A British prostitute has lifted the lid on what it is like to work in one of the brothels operating illegally across the country.
Louise, a university graduate, works in a brothel run by an ex-police detective named Karl from a two-bedroom flat in a Victorian residential block in the south-east of England.
BBC broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire was granted exclusive access to the set-up for a short documentary that aired on her show this morning.
Footage shows how the brothel is operated as a professional business, complete with a receptionist and a booking system that avoids awkward run-ins between punters.
BBC broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire was granted exclusive access to a brothel in the south-east of England where she met Louise, pictured, one of the women who works there
Louise poses for a daily photo that is uploaded to the brothel’s Twitter account, allowing clients to see the women who are working that day. It operates out of a two-bedroom flat
A receptionist, pictured from behind with Victoria Derbyshire, is responsible for booking in clients for 30-minute, 45-minute or hour-long ‘appointments’ in the diary, just seen
Prostitution is not wholly illegal in the UK but many activities surrounding it are, including keeping or managing a brothel.
But 45-year-old Karl, a father-of-one, claims he operates in full knowledge of local authorities because he runs a ‘tight ship’.
Speaking candidly to Derbyshire, Louise told how she felt safer working in a clean, monitored environment like the brothel.
She said: ‘There is a really negative stereotype within society that makes people think women are doing this [prostitution] because they are funding a drug habit… or are being coerced… [but] I enjoy this kind of work. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t want to.’
Clients can book in for 30-minute, 45-minute or hour-long ‘appointments’.
Broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire reveals how the kitchen cupboards are stocked with supplies for the women and their clients, including nappy bags (pictured) for used condoms
Speaking in one of the two bedrooms were clients are ‘seen’, Louise explains the sex is simply a ‘transactional behaviour’ and that it’s her job, adding: ‘I do it because I want money’
They are charged £70 for each half hour. Of that the women take £45 and £25 goes to the brothel. On a busy day Louise can see eight or nine clients.
She continued: ‘It’s sex that’s transactional behaviour. And that’s my job. It’s not sex with a boyfriend, or with a husband. This is work.
‘I choose to do it because I want money and I want to earn a good wage.
‘I think it’s difficult for women to make money at a young age. I want to be financially secure and independent.’
The brothel does not allow drugs or alcohol and screens women before allowing them to work
Brothel owner Karl, a father of one, pictured with Victoria Derbyshire, explained the steps he took to run a ‘tight ship’ and ensure the women’s safety
Karl added that he also does not allow drugs or alcohol and is prepared to act if they believe one of the women has been trafficked or is being placed under duress.
He revealed that in the 15 years he has been running the brothel he has twice phoned the police to report women who he believed to be at risk.
Asked about his relationship with the police, Karl added: ‘We’ve got a good working relationship with police… They know we run a tight ship.’
What is the UK law on brothels?
Prostitution is not wholly illegal in the UK, but many activities surrounding it are deemed unlawful, including keeping or managing a brothel.
According to the law, one prostitute may work from an indoor premises but if there are two or more prostitutes the place is considered a brothel and it is an offence.
The owner of Louise’s brothel, Karl, says he operates in full knowledge of the authorities, and claims they are willing to let him continue as long as the women are in a safe environment.
It is thought that some councils will turn a blind eye to a parlour to help keep sex workers off the street.
The BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme is on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel