am, which was granted, along with its application to have entertainment including recorded music and live bands playing from 8pm to 1am.


14th September

    Platinum in Chester

Based on an article from ic Chester

Lap dancing is coming to Chester city centre before Christmas in the Platinum Lounge in the building formerly occupied by the On The Air broadcasting museum in Bridge Street Row.

A £250,000 project to 'sympathetically' refurbish the interior of the listed building is about to start, with the opening scheduled for the beginning of November. Businessman Philip Archer-Jones, who is behind the venture, said: I think Chester is ready for it. Every major city or town has got one.

When a table top dancing club opened in an upstairs room of a Chester pub five years ago there was a furore. But when plans for Platinum Lounge were unveiled earlier this year the reaction was low key. Even residents who live near the venue were indifferent.

He expects the clientele will be mainly male and from professional backgrounds but says it is 'quite surprising' how many women are also attracted by the environment.

There will be an admission fee, as yet undecided, with the charge per dance expected to be about £10. Bar prices are expected to be in line with Watergate Street venues. Initially, the venue will be open from midday until 12.30am.

Councillors have slapped on no less than 32 conditions at the premises, which will be allowed to accommodate up to 175 customers. These include: no private performances taking place of an adult nature; and no audience participation.


9th September

    Fillies Not Welcome in Newmarket

Based on an article from Cambridge News

One of the men behind the plans for a lap dancing club in Newmarket has spoken of his disappointment that the scheme has been rejected for a second time by council planners. Jason Newell and business partner Rob Bell had hoped that they could overcome objections to the scheme to convert disused offices in the High Street to a "gentleman's club."

The latest application had a smaller audience capacity at the club than the proposal rejected last year. That scheme had a total capacity of 186 but the latest scheme had a capacity of 110.

Forest Heath District Council planners rejected the latest proposal on the same grounds as last year's - that it could increase crime and disorder in the town and would harm character of the town's conservation area.

Insp Mark Larner, the town's police sector commander, expressed concern that the scheme would add to the numbers of people on the streets at the weekends and put extra strain on police resources.

But Newell said claims the club would increase noise and disturbance to people living nearby in The Avenue were "totally false." He said: We have obtained many reports from other councils across the country that have lap dancing clubs in their area to prove that this type of entertainment will not cause any further trouble in the area. If anything it deters violence.

He accused the council of "moving the goalposts" by allowing totally nude lap dancing at a club opposite the Lakenheath American Air Force base.

Councillors who approved the Lakenheath club's licence made it clear that they were not setting a precedent for similar clubs elsewhere in the district.


6th September

    Anti Social Council

Based on an article from The Scotsman

Edinburgh leaders have imposed a ban on prostitutes touting for business on residential streets in Leith, it emerged today.  Warning letters are being issued against vice girls for the first time as a measure to stop them operating in and around Leith Links.

The local authority has joined forces with the police to try to restrict prostitution in residential streets shortly after a second vice girl was served with an antisocial behaviour order (Asbo).  Officers in the council's anti-social behaviour division - accompanied by police officers - have issued eight warning letters to prostitutes in and around the Leith Links area in the last few weeks. The council today said it wanted to tell prostitutes that their continued presence in residential areas will not be tolerated.

Leith vice girl Sarah Marsden was hit with an Asbo at the beginning of July over complaints about her behaviour from local residents. She was said to have used threatening and intimidating language towards householders, many of whom told the council they were afraid to leave their homes after dark.

Community leaders and councillors in Leith are campaigning for an official tolerance zone to be set up in the Capital, despite the number of vice girls operating locally slumping in the four years since the scrapping of the city's unofficial red light district.

The Evening News revealed last month how the number of vice girls working the streets of Edinburgh had fallen by more than two-thirds, to 93.

The letters being issued to the vice girls, which begins "Dear Madam", goes on to state: Please note that the City of Edinburgh Council will apply for an anti-social behaviour order should you continue to solicit in residential areas.


3rd September

    Police object to Nudity and the Conservatives are Prudes in Sutton

Based on an article from the Sutton Guardian

Strippers could be coming to town even sooner than was previously thought after it emerged that an application to allow nudity at a Sutton night-spot has already been granted.

Just three weeks after an application for a lap dancing club was submitted by leisure firm Horne & Hall, the Sutton Guardian can reveal that Chicago Rock Caf has had a licence to allow nudity in its bar approved by Sutton Council.

Luminar, which owns the club in Throwley Road, has said the licence will allow strippers booked by customers to perform acts for up to 10 minutes as part of hen parties and stag nights.

But Conservative councillors said they were unaware of the application and claimed they had been denied the chance to scrutinise an important development in the town centre's nightlife. Conservative group leader Councillor Eleanor Pinfold said she was "appalled" by the decision. She added it would contribute to a further decline in Sutton's public perception.

A spokesman for Sutton Council said the application was publicly advertised for a month and that councillors had had every opportunity to object to it.

He said the only objection the council had received was from Sutton police, after Luminar applied to remove a clause from the licence that prohibited full nudity. The police withdrew their objection after a meeting with licensing officers from Sutton Council and representatives from Luminar, where it was agreed that full nudity would not be allowed. If the company did not agree to the police's objections the matter would have gone to committee, the spokesman added.

A spokeswoman for Luminar stressed the venue would not be putting on strip shows of its own. We would only wish this to be in place for customers who have booked a table for a hen party or stag night to book a striptease or stripogram act and not for the public to be entertained.


2nd September

    Nutters want License to Control

Based on an article from The Scotsman

Pubs and clubs hosting lapdancing, topless displays, pole dancing and even strip-o-grams will have to apply for special entertainment licences under plans put forward by Edinburgh council chiefs.

Only cinemas and theatres would be exempt from new legislation on adult entertainment after city leaders revealed plans for more control. They claim a new law is needed to protect workers from "exploitation, prostitution and slavery," while also curbing the possibility of crimes being committed.

And the council is likely to be backed by Lothian and Borders Police chiefs, who have previously expressed concern about the lack of controls available over Edinburgh's lapdancing establishments.

The council is set to tell the Scottish Executive it wants special powers to be granted to local authorities so that it can curb the number of licensed premises offering lapdancing on the grounds of over-provision in a certain area, or when they are too close to schools, large residential areas and places of worship.

The local authority has also called for research to be carried out into the impact of alcohol being on sale in licensed premises offering adult entertainment, including the effect on audience members and local communities.

Officials in the City Chambers believe that any new law aimed at tightening the regime for strip clubs should also cover strip-o-grams, screenings of adult videos and DVDs, and should not just refer to male audiences and female performers. It has urged the Executive to bring in or amend existing legislation so that there is full control of any premises offering or selling adult entertainment.

An expert group, set up in February by Public Services Minister Tom McCabe, has been charged with studying the full gamut of the adult entertainment industry and bringing forward proposals on how to control it more. But attempts by the city council to persuade the Executive to grant the authority special powers have so far stalled, even though the group contains a city councillor in Lorna Shiels.

Councillors will now meet on Tuesday to discuss the authority's response to an official consultation mounted by the working group aimed at defining adult entertainment, its impact and how it should be controlled. The council's proposed definition of adult entertainment does not include saunas or massage parlours, nor prostitution, as these are being explored by a separate Executive task force.

Robert Millar, the council's chief licensing solicitor, said theatres and cinemas should also be exempt from any adult entertainment legislation because they are already separately regulated.

And pub owners can escape the need for a licence by insisting that adult entertainment is not their main line of business.

City licensing leader, Shameful Phil Attridge, said It's something we've been asking for years now. We're not trying to ban anything and we're not moralising, BUT... we just want to ensure there are not too many of these places in the one area and that they're not opening up next to schools and churches.

Catherine Harper, nutter of the Scottish Women Against Pornography Campaign, predictably said: We will be arguing very strongly against any of these lapdancing clubs being allowed at all. As far as we're concerned, people who are working in these places are simply prostituting them selves.

The Executive's working group is led by Linda Costelloe Baker, the Scottish legal service ombudsman. The group is due to report to ministers in the spring of 2006. Also on the task force are Dr Sharon Cowan, from Edinburgh University's law school, and Dr Catherine Kennedy, from the school of psychology and sociology at Napier University


30th August

    Wired up for XXX

From Wired by Regina Lynn

I don't know whether to be amazed or scared that the adult industry and the Bush administration agree about something. When the extremes come together, where's the middle ground for the rest of us to stand on?
I used to think a .xxx domain was a no-brainer. I envisioned it as an indicator that a site contained sexually explicit material intended for adults. That way we could put all the porn in one convenient place for fans while making it easier for others to block it out.

In my world, porn companies could keep their .com addresses for branding and trademark purposes. But the .com URL would redirect to the .xxx homepage. And that page would not have any pornographic content on it. Not even a pert bottom in lacy hot pants, even though you might come across such a picture in an ad in any mainstream fashion magazine.

This splash page is important in preventing accidental exposure to boobies. It would contain a standard text warning that you're about to enter a site containing erotic, indelicate or downright salacious content.

(Text, because you want browsers to be able to interpret the message for people with visual impairments. But you could also include an MP3 of a nice lady reading it aloud, using Very Simple Words and in multiple languages, to make sure users really understand what they're on the verge of getting into.)

Anyone who made a typo when entering a .com URL into the address bar, or who clicked a .xxx link by mistake, would immediately realize his or her error when faced with this ADULTS ONLY notice. And when you do click Enter, you can't blame anyone but yourself for your exposure to the full monty.

Naturally, all interior .xxx pages would redirect to the platonic homepage until you click Enter and accept the cookie. After that, it's smut galore.

Maybe someone would develop a special adult browser with porn-specific features: sexy skins, a media player that looks more like a peep show and less like Windows, embedded chat and webcam support, open-source teledildonics code, a boss button.

Perhaps the browser itself could act as a declaration that you're of age and willing to peruse the prurient -- the old "gold key" method -- and let you skip the warning pages.

But from a mainstream browser, you wouldn't get to porn unless you wanted to. You could set your browser and search-engine preferences to avoid .xxx domains, and the family computer's filters would block everything in the .xxx realm.

It wouldn't be a perfect system. And it would exist mainly to pacify anti-porn activist groups, even the ones who won't appreciate it because they're too busy trying to eradicate adult content in toto.

All we have to do to get from here to there is force an entire business sector -- an international one at that -- to emigrate from the generic commercial domain to the .xxx domain. Then we'd have to create a committee to determine whether certain websites -- those about figure drawing, for example, or online bookstores that publish user reviews of erotica books -- belong in .xxx.

Of course once all "adult" enterprises have paid $75 for each of their new .xxx domains (versus the $10 or so they pay for .com), we'd know exactly where to find them next time we decide to impose further regulations (or even taxes) on them .


23rd August

    Waiting for Tolerance

From The Scotsman

Residents troubled by prostitution at Leith Links are set to visit red light zones elsewhere in the UK as they step up their campaign for an Edinburgh tolerance zone to be brought back.

Councillor Marjorie Thomas has proposed a visit to Aberdeen, which has an unofficial zone, and Liverpool, where a zone is set to be created.

Despite the figures by Scotpep showing a fall in the number of street prostitutes since a tolerance zone in the Capital was abolished in 2001, residents living in streets blighted by the illegal trade want a new one set up. When the Coburg Street tolerance zone was scrapped, streetworkers simply moved to Leith Links.

Local residents now complain of drunk women touting for business outside their homes, open discussions about drug dealings taking place on their streets, kerb crawling and having to pass pimps. They claim Leith Links has become a no-go area for women and girls as early as 7.30pm, because of fears of harassment from men. Residents claim the decrease in prostitutes has not been matched by a fall in clients, and kerb crawlers spend longer driving around the area looking for women.

They have invited Susan Deacon MSP and ward Councillor Thomas to come and see the problem at first hand. And Cllr Thomas is backing their calls for a tolerance zone in a non-residential area to be introduced sooner rather than later. She said: I'm in favour of a tolerance zone. The big question is where do we have it. But if the need for one is accepted by the Scottish Executive the onus will be on the council to find somewhere to put it. One thing I intend to suggest is that we go visit other areas such Aberdeen and Liverpool and learn from what's happening there.


13th August

    Aggressive Policing of Aggressive Soliciting

Based on an article from the Burnley Today

Police are launching a campaign aimed at limiting prostitution in Burnley's Bank Hall area.

It follows complaints from nutters that increased and aggressive soliciting has been taking place in the area. The operation will focus on women who are approaching people in the street and touting for business, but will also concentrate on the kerb-crawling.

