New approach to red light areas

IPSWICH is to tackle its prostitution problem with a “more holistic approach” focusing on the roots as well as the effects of soliciting.A multi-agency group has been set up to provide a more co-ordinated response to prostitution which will give those involved better support.

IPSWICH is to tackle its prostitution problem with a “more holistic approach” focusing on the roots as well as the effects of soliciting.

A multi-agency group has been set up to provide a more co-ordinated response to prostitution which will give those involved better support.

Speaking at an anti-social behaviour action day in Ipswich Hannah-Jo Besley, Ipswich Borough Community Safety Officer, used a case study of a “typical” prostitute to highlight the issues facing women soliciting on the streets.

She said a 23-year-old prostitute could have two children who were in care and was likely to have lost her home.


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She said the woman may be living with an abusive partner and feeding both his and her drug habits.

She added: “She started using drugs at 13 or 14 and was on cannabis. She is now using heroin and crack cocaine on a regular basis and is also involved in petty crime.

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“She has limited literacy and numeracy skills so employment is difficult.

“Because of this she is involved with a number of agencies: housing, benefits, police, drugs services, criminal justice and the anti-social behaviour network.

“Previously the agencies worked more in isolation but what we are doing now is getting those agencies to come together, to pull all the pieces together and come up with a more holistic approach to help her (the prostitute) and the community at large.

“The Prostitution Group is made up of a number of agencies. This is very new, we have had one meeting so far, but we are hoping it will bring together and provide a more co-ordinated approach.”

Ms Besley said the main aim of the group was initially to move prostitution from the residential area back to the industrial areas.

There, she said, the group could “look at each individual's needs and offer them the support they need”.

N Have you been affected by prostitution? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

N Ipswich's red light district is concentrated in the Portman Road, Handford Road, West End Road and Burlington Road.

N Prostitutes can now be given Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour orders (Crasbos) on conviction. These often prevent them from visiting the red light district after a certain time.

N Kerb crawlers can have their driving licences seized by police.

N One of the main problems in Ipswich is the paraphernalia associated with prostitution (syringes and condoms) which are often found in red light areas.

N A Mori poll published in January revealed more than a third of people were in favour of legalising prostitution. Many believe allowing legal brothels would allow the government to regulate the trade and protect prostitutes.

N The act of one consenting adult paying another for sex is not illegal but soliciting or working is against the law.

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