Letter: Advert ban will put prostitutes at risk

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The Independent Online
Sir: Westminster Council's plan to cut down on prostitutes' business cards ('Phone-box sex adverts face crackdown', 20 June) is a one-dimensional and unconstructive approach to prostitution. The plans to have test prosecutions against the placing of business cards in telephone boxes and to recommend that BT cuts off prostitutes' telephone lines do not represent actions against prostitution, but against prostitutes themselves.

It solves little to ban visible signs of prostitution. All this does is to drive prostitution underground, where prostitutes of all ages are open to more abuse and exploitation.

Prostitution is essentially an economic phenomenon. Unless prostitutes are offered opportunities to lead different lives and young people are given proper benefits and career options, people will continue to be forced into prostitution. One agency on its own cannot offer this.

Yours sincerely,


MP for Hackney North and

Stoke Newington (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

20 June

The writer is chair of the all-party group on prostitution.