Call for amnesty on prostitutes

A SEX workers' organisation has today called for an amnesty against arrest for all prostitutes and kerb crawlers following the discovery of a second woman's body in Belstead Brook.

A SEX workers' organisation has today called for an amnesty against arrest for all prostitutes and kerb crawlers following the discovery of a second woman's body in Belstead Brook.

Cari Mitchell, of the English Collective of Prostitutes, said women and their clients would be reluctant to contact police with information unless there was a guarantee they would not be arrested or charged.

She said police messages that the murder inquiry was their top priority when speaking to those with information, were hollow if they were not supported by a complete amnesty.

She said: “While police continue to arrest women and go after clients it makes it much more difficult for them to come forward.

“We say police must immediately announce an amnesty from arrest so women can come forward.

“They have already told women they can come forward but they have to announce that no one will be prosecuted until the murderer is found.

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“At the moment they might face arrest on an outstanding warrant or for breach of an anti-social behaviour order (preventing them from being in the red light area).”

Ms Mitchell said Suffolk police had been in touch with the organisation in the light of Gemma Adams' murder to pass on contact numbers in case any of their callers were inquiring about their fears or had information about the case.

She said she had told police of her concerns and asked them to make it easier for people to come forward by declaring an amnesty.

She added that the latest developments would create even more fear on the streets of Ipswich.

Ms Mitchell added: “This is shocking and it is a terrible, terrible tragedy. The problem is that the government are responsible for criminalising sex workers and when you are criminalised it is a very strong signal to violent men that your life isn't worth anything and you can be attacked and murdered and no one will take any notice because your life is worth nothing.”

She said sex workers, and other women, should do even more to look out for each other adding but said she couldn't see women coming off the streets.

She said: “When the Yorkshire Ripper was around in Bradford women were still working because they were more terrified about not being able to feed their children than about getting murdered.”

Do you think there should be an amnesty from prosecution? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblinks: www.suffolk.police.uk; www.eveningstar.co.uk/news

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