5,300 women sell sex in London’s ‘off-street’ trade

More than 5,000 women are selling sex from brothels, massage parlours and other premises in London.

A study by the Association of Chief Police Officers found 5,299, virtually all from overseas, are “off-street” prostitutes in the capital.

The national total is 17,344. Of these, 2,600 are victims of trafficking, the report warns. They are controlled mainly through debts or the threat of violence against their family.

Nearly 10,000 others are “vulnerable” in some other way that stops them leaving the industry.

Deputy Chief Constable Chris Eyre said the study highlighted the “scale of the problems those in law enforcement, victim support, social care and border protection face.”

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: “Human trafficking is a brutal form of crime where people are traded as commodities. Combating trafficking is a priority for the Government.”

East European women accounted for almost 60 per cent of off-street prostitutes in London, with more than 20 per cent from Asia. There were 741 South American and 265 British women.

Police counted 2,100 prostitution businesses in the capital by trawling websites, print adverts and their own databases.