Sgt Martin Bishop, of Burnley police, said: We will be launching a two-pronged attack. We will be enforcing the law and arresting any offenders and we will also be asking local residents to take down the registration numbers of anybody who may be kerb-crawling and contact us.

Warning posters have been put up and there will be an increase in both uniformed and undercover police officers in the area.

PC Ryan Van Delft, the community beat manager for Bank Hall, said: Concerned residents brought the matter up at the Police and Communities Together (PACT) meetings . He added that the girls had been moved on from other areas following a crackdown on their activities and so it had ended up becoming more serious around Colne Road.


13th August

    Conservative Sutton

Based on an article from the Sutton Guardian

Sutton (south west London) could get the area's first-ever lap dancing club after a planning application was submitted to the council. Essex-based leisure company Horne & Hall Associates hopes to get the go-ahead for the new club, but opposition from nutter councillors has already turned the application into a issue.

The club, which would be located on the site of the old Iceland store in St Nicholas Road, would open six days a week and offer adult entertainment as well as food and drink from 5pm until 2am.

Conservative councillors believe there are already too many licensed premises in town and approving the strip club application would be detrimental to Sutton's image. A Conservative press statement read: The Conservatives call on (council) officers and the majority Lib Dem group to immediately oppose this application and make it clear no such sort of activity will be allowed in the borough. This is yet another blow to the image of Sutton and, if this were allowed, it would make Sutton High Street even less appealing than it is at the moment."

Horne & Hall company director Chris Hall said the club would cater for male and female clientele and would enhance both the local economy and Sutton's entertainment scene. We're not in your face, we would be very discreet in the location we're just offering another arm of entertainment to the local town centre and we could create a lot of employment.

Hall said adult venues had managed to shake off their seedy image and had become acceptable across the country He added: We thought Surrey could do with one. It's not sex, it's sexy.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Sutton Central Janet Lowne said it would be inappropriate to comment on the application in detail until a consultation had finished and planning officers had reached a decision. She did add, however, that she had concerns about the building's provision for disabled access.

The plans will be submitted to the council's development control committee for a final decision by councillors.


6th August

    Nutters Massage the Facts

Based on an article from Ham & High

A Crouch End massage parlour has been given a clean bill of health after a campaign to close it down. Lanacombe on Crouch End Hill is to have its massage and special treatment licence renewed after police objections to the premises were withdrawn on Tuesday. Officers investigating the parlour after allegations of prostitution had no evidence to offer the council hearing.

The inquiry into the nightspot was triggered by nutters of the women's charity Eaves, based in Brixton. After visits and phone calls to dozens of massage parlours, Lanacombe featured on a list of suspicious sites and evidence was handed to police.

Eaves spokeswoman Victoria Samuel said: It was part of an investigation across London looking at sites which were believed to be selling sex. The study, called Sex In the City, is the first time the extent of problems was looked at. Our concerns generally are the selling of sex and treatment of women in London and we worked to provide information where we became concerned.

Lanacombe manager Laurence Steel told Broadway the end of council deliberations came as a relief - and effectively cleared the parlour's name. He said: There was a small misdemeanour and everything is fine. It was not a large issue. There were things that people said happened which were blown out of all proportion. Obviously some people have misconceptions about massage parlours but here there is aromatherapy and massage. It forms a big part of alternative therapy. He added that all six masseurs at the site had diplomas and were properly trained.

Lanacombe's licence has now been automatically renewed, but will come before council chiefs again in September.


5th August

    More Stars & Stripper s

Based on an article from The Cambridge Evening News

Forest Heath District Council's licensing committee have agreed to a variation in the Usher's Lakenheath Country Club public entertainment licence to allow total nudity.

Dancers will be allowed to perform wearing nothing but a garter to collect tips from customers. Council rules stipulate that the garters should be no higher than mid-thigh. The rules also state there must be no physical contact between customers and dancers who are not allowed to be closer than 80cm (31.5 inches) to members of the audience during a performance. Patrons must remain seated except when arriving, departing or going to the toilet. No person other than the dancer is allowed in the performance area "in a state of undress."

There were no objections from the police or members of the public to the application by Pete Usher, who runs the club.

His lawyer Nageena Khalique told the committee that most of the customers would be American Air Force servicemen.

Coun Bill Bishop, chairman of the committee, said it had agreed to allow nude dancing because of the club's remote location.

Usher said: I'm pleased that I can now get on with it. He told the committee the strip sessions would be staged initially on Friday nights from 8pm until 2am from August

Capt. Jason McCree, a public affairs spokesman for the US air base, said: Base personnel are free to visit any establishment they wish unless otherwise off-limits.


2nd August

    Waiting for a Red Light

Based on an article from From ic Liverpool

Plans to create the country's first managed zone for prostitutes in Liverpool are on hold until next year.

The city council wants to set up a special area where call girls can work safely and be advised how to kick their chronic drug habits. It made a formal request to the government to consider the controversial idea six months ago - but has still heard nothing.

The ECHO has now learned that ministers will not be making a decision on whether to allow Liverpool to create the zone until early next year. The government is currently carrying out a review of how authorities handle the problem of prostitution before working out the best way forward.

Cllr Flo Clucas, executive member for social care, said: We had hoped for a response this autumn. We can only hope they are taking what people around the country are saying very seriously. We wanted a response before now because if it is yes, we need to start working towards creating the zone, and if it is no, we have to look at the police taking a much higher profile."

Councillors voted in favour of applying for the country's first managed zone after months of research. Residents and businesses in areas frequented by prostitutes were asked for their views before the plan was put forward. Officials have already pledged to keep any zone well away from people's homes and businesses which open late at night.

In the meantime, the council has launched its own outreach scheme, offering advice to vice girls and their partners about drug treatment and how to exit prostitution.


28th July

    Police Named and Shamed

Based on an article from The Rochdale Observer

Four victims have been caught kerb-crawling in what the police described as a "name and shame" operation. The men pleaded guilty at Rochdale Magistrates Court to soliciting a person for prostitution or to causing a nuisance and were fined.

Uniformed and undercover officers were used to trail suspects for a week in May in locations such as Richard Street.

The shameful Inspector Chris Hill, who led the clampdown dubbed Operation Senta, said: This campaign has sent out a strong message . [Presumably that the police want intimidate those forced onto the street by the state's repressive laws]. Kerb-crawling will not be tolerated and offenders will be brought to justice [What sort of justice is it that punished people for natural desires]
Seven other men are due to appear in court at a later date in connection with the operation.

Meanwhile, Inspector Hill is planning to deploy officers in Deeplish again this time without warning. I must stress this is not the end of the operation and we will continue to name and shame.


27th July

    Browned Off

Based on an article from the Tottenham Journal

D ancers have been banned from performing at a Wood Green club following a campaign by nutters on the council and  from the church.

Pole dancing and lap dancing has been banned at Charlie Browns in Wood Green High Road after the owners went to court in a bid to keep the erotic dancers on show. Owner Hasan Burmali and Hasan Fikret went to Tottenham Magistrates' Court to contest a decision taken by councillors in February which banned the dancers.

But magistrates backed the decision by the council that the erotic club nights were offensive to users and visitors to St Michael's Church, the Civic Centre, a neighbouring sheltered housing complex and some locals.

Nutter Councillor Nilgun Canver, executive member for crime and community safety at Haringey Council, said: This is a good, common sense decision. Clearly the venue was unpopular with residents and the entertainment causes offence in this locality. Councillors were keen to end the pole dancing and the sexually explicit entertainment and their efforts have been rewarded. Well done to our enforcement team too, who provided all the legwork from which our residents will now benefit.


17th July

    No R18s No Chex

From the bgafd forum

From the recently updated terms and conditions from the NoChex internet payment service:

13.1 It is a mandatory condition of applying to use the NOCHEX service that you agree that you will not use the service for Gambling, Betting, the purchase sale or exchange of prepaid credit and debit cards, EGold or R18 videos or DVDs.

It seems that the recently added prohibition is specific to R18s and is not a general ban on adult entertainment. It seems to be in response to the recent High Court judgment confirming the ban on mail order R18s.


9th July

    No Dancing in Barrow

No justifications for the council's denial were included in the article but it sounds like something was trumped up about worries about alcohol use.

Based on an article from The North West Evening Mail

Nutters applauded as council officers rejected a bid to open a lap dancing club near their homes.

The controversial bid by Evolution Entertainments Ltd to open the raunchy club at the Bluebird Club on Holker Street, Barrow, was turned down for the second time despite the recommendation of chief environmental health officer Gary Ormondroyd that it should be approved.

The decision by Barrow Borough Council's licensing committee to turn down the provisional granting of a public entertainment licence was met with a round of applause by the 20 Hindpool residents who attended the meeting.

During the hour-long, often tense meeting, Hindpool Councillor Dave Pidduck and resident Bill Crawshaw mounted a passionate argument against the proposed venture. They also presented a petition signed by 140 residents in Hindpool.

Robin Francis Sharples, of Ribble Gardens, Walney, spoke on behalf of Evolution. He said residents feared public disorder, with late night drunks causing a nuisance, urinating in front yards and ringing on resident's doorbells asking them to call a cab, as had happened in the past.

Sharples told councillors the club would not advertise itself as a lap dance venue.

He said: It will not say lap dancing, or have silhouettes of naked women outside. In my club I'm not going to give anyone the opportunity to abuse alcohol

He confirmed Evolution would be appealing against the council's decision.


4th July

    Managed Tolerance Zones in Scotland

Based on an article from The Herald

Ministers are expected to announce plans for every local authority to have the power to set up managed tolerance zones for street prostitution. Causing alarm to a third party by kerb crawling or soliciting would also be made an offence under the proposals.

It is hoped that would dissuade involvement in prostitution and encourage women not to solicit in residential areas, where they are likely to attract attention. At the moment, it is an offence for women to solicit, but kerb crawling is not illegal in Scotland.

The proposals, which follow the recommendations of an expert working group on prostitution earlier this year, are expected to face widespread criticism. Discussions are continuing but it is understood that the main points of the group's report have been accepted despite criticism from a number of parties, among them Glasgow City Council and NHS Greater Glasgow. The report suggested that managed zones could be introduced as a useful local strategy for focusing service delivery and managing nuisance arising from street prostitution.

Edinburgh previously had a – technically illegal – informal tolerance zone. Its dispersal led to a rise in assaults on prostitutes. Liverpool is set to be the first city in the UK to establish a legal tolerance zone after its council approved the plan.

Several countries, including parts of Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Holland and Germany have decriminalised prostitution. At the same time, a raft of health and safety checks were introduced. However, police officers and health officials have warned that creating tolerance zones could increase levels of prostitution.

Around 5000 women work in the sex trade in Scotland, including 1400 street prostitutes. Most of them work in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.

The executive proposals mean authorities wishing to set up a managed zone in an area where it would not cause offence could do so. The changes to legislation may be included in the Police Bill, the consultation for which has just ended. It is expected to go through parliament shortly.

Margo MacDonald, the independent MSP who was a member of the expert group, said she would be surprised if ministers did not agree with its main recommendations. The group concluded that the existing legislation on street prostitution was unsatisfactory, discriminates against women and fails to dissuade them from becoming prostitutes. Many people think a change in the law which puts equal responsibility on to buyer and seller is long overdue.

A spokesman for the executive said: We are not announcing our response to the expert group this week. We will be making an announcement after recess.


4th July

    Bottom of the Barrow

It sounds like some Barrow councillors have been plucking reasons out of thin air to support their personal decisions.

Based on an article from The North West Evening Mail

The latest bid to open Barrow's first ever lap-dancing club is set to be approved. A new application has been submitted to town hall chiefs for the Bluebird Club in Barrow. A similar plan for the same Holker Street spot was rejected in February, and an appeal was turned down. But councillors are now being told they cannot block the plan any longer.

Members of Barrow Borough Council's licensing committee turned down Raina Dougliss's proposal for a lap-dancing venue for fear it would cause public nuisance, disorder and harm to children. A subsequent appeal failed to have the decision overturned.

But the latest application, from Robin Francis Sharples, of Ribble Gardens, Barrow, on behalf of Evolution Entertainments, looks set to be granted. Council chief environmental health officer Gary Ormondroyd has recommended the licensing committee approves the proposal. He told the committee the council could not object to the application on the grounds of the potential for public nuisance or disorder arising from the entertainment. He said they could also not refuse the application for the potential for fear of harm to children

The application is set to be discussed by the licensing committee at Barrow Town Hall on July 7.


2nd July

    Stars & Strippers

Based on an article from The Cambridge Evening News

Pole dancing club nights in the lap of Lakenheath air base are a step closer to reality.

