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Bring Back Brothels – but call them Relief Centres and make them unisex

Women have always been seen as sex objects, there is nothing new in that, but who decided for the rest of us that our children were fair game? Why is it that with every desire that is met there is a yearning to stretch the boundaries ever further? Our liberal acceptance of new things is increasingly to our detriment. Our once prudish beliefs that viewed the body as a private, personal symbol, barely exposed except to the one to whom we were betrothed, has expanded exponentially to tolerate that which should never be touched or viewed as a sexual object – our children.

So perhaps its time to channel that liberal acceptance towards something that has played a part in history but never found its place – the brothel: a sinister, sordid place where women are exploited and abused for the amusement and entertainment of men. But let’s bring it into the twenty-first century; clean it up, provide contraception, access to healthcare, bring in strict regulations, slap on a licence, and make it the property of the state. Make it a place that provides jobs for people that genuinely want to be in that industry, rather than those who are there against their will. Create Relief Rooms in the new and hygienic Relief Centres where various ‘needs’ are met in a tranquil, safe environment for all involved.

Let them be open during the day; take away the cover of darkness that permits the mind to imagine the evil that dwells there. Make them light, airy, open and welcoming – and for women too. Give them a place on the high street rather than banish them to a dark ally where we can’t keep an eye on them. Allow them a place in society but only if they play by our rules.

Removing the stigma surrounding brothels and shifting perception of what, until now, has been seen as a place to hide what we’d rather not have to deal with; bringing it above ground to an acceptable level, will perhaps be enough of a distraction for those who think they have needs beyond what many of us consider to be the very core of society – a loving, respectful relationship.

And in doing so, prostitutes will no longer have to roam the streets, exposed to abuse and persecution; there will be somewhere for them to work in safety – if that is genuinely what they choose to do with their lives – in a place governed by strict regulations. Decreasing the demand for women and children that are trafficked and traded for sex by offering an alternative to punters may go some way towards discouraging such heinous practices. And pornography, whilst it will no doubt always have a firm foothold, may perhaps lose some of its appeal when pitched against the ‘real thing’.

And in time, Relief Centres might find themselves a place in society not that far removed from bookies and pubs. People will be able to enter and leave without judgement or scrutiny, secure in the knowledge that the conditions are safe and sanitary. And, most importantly, the women and men working in them will be there of their own free will, earning a legitimate living, and protected from people that would exploit them for merely making their way in the world as best they can, like the rest of us.

#brothels #prostitution #writing #women #sex

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emily pattullo author​