As Soho’s sex workers are pushed out, “brothel chic” is selling people a sanitized, fake version of the sleazy image they created.
On D’Arblay Street in Soho there’s a basement which was once a “hostess bar.” I used to work there. It was a clip joint where we’d lure men into buying ludicrously-priced champagne that we poured onto the floor or into plant pots. Most of the girls were hookers, though not officially. I walked down there recently and it appears to be an accountant’s office now. These places have disappeared, and rightly so—we ripped men off and watched bouncers threaten them if they complained. Soho has already been cleaned up. The sex workers who remain are operating legitimately, selling a legal service.
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