Prostitution, drugs adds USD 16.7bn to UK economy: Data

Prostitution, drugs adds USD 16.7bn to UK economy: Data

Thu May 29, 2014 10:45PM GMT

Official data show illegal drugs and prostitution are adding billions of dollars to Britain’s troubled economy every year.

Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the figures on Thursday alongside a detailed account of its methods.

The figures show that activities related to drugs trade and prostitution generate nearly £10 billion (USD 16.7 billion) annually.

“The estimates are based on data of variable quality, with the estimates of illegal drugs activity markedly stronger than those of prostitution, but both definitely weaker than the estimates of legal activity,” the ONS said.

Such shadowy activities are worth 0.7 percent of Britain’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is roughly the same proportion as agriculture and accommodation services.

The inclusion of such activities into the economy is aimed at preparing British public accounts for a new European Union model that will make radical changes to EU regulations on calculating GDP.

Meanwhile, Eaves, a British charity organization for women, has voiced concern that illegal activities and violence would be considered as part of the GDP.

“Given that the entry routes to prostitution and the barriers to exiting prostitution are known to commonly include childhood sexual violence, domestic violence, neglect, abuse, poverty, destitution, coercion and addiction – it is humiliating and frankly frightening to see such human tragedy financially valued and counted as productive,” media outlets quoted an Eaves spokeswoman as saying.

Experts say the ongoing economic crisis is luring British youth into violence and prostitution.

Last month, the ONS revealed that Britain’s unemployment rate increased unexpectedly to 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, meaning over 2.3 million Britons were without jobs.

The fourth-quarter increase marked the first escalation in the jobless rate since February 2013.

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