The Nevada brothel owner who became famous as the star of an HBO reality show says he wants to start a new and fully legal brothel in London during the upcoming summer Olympics -- not just because he could make "a couple million pounds," he says, but because legal brothels would stop human trafficking by international criminal gangs.
Dennis Hof, the 65-year-old owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch and star of "Cathouse," promoted legal prostitution during a Thursday night debate at the Oxford Union, and told ABC News that while he's in the U.K. he's on a mission to sell London authorities on legal brothels.
"These illegal brothels are disgusting," said Hof. "The girls are not tested for diseases and they're trafficked and forced into it. I'm saying it's not always like that and it doesn't have to be like that. We can provide the client with a clean, safe and fun experience."
Hof said he wouldn't mind making some money out of a pop-up mini-Bunny Ranch during the Olympic games, which begin July 27 and are projected to draw as many as 900,000 visitors to London. He estimates he would make "a couple million pounds" during the three-week event, which he said is "much more than the average" he would make during a similar period at his Nevada brothel, where he employs 500 girls.
But he said his main concerns are the health and safety of both sex workers and their clients, and stopping a short-term epidemic of human trafficking.
"I expect 1,000 girls to be trafficked in by Southeast Asian, Albanian and African gangs, violent gangs involved in crime and drugs," said Hof, who based his prediction on what he said he witnessed at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
He also thinks authorities are making an economic mistake. The traffickers, Hof said, "stand to make a billion pounds that won't be taxed and that will be stolen away from London."
While prostitution is legal in the U.K., operating a brothel, pimping and streetwalking are all illegal, as is paying for sexual services from someone who has been coerced into prostitution.
Hof believes that establishing legal brothels around metropolitan London for the duration of the games would provide safe sex for both tourists and prostitutes, as well as much-needed tax revenue.
Hof's girlfriend and employee, 25-year-old Cami Parker, who accompanied him on his U.K. trip, enthusiastically backed his proposal. "Sex is as much a human need as food or water," said Parker.
Study: No Massive Influx of Prostitutes
The Oxford Union, however, seemed unconvinced by Hof's reasoning. During his Thursday speech, Hof told listeners legal brothels would "sort out all your problems. It would be a good thing for your country, I'm telling you." According to the debating society's website, after Hof spoke a motion in which the Union would support "recogniz[ing] prostitution as a legitimate business" was defeated.
A study by University of British Columbia researchers also casts doubt on Hof's expectation of a flood of sex workers. "Despite sensationalized media coverage leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver," states the report, the games didn't seem to have sparked any "statistically significant" increase in the number of prostitutes or the level of human trafficking.
"We found no difference between the Olympic and post-Olympic number of sex workers," explained Dr. Kate Shannon, who coauthored the study, "no massive influx and no reports of increased trafficking. We did see that an increased police crackdown displaced the sex workers to more isolated environments where they faced more violence and higher risk of contracting diseases."
In 2010 the London police created a specialized unit to fight sex trafficking. It has been aggressively raiding brothels and prostitution rings.
Tessa Jowell, then the British government's Olympics minister, told the Telegraph newspaper in March 2010 that "even one woman trafficked because of the Olympics is one too many" and that authorities were "acting now with the ambition that we can be the first ever games without the scar of the prospect of trafficking and exploitation of women."