Plans to run an "adult cabaret" night at Lakenheath Country Club, situated close to the main entrance of the biggest US Air Force base in Britain, have been submitted to Forest Heath District Council for approval. Pete Usher, club owner, wants to open every Thursday.

The club, formerly known as the Rod and Gun Club, is almost opposite the entrance to the Lakenheath base, and already holds a public entertainment licence. It currently stages country and western music nights on Fridays and Saturdays. Usher, who did not want to comment on his application, has made it clear in the past that he is not setting up a lap dancing club and that the girls would not be dancing fully nude.

Speaking to the News when plans were announced for the night Usher said: The dancers could be in various outfits, something like a stars-and-stripes bikini. He said he had received about 15 applications from girls interested in performing at the club.

The application will now be discussed by the district council's licensing committee on Monday, July 4 - American Independence Day.

Councillor Bill Bishop, licensing committee chairman, said: It is an isolated spot so there shouldn't be too many people wandering in off the street and it is a recognised club so there should be no problems for them. These sorts of nights are commonplace now, so provided the facilities are in place then I can't see a problem with it."

Capt Jason McCree, for Lakenheath air base, said: Base personnel are free to visit any establishment they wish unless otherwise off limits.


1st July

    Edinburgh not so Erotique

Based on an article from The Scotsman

An adult erotica festival staged at one of Edinburgh's top entertainment centres has been axed after just two years. Festival Erotique, the sex- orientated extravaganza timed to coincide with the Fringe in 2003 and 2004, has ended at the Corn Exchange.

Porn stars, adult movie screenings, erotic dancers and fetish fashion shows were all on the menu at the event, which attracted exhibitors and visitors from across the UK.

But the event was also dogged by problems after falling foul of the city's main bus company, advertising watchdogs and nutters.

The event was jointly organised by Edinburgh sex shop owner Vincent Delicato and the Corn Exchange, but the businessman claimed he was ousted the following year because bosses at the centre didn't want him involved in organising it any more. But Delicato said he was keen to revive the event next year, touting the Meadows as a perfect venue, because it was already in use during the Fringe.

The Corn Exchange, which is thought to have brought in a private company to help organise last year's event, today insisted it was too busy with other events to host a third Festival Erotique.

A spokesman for the Corn Exchange said: The simple reason we're not doing it this year is we've had much better offers for the use of the venue. There's not much point in doing an event which doesn't make any money. The spokesman insisted an outside organisation was brought in to co-ordinate last year's event, but could not provide the Evening News with any contact details.

Delicato said: The Corn Exchange thought they could better organise the event from the first year, when it was a real trailblazer. Although there were more than 10,000 people there over the three days of the event last year and the one before, people were just not staying last year. There wasn't enough to see and there wasn't the same atmosphere. The whole situation was handled very badly by the Corn Exchange.


16th June

    More DVD Sales to go Abroad

It sounds like someone was pointing a gun at Sherratt. Well let it be said that the Melon Farmers do not support the High Court decision and contend that the restrictions on the sale of videos as laid out in the Video Recordings Act are a gross infringement of our human rights and are therefore illegal.

From Pressbox

Jaylect UK Ltd trading as has taken all R18 videos & DVD's from their catalogue of varied sex shop goods to conform to recent High Courts decisions to ban the sale by sex shops of the media via online and mail order companies.

Sex shops such as have a social responsibility to ensure the type of material stocked by sex shops does not get into the hands of minors. Internet sex shops are a fantastic means for our clientele to purchase their sex shop items discreetly and anonymously. We fully support the decision of the High Court to restrict this type of sale and will be continuing to ensure we do all we can to ensure that our sex shop conforms to any such legislation . Carl Sherratt – Managing Director –


15th June


    Irish Dancing to Stringfellow's Tunes

From Ireland Online

British lap-dancing club supremo Peter Stringfellow is reportedly planning to open an "up-market" lap-dancing club in Dublin.

Reports this morning said the flamboyant entrepreneur was planning to open the club in the Parnell Centre, just off O'Connell Street.

Stringfellow, who already operates a string of lap-dancing clubs in Britain, is reportedly planning to invest €3m in the venture.


9th June


    Non Suggestive Lap Dancing

Based on an article from The Tameside Advertiser

A nightclub owner is hoping to set up Tameside's first lap dancing club. Andrew Wightman wants to transform Bar Denial in Stamford Street into the lap dancing club but promises it will be done tastefully. If approved, it will break new ground and become the first pole dancing venue in Tameside. But licensing chiefs are playing it safe before granting any approval.

Wightman says that with nine years left on his lease and a need to keep profits turning over, he needs to explore new ideas for the club.

Addressing the licensing speaker's panel, he said: I feel confident I could turn Bar Denial into a respectable establishment, which would include a strict dress code, strict age limit, no drinks offers and no physical contact between the girls and customers. The front of the bar will have a major face-lift, including a name change so it is no longer related to Club Denial. There will be four to five girls walking round in full bikinis, meeting customers, talking, laughing, generally making customers feel relaxed, not rowdy. We have had guidance from the big lap dancing bars in Manchester and feel we could break this boundary for Ashton. The bar will be closed by 11pm because we want to attract the early clientele, not trouble-causers.

But Wightman's first obstacle is to persuade the panel to relax condition 29 of the entertainment licence, which states no dancing shall be permitted, which is indecent, profane, improper or of a suggestive nature.

At Tuesday's meeting, chairman Councillor Charlie Meredith said: We are adjourning the decision to allow officers to ask neighbouring authorities how these establishments are run and any problems or positive aspects it could bring to the borough


31st May


    Glasgow Nutters Offended by Correct Decision

Based on an article from The Daily Record

Glasgow's licensing board caused nutters on Glasgow council grief when they gave the go-ahead for the For Your Eyes Only chain to set up in Royal Exchange Square. Protesters, including council leaders who have taken a stand against such clubs, claimed it would exploit women and give the city a sleazy image. And the authority's lawyers went to court in a bid to have the decision reversed.

But, in a written judgment, Sheriff Ian Peebles backed the opening of the club. He said the licensing board 'could not be faulted' in the way they had made their decision. The row began in October when the board granted a licence to For Your Eyes Only. A string of objections was raised, including those from nutters of the local church and the shameful Glasgow MSP Sandra White.

Lawyers for the licensing board argued that existing lap-dancing clubs in Glasgow did not suffer from any of the problems raised by objectors. They also said such clubs did not require any extra policing.

Sheriff Peebles said: The board were entitled to say that if the problems had not come to pass at other lap-dancing establishments, it was a reasonable inference that they would not happen at the premises subject of this application


30th May


    Community service

What a waste of police time to harangue a business that hardly caused any nuisance at all. And all for a non-crime dreamt up by nutters considering themselves morally superior to their fellow man.

Based on an article from The Times

Gentleman callers would turn up at an elegant Georgian townhouse at all hours, but it was only when they began blocking the neighbours' cars that complaints were made.

Police could not explain how Anne O'Brien had managed to run a brothel undetected from such an exclusive address for so long. With so many hotels close by, the area is hardly an exclusion zone for prostitutes, but usually police find them secreted away in backstreet bedsits, not in a mansion.

Such was the success of her sex empire that this Kenya-born nurse was able to pay more than a million pounds in cash for the property.

A lawyer whose office is near by admitted, when he was told by a colleague what was going on inside 32 Upper Berkeley Street, that he had examined O'Brien's website out of curiosity but had not reported his concerns to the police, because he did not wish to get involved.

A number of five-star hotels within a short stroll of O'Brien's headquarters appeared to turn a blind eye when prostitutes from her Marble Arch Girls agency visited guests.

A police source said: The public don't care about prostitution until it touches their lives directly, like illegal parking, noise or in one recent case a woman who complained that a brothel was dumping some of their rubbish bags in her dustbin. There is no doubt the scale of this trade is increasing, Even if operators are caught, the sentences are not much of a deterrent.

When O'Brien was found guilty last week the judge told her that when she returned to court for sentencing next month she would not be facing jail. Judge John Price said: It may well be that some form of sentence within the community, this time unpaid, will be appropriate.

However, the former prostitute collapsed, shrieking, in the dock when told by prosecutors that they would claw back as much of her fortune as they could find. Police admit that they do not know how much she amassed. They found 29 British bank accounts, a hair salon business and a number of other properties but are continuing to hunt for further assets. They do know that O'Brien employed a small army from this Mayfair base. She worked women in shifts; three a day with around 15 girls working at one time. Others were sent to hotels or clients' homes.

Superintendent Chris Bradford, who is in charge of Scotland Yard's clubs and vice unit, said: She was different from the usual madams as she kept all her girls in the one, prestigious property rather than putting them in scruffy little flats on the fringe of an expensive area.

"Perhaps her customers felt they were getting a better class of service and would be at less risk. There was a psychology in how she operated. The curtains, the furnishings were extremely expensive, the house was very expensive in a discreet area but at the end of the day the trade is the same whether it is Mayfair or some inner-city back street.


29th May


    Welcome to Bournemouth Sex-on-Sea

Based on an article from The Telegraph

Anna, 25 and 5ft 10in tall even out of her high heels, advertises her services in the personal columns of her local newspaper as a "Jordan lookalike". She is just a year into her new "career" and is one of a growing number of prostitutes who have made genteel Bournemouth, Britain's favourite retirement destination, the newest and most unlikely front line in the vice trade.

In the past two years, the number of brothels in the seaside resort has increased such that Dorset Police have launched a new initiative, Operation Sail, to persecute offenders.

Officers in the town, where 21% of the population is over 65 (compared with a national average of 16%), say that they decided to act after intelligence work established that there were some 60 brothels in Bournemouth.

Anna is her own boss, works from home and keeps all her earnings herself. Typically she earns £300 a day, although once, she admits, she had 20 customers in a day. That sounds terrible, doesn't it?" she says with an apologetic giggle. "But I want to make a better life for myself.

Anna, who was born and brought up in the town, charges £60 for half an hour or £120 for an hour if the client visits her and more if she has to travel to him. She insists that she only does "safe sex", and does not use drugs or drink alcohol. She neither claims benefit nor pays income tax. Business is great. There are so many men in Bournemouth looking for something they either don't get or can't get at home - and they are willing to pay for it.

In the past three years, Inspector Mark Kelly has become an expert on prostitution because it is now so prolific, both on and off the streets, in Boscombe, the suburb of Bournemouth where he works. He said that there had been a problem with street prostitutes for several years centred around the railway station but recently police had discovered growing evidence that prostitution had moved off the streets and was becoming more prevalent.

Officers raided a brothel late last year after a young Thai woman smuggled out a letter from a house in Bournemouth saying that she was being held against her will. Police found and released three women, aged in their late teens and early 20s, but their abductors remain free. The women told police that they arrived in Britain expecting to work as waitresses, but their passports were taken and they were forced to work as prostitutes.

Since January, a team of 28 police officers has been carrying out surveillance at brothels in the town. This month, they raided three suspected brothels, arresting seven people, including the alleged "madam" and an illegal immigrant, a Thai woman in her 20s.

Police have established that the brothels are each turning over hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. They tend to be run by Britons, both men and women. Although most of the prostitutes are also British, an increasing number of them are foreign. Kelly said: Within our region [the West Country] Bristol has the biggest brothel population and then it's us [Bournemouth]. We have no idea why Bournemouth has this problem, although there is a big night scene here and a large hotel industry which caters increasingly for stag weekends. We also have three premises that provide table dancing, though I don't think this necessarily feeds into the sex industry."

The laws on prostitution are complex. Prostitution itself is legal but most of the trading in sex - whether from a street corner or a brothel - is illegal. Police say that the surge in the vice trade has instigated a crimewave. Several brothels have been subjected to armed robberies by criminals who know that there will be large amounts of cash on the premises.

Police are also targeting the customers, the so-called "punters", as well as the street prostitutes, the "working girls". Men seen kerb-crawling are sent warning letters to where the vehicle is registered, which is usually their home or work address. Those arrested are asked to attend a one-day course with a criminal psychologist. More than 300 men have so far attended the course and only three have re-offended.

Residents are angry at what they claim has been the slow reaction of police to the problem of street prostitution. Three years ago, Ray Bright, a hotelier, was so alarmed at the number of prostitutes hanging around near his home that he formed RAP - Residents Against Prostitutes. Bright and up to 60 other residents began taking the number plates of kerb-crawlers and handing them to the police, which has acted as a deterrent.

