What is legal?

"The law relating to Prostitution in England and Wales is very confusing. There is often the law and then, quite separately, the practice. In fact, the law is in a total mess.

The act of prostitution is not itself illegal but there are many associated offences. Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is an offence to cause or incite prostitution or control it for personal gain. The previous Act, the Sexual Offences Act 1956 makes it illegal to run a brothel or to loiter or solicit sex on the street. Kerb crawling, as its called, can also comprise a criminal offence.

As to what comprises a brothel, the law designates it as premises where more than one person are available for paid sex. If one woman works alone, this does not come within the definition of a brothel.

The problem really arises because brothels are visible, advertise their services in many respectable newspapers and publications, and the police are well aware of their presence. Indeed, the impression is that the police sometimes not only turn a blind eye but encourage the proliferation of brothels because they are easier to manage and much safer than allowing the girls to work on the streets.

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