In England and Wales, it is not illegal to buy or sell sex, but it is against the law to operate a brothel. Sandy’s Superstars, just to reiterate, was situated on a busy shopping thoroughfare, not the back alleyways, with ‘house charges of £50 for 30 minutes and £100 for an hour’. Still, police decided to do nothing.
Or, to be more precise, they came to an agreement with Mrs Hankin that she could continue as long she never used underage girls or trafficked women, and her activities weren’t used as a front for other crime; she kept her side of the bargain as far as the authorities were concerned.
Her prostitutes had regular NHS health checks. Her bouncers were accredited by the Home Office-approved Security Industry Authority. Council officials carried out regular checks. Her business even paid tax and was visited by inspectors from tax authority HMRC — in other words, Sandy’s Superstars was really a licensed brothel in all but name.But this is just an exception, surely?
The pragmatic policy, pursued by Greater Manchester Police, has been quietly adopted across the country.
Indeed, the latest guidance from the National Police Chiefs’ Council states: ‘Brothel closures and raids create a mistrust of all external agencies . . . it is difficult to rebuild trust and ultimately reduces the amount of intelligence submitted to the police and puts sex workers at greater risk.’Isn't it to be expected that criminals mistrust the law enforcers? Say, perhaps, even encouraged?
What a strange modern world we live in, eh?