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Carrie Mitchell, English Collective of Prostitutes
"The state is the biggest pimp"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 11 April, 2001, 02:06 GMT 03:06 UK
Prostitution 'is 700m industry'
prostitute
Britons 'spend more on prostitutes than on cinema'
Prostitution in the UK is worth more than three-quarters of a billion pounds a year, new research has suggested.

Researchers at the Royal Economic Society found that 770m is spent on prostitution every year, far more than the 400m Britons spend on going to the cinema.

They estimated that legalising prostitution could help the government to raise 250m a year in extra tax revenue.

Black economy

The researchers collected their figures from internet sites, so it is possible that claims about earnings could have been exaggerated.

Nevertheless, the findings could be of interest to the Treasury, as it struggles to clamp down on the black economy and raise extra taxes.

But the government's advisory group on women's issues has said that economic issues should not be brought into any debate on prostitution.

Legal in Holland

In the Netherlands, prostitution has been recently legalised in an attempt to restrict the black economy and raise money.

Dutch brothels, even when officially banned, had been allowed to operate under lax conditions.

Now they have been made legal and will be treated the same way as any other business, with stricter controls and tougher penalties for abuses such as involuntary and under-age prostitution.

An estimated 30,000 people work as prostitutes in The Netherlands.

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See also:

30 Sep 00 | Europe
Dutch OK sex for sale
24 Jul 00 | South Asia
Sex workers fight for their rights
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