LONDON A Roman Catholic bishop in the city of Portsmouth is backing a campaign to legalise brothels without in any way condoning them.
The Right Reverend Crispian Hollis supported the local branch of the Women's Institute which wants to licence brothels.
"If you are going to take a pragmatic view and say prostitution happens, I think there is a need to make sure it's as well regulated as possible for the health of people involved and for the safety of the ladies themselves," Hollis said.
"That's not to say I approve of prostitution in any way. I would be very much happier if there was no prostitution in Portsmouth," he told The Portsmouth News.
"But it's going to be there whatever we do and it has been from time immemorial. So I think that is something we have to be realistic about."
His comments won praise from Rachel Frost, from the International Union for Sex Workers.
"The bishop should be commended for having the guts to come out and say that," she said.