London Cleans Up Ahead of 2012 Olympics
London prostitution, strip tease bars, canal boats and the homeless are being cleared away as the U.K.’s capital prepares to host the 2012 Olympic Games.
Serious Crime Directorate 9, a unit of the Metropolitan Police, conducted 127 brothel raids since it was formed in April 2010, according to police data. The City of London Corp., which governs the capital's main financial center, voted on May 5 not to grant sexual entertainment licenses to clubs and pubs.
Houseboat residents near the Olympic development site in east London say British Waterways is attempting to "cleanse" the area, said Nick Brown, legal officer for the National Bargee Travellers Association.
"It is sad that it took the hosting of the Olympics for London to really begin to take action against commercial sexual exploitation and the proliferation of the multibillion pound sex industry," said Anna Van Heeswijk at Object, a women's rights group.
Chinese factories cut production to reduce smog for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, while Athens in 2004 evicted Romany families from their homes near the Olympic stadium, Amnesty International said at the time. The original route of the marathon in London was to take runners through the borough of Tower Hamlets, one of the poorest boroughs in the city.
London's Olympic bid beat competition from Paris, New York, Moscow and Madrid in July 2005 after persuading the International Olympic Committee that the event would regenerate the city's East End. The games will be held in the borough of Newham, the sixth-most deprived district in England out of more than 350 assessed, according to the 2007 Indices of Multiple Deprivation by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The Metropolitan Police's human exploitation and organized crime command, has conducted 127 brothel raids since it was formed on April 1, 2010. Before the unit was formed police carried out 70 brothel visits, or raids, between January to August 2010 in the five boroughs closest to where the games will take place, according to data from the Met. There were a further 20 raids in Westminster and 13 in Camden -- two boroughs that may house many visitors during the event.