Minister backs Somebody's Daughter

HOME Office minister Vernon Coaker has backed The Evening Star's Somebody's Daughter campaign.

HOME Office minister Vernon Coaker has backed The Evening Star's Somebody's Daughter campaign.

The Labour MP for Gedling was in Ipswich yesterday to explore the successes of the town's prostitution strategy, which was launched following the murder of five sex workers in late 2006.

Mr Coaker praised the work undertaken by police and partner agencies in eradicating the street sex trade in the town, before offering his full support to the Somebody's Daughter appeal.

He said: “The campaign is about driving the message home that these women are victims. The charity will provide help and support, which is vital.

“It's all about giving people routes out of prostitution so I'm very happy to come here and support the work which the fund is carrying out.”

After touring the town's red light district, Mr Coaker held talks at Ipswich police station with the key figures behind the prostitution strategy.

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He said: “I'm very impressed with what I have seen here in Ipswich.

“The difference which has been made during the last 18 months is a tribute to everyone involved.

“I am here to see what has been done and to learn lessons which can be used in other parts of the country.

“It's about prevention, giving women routes out of prostitution, tough enforcement and working with the community. If we put all these things together, we can make a real difference.”

The strategy aims to help women off the streets by giving them support to beat their drug habits and address other issues in their lives.

Suffolk police recently revealed that there were no prostitutes currently working in Ipswich thanks to the efforts to convince women to stop touting for kerb crawlers.

Mr Coaker, who was today due to fly to Amsterdam to assess the Dutch approach in dealing with prostitution, said: “The majority of street prostitutes are addicted to drugs. They need to be rehabilitated to turn their lives around.

“It's about supporting women and giving them a route out but also saying if you don't then we will have to enforce the law.”

Mr Coaker's visit was part of the government's attempt to formulate a nationwide strategy to tackle prostitution in the UK.

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