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January 3, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:03pm


By CBR Staff Writer

When despite everybody’s best efforts, you remain a quasi- monopoly, you know know you are there to be shot at – but British Telecommunications Plc must still be a little surprised that to find itself up before the beak on charges levelled against it by a group of prostitutes. Anyone that uses a payphone in central London knows they need to be very shortsighted otherwise they won’t know where to direct their gaze to avoid the explicit come- ons from ladies of the night that festoon every available space around the phones. Recognizing that the vast majority of phone users regard such lubricious graffiti as a nuisance, British Telecom has been patrolling the boxes, and as well as removing the please-call cards, it has been noting down the phone numbers thereon, and cutting said phones off when it gets back to base. Not too surprisingly, the prostitutes, who regard their profession as quite hard enough without this added hazard, are none too happy about it, but rather than simply moaning to their tricks about the cavalier behavior of BT’s minions, they have cried foul and complained to the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, suggesting that the practice of barring calls to those that leave their calling cards in phone boxes represents a restrictive trade practice, and asking for a ruling. The Office confirms that the complaint is being examined. British Telecom points out that it first asks the girls politely to stop advertising in its boxes, and only if they persist does it start blocking incoming calls. The decision we have taken is in the interests of customers who use public telephone boxes, who keep telling us repeatedly and vociferously that they find this illicit advertising offensive, British Telecom said. Prostitution per se is not illegal in the UK, but it is an offense to solicit or to operate a brothel.


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