According to Sally, who has worked as a prostitute for 20 years and moved to the town last year, it is well known within the "industry" that Bournemouth is a centre for the sex trade. Sally jointly runs a "co-operative" for five women aged from as young as 26 from a three-bedroom flat. They charge £30 for a "basic massage" and £60 for a "full personal". Each woman has an average of six customers a day. Their schoolgirl uniform gets used about six times a week and their nurse's uniform almost as regularly.

While the police still cannot explain why Bournemouth has become the vice centre of the South Coast, Sally, who supports the legalisation of brothels, says that she can answer the question: Girls started coming here about 15 years ago because it was a retirement town and there are a huge number of single men here,

Her oldest customer is 83. Since then there have been other factors, she says. There is a huge service industry in the town with a large number of hotels and conference centres. There is also a growing amount of construction work, which attracts men from all over. Business is very good. Few expect the vice problem to go away, even if Operation Sail is expanded. It seems that Bournemouth and the world's oldest profession will be unlikely bedfellows for some time to come.


28th May

Updated 29th May

    Gentlemen Not Welcome in Smethwick

Based on an article from The Express & Star

Nutters have won a battle to stop a lap dancing and striptease club opening up near their Smethwick homes. The club in Rolfe Street was intended to open four nights a week but councillors threw out the scheme after protests.

Jogjiwan Mangara said he wanted to open a Gentlemen's Club which would feature lap dancing and striptease. He said opening times would be between 7pm and midnight, Wednesdays to Saturdays with no Sunday opening.

But local residents complained about the plan, citing the old chestnuts of anti-social behaviour late at night, parking problems and increased noise (In reality I would have thought a lap dancing club would be less likely to exhibit these problems than an ordinary pub).

A spokesman for the protesting residents, James Hickey, said they already faced many problems. The last thing they need is lapdancing striptease at the end of the road . There are children in the street and there are already lots of parking problems.

The plan by was refused planning permission by Sandwell's planning committee. Labour member Councillor Roger Horton said he was totally against the plan and backed the residents all the way. The residents would face problems with late-night visitors and increased parking problems in an area with serious problems already, he said.

Update, Thanks to Malcom

As a matter of interest or not I can give some back ground info as I know the area well.

Rolfe Street is within a few yards of a West Midlands main Sikh temple. This should explain a lot about the silly verdict of Smethwick council.

Rolf street is not to far from West Brom football grounds. The Road to West Brom leads off Rolf St They don't ban football because of parking problems do they! Rolf St does not have any parking areas other than the road itself. It is a reasonably wide road so parking actually would not be a problem as the so called residents suggest..

Interestingly to the judgment is the fact that Rolf St does not have any residents! It is mainly an industrial area. So who are these mysterious residents complaining of children being near by. Total rubbish it is not an area children have to be near.

What puzzles me is where this club actually might have been situated. To my knowledge the only empty premises large enough for a club are not fit for human inhabitation and would require almost to be completely re-built or renovations costing thousands.

However if there is such a premises Rolf St would be Ideal. Just off a main Rd and it has a Railway station. But with a majority of religious people occupying the area such a club I think could never get permission. I hope I haven't bored you to much but could not resist filling in a few facts.


19th May

    Society has to have a much less ambivalent position on police arrogance

From The Scotsman

More must be done to tackle covert prostitution in dodgy massage parlours and saunas, a chief constable said today. Gloucestershire chief constable Tim Brain said forces had not yet done enough to crack down on businesses which appeared respectable yet often had "secret rooms" offering paid-for sex. Brain urged more forces to fully implement a national strategy which was drawn up last year.

In a speech to the Association of Chief Police Officers' annual conference in Birmingham, he said: Generally, massage parlours are not orthopaedic centres for curing back problems, they are fronts for brothels. That's what they are, and maybe we should get used to calling them that.

He showed photographs of one "secret room" which contained pole dancing equipment, beds and even a cash machine. Brain said there was a "significant intelligence gap" about the number of brothels housed in the parlours and other businesses. We need to get a far more comprehensive picture of what is going on, and then society has to have a much less ambivalent position about the whole nature of the vice industry, he went on. [A tad arrogant, telling society what it should think, well this little element of society reckons that this policeman should be sacked for putting his personal views above those of the rest of us. His job is to enforce the law, not make the law]


18th May

    Compulsory Oppression

From The Guardian

Westminster council threatens to compulsorily purchase flats used by prostitutes in Soho

For more than 300 years prostitutes have famously plied their trade in Soho, in the West End of London. Working away from the public gaze, in first-floor flats and towerblock properties, they are part of the fabric of the capital's most Bohemian district.

Multimillion pound plans drawn up by Westminster council will see up to 30 flats identified as brothels compulsorily purchased. The council has already bought one property containing three flats and is soon expected, having fought a public inquiry, to gain a second. After that, all sides assume the momentum will become irresistible.

Westminster says the properties will be returned to residential use. The companies owning the properties also have their own regeneration plans which could see even more properties redeveloped for mainstream use. One way or another, a colourful era appears to be coming to an end.

Next week a group coordinated by the English Collective of Prostitutes meets to discuss how they can defend their turf. The Guardian has learned that they plan to march through central London and stage a demonstration outside Westminster city hall. But mindful that they enjoy a good deal of local support, with 10,000 people having signed a protest petition, the prostitutes are also planning an unprecedented campaign of community engagement.

Nicci Adams of the English Collective of Prostitutes said: Many of these woman have lived in these properties for many years. In that sense, they are in residential use. Soho is a unique area. It is the safest area in the country for the sex industry. The women of Soho are proud of the fact that no woman has ever been murdered in a Soho flat and you can't say that of any other area. I think the council should recognise the unique character of Soho and the fact that the women are an integral part of that community. They should leave them alone. I think public opinion has changed in relation to prostitution. As the government and the authorities have become more oppressive, the public has become more open minded.

Mimi, a 25-year-old eastern European, who has been working in Soho for the past year, said: The girls are providing a service and Westminster council should go to hell. The authorities should go out and find all the rapists and murderers and leave us alone. If the council comes here and tries to evict us I will tell them what is really going on in Soho.

Beth, her "maid", who liaises with clients and acts as general manager, said: If a CPO [compulsory purchase order] comes I'll fight it all the way. I'm not going anywhere. If all the maids and all the women stand united we can win this.

Bryan Burrough, honorary president of the Soho Society, said: We don't have a problem with brothels as such. We are more concerned with properties that cause a public nuisance like the bars used to fleece tourists. We don't think the case for redevelopment has been made. This is revenue-driven rather than for the need for environmental improvements.

Vic Fielder, a newsagent, began working in Soho 45 years ago. The girls were on the streets when I came here, he said. It is much better now for the area because people have to go to them. They are part of the community. They come in and buy their cigarettes and magazines. They don't bother me and I don't bother them.

Researchers from Glasgow University attest to the comparative dangers women face working on the streets. A study found they were six times more at risk than those working indoors.

A spokesman for Westminster council said there were 60 "walk-up" brothels in Soho and that those initially targeted for compulsory purchase had been identified by police as causing particular concern or had been judged to be in particular disrepair. We are looking at 10 properties, which have two to three flats each and have no current plans to go after the other 50.


14th May

    Naming and Shaming of Deeplish Police

Shame on the police for imposing totally disproportionate penalties for a non-crime

Based on an article from the Rochdale Observer

Police are planning a persecution of kerb-crawlers in a bid to drive prostitutes from the streets of Deeplish. From Monday, a team of 10 uniformed and undercover officers will be sent out with orders to issue every offender with a court summons.

It will be a name and shame policy. There will be no verbal warnings. They will all appear before magistrates on 7 July and could be fined up to £2,000.

Inspector Chris Hill says the week-long persecution was sparked by residents, who have been calling for action to stop prostitutes working outside their homes.

The problem was first highlighted last June when nutters, led by the Deeplish Action Group, marched through the streets demanding police action.

Inspector Hill said: It has been evident the problem is on the increase. But we realise that the prostitutes are the victims rather than offenders, which is why we are targeting the kerb-crawlers. Our message is clear: whoever they are, ordinary men on the street or successful businessmen, they will get no verbal warnings. They will go to court on 7 July and will be named and shamed if found guilty .

Last year there was a lot of adverse publicity, with residents telling us if we didnt do something they would as it was not right for the street workers to be in residential areas. [So get the state to provide them somewhere to work that does not cause a nuisance...There is no need for this shameful police persecution]

The drive against kerb-crawlers will continue even after the current persecution ends. After that, victims will get warning letters, but if they persist they will be fined, possibly receive anti-social behaviour orders or even have their cars confiscated.

Prostitutes will be prosecuted if they continue to work in residential areas, although police are also looking into the possibility of prostitution tolerance zones similar to those operated in Liverpool.

The persecution has gained full backing from Mohammed Shafiq, the chairman of Deeplish Action Group and vice-chairman of the local area forum.


3rd May

    Strange Goings On in Harlow Council

From This Is Local London

A Harlow businessman has closed his lap dancing club and vowed to sue Harlow Council over the issuing of its licence. Polekatz and Bar Vegas owner Mo Ghadami is seeking legal redress over the prolonged re-issuing of a music and dance licence.

The council reconvened to discuss the issue at a special licensing committee last Wednesday (April 13). Councillors went into private session and the outcome has to be conveyed in writing to Ghadami within ten days. Ghadami said he closed his Kitson Way premises on the night of the meeting and a renewed licence would now make no difference following a year of uncertainty: This makes me cross and upset. It can't be tolerated and I will sue them for damages.

A war of words has been raging between Ghadami and the council over the legality of a 2001 contract which the businessman said precluded him from dealing with anyone other than the chief executive. He has called on present chief executive Malcolm Morley to honour the old agreement but Harlow Council has disputed its legitimacy and says it is not bound by it. The application went to the licensing committee after the council said it was unable to ascertain whether the premises remained suitable and safe.

Ghadami said he had all his safety certificates but because of the agreement could only show them to Morley. Harlow Council says it could not comment about the licence because the decision was not announced in open session and the minutes were not yet public.


26th April

    A Biblical BUT

Based on an article from ic Liverpool

The Platinum nightclub in Chester has been given permission to open up a lap dancing club there. In the next few weeks, work will begin converting one of the ancient buildings into a venue for the erotic performers.

The move has provoked inevitable outrage amongst city nutters. The shameful Rev Andy Glover, chairman of Churches Together in Chester, said: There is a saying in the Bible that everything is permissible, BUT... not everything is beneficial. For the girls and men involved it is quite degrading, but is this really beneficial for the city of Chester?

Developer Philip Archer Jones applied for a public entertainment licence for 42 Bridge Street for a nightclub called Platinum with one floor dedicated to lap dancing. He said: There were no objections from members of the public to the application.

Councillors granted the licence, but attached a string of conditions including one making the owner responsible for ensuring that soliciting of prostitutes does not happen on the premises. Customers are also forbidden from touching performers. It will be open from Monday to Saturday between 11am and 12.30am and between noon and 11.30pm on Sundays.

A spokesman for the council said: The type of entertainment the applicant intends to put on in these premises is lap dancing. This is the first time we've had such an application in Chester. It was correctly advertised in the local press and on the premises and there were no public objections. After hearing the application the board granted the application subject to some 32 conditions. The applicant will now be able to apply to the Magistrates Court at Chester for a liquor licence on Monday 9th May 2005. Works will then be carried out at the premises and they will open only after final inspection later this year and when all licences have been declared final.


26th April

    Barrow Fails to Evolve

From The North West Evening Mail

A table dancing firm has been ordered to pay more than £1,800 court costs after losing an appeal to open a club in Barrow. But Evolution Entertainment remains defiant that it will take over the Bluebird Club on Holker Street this year under new legislation.

Furness Magistrates' Court heard the firm had failed to provide enough information on its plans to Barrow Borough Council's licensing committee. It was also deemed the company had not been open enough about who was involved in the organisation.

But District Judge Gerald Chalk rejected the council's claim that the club would cause public disorder and harm to children.

Eddy White, secretary of Evolution Entertainment, represented the firm: The costs are harsh. We are disappointed but not deterred. At least the judge agreed with us that the club wouldn't threaten children or cause nuisance. We are going to reapply for the club under new legislation this year. It is important Barrow opens its eyes to the rest of the world. People should be allowed to do what they want.
Barrow is behind the times. Every city has lapdancing clubs and it's about time we had one.

Matt Copeland, representing the council, said the application was rejected two months ago because the club would have stretched police resources. He said objections were made by residents and councillors. Chief environmental health officer for the council, Gary Ormondroyd, said: The club would have resulted in bus loads of blokes coming into Barrow. Children may have been exposed to prostitution and members were concerned there would have been adverts recruiting dancers outside the club.


