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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
Experts debate legal sex trade
Money being handed to a prostitute
Prostitution has been legalised in the Netherlands since 2000
The question of whether to legalise prostitution is being debated at a conference in Liverpool.

Delegates were due to discuss whether the Dutch approach of lifting the ban on the world's oldest profession would work in the UK.

The conference, at the University of Liverpool, was also examining the dangers faced by prostitutes after the murders of two women in the city in July.

The possibility of setting up 'tolerance zones' in UK cities was also being discussed as part of a review of current policing strategies dealing with the sex trade.

Professor David Canter, director of the university's Centre for Investigative Psychology, said: "Following the recent brutal murder and dismemberment of two Liverpool prostitutes, the risks of the trade have never been more real.

Drug addiction

"In a civilised society we need to find a way of helping women out of this dangerous and degrading trade or of managing their activities so that violence is minimised."

He added that the conference would give local authorities the chance to find effective ways of tackling the problems of prostitution.

Issues faced by prostitutes, such as drug addiction, physical and sexual abuse and poverty, were also due to be discussed.

The remains of Hanane Parry, 19, originally from Chester, and Pauline Stephen, 25, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, were found in the Everton area of Liverpool in July.

Mark Corner, 26, of Walton, Liverpool, has been charged with their murder.

The BBCs Stuart Flinders
"Would you want one of these zones close to where you live?"

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