A Brothel is a premises that prostitution takes place in on a regular basis. Due to usually Legal or cultural reasons, they are named as something else on any documents used officially such as a Massage Parlour, Strip club or Club ect.
Over the years there has been many debates on wether these establishments should be banned or protected and the bigger questions about the legality and moral stance on prostitution itself.
In 1949 the United Nations General Assembly approved the ‘Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others’ The convention includes the statement ‘Prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and endanger the welfare of the individual, the family and the community” It states that the ruling power must punish anybody who “procures, entices, or leads away, for purposes of prostitution, another person, even with the consent of that person”
While the Convention was signed by many countries, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey and others refused to sign because under their laws voluntary prostitution is not only legal and regulated but listed as a valid occupation. Amsterdam for example, is home to De Wallen, which is a premier destination for sex work. It consists of a huge network of alleyways housing around 300, one room cabins that prostitutes rent out usually fronted by a window or glass door backlit by red lights to reference it being ‘The red light district’.
Surprisingly to some even though brothels are not legal in The UK, London, Soho, is home to a huge sex trade cleverly getting around the laws with Soho Walk-up’s. A Soho Walk-up is a flat in Soho usually above a business and accessible from a door below off the street. It is home to a sex worker who uses the place as a brothel.
While the Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it illegal for a prostitute to solicit potential customers on the street or in any other public place, the women in Soho will get round this often by clever advertising such as signs on the door that state ‘Large chest for sale!’ and other humorous puns, soliciting in private online or other ways that do not state that sex is for offer. The Laws for London state that for a place to be recognised as a brothel then there must be more than one prostitute using the building but the Soho walk-ups are always rented by one woman only so there is not a legal stance to stop the women renting them and leaving them with a safe space to ply their trade without the risk of trying to solicit in the streets.