21st April

    Tolerance Delayed

From The Scotsman

Plans to allow the creation of red-light tolerance zones for prostitutes have been delayed yet again in the Scottish Parliament. The debate scheduled for this month on the Bill introduced by Independent Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald has now been postponed until October.

It is the third time the proposed legislation has been held up. And Ms MacDonald warned that: Since the end of the unofficial tolerance zone, there has been an expansion of pimping because the women are not able to protect themselves. And there is a suspicion that as part of that scene there may be organised criminal activity. It also means the situation in Leith Links, where people have been harassed, will continue for longer.

The latest postponement is to allow the parliament's local government committee, which is handling the Bill, to consider a response from the Scottish Executive to the recommendations of an expert group on prostitution, which reported at the end of last year. The group recommended scrapping the law against soliciting and replacing it with a new crime of "offensive behaviour" which would apply to both men and women buying or selling sex if there were complaints. They said councils could then set up "managed areas" which would limit the impact of prostitution on communities.

MacDonald's Bill would allow councils to set up designated tolerance zones, where soliciting would not be illegal, in order to ensure women working in the sex industry can be offered health advice and support.  MacDonald has indicated she is ready to withdraw her Bill in favour of the expert group proposals if the Executive accepts them.

But the Executive has yet to reveal its plans. It has now completed a consultation on the expert group report. And Deputy Justice Minister Hugh Henry said he hoped to make an announcement "by the end of May". But that does not allow enough time for a "Stage 1" debate on the principles of the Bill before MSPs begin their summer break on July 2. The parliament was originally due to debate the Bill by the beginning of July last year, but it was delayed until December because the expert group was not expected to report until October. Then when the report was still not ready, the debate was postponed until this month. Now it has been put off yet again - until October.


17th April

    Caring about Sex Workers

From The Observer

The main body representing Britain's nurses is to call for the decriminalisation of prostitution, arguing that this would allow healthcare workers to prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV.

One of the most controversial resolutions to be discussed next week at the Royal College of Nursing's conference is that prostitutes should work, as they do in the Netherlands, in 'managed zones' rather than in shady red-light areas.

Under British law, it is not illegal to receive money for sex, but a raft of laws make the acts surrounding prostitution illegal, including soliciting, kerb-crawling, and the keeping of a brothel.

Cathy Walker, a nurse from the Liverpool branch of the RCN which has put forward the resolution, said: We are concerned about the way that prostitution currently operates. We cannot give them safe healthcare or support them. They are left vulnerable to crime, and to infections which of course can affect the entire community.'

Several countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany have decriminalised prostitution and set up health and safety checks that have reduced the harm, including violence against prostitutes.


11th April

    European Sex Industry on the Rise 

Based on an article from Euro Reporters

Brussels journalist David Ferguson examines the state of the adult industry following enlargement.

Enlargement was offered to citizens and entrepreneurs in Central and Eastern European by politicians extolling the virtues of the Single Market and wage hikes. But the one sector that has most profited from the disappearance of frontiers it is pornography, prostitution and the adult industry in general. The European sex industry makes huge profits and is even gaining respectability.

Turnover is up in the sector, with growing demand for videos, DVDS, love toys, special erotic events and love conferences. A host of companies - some listed on major stock exchanges - are entering the normal economy. Other adult profit generators are mobile telephone content, swingers' clubs, Internet, and even e-mail spam. Estimates suggest that as much as 70% of the EUR 365 million that Europeans spent on the Internet in 2001 went on porn. Leading providers of such on-line adult content, like Barcelona-based Private Media Group or Germany's Beate Uhse, are now listed companies and provide accounts worthy of blue chips. "We are very satisfied with the results," said Otto Christian Lindemann, chief financial officer at Beate Uhse.

Beate Uhse, the multinational adult entertainment specialist had sales in 2003 of around 260 million euro and earnings before tax at 18.8 million euro. The company is currently developing a line of shops to win over women as a clientèle. The aim is to change the image of sex shops, and the wider adult industry, from being the preserve of aging and lonely males, and victims of human traffickers.

The supposed underside of the trade in sex has stirred some politicians into action. Former Member of the European Parliament, Marianne Erikson, in report last year called for measures to curtail adult entertainment. "The production of pornography is now a multi-billion worldwide activity. It is a well-known fact that the industry has been one of the most powerful forces in the development of the Internet because of the porn consumer's demands for discretion and security when paying for material."


10th April

    A Course in the Outcome of Bad Legislation 

Based on an article from the BBC

Unfortunate kerb crawlers nicked by the police are being given an alternative to a court appearance. They may elect to pay for a one day course which aims to change their view on prostitution

More than 400 men arrested by officers have taken the course - and only three have been pulled over for re-offending. [No mention of the usual re-offending rate for this trumped up non-offence]

The course was was first launched in Hampshire, before forces in Dorset and, most recently, Nottinghamshire also signed up.

Ian Caren, who worked within Hampshire Probation Service for about 20 years, and Yyvone Shell, a clinical and forensic consultant psychologist, were approached by Hants vice officers who were being constantly confronted by the same familiar faces. The pair agreed to look at the issue of street prostitution and devised a course to try to stop men from repeat offending.

The scheme - called the Change Course - looks at the effects a criminal conviction has on men's families, how kerb crawling affects communities and what the future holds for the men. But the bulk of it centres on the prostitutes themselves. The course costs between £150-£200.

Even if the men complete the programme, they still receive a caution. The course has taken on men aged 18-70, from all walks of life and with different reasons for becoming kerb crawlers. We've had GPs, teachers, employment consultants, heads of companies; all sorts of people, said Caren.


6th April

    Unerotic Manchester

From Yahoo News

Organizers of a major erotic festival have closed early in Manchester due to a lack of interest, which they blame on recalcitrant northern English men.

Erotica Manchester opened on Friday, selling a range of sex aids, clothing and footwear, but ticket sales have been poor and organizers say they will not be coming back. We've tried to warm this city up for more than two years but northerners just haven't responded in sufficient numbers, said event director Savvas Christodoulou. They are happy enough to come to our London event in the autumn but they seem embarrassed about being seen at Erotica Manchester.

We thought Manchester was an open minded city but maybe we were wrong, a spokesman for the event told Reuters. People flock to our show in London but it seems that up here, the traditional northern male still calls the shots.

[ It was pointed out by Simon that one of the reasons for failure may have been that the Manchester show was saddled with a ludicrous topless only licence]


6th April

    Peterborough, Home of Sex Maniacs & Nutters

Based on an article from Peterborough Today

Dances working at a new Peterborough gentlemen's club will earn £1,000 a week according to bosses. They said that the Angels club, which will open in Northminster, is making good progress. and that they are already looking for dancers to take up the lucrative posts.

Ross Lincoln, the  general manager, promised the club will set high standards and provide a classy night out. The project received a boost in September when city magistrates granted the venue at Earlham House, Northminster, in the city centre, a liquor licence and a late opening hours certificate.

Lincoln said the club will also hold a ladies' night, and he is looking for male dancers to come forward.

However, despite his assurances, the club still faces opposition from nutters. Shameful Cllr Mohammed Sabir, who represents Central ward, fears the club will attract people from outside of Peterborough, who will come into the city centre and cause trouble. He said: It could attract sex maniacs. I feel it is going to lead to an increase in prostitution in the city, because people will be looking for prostitutes after coming out of the club.

The venue will be run by Angels 2004 Ltd, which runs city night spot Faith nightclub, in Geneva Street, in the city centre. Work on the club is expected to take between 10 and 12 weeks. Once open the club will be allowed to open from Monday to Saturday, from 6pm to 3am, for over-18s only.


4th April

    Offensive and Embarrassing Legislation

Based on an article from The Scotsman

A prostitutes' support group today warned plans to curb problems caused by vice girls and kerb-crawlers could leave the door open for vigilante-style attacks on street workers.

Scotpep, which offers health and safety advice to prostitutes operating in Leith, is backing plans to lift a ban on the selling of sex on Scotland's streets.

But it has rejected the key recommendation of a so called  expert group set up by the Scottish Executive that a new law be created to tackle "alarming, offensive or embarrassing behaviour or conduct" caused by either prostitutes or clients.

Scotpep believes it would be "inequitable" if any new law did not cover either the harassment or intimidation of sex workers, claiming they regularly suffered from "unacceptable" abuse from angry members of the public.

Co-ordinator Ruth Morgan Thomas said sex workers in Leith had been struck with eggs, had fireworks blasted at them, had abuse shouted at them from "joy-riders" and been confronted by placard-wielding protesters who had surrounded them and forced them to move away from residential streets.

Morgan Thomas said the Executive would be facing accusations that it was making a "moral judgement" on prostitution if any new offence was based on the buying or selling of sex, rather than on "offensive or unacceptable behaviour". She said the group was in favour of applying the existing breach of the peace act equally to sex workers, their clients and members of the public. Some people seem to think harassment and intimidation is acceptable if it is directed at sex workers, when obviously it is not."

The policy group, set up by the Executive two years ago, produced its report last year. It called for new laws to be drawn up to target offensive behaviour arising from the sale of sex, which would be applied equally to prostitutes and the men who use them.

Scotpep, in its official response to the Executive on the policy group's report, said the decriminalisation of soliciting for sex would allow the re-introduction of a "managed" zone in Edinburgh, which would allow support services to be provided, women could work collectively to improve their personal safety and public nuisance would be kept to a minimum.

Scotpep conducted its own consultation with sex workers in the Leith area. The vice girls who took part in the process said they felt reviving a zone would reduce the number of attacks in the area. An official tolerance zone - where police would allow the sale of sex while closely monitoring the area to improve safety for vice girls - operated in Leith for almost 15 years.

Scotpep claimed attacks on prostitutes increased tenfold since the unofficial zone was axed, with more than 100 incidents reported in the space of just 12 months.

The city council has been pursuing antisocial behaviour orders against prostitutes, with officials encouraging neighbouring residents to act as undercover spies to gather evidence on their behalf.


3rd April

    Biased & Worthless Research

From The Independent

Men view a trip to a lap-dancing club as a normal and acceptable form of entertainment and the industry is now so mainstream that many refuse to believe that the women who dance are being exploited, or that there is anything wrong in paying for their services.

Far from seeing dancers as unwilling participants in the sex industry, regular visitors to the clubs believe they are either helping the women or that they themselves are the victims.

The research presented yesterday at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society in Manchester is one of the first studies into the attitudes of men who frequent the clubs. Dr Victoria Clarke, a researcher, said: None of these men felt any shame ... yet none thought about the idea that the women were unwilling participants.


28th March

    Community Injustice

People who pay for sex are part of the community too. It is about time that the authorities enabled a nuisance free way of allowing this trade before they start persecuting people for the nuisance that the authorities themselves have caused.

Based on an article from ic Liverpool

Liverpool's community judge said today he will ban kerb crawlers from driving. Seven men accused of cruising streets to pick up prostitutes were appearing before Judge David Fletcher at the North Liverpool community injustice centre.

All were arrested as part of Operation Badminton, launched by police six months ago to target the streets around Netherfield Road in Everton.

The first pleaded guilty by letter to engaging the services of a prostitute at Everton Park sports centre on January 17. (So what exactly is the crime here, who has been harmed and what is the justification for this restriction?)

Judge Fletcher adjourned the case and ordered the victim to appear before the court for sentencing on April 5 when his driving licence is expected to be suspended.

The judge said to the second: I want to send a clear message that prostitution will be removed from the streets . He was banned from driving for 28 days, fined £200 and ordered to pay £60 costs.

Residents who have carried out a five-year campaign to stop street prostitution welcomed the arrests.


25th March

    Biased Sounding Experts

So who is the representative representing the customers?

Based on an article from The Evening TImes

The members of the expert group which will look at Scotland's adult entertainment industry have been announced.  The group, chaired by Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman Linda Costelloe Baker, contains leading figures in Glasgow politics, law and order, women's rights and nightclubs but apparently nobody to represent the consumer.

The so called experts include the shameful Jim Coleman, deputy leader of Glasgow City Council; Strathclyde Police Superintendent George Clelland, responsible for licensing; Eddie Tobin, Glasgow-based chairman of the Bar Entertainment and Dance Association, and Jan McLeod, member of the expert committee on violence against women and the Women's Support Project.

The group will investigate the scope and extent of adult entertainment activity across Scotland, including lap dancing clubs, of which Glasgow has five, strip clubs and sex shops. Research (hardly scientific considering the opinionated experts) will be carried out to identify and assess any impacts on people who work in the industry, and local communities, with a view to identifying any controls required to regulate the industry. Again not a mention of the impacts the regulation have on consumers.

