A mother and son were arrested following a police raid on a brothel in Rushey Green, Lewisham on Tuesday evening.
Police detained a man and three women, having arrived at the address pretending to be customers. Two of the women were sex workers. They had obtained a warrant due to complaints of antisocial behaviour and men visiting the property late at night, prompting the raid.
Sergeant Gavin Durnell is one of the borough leads for the brothels in Lewisham and is currently running Operation Akemi, which focuses on both the outside and indoor sex trade.
Referring to the operation held on Tuesday night in Rushey Green, Durnell told EastLondonLines: “The tactic used on Tuesday night was to attend the address in plain clothes and secure an opened door before going in. Tuesday’s visit in Rushey Green was conducted by an officer in plain clothes knocking on the door. We had previously obtained warrant to enter if we were refused entry. A male, who was working as the security of the brothel was detained immediately on entry.”
He continued: “Three other females were found in various parts of the address. The older female was working as the maid and was in charge of managing the phones and arranging the clients when they arrived. The male and the older female were mother and son and were arrested and subsequently both received an Adult Caution for inciting prostitution for financial gain. One of the female workers was also arrested for immigration offences, the other female inside the address was freed without being arrested.
“We speak with the workers in order to understand their reasons for working in the sex trade and we also offer to provide them help and support if they need it. We do not treat the workers as criminals and we do not look to arrest them, as our first objective is to ensure the safety and welfare of any persons working in an indoor sex premises,” Durnell added.
The Metropolitan Police data shows that 51 violence and sexual offences were reported in the Rushey Green area in December 2016.
“There are an unknown number of brothels in the borough, it is difficult to build an accurate picture due to the addresses changing location every few months,” Durnell said.