LONDON - Brothels offering full sex for as little as £15 can be found widely across London and employ women from more than 75 different nationalities, a charity said yesterday.
Researchers from the Poppy Project, which campaigns against the trafficking of women, posed as clients looking for sex and phoned adverts listed in local newspapers.
They found 921 operational brothels across the capital, offering full sex for between £15 and £250. They estimated that at least 1933 women aged between 18 and 55 were working in the establishments, an average of two a brothel.
The charity said the full scale of prostitution was likely to be much larger as the survey did not cover adverts placed on cards in phone boxes or on websites.
But it estimated that between £50million and £130 million a year was being earned by the brothels identified through newspaper adverts.
When women personally providing sexual services answered the phone, they regularly sounded miserable or exhausted, the researchers reported.
"For most women involved in prostitution the reality is a cycle of violence and coercion, perpetuated by poverty," said Helen Atkins, co-author of a report based on the charity's survey.
Many of the brothels were running as legitimate businesses, licensed as saunas or under the guise of massage parlours, though the majority were private flats in residential areas.
Government research published in January found that 75 percent of regional and local papers carried adverts offering women for sex. - Reuters