It will report its findings to ministers in April 2006. Announcing the membership, Finance Minister Tom McCabe said: The Executive is committed to ensuring that people working in the adult entertainment industry are protected and that controls on the industry are as robust and effective as possible. We are taking a two-pronged approach to adult entertainment activity in Scotland. First, through the Licensing (Scotland) Bill and, second, through this Working Group. The Bill contains powers which will be used to prescribe measures for regulating adult entertainment in licensed premises. Through the Bill, the Executive will introduce regulations for national mandatory licence conditions as well as considering whether any additional conditions should be imposed on the industry. The Working Group will review the scope and impact of adult entertainment in Scotland and make recommendations to Ministers on the way forward.


24th March

    Sex Workers Get Established

From The Independent

Off-street prostitution has become an informally regulated profession and hundreds of sex workers have become fully paid-up members of trade unions, research has found.

One association of prostitutes has even joined the GMB, which has helped it to negotiate a code of practice between erotic dancers and sex club owners.

In Manchester, prostitutes have founded the country's first "sauna owners forum" dedicated to improving the working environment for sex workers.

The study: Sex Work, a Risky Business, by Teela Sanders of the University of Leeds, is concludes that in Britain there is "possibly a shift taking place from the old older of prostitution to a new economy of sex work ... divided between those who are loosely connected to the sex industry and entrepreneurs who operate independent businesses."

The study suggests that the police are responding to the new professional brothels by turning a blind eye to indoor sex working. Many officers are reluctant to close down brothels even after complaints from neighbours.

The report is being considered by the government as part of its current review of prostitution laws.


13th March

    Dancing Around with the Law

If councils haven't been given the powers to ban lap dancing then surely they should not be allowed to ban it via dubious usage of their licensing powers.

Based on an article from ic Birmingham

Birmingham's Broad Street could see plans for a second lap dancing club being given the go ahead next week -18 months after the plan was first blocked by city councillors. An application for The Merchant Stores to stage lap dancing under extended opening hours is to be heard by licensing magistrates next week.

The pub's owner, Metin Yusuf, who is also owner of lap dancing club Legs 11, on Ladywell Walk, hopes the hearing will be a successful conclusion to an 18-month licensing wrangle with the city council.

In November 2003, Yusuf had applied for a variation in the pub's existing public entertainments license which involved extending the opening hours. However, his application was blocked due to opposition from local traders that another lap dancing club on Broad Street would be "inappropriate" for the area. [Broad Street is the centre of Birmingham's late licence night life. It is surely the most "appropriate" street in the entire city]

The council does not have the power to ban lap dancing, but imposing a 12am opening time limit on the bar effectively removes its ability to compete with existing venues that have late night licences.

However, Yusuf said he is confident that the magistrates will back his application at the appeal: I thought it was very unfortunate what happened with the application at the city council, but I have always been dealt with fairly by licensing magistrates. There are more and more clubs opening up at the moment, so I am confident that my application will be accepted.


11th March

    No Tolerance for Vague Recommendations

From Edinburgh News

A task force set up to tackle street prostitution was today accused of "ducking the issue" of whether tolerance zones for vice girls should be allowed.

Edinburgh City Council leaders are angry that the Scottish Executive's expert group failed to come up with firm proposals after spending more than a year studying prostitution around the country. They believe it is guilty of a major "missed opportunity", saying the group has failed to give clear guidance to ministers.

Supporters of tolerance zones - including council chiefs - had hoped that the task force would recommend their introduction.

But the expert group - led by former Strathclyde Police assistant chief constable Sandra Hood - stopped well short of that and instead suggested councils may wish to "consider the need" for managed areas for street prostitution.

City leaders are also dismayed the group's recommendations put the onus on local authorities to develop such schemes. City housing leader Sheila Gilmore today said: The expert group has really ducked the issue of tolerance zones by not proposing any new legal powers and the recommendations are really putting the responsibility back to local authorities. This is not what we were looking for.

The task force has proposed scrapping the existing law which bans soliciting and says that if this recommendation is followed there should be no need for statutory "tolerance zones". A new law is being touted which would target people either buying or selling sex, causing alarm, offence or embarrassment to the public. At present there is no law available to tackle kerb-crawlers.

The managed zones are being proposed to confine public nuisance to a specific area, discourage clients from searching for women elsewhere and provide "safety in numbers" for the women involved.

Another key recommendation is that local authorities and their partners draw up their own action plans to deal with street prostitution. However, the council believes the Executive should be taking the lead on the issue and today urged it to ensure a national strategy is brought forward.

An unofficial tolerance zone was located in Coburg Street in Leith for around 15 years until 2001 when it was moved by Lothian and Borders Police to Salamander Street. It was scrapped several months later after massive opposition from local residents.

The consultation on the issue will end later this month.


6th March

    Lame & Immoral Excuse for a Striptease Ban

Sounds like councillors are letting their personal views rise above the requirement to properly justify restrictions. This is about the most pitiful attempt at a lame excuse that I have heard for a while. The phrase 'immoral language' suggests that religion may be behind this ban

Based on an article from ic Berkshire

A pub's bid to host nude dancing was thrown out by councillors, who claimed it would 'affect the safety of the neighbourhood'.

Dawn Groom, the owner of The Flags, in Chalvey, Slough, had applied to host striptease, pole dancing and table dancing at her Church Street pub on Friday and Sunday evenings.

Police and officers raised no major objections on safety grounds, but shameful Labour ward councillor Raja Zarait said residents were seriously concerned about its impact on the neighbourhood. There is already a lot of noise when people leave the pub using immoral language. Two ladies said men leaving the pub made sexual gestures towards them, and they said they now do not feel safe leaving the house , he added.

Cllr Pervez Choudhry (Lab: Chalvey) said he was 'seriously concerned' that Groom had hosted similar activities for eight years without the proper licence. She admitted she had not been aware she was breaking the rules until the visit by licensing officers in December 2004, when she put a stop to any activity. In addition, cllr Shine said: To come and say that you weren't aware of the rules is not acceptable. If don't know the rules, you're not doing your job properly.

And cllr Choudhry continued: Residents have contacted their ward councillor, and if they feel unsafe, and are worried about noise and impact, we should take that seriously.

Groom, speaking after the meeting, said she was 'very disappointed', and would soon appeal the decision.


5th March

    Private Dancers

Good on Harrogate council, a rare example of a reasonable attitude.

From Harrogate Today

Harrogate Council has approved plans for 18 "self-contained" private booths to be added to a town-centre lap-dancing club. The new owners of Spearmint Rhino, Wakefield-based Provocative Group Ltd, applied for the booths as part of a change to their entertainment licence, which they required to start a £250,000 overhaul of the venue. They also plan to add a new glass VIP area, double the amount of girls working at weekends and build a cocktail bar.

Coun Bob Nash (Conservative), who chaired the licensing meeting which discussed the changes, said the council was satisfied that the company had met their stringent conditions.

He said: We'd never had any problems with the previous operator and really this was almost a replica business. There is no legal reason why we should refuse the application. There will be very strict enforcement on the no touching rule and all the booths will have panic switches fitted.

The club, to be renamed Wildcats, will shut on Monday and re-open in six weeks. The new owners have stressed that the club will uphold the high standards of safety set by Spearmint Rhino.


4th March

    Barnet Sex Workers Harrassed

Bollox article about a bollox police operation laden with leading words such as 'swooped', 'prostitution ring' etc

Based on an article from The Barnet Times

Police vice squad officers raided addresses and suspected brothels across Barnet on Tuesday, arresting three people believed to be involved in a multi-million pound prostitution operation across north London.

A 45-year-old man was arrested at his home in Colindale, and a 25-year-old man and a woman, thought to be in her late 20s, were arrested at their home in Hendon in the raids. A fourth man was arrested at Luton airport.

All were arrested on suspicion of controlling prostitution and were being held in custody at a central London police station.

Two other houses in Colindale and two addresses in Hendon were also searched, as well as one in Stanmore, one in Hampstead and six in central London. Suspected brothels in Southgate, Hornsey and Camden were also searched.


3rd March

    More in Morecambe

Based on an article from Morecambe Today

A lap dancing club is set to open in Morecambe. Kirklands Entertainment, leaseholders of the boarded-up Oyster pub on the seafront, are applying for a licence to re-open as a venue for multi-purpose entertainment, to include lapdancing. If successful, they plan to convert the upstairs floor of the Oyster into part lapdancing bar, part mini fun casino. The ground floor would re-open as a 'normal' bar.

Obviously there will be objections but we are a business,   said a spokesman for Kirklands Entertainment. If we could sell the Oyster, we would, but we can't so we have to do something with the building and if we can bring in lapdancing, it may give a bit of 'oomph' to the Morecambe social scene. It may only last for a couple of years but it may help make Morecambe that little bit busier.

A spokesperson for Lancaster City Council said: "Whilst it is impossible to generalise without seeing the full details of what is proposed, it is likely that a public entertainment licence would be required under the current legislation. Under the Licensing Act 2003, the proposed activity would constitute 'regulated entertainment' and would need to be covered in the new premises licence.


2nd March

    More for Birmingham Gentlemen

Based on an article from ic Birmingham

Birmingham councillors have given the go-ahead to the opening of a " gentleman's club" at 88 to 90 Bristol Street.

There were no objections to the granting of a licence for the club. But of course there were some local residents up for a whinge. Margaret Hopkins said: Bars and clubs like that are now accepted by everyone. It doesn't matter what we say, they get their own way in the end.


27th February

    British Law Enables the Brutalisation of Working Girls

It is about time for the police and politicians to realise that their continued action to force a very popular service underground is directly leading to beatings, rape and murder.

Based on an article from The Independent

East European prostitutes are operating in every town and city in Britain, the head of the country's biggest vice squad claimed yesterday.

The huge growth in foreign prostitutes in Britain has also lead to an increase in unprotected sex, police intelligence shows. East Europeans mainly from Lithuania, Estonia, Kosovo, Albania, Moldova, and Romania account for about 80 per cent of the prostitutes and pimps in central London, said Superintendent Chris Bradford, the operational head of the Metropolitan Police's clubs and vice squad.

He told The Independent that anybody who says they don't have prostitution in their town just needs to turn to their local newspaper and look at the personal ads.

Most of the women come to Britain looking for work in clubs, bars, restaurants, and domestic jobs, although some are already prostitutes who want to make better money, Bradford said. After they arrive some are coerced into working in the sex industry and told they and their family will suffer if they do not perform. Some of the girls find themselves trapped. They are vulnerable and their pimps will take their documents from them and tell them if they run away they will be captured and if they go to the police they are corrupt and will be returned. The girls are terrified.

This week, an Albanian pimp in London, where 8,000 east European prostitutes operate, was jailed for 11 years for trafficking 40 Lithuanian women and passing them to other pimps for £4,000 each, or making them sell sex for up to 13 hours a day.

With the growing number of foreign prostitutes, the competition for cut-price sex and for more extreme services has intensified, Bradford said. One of most alarming developments has been the growing number of prostitutes offering unprotected sex.

Men are now offered sex without a condom at an extra fee. In London, a typical fee for full sex with a condom is £30, but without protection it is £45 to £50. Similarly, anal sex is offered with and without a condom. When you consider some women are having sex with 30 clients a day this has implications for the spread of diseases Bradford said.

The foreign pimps, who usually operate in groups of about five controlling 15 women, are more likely to use extreme violence on them. The officer said: The old pimp-prostitute relationship was based on violence. It used to involve a black eye or a slap, but we now have girls beaten unconscious and raped by several men as a punishment. Lots of these pimps are from brutalised societies and that is all they know.


26th February

    Nutter's License

Based on an article from The Scotsman

The Scottish Executive is to create an adult entertainment tsar to toughen the rules governing strip clubs, sex shops and cinemas, and lap dancing venues. Private booths in lap dancing clubs will be banned under new laws to be unveiled next week.

The new licensing bill is expected to include a number of powers to tighten the running of lap dancing clubs, such as CCTV monitoring and no touching between customer and performer. Hollyrood sources have confirmed the bill will go as far as banning private booths, where many fear sex is often for sale. A source said: It's been known for some time there'll be measures to tighten up what goes on in lap dancing clubs but some might be taken aback that booths will be banned.

The new group on the adult entertainment industry will be headed by Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman Linda Costelloe Baker. The shameful Glasgow City Council deputy leader Jim Coleman, a nutter set against lap dancing clubs, is expected to join the group.

