Police chiefs have issued a warning about brothels 'overtly' operating in South Yorkshire - after a Sheffield massage parlour allowed TV cameras behind the scenes.
City Sauna owners and staff appeared on Channel 4 documentary, A Very British Brothel, earlier this week, laying bare the realities of what goes on behind closed doors.
Although prostitution is legal, it is illegal to operate brothels in the UK.
Chief Inspector Richard Lambert, of South Yorkshie Police, said: “All information coming to the attention of the police concerning criminality is carefully considered and treated on its merits, however we offer no specific comment about City Sauna.
"Where clear information is available that any premises is operating purely as a brothel, then that location is visited and thoroughly examined by officers and wherever possible, other partnership agencies.
"The primary concern of these investigations is first and foremost the safety and well-being of any individual at those locations given the risks of exploitation or abuse often associated with them.
"Once any safeguarding issues or other vulnerabilities have been established and taken care of, if there is any suggestion of criminality that will be addressed where appropriate and where evidence allows.
"There are a number of lawfully registered businesses that operate in the city as massage parlours or saunas. These are subjected to occasional formal visits by authorities and where there is credible evidence that offences are being committed, it is collected and reviewed. This includes offences against the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
"Specific intelligence that is received in relation to the commission of criminal offences at such a business is also a trigger for such a visit.
"It is recognised that on occasion an individual premises may contravene the law and where that occurs, proportional and specific action is taken at that location to address any issues that may be present. Again, this is conducted with the protection of the safety and wellbeing and any vulnerable or exploited persons that may be at that premises as the key priority.
"The overt running of any of these businesses as 'brothels' is not something that South Yorkshire Police accepts and appropriate steps would be taken if this were found to be the case.”
A Sheffield Council spokesman said: “Premises that operate as saunas or massage parlours can apply for a licence under the Licensing Act 2003 for the sale of alcohol or provision of entertainment.
“We have a small number of such licensed premises in Sheffield and these licenses are reviewed regularly.
“Any allegations of criminality are passed to the police for investigation.”
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