Course may explain evils of prostitution

KERB crawlers in Ipswich could be sent on rehabilitation courses aimed at highlighting the harsh realities behind prostitution, it can be revealed today.

KERB crawlers in Ipswich could be sent on rehabilitation courses aimed at highlighting the harsh realities behind prostitution, it can be revealed today.

Agencies in Suffolk are working to implement a new prostitution strategy following the killings of five sex workers in and around Ipswich.

Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29, were all found dead in the county between December 2 and December 12.

One of the ideas being mooted following their killings in the hope of helping women off the streets is to send those caught kerb crawling on a programme known as the Change Course.

It looks at the reasons women are prostitutes and the abuse they face on the streets, as well as questioning men about their reasons for using sex workers.

The course has already had some success in Nottinghamshire, Dorset and Hampshire and Ipswich is considering adopting the programme, although discussions are said to be at a very early stage.

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Hannah Besley, community safety officer for Ipswich Borough Council and a member of the town's Prostitution Steering Group, said: “This is something which will be considered as part of our plan but we still have to be convinced about some of the kerb crawling initiatives.

“We have to make sure it will be beneficial and will have an effect, otherwise we could put a lot of money into something that doesn't have the success we need.”

Ms Besley said if the scheme was implemented in Ipswich it would not be delivered by the council.

She spoke as she travelled to Middlesbrough to conduct research into how the city has worked to tackle street prostitution.

Over the last few years a name and shame policy in the city has combined with a multi-agency approach to help sex workers off the streets and it has seen some success.

Barnado's have also been running a project known as SECOS (Sexual Exploitation of Children on the Streets) aimed at helping young people break free from prostitution through an art and activity group and education and drugs services.

Ms Besley said Ipswich's Prostitution Steering Group would also be focusing on work taking place in Norwich and Peterborough.

She added: “A lot of the stuff in these places we are already doing but we need to pull together and take a bit more of a holistic look at it.”

Steve Wright, 48, of London Road, Ipswich, has been charged with the murders of all five women. He is due to appear at Ipswich Crown Court on May 1 when he is expected to enter a plea.

What do you think needs to be done to tackle street prostitution? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

WEBLINKS

www.ipswich.gov.uk

www.barnardos.org.uk/secos.htm

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