MP supports campaign

DEPUTY Labour leadership hopeful Peter Hain has vowed to support an Evening Star campaign aimed at helping vulnerable young people escape the perils of prostitution and drug addiction.

DEPUTY Labour leadership hopeful Peter Hain has vowed to support an Evening Star campaign aimed at helping vulnerable young people escape the perils of prostitution and drug addiction.

Mr Hain, secretary of state for Northern Ireland and Wales, said the Somebody's Daughter appeal “struck a chord” and claimed it would ensure the public never forget the horrors of last December.

He also backed the Star's 'Name and Shame' campaign, initiated with a pledge of identifying kerb-crawlers successfully prosecuted at court.

The MP for Neath was in Ipswich yesterday as part of a whistle-stop tour which he hopes will reconnect the Labour party with grassroots supporters.


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He is currently one of six candidates vying to take the party deputy leadership reins from John Prescott.

Mr Hain said: “Clearly we were all struck by how families had seen loved daughters go downhill into a world of vice and substance misuse.

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“I think this memorial fund strikes a chord with the whole country. What I really noticed when I heard the mothers and fathers (of the victims) was they had no idea this had happened or if they did they were helpless to stop it.

“It was Ipswich's misfortune to have this particular horror put upon it, but the truth is there will be somebody's daughter out there in virtually every town and city.

“It's great the Star is doing something like this to highlight the issue.”

There have been calls to legalise licensed brothels in a bid to get sex workers away from the dangers of the streets, but Mr Hain was non-committal when quizzed about his views on the subject.

He said: “We should continue to look at the solution and you have to tread carefully. I'm not going there.”

Mr Hain, who was born in South Africa and has been a staunch campaigner against apartheid, said kerb-crawlers “can't complain” if they were named in the Star.

He said: “Their behaviour warrants it. Those victims would not be victims if it was not for the men behaving in the way they do.”

Despite bookmakers classing Mr Hain as an outsider in the deputy leadership election, the Nairobi-born politician claimed he was in a “strong position” to win.

What do you think of Peter Hain's comments? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund was launched in conjunction with Ipswich Borough Council in the wake of the killings of five women in Suffolk.

The bodies of Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Annette Nicholls and Paula Clennell were found in remote rural locations last December. All had worked in the sex trade and all had drug habits.

As a legacy to the five women, and in a bid to prevent others from walking in their same desperate footsteps, The Somebody's Daughter appeal was given a mandate of helping vulnerable young people in Ipswich.

The ultimate goal is to raise enough money to open a refuge where those embroiled in prostitution and drugs can seek support and guidance.

Among the trustees of the Somebody's Daughter appeal, a registered charity, are Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks, borough council leader Liz Harsant and Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover.

Donations to the memorial fund can be made online at www.eveningstar.co.uk, in person at Ipswich Borough Council's customer service centre in the Town Hall, by calling 01473 433777, or by sending a cheque, made payable to Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund, to PO Box 772, Ipswich Borough Council, Grafton House, 15-17 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2DE.

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