« Home | Former UDA leader murdered. » | Bush picks completely unknown quantity for supreme... » | UK approaches Libya over deportation agreements. » | Sun-watch: allegations of celebrity worship. » | Bali. » | Moss dross continues in advert form. » | Five more foreign nationals held as "not conducive... » | Stop treating us like morons. » | Bali bombing kills at least 22. » | "Scandal" over lottery rapist. » 

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 

Media and police distortions of a brothel raid.

Remember last Friday? The main news story on the Ten O'Clock news was a raid on a massage parlour in Birmingham, where we were told that up to 20 trafficked women were being held against their will, selling their bodies for the brothel's owners. The doors were locked and there was an electric fence at the back. Shocking details, indeed. There was also the usual amount of hand-wringing, as well as demands that more be done to protect Eastern European women being brought here for sex slavery.

Just a slight problem. Turns out that 13 of those women actually had leave to remain here, and told the police they were voluntarily working in the sex industry. Of the remaining, the rest have so far said nothing of being brought here to work in the sex industry illegally, nor have they protested at being returned to their own country. Whether this is due to them being traumatised at their experience and afraid to talk to the police is an issue, however. They should be allowed to remain for now and receive support, as well as counselling.

This also raises issues of police and home office communication. The home office contends that it was police-led and not an anti-trafficking operation. If so, why did the police invite the media along to see them battering down the door of the brothel and leading the clearly frightened women out? Raiding a brothel isn't exactly an instant national news story. Was their information simply wrong and they've been too embarrassed to admit so? While the owners of the brothel have been charged for having firearms on the premises and running the place, they have as yet not been charged with anything related to trafficking. In effect, the media had made up its mind what happened before the truth was known. They believed the police and reported almost exactly what was told them. At a time when disbelief and questions clearly need to be voiced, the last thing we need is for the BBC to start believing every word they are told, whether it's by someone in a uniform or not.

Share |

Links to this post

Create a Link