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Over 6,000 sex workers ask about licences for World Cup

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by Sanka Price

BARBADOS (Sunday Sun) – As many as 6 000 prostitutes from across the globe could be coming to the region for next year’s Cricket World Cup, if enquiries to the Adult Booking Network (ABN) are anything to go by.

Charles Lewis, owner of the world-wide booking and recruitment service for the adult entertainment industry located in Barbados, said he had received that much email in the last four to five months.{{more}}

Most of them want to find out about the work environment to see how they can “take advantage of the numbers of people who will be here and the money that will be spent at that time,” said Lewis.

“The influx is going to be far greater than they (the Governments) imagine, and I know this first hand because I am getting enquires,” he said in an interview with the SUNDAY SUN.

The Barbadian, with over 21 years’ experience in the adult industry in the United States, Britain, Europe and the Caribbean, showed the SUN a proposal he had written to a number of regional Ministers of Health following a suggestion that sex workers be licensed for the 51-day period of the CWC.

That idea was proposed at last month’s two-day CARICOM/CWC 2007 Health Sector Subcommittee meeting of regional health ministers held at the Savannah Hotel, Christ Church. The proposal is supposed to be examined by a select committee.

“I have not been promoting travel to the Caribbean, but as I’m from the Caribbean they are coming to me. So I am in a unique position to give the authorities an indication of the size of the market in the Caribbean,” said Lewis.

He said the regional adult entertainment industry is growing at a fast rate and the police and immigration officials “don’t really have a clear indication of the size of the market. They can only guess at the size of the market. Having travelled across the region to promote the adult booking network, the industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last five years; it is massive”.

Lewis said contrary to belief a large section of the industry, like exotic dancers and professional escorts, is not illegal.

“However, we are not trying to change people’s moral view, we are trying to deal with a reality; and the reality is that there is a sizeable market here. It is an industry.”

Lewis is proposing Caribbean governments establish a regional non-governmental organisation to assist the police, immigration, health, tourism and related authorities to regulate the growing industry.

The aim of the NGO, he said, would be, among other goals, to determine the size and level of activity of the adult industry, its social, political and economic conditions which contribute to it; to establish a means by which the authorities can obtain information on the amount of foreign currency and local revenues generated from the industry; and to minimise all the health and safety risks which are associated with the industry.

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