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

complaints.”

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.