A BOLTON Euro MP has called for brothels to be made legal to provide greater security for prostitutes.

Liberal Democrat Chris Davies believes the murders of three prostitutes in Bradford highlight the urgent need for a new approach.

He said: “It is appalling that two or more prostitutes cannot work together under the same roof for their mutual protection without fear of criminal prosecution. The law does nothing to help keep them safe.”

His comments echo calls for better protection for street workers made last week in The Bolton News by Vanessa Stirling, whose daughter Carly Bateman was murdered while working as a prostitute in the town.

Miss Bateman, aged 17, was strangled and dumped in an alley off Crawford Avenue, Bolton, on Sunday, November 11, 2001. She was working as a prostitute to feed her heroin addiction.

Geoffrey Porter, aged 48, was found guilty of her murder in December, 2003, and is serving a life sentence.

Prime Minister David Cameron last week said the issue of decriminalising prostitution-related offences should be “looked at again”.

Prostitution is legal in Britain, but soliciting and keeping a brothel where two or more people may work as prostitutes is not.

The 2003 Sexual Offences Act increased the maximum penalty to seven years’ imprisonment.

Mr Davies added that local councils should be required to treat the licensing of brothels as a planning issue, following national guidelines to ensure minimum disturbance to residents in the vicinity.

He said: “It’s not a matter of morality, but of practicality. An open approach based on licensing and regulation will be more effective in curbing crime and exploitation.”