A group of prostitutes have been evicted from their house in London’s Soho district. Protestors gathered in the area – which is known as an unnofficial red-light district – to denounce the evictions. The English Collective of Prostitutes who organised the protest are saying criminal activity still remains to be proven and that this move will put women’s safety at risk. VoR’s Abla Kandalaft was at the scene.
Soho Estates says they had no choice but to evict the 12 women because they had received letters from the police threatening them with prosecution for allowing the premises to be used for prostitution. They in turn have advised the landlords to start evicting sex workers.
Legally, premises become brothels if they house more than one sex worker in each flat.
Some say the evictions will make way for a luxury hotel and other developments.
Campaigners say this is evidence of the gentrification of an area without regard for the residents. Sex workers will be forced to work in more dangerous areas if evicted from locations like Soho, they say, increasing danger to the women.
Soho Estates’ Managing Director John James says development will benefit the area.
He addressed the protesters, saying it was the company’s right to develop the property.
“It isn’t going to be everyone’s opinion and we’re realise that,” he said.
“It does require some removal of current occupiers and that’s not an initiative of what they are, it’s the initative of developing property, which is our right as freeholders of that property.”
The ECP is initiating legal action. Residents and business have voiced support for their actions.