Ex-street girl helps with vice strategy

AN influential group which is overseeing Ipswich's bold bid to help sex workers out of the destructive street prostitution problem today revealed it has appointed a former prostitute to its ranks.

AN influential group which is overseeing Ipswich's bold bid to help sex workers out of the destructive street prostitution problem today revealed it has appointed a former prostitute to its ranks.

The steering group charged with turning Ipswich's new five-year street prostitution strategy from an ambitious document into reality has accepted the former sex worker to work in an advisory capacity.

Critics of the strategy - including a number of prostitutes - have previously claimed that authorities, ranging from the police to local councils and health agencies, were not equipped with enough first-hand knowledge of the gritty reality of life as a sex worker to be able to bring about change.

So today they have announced that a sex worker who spent several years working on the streets of Ipswich's red-light district and in a massage parlour will be helping them monitor the progress of the strategy.


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Charlotte (not her real name), a former drug addict who told her harrowing story of survival against the odds in The Evening Star earlier this year, attended her first meeting of the steering group yesterday.

She said: “I hope to make sure everybody is pulling together.

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“My main concern is that I know two or three girls who are still living with friends because they have no accommodation.

“People think it's just a case of the police going in and removing the girls. It's not as simple as that. The girls have problems that need to be addressed.

“It's not going to be done in a matter of five minutes, it's going to be a long process. That's why they've given the strategy five years and the residents have to understand that.”

Hannah-Jo Besley, Ipswich Borough Council's community safety officer and the chair of the prostitution steering committee, said: “She has offered that service and it's great. In practical terms she can offer us that other option and say 'that is unlikely to work' for whatever reason.

“It's making sure we are very clear and very transparent about what we are trying to achieve.”

The prostitution strategy was launched in March after a coalition of authorities vowed to end Ipswich's street prostitution problem.

It followed the deaths of five women - Anneli Alderton, Gemma Adams, Paula Clennell, Tania Nicol and Annette Nicholls - whose bodies were found in locations on the outskirts of Ipswich in December and who had all been sex workers in the town when they disappeared.

Do you think the street prostitution strategy will work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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