Escort backs crackdown on kerb crawlers

AN Ipswich escort today welcomed a government crackdown on kerb crawlers - but urged ministers to consider legalising licensed massage parlours for the safety of sex workers.

AN Ipswich escort today welcomed a government crackdown on kerb crawlers - but urged ministers to consider legalising licensed massage parlours for the safety of sex workers.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith yesterday unveiled plans to target those who roam the streets looking for sex, making the act of prowling a red light district a first time offence.

Anyone who knowingly pays illegally trafficked women for sex could face rape charges, while there will also be more "naming and shaming" of sex punters along with the introduction of new police powers to close brothels.

Today, Ipswich-based escort Marie backed the clampdown on seedy kerb crawlers, but appealed for the introduction of Dutch or New Zealand-style massage parlours.

She said: “I believe that kerb crawling has to be put an end to.

“However, the only way that this is going to happen is to have safe places for women to work, not classed as brothels, but parlours in which they and the client are safe.

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“I think every escort or anyone who works in the adult industry would say a similar thing.”

Her stance is supported by the English Collective of Prostitutes, which claims the majority of prostitution in the UK takes place between consenting adults.

Marie said parlours would allow for background checks on clients and escorts, as well as providing a safe and secure environment to buy and sell sex.

“We could learn a lot from other countries who have fantastic polices in place for working girls and stop our snooty-nosed approach to life in the sex industry,” she said.

Single mum Marie, whose real name has been changed to protect her identity, became an escort in 2004 after struggling financially.

“I had about £10 in my purse to last a week,” she said. “Escorting was the easy option. I'd not earn £120 an hour any other way so I went for it and it's been great ever since.”

The government's new stance on the sex industry follows the successful implementation of a prostitution strategy in Ipswich following the murders of five women in late 2006.

The zero-tolerance approach has all-but put an end to street prostitution in the town.

Do you think licensed massage parlours should be legalised? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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