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Tart cards advertising personal services in a phone box in Euston

The placing of prostitute’s advertising cards (known as tart cards) is urban in origin, principally in London (particularly Soho and Paddington) and limited to one particular public space – the public phone box. The placing of cards is illegal but this is often the only way open for many sex workers to advertise their services after a decline in street-trade began in the late 1980s through police action, community initiatives and the increased danger faced by sex-workers. More recently technology has also altered the sale of sex through the internet. The illegal act of placing the card modifies this public space and gives another use to the phone box other than to place a call, especially as with the increase of the mobile phone their usage has declined.

Authorities though have had difficulty curbing their use and any effort to remove the…

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