They will:

  • Identify what qualifies as adult entertainment
  • Consult with everyone from women's groups to strip club owners
  • Commission research into the effects of the trade and identify ways to control it.

But shameful Glasgow nationalist MSP and women's rights campaigner Sandra White said she did not see the point in another expert group. She said: "The Executive could save time, effort and money by simply changing the legislation to allow councils to classify lap dancing clubs the same way as they do sex shops.

Finance Minister Tom McCabe said: The Executive intends to take a stronger approach to adult entertainment activity, including lap dancing, recognising the concerns being expressed about it. The Licensing (Scotland) Bill will contain powers which will be used to prescribe measures for regulating adult entertainment on licensed premises.


26th February

    Liverpool Leads Leeds

From Leeds Today

A red light zone could be set up in Leeds as part of a fresh approach to coping with the growing number of prostitutes in the city. City Council chiefs will debate the issue next month after looking at the experiences of Liverpool City Council.

The Merseyside authority has voted in favour of setting up an official management zone but is waiting for Home Office approval to the plan.

Coun Ralph Pryke, (Lib Dem) chairman of the Leeds's neighbourhood and housing scrutiny board, said: Liverpool has a fairly well worked out process. It must be away from residential areas and must be close to the city centre. We are nowhere near that stage yet, but it might be one way of dealing with it. The issue is going to come up sooner or later. Liverpool have worked it out. They did surveys of city residents and sex workers, and while it hasn't met with universal approval they are going ahead with it.
"That discussion is three months down the line for us. The main thing now is community safety.

But Coun Angela Gabriel (Lab) warned that Holbeck residents, whose streets are already plagued by prostitution, would be opposed to a legalised zone in their community. She said: Nobody would want it, but there needs to be a grown-up debate. I am in favour of a zero-tolerance stance in residential areas but we do need a city-wide approach.

As well as the management zone, the scrutiny board is to debate using CCTV to pinpoint cars used by kerb crawlers as they move between Leeds's two main red light zones, located in the Chapeltown and City and Holbeck policing divisions. A role for police community support officers and neighbourhood wardens will also be discussed.

The board will also consider seeking the views of sex workers through Harehills-based charity Community Action and Support Against Crime (CASAC), which runs a support service for prostitutes.
Coun Mark Harris (Lib Dem), the council's deputy leader said: The entire council know there is a problem will prostitution in Leeds. We must take a city wide view on this and come up with a city-wide policy. The administration is committed to looking at every potential option. We need to consider new legislation on controlled and tolerated zones and consider every option. The problem is not just wiping prostitution of the streets but it is much more wide-ranging and has implications with other crimes. At this momemt no decision has been taken. Whatever decision is taken there will be full consultation with all members of the council and we will need work together with the police to deal with the wider issues surrounding prostitution.

Scrutiny boards examine the council's work and recommend policies. Their reports are influential but not binding on the council.


13th February

    Fantasy Bankruptcy

Based on an article from the Sunday Mail

The boss behind one of Scotland's first lap dancing clubs has gone bust. Joe Park has been declared bankrupt and his Fantasy Club has shut down. Two other pubs he owned in Aberdeen - Rabbie's Bar and the Westend Bar - are also for sale to help cover debts.

The lap dancing bar sparked interest when five of its dancers - Dee, Sally, Rachel, Natasha and Sarah - featured in a Channel 4 documentary, Fantasy Club. They lived in the same bungalow and were filmed naked in a bath.

Around 15 staff at the three bars he owned lost their jobs.

Peter Darroch, of Glasgow-based Creevy LLH, who are handling the sale, said: It may re-open as a lap-dancing club but is more likely to be a pub and nightclub.


11th February

    Adding to Trafficking Problems

I have deleted all references to the usual political bollox of casually linking adult prostitution with serious crimes related to child prostitution.

This sounds like more crap law that will punish innocent people. How on earth should men know the background to the reasons for working.

Participants shouldn't be blamed for problems of the Government's own making. Problems caused by prostitution are mostly caused by its criminalisation and the resulting opportunities for exploitation. If it was properly run then surely customers would choose the legal world rather than the underworld.

Based on an article from The Guardian

The shameful solicitor general, Harriet Harman recently launched a drive to galvanise a European-wide crackdown on trafficking in women for enforced prostitution, urging closer international cooperation between prosecutors. Harman said in an interview with the Guardian that law enforcement had to undertake a radical approach whereby men who have sex with trafficked women will be liable to prosecution.

Harman, who has been assigned a special anti-trafficking portfolio by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, will make her pitch at a meeting in The Hague of Eurojust, the EU body formed in 2002 which brings together public prosecution services. She will present a three-part plan to combat trafficking, comprising protection for victims, more effective prosecution of traffickers and seizing proceeds of the crime.

Harman said: There is only the prospect of the trafficking situation getting worse unless we do something about it. Either more lives are going to be ruined, or we have to face this and crack down.
Trafficking is one of the fastest-burgeoning international crimes, organised by serious criminals and part of the financing of serious organised crime. I call it modern-day slavery: it is about the exploitation of women and the exploitation of people from developing countries, and anyone who is concerned about these things has got to be concerned about this agenda.

European countries, she said, have to work together. We have to coordinate. Trafficking is by definition an international crime. We are talking about women of one nationality dragged across Europe by traffickers of another nationality. Cases might have jurisdiction in one country, evidence in another and witnesses in another. We need to create a pan-European prosecution effort through Eurojust. Eurojust is there, now it is about focusing Eurojust on trafficking.

The Council of Europe has finalised wording for a binding convention on trafficking, affording protection of victims and facilitating prosecution, which opens for ratification in May.

There is debate as to whether Britain should or will ratify, having opted out of an EU directive on trafficking last year.

I can't see why we shouldn't ratify , Harman said, as we are doing these things anyway. But whether or not we ratify is not my top priority. My top priority is to galvanise a Europe-wide effort to to tackle human trafficking and get things done."

It is the trafficked people who are the victims; and we are part of the problem: the fact is that there are people in Britain who are using the trafficked women - we are part of the demand side. The point brings Harman to a radical innovation in prosecution policy, what she calls a major challenge to the notion of consent to sex. We have got to look at the prosecution of users . We have got to ask whether there should be immunity for people who use a woman who has been tricked or abducted, dragged across Europe, beaten and often raped as a means of breaking her down. An estimated 80% of prostitutes in London are foreign. The idea that these are women who have chosen to sell sex is clearly wrong. There is the issue of consent.

She added: The people who purchase their services would not regard themselves as criminals, but they are the demand side of terrible criminal exploitation.

In practice, Harman's plan means that when a place is raided, you don't necessarily just grab the pimp. You grab the user, if there is a girl crying who can't speak English. It's too easy to turn a blind eye to the demand side. I don't think we can, and we are not.


7th February

    A Barrow Load of Council Bollox

Based on an article from North West Mail

Plans for a lap dancing venue in Barrow sex show have been given the red light. Licensing chiefs rejected Raina Dougliss's proposal for a lap-dancing venue at the Bluebird Club in Holker Street without adequate justification.

No police objection was raised to the scheme but a majority of the Barrow Borough Council committee agreed to turn down her bid for a provisional public entertainment licence.

They trumped up the excuse that the club would cause nuisance and public disorder. (Perhaps they should present their evidence, There are are hundreds of table dancing clubs with a handful of disturbances between them)

Yesterday's decision came after seven objections and further protests from residents at the town hall meeting. Richard Hennah, of Middle Hill, Barrow, told the committee he believed the police's response to problems would be compromised by the club's location. His worries were supported by Councillor Ken Burton, a member of the committee.


6th February

    Seeing the Light but not Bothering with Justification

Based on an article from ic Huddersfield

A second erotic dance club is to open in Huddersfield. Developers are planning a table dancing club at the former Changing Lights and Fevers Revival Bar, in Chapel Hill, Lockwood. It is set to open its doors in early March and will be called Centrefolds.

Council chiefs have already given planners the go-ahead as long as noise levels are within the guidelines. The licence will allow the club to open from Wednesday to Saturday between the hours of 7.30pm and 2am. Club owners have agreed with the council there will be no fully naked dancers, no touching will be permitted and doormen must be used at all times.

Clr Julie Stewart Turner, a member of the licensing committee, said it had been a tough decision to give approval to the new development. It is a difficult issue but I spoke with the applicant and was convinced his experience in the trade would make sure all the rules were adhered to and there were no problems . It would have been a very different picture had the club been next to a large housing estate. Personally I think it is out of the way enough not to be a problem."

But Kirklees Conservative leader & shameful nutter, Robert Light, said he thinks there has to be a point when the number of lap dancing clubs must be limited. We do not want our town centres to become like Amsterdam. I believe it is very important clubs like this one need to be approved only after a lot of thought and a moral judgement. As a father I ask myself would I want my children walking past these places and asking questions? We have a duty to protect their innocence and lap dancing clubs and other shops that are already in town centres don't make it easy.

(So adults are to be denied their rights to discrete entertainment so as to avoid an occasional question from a child? Presumable the moral judgement he refers to is his!)


5th February

    Tolerance Free Zone

Based on an article from ic Liverpool

Liverpool's red light plans should be rejected out of hand, says a government minister. The shameful Wavertree MP Jane Kennedy has written to home secretary Charles Clarke asking him to turn the idea down.

Kennedy's intervention - which comes just days after Merseyside's chief constable said he did not believe a prostitute zone would work, could further scupper the council's chances of getting its pilot scheme approved. Kennedy said: I wouldn't want it in my street in Childwall and I don't see why it should be inflicted on other residents. The minister for work and pensions stressed she was not speaking for the government, which is neutral until the Home Office has considered the city council application.

Her whinging has put her at loggerheads not just with the Liberal Democrat- controlled council, but also with several Merseyside Labour MPs who have tentatively supported the move as a way of regulating prostitution. And the fact that a senior minister is pressing a Cabinet colleague increases the chances of a government rejection.

She said: Prostitution is normally part of organised criminal activity, which also involves people-trafficking, drug dealing, counterfeiting goods, smuggling and money-laundering . (Yes but that's because bollox politicians like Kennedy criminalise it)

However Riverside Labour MP Louise Ellman, whose consituency takes in one of the suggested areas, said that, while she would want strict enforcement to keep out criminals, she believes the council bid is a sensible measure which has worked in other countries.


4th February

    Exploitation in Bilston

Maybe this story would be better filed under How to deal with a council that wont give planning permission.

Based on an article from The Express and Star

Plans are being drawn up for Bilston to get its first lap dancing club in a residential area. The club would be housed on the site of the former Cee Dee Social Club, in Broad Street, as part of the plan drawn up by a West Bromwich-based company.

It would be the third adult venue of its kind in the Wolverhampton area, where two lap dancing clubs already operate in the city centre.

The news, which is expected to outrage nutters, was revealed by the current owner of the site, who says he has fought unsuccessfully for nearly three years to be allowed to build housing on the land. Frustrated Kappa Dulay, director of Birmingham-based Woodbourne Homes Ltd, said after four failed planning applications he had been left with no other option but to offload the building and surrounding land. He bought the land from Wolverhampton City Council in October 2002 for £235,000 believing it was earmarked for residential development. I don't want to sell it but a company has made me a very tempting offer and I would be a fool to refuse it. I'm certain that the people of Bilston will be horrified, but I have no choice. I feel let down by the council. Every time I have submitted plans they have been rejected.

Dulay refused to name the Sandwell firm behind the lap dancing club plans until a deal is finalised, but says its bosses are confident transforming the former social club into a raunchy nightspot would be "just a formality".

Bilston MP Dennis Turner was appalled by the prospect and said the area earmarked was heavily populated by elderly people and young families. A lap dancing club would be very undesirable in this residential area which is also very close to a church.


3rd February

    Leeds Uncovered

From The Yorkshire Post From The Guardian

A call for ban on nude table dancing dropped in Leeds has been dropped.

Leeds councillors yesterday agreed new rules on how the clubs are to be run. Members of the licensing and regulatory panel had considered banning nude dancing. But lawyers representing the bars, including the Purple Door, Blue Leopard and Red Leopard, argued that nude dancing had taken place in their premises for many years without problems.

After listening to the representations, councillors made several revisions to the new special conditions. Clubs must now fit CCTV cameras inside their premises to the satisfaction of West Yorkshire Police. Booths and private rooms must be visible to supervision and must not have closing doors or curtains.

Previously councilors were said to had been considering a requirement for thongs. The Conservative panel chair, Ronnie Feldman, said that people had differing opinions about the propriety of nude dancing, but Leeds could not continue without regulation. Clubs have been able to open with only a public entertainment licence and no detailed supervision of what form the entertainment takes.

