Subject: UK sees sharp rise in east European prostitutes
From: Melanie Orhant (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Feb 17 2000 - 12:39:36 EST
WIRE:02/17/2000 08:37:00 ET
UK sees sharp rise in east European prostitutes
LONDON, Feb 17 (Reuters) -
Increasing numbers of women from the
former Soviet Union are being smuggled
into Britain to work as prostitutes,
according to researchers carrying out a
study for the government.
"What we are looking at is a huge
increase in numbers coming in from the
former Eastern bloc," one of the researchers told
The trade is not on the same scale as in other European
countries like Italy, Belgium or Germany because
is an island with strict immigration controls, she
"However, we do have a problem. It is a growing
problem and our report focuses on the response of
agencies to that problem and what the UK needs to do."
The study is being carried out by the Child and Women
abuse Studies Unit at the University of North London
was commissioned by the Home Office (interior
to give it an idea of the extent of the problem.
The report is due to be published in late March.
Police paint a grim picture of the extent of the trade,
saying that six out of 10 prostitutes in London
have been brought in from abroad. They include women
from Asia, Latin America and eastern Europe.
Smaller centres outside London are not immune to the
inflow of foreign prostitutes as criminal gangs expand
beyond the capital.
The women, lured by the promise of a better life, often
end up in servitude to men who demand repayment for
travel, accomodation and fees to the brothel madame.
As illegal immigrants they fear going to the police and
no way to escape violence and intimidation.
In London's Soho bar district, signs abound for
Prostitutes' calling cards clutter public telephone
advertising all manner of sexual services.
The Home Office will decide how to tackle the problem
of foreign prostitutes once the study gives it an idea
"There was some anecdotal knowledge, at least in
London, about this problem but not a clearer picture
what might be going on across the country," a
told Reuters. "When the research is published we'll
The researcher would not comment on media reports that
the study revealed that many British police forces
strategy to tackle the gangs behind the trafficking.
"Prostitution is not a high priority for UK police
burglary is. If prostitution isn't a high priority
trafficking isn't going to be a high priority," she
"That's not saying that police forces are falling down
their duty. It's about where the priorities lie -- and
not just a police force issue, that's a government
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