Prostitutes being cleared before Games?

Prostitutes are being cleared from the streets and large numbers
of brothels are being shut down in London’s five Olympic boroughs
ahead of the London Games, a charity group claims.

Toynbee Hall, a London anti-poverty charity, says the number of
prostitutes arrested in the Olympic borough of Tower Hamlets this
year has already exceeded the tally for all of 2011, The (London)
Times reported Monday.

The charity group says 80 brothels have been shut down in the
five Olympic boroughs — Newham, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Hackney
and Waltham Forest — in the past year, compared to just 29
closures in London’s other 32 boroughs.

“This increased activity has happened disproportionately in the
Olympic boroughs,” said Andrew Boff, a London Assembly member and
spokesman for the Conservative group on the Olympics.

Boff said he supported police action where local residents had
complained about anti-social behavior, but added he was worried
authorities were “clamping down on prostitution without these

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said a team had been set
up in 2010 to address vice-related crime in the Olympic boroughs,
the Times reported.

Host nations are known to crack down on groups like prostitutes
and the homeless ahead of the Olympics as hundreds of thousands of
international visitors fly in for the quadrennial sporting event.
At the last Olympics in Beijing in 2008, Chinese authorities
expelled poor migrant workers and the homeless from the city prior
to the Games.