Tonight's W.I. Lecture: Brothels of the World; Tea and Discussion: Shirley Landells and Jean Johnson, of the Hampshire Women's Institute, Spoke to Sex Workers at the Bunny Ranch, Nevada

The Evening Standard (London, England), July 28, 2008 | Go to article overview

Tonight's W.I. Lecture: Brothels of the World; Tea and Discussion: Shirley Landells and Jean Johnson, of the Hampshire Women's Institute, Spoke to Sex Workers at the Bunny Ranch, Nevada


Byline: TERRY KIRBY

IT'S A long way from jam-making and knitting. Two members of the Women's Institute have just returned from a tour searching for the world's best brothel.

Grandmother Jean Johnson, 62, and her friend Shirley Landells, 73, members of the Hampshire WI, met Amsterdam's shop-window call girls, inspected sex toys and group-sex rooms, toured the Bunny Ranch in the Nevada desert and visited a "boutique brothel" in New Zealand, which they voted the best.

The pair went on the tour, which was filmed for a Channel 4 documentary, as part of a campaign started after the murder of five sex workers in Ipswich in 2006. Steve Wright, of Ipswich, is now serving life in prison.

Mrs Johnson proposed to her local WI the organisation lobby for brothels to be legalised. She was greeted with gasps but argues it is in the tradition of WI campaigns on equal pay and HIV research.

In an interview with this week's Radio Times, she says any family could be affected: "Everybody looks on these girls as being from the lowest stratum of society and that's not true. One of those girls [murdered in Ipswich] was into horseriding, the whole works." Ms Landells added: "Some say, 'Oh, prostitution shouldn't happen.' But the fact is that it does. Providing somewhere for it to happen would not only help to make the girls safer, it would have a wider impact on health for the girls and their clients, as well as clients' families. …

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