Officers in Leeds have been advised by their counterparts in Birmingham, which last year agreed 14 regulations. "Nude" dancers in the Midlands must wear G-strings, which they can only remove at the end of their show, and contact is limited to a hand-in-hand greeting.

In a submission to the Leeds council on behalf of the club Tappas, solicitors Wells & Co said: Performances involving full nudity in a lap dancing establishment would be fundamentally undermined by any condition requiring performers to be 'appropriately clothed'.


3rd February

    Enlivening Dour Docklands

From ic The Wharf

Bar workers at West India Quay have backed a neighbouring restaurant's fight for a late night table dancing licence.

Attempts to transform Dockmasters House into a gentleman's club have so far been rebuffed by Tower Hamlets Council, but workers at other bars believe granting such a license would see trade in the area's bars thrive. The main reason we struggle to attract weekend crowds around here is mainly due to the lack of anywhere to go on to afterwards said Wetherspoons supervisor Heidi Yustette: Why would people come all the way out here when they have late night entertainment in the centre of London? I think all the staff here would appreciate something to do after our shift has finished as well - lap dancing clubs are great fun and they are not just for the boys.

Her sentiments were echoed by Brown's worker Jeremy Halliwell, who said: When the pubs here kick out at 11 there is always a huge rush onto the DLR or the Jubilee Line as people are desperate to get somewhere before it's too late. Often they leave here even earlier and it's a real shame that there is nothing to keep us entertained past closing time. I can't understand why people would be upset about a club like that opening up - it's only a business at the end of the day and in today's society I can't believe councillors would kick up a stink about it.'

Dockmasters' application was initially turned down in September 2002 in the face of opposition from the Salvation Army and the Museum in Docklands, but the venue insisted it may still reapply.


2nd February

    A Sad Day for Rugby Nutters

From ic Coventry

Rugby is to become the first town in Warwickshire to have a table dancing venue. Scantily-clad dancers will entertain customers when the Pig & Truffle, in Church Street reopens as Club Midas in April after a revamp.

Councillors reluctantly approved a special entertainment licence at a meeting on Tuesday night, saying it was a "sad day" for the town, but said there was nothing in law to stop it. Licensing chiefs say the legislation is clear in that there are only certain things for which a lap-dancing application can be refused. They said other councils in Warwickshire would be governed by the same rules.

Councillor Bob Copland, chairman of the licensing committee at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said: My personal opinion is that I am not one that makes judgements on moral grounds and would address any application on its own merits.

Robin Richter, Rugby's town centre manager, said today that the decision set the town back. He said: I am extremely disappointed with the decision. About a dozen nutters also made their feelings known at the council meeting, claiming the venue was immoral and an inappropriate site.

Sean Lawson, Rugby Borough Council's head of environmental health, who recommended the plans for approval, said: We have put conditions in place that require performers to stay a minimum of 12 inches from customers, and to control noise, and there were no objections from the police or fire. He said the morality and sensitivity of the venue were "not substantive" grounds to block the project.


1st February

    Police Whores

Decent working girls and their customers are being targeted by police whores in Brixton Hill. The Government are responsible for the nuisance problem because they refuse to allow a legal and discrete environment for the trade. Money wasted on noxious police exercises such as this should be re-invested in ways to reduce problems via legalisation.

From ic South London

Undercover police officers posed as prostitutes to catch kerbcrawlers as part of a special vice operation.
The "decoy" officers were deployed in prostitution hot spots, including Brixton Hill, to attract kerb-crawlers prowling for sex.

Police made a number of arrests during the week-long operation that involved officers from Lambeth's vice squad and the Met's club and vice unit.

The total number of people charged with kerb-crawling in vice operations in the borough is now more than 80 in the last five months. Sgt Peter Tyson said: This operation has concentrated on targeting kerb-crawlers to try to reduce the demand for prostitution in parts of the borough. It is part of our overall strategy to reduce prostitution in Lambeth in response to requests from the community to tackle the problem.


31st January

    Laudable Liberal Liverpool

From The Times Liverpool will apply to the Home Office to open Britain's first officially recognised red light area.

The Liberal Democrat- controlled city council wants a "managed" vice district where healthcare workers will try to wean prostitutes off drugs. It has set aside five possible sites, all car parks or streets on industrial estates, where sex will be for sale between 8pm and 2am. A squad of cleaners will then move in to mop up the area before factory workers clock on for their day shift.

Charles Clarke, the home secretary, would have to introduce changes in the law, which prohibits street prostitution, before approving a pilot scheme. But the government has acknowledged the possible merits of formalised red light areas. Its white paper, Paying the Price, said last year: It is suggested that managed areas could bring significant benefits.

The Home Office is assessing 850 replies to a consultation exercise. Other towns and cities are watching the outcome. Doncaster, Northampton, Bolton and Leicester councils have all talked about similar schemes. But Reading has cracked down on street prostitution, slapping antisocial behaviour orders on seven women with a threat of five years in jail if they persist.

An official report to the Scottish parliament last month recommended setting up recognised tolerance zones. Glasgow rejected the idea after protests from residents. An unofficial scheme in the Leith docks area of Edinburgh ran for 15 years but was scrapped in 2001 after a transfer to another part of the docks proved unpopular with residents.

In Liverpool, vice girls moved further into the city when the docks were redeveloped for tourism. There are now about 400 prostitutes working the streets. Social workers estimate that 98% of them are addicted to crack or heroin with a weekly habit costing between £350 and £550. In 2003 two of the women were murdered and their bodies left in bin bags.

The city council, which is expected to vote on Wednesday to ask Clarke for official sanction for its vice zone, wants to offer the prostitutes a needle exchange service, access to education and help to give up drugs.

The proposed scheme is based on ones already running in Cologne, Germany, and the Dutch city of Utrecht. Every prostitute working in the designated area would have to register. Police would be asked to show zero tolerance to anyone trying to sell sex outside the area, which would be monitored with CCTV cameras.

Mike Creer, a former police officer who runs the city's drug intervention programme, said that a managed area would help to stop organised crime taking over vice in the city.


27th January

    Nutters Browned Off

From London 24

Plans for nude lap dancing and striptease at a Wood Green nightclub have met with protest from pensioners living next door.

Charlie Brown's nightclub, Wood Green High Road, wants to become the first club in Haringey with a licence for fully nude pole and lap dancing - and councillors will decide on its application at a meeting tonight (last Thursday).

But the club faces opposition from Raj Kunj, a sheltered care home for Asian pensioners right next door to the club. Protesters have collected 21 signatures from residents at the home, voicing "grave concerns" about the move.

They have the support of Hornsey and Wood Green Shameful MP Barbara Roche, who has opposed the club's plans since they first applied last year. She said: I have spoken to lots of residents in the sheltered housing accommodation next door to the club, and everyone there is absolutely against it. I don't think it will be a nice place for women to walk past at night. I think it would make people feel less secure. Also, the club is right opposite the Civic Centre - what kind of advert is that for the borough?

Another petition has been signed by 41 nearby residents, and local councillors have also joined the protest. Ward councillor Denis Dillon said: There's overwhelming evidence that the women involved in striptease and lap dancing are very exploited. I'm not saying for a second there's any direct evidence that that happens at Charlie Brown's but the studies are very clear. (Perhaps the councillor would like to specify his overwhelming evidence, the only publication sthat I am aware of that support his case are those commissioned by Glasgow councillors who have a chip on their shoulder about adult entertainment).


23rd January

    Staid Old Boots

From the BBC

Health and beauty retailer Boots has dropped its plans to stock sex toys in its UK stores. We have had lots of feedback about it from customers and our own people and we just decided it wasn't for us a Boots spokesman said.

Durex condom maker SSL, which also makes sex toys, had been in discussion with Boots over providing products. Boots has been expanding into new lines as it faces rising competition among the beauty and health product sector.

Shops selling sex toys have become more common on UK High Streets. Ann Summers, which claims 70% of its customers are ABC1 women, has 117 branches and last year had a turnover of £110m ($205m).


21st January

    Winding up Birmingham's Nutters

Based on an article from ic Birmingham

Lap dancing bosses who annoyed local nutters with their humerous posters now plan the ultimate wind up - full frontal nudity on billboards in Birmingham.

Previous posters around the city have already offended a few nutters so now the council's licensing committee has decided 'enough is enough'. A team of "smutbusters" has been formed to make sure the clubs clean up their act.

Evening Mail readers led calls for a cover-up when the Medusa club ran a billboard promotion featuring a naked girl wearing only a Father Christmas hat. Medusa bosses were made to tone down the image.

Now, the council has been goaded into immediate action after committee members heard of a plan for a full frontal advert.

Shameful Councillor  Mike Olley said: I have now been told a particular licensee wants to show a full-frontal naked woman on their lap dancing club. I don't want to see this kind of schoolboy humour or derogative stuff on our streets. We allowed clubs self regulation, but it is clear some cannot behave in a responsible manner ."

He cited the Christmas campaign by the Medusa, in Suffolk Street, and a campaign by the Rocket Club, in Broad Street, which featured a parrot and a rude pun on the word 'Cockatoo'.

He demanded that clubs that don't toe the line should be made to black out their windows and signs like sex shops. Committee chairman David Osborn (Lib Dem, South Yardley) backed the call and has ordered a special working party to draw up the new regulations.

Alan Sartori, owner of The Rocket Club, defended his posters as a lively, silly fun in the Carry On seaside postcard humour tradition.



The committee is also set to investigate the increasing use of lap dancers in limousines and even canal barges. Councillors are worried that unlicensed stripping is taking place on the move in the city centre.


16th January

    Scottish Parliament Peeping Toms

Based on an article from The Herald

Glasgow Council have a chip on their shoulder about adult entertainment and have been commissioning reports to substantiate their repressive views. It seems that this work has now found resonation at the Scottish Parliament.

Closed-circuit television cameras may soon have to monitor activities within all Scotland's lap dancing, table dancing and pole dancing clubs, including their "private areas" such as booths.

Details of a set of nine proposed mandatory licence conditions, aimed at increasing controls over adult entertainment, have been drawn up by group reviewing liquor licensing.
Another condition would bar physical contact between performers and customers other than the placing of money or dance vouchers into the hand or garter worn by the performer for that purpose except for a simple handshake at the beginning and/or end of a performance.

There are 16 clubs and showbars in Scotland, almost all of them in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. At present, most lap dancing clubs operate by virtue of a liquor entertainment licence issued under the provisions of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976. However that only relates to the sale and consumption of alcohol and the conditions of that licence cannot relate to any aspect of the entertainment provided by clubs.

In a letter from the executive to the chairmen of Scotland's 54 licensing boards, it has been indicated that in future the issue of a liquor licence for premises offering adult entertainment would be subject to a set of mandatory licence conditions – if they are approved by ministers. The group includes representatives from the licensed trade and the police. Members claim good-quality surveillance is necessary in establishments with adult entertainment. It believes CCTV should be installed and maintained. A similar scheme already operates in Newcastle.

The group says that, on balance, it is felt that CCTV should be provided in both public areas and private ones such as dressing rooms, booths and corridors. It indicates it would be for individual licensing boards to specify the number of cameras.

The Licensing Bill is expected to be introduced by the Scottish Parliament in the next few weeks and an executive spokesman said ministers were considering the proposals.

In the past, Glasgow City Council has objected to all lap-dancing applications on the grounds that they demean and exploit women and has called on the executive to amend legislation to make clubs subject to the same controls as sex shops. The city has five clubs, one less than in Edinburgh, while Aberdeen has four. The other is in Hamilton in Lanarkshire.


1st January

    Rampant Christmas Rabbits

From The Sun

Sex shop Ann Summers had a record-breaking Christmas – thanks to sales of their Rampant Rabbit vibrators.  The store sold a huge number of the sex toys in the run-up to the
festive period - with Rampant Rabbit Platinum the store's top-selling product.

Chief executive Jacqueline Gold said: Santa was kept very busy unloading sackfuls of Rampant Rabbits.

Their 121 high street shops served one million customers in the eight weeks before Christmas and saw like-for-like sales up 10% on the previous year.

Ann Summers Top Sellers

1. Rampant Rabbit Platinum
2. Rampant Rabbit vibrators
3. Allure lingerie
4. Toffee Body Drizzle
5. Chocolate Body Paint
6. Sweetheart lingerie
7. Naughty Bits Choc Bar
8. Feather Boa
9. Thrill lingerie
10. Promise vibrator

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