Desperate life of street workers

LIFE selling sex on the streets is a desperate and soul-destroying existence.Most prostitutes are driven to it because they are ensnared in the vice-like grip of drug addiction.

LIFE selling sex on the streets is a desperate and soul-destroying existence.

Most prostitutes are driven to it because they are ensnared in the vice-like grip of drug addiction.

They sell their body for around £40, little more than the price of a new computer game.

Below, in her own words, is the story of one former Ipswich sex worker who managed to find the courage to fight her demons to break free from a life of drugs and prostitution.

The turning point came after the deaths of Tania Nicol, Gemma Adams, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls.

For those five young women redemption did not come quickly enough, but for others hope came out of their appalling tragedies.

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Rebecca, not her real name, said: “The reason I started working the streets in West End Road was because I was addicted to heroin and crack cocaine. I started taking heroin when I was 21 years old. My boyfriend was on it as well.

“Although I had taken other drugs it became worse after my brother's death through drugs. I tried heroin and got hooked.

“That's how it can all start. I moved to Ipswich and one thing led to another. To cut a long story short I became a working girl.

“It was hard at first, but I had to get into it or do without the drugs. I used to look out of a car window and beg God to make it end quickly.

“But I wasn't always so lucky, sometimes being raped and beaten up. But they (the men who paid) weren't all like that. It was so frightening to go out there, but I had to.”

The former sex worker knew all five women who were murdered.

Although their deaths would prove to be the reason she gave up her life of prostitution, Rebecca recalled the effect the killings of Tania and Gemma had on her while she continued to work the streets.

“Every time a car stopped for me, I looked at the bloke and wondered if it was him. All the time I was with him I couldn't relax and when he dropped me off I felt relieved it didn't happen to me.

“But it did happen to my friends and it shouldn't have. Now I am ok. I'm not on drugs anymore and I don't sell my body for money anymore.

“The Iceni Project and the police have helped me so much. If it wasn't for them and myself, I would still be in that situation.

“I could never go back to that way of life again. But so many girls have to and they shouldn't have to.”