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Pop-Up Brothels Uncovered In Cornwall

Pop-Up Brothels Uncovered In Cornwall

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 1:06pm 4th January 2017. (Updated at 2:49pm 4th January 2017)

14 pop-up brothels have been discovered in Newquay in just six months.

Since July last year, police have uncovered them across the seaside town.

But we are being warned that it is not isolated and they are likely to be operating across Cornwall.

Police say in most cases, women seem to have been brought over from eastern Europe. The pop-up brothels are then operating out of places like holidays lets and hotels for around a week.

Officers are now working on a crackdown and say the women working could be victims of human slavery and sex trafficking.

Inspector Dave Meredith said: "I don't think this issue is isolated to Newquay alone, it is almost certainly force wide and country wide.

"We do have concerns for the women working in these brothels, we have a very much victim-centred approach, we are concerned about their vulnerability and that they could be victims of human slavery and sex trafficking.

"What it means basically is that the sex workers move quite quickly, they usually operate these brothels for about a week before moving on, they book the accommodation online and the accommodation is usually holiday lets or apartments where the owner is elsewhere and doesn't know what is going on, although sometimes they do use hotels.

newquay headland

"They book the accommodation online so the owner gets the money electronically transferred to their account without knowing anything, they move in, operate for around a week at the most, sometimes less, then move out onto somewhere else.

"Because it is so rapid it is hard to keep up with.

"The evidence that we have at the moment indicates that the majority in Newquay are coming from eastern Europe.

"We've got a victim-centred approach, although it is an offence to operate a brothel, we do understand that a lot of the women that operate from the pop up brothels are vulnerable, and instead of arresting them, which is perhaps what police would have done decades ago, we try to signpost them to agencies that can help them, and try to help them ourselves to see if they are victims of sex crime or acting under duress.

"The main thing for us is to treat them as victims and to also try and find out if there are organised crime behinds the sex workers who are exploiting them."

So what should we look out for?

Inspector Meredith continued: "If you live near holidays lets or flats, be mindful of men coming to the premises at all hours, sex workers who may come and go quite quickly, and if you have any concerns please contact the police on 101."

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