Prostitution laws to stay

GOVERNMENT policy on the legalisation of prostitution will not change in the near future, the group behind Ipswich's new sex trade strategy said today.

GOVERNMENT policy on the legalisation of prostitution will not change in the near future, the group behind Ipswich's new sex trade strategy said today.

In formulating the town's plan to completely remove prostitution from all parts of the town, the agencies involved wrote to the Home Office to ask if there were plans to consider legalising the trade as has happened in some other European countries.

But the Home Office's reply was that there would be no change and prostitution would remain illegal in the UK.

Simon Aalders, co-ordinator of the Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT), which was central to the creation of the new strategy, said: “We did have a conversation with the Home Office about policy change. They were very clear there was no policy change in the offing.”

Suffolk's approach to the Home Office came as police, drug and prostitution teams and health experts planned the county's response to prostitution for the next five years.

The new strategy was put together following the killing of sex workers Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Paula Clennell, 24, Anneli Alderton, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29, who all worked in the red-light district.

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The agencies behind the strategy have opted to use every available power against the men who create a demand for a street sex industry while taking a softer approach toward the women themselves - encouraging them to make use of the services available to them rather than threatening them with jail at the first opportunity.

Mr Aalders said: “The success will be shown in the number of women that get in contact with the services and stay in contact with the services and who exit this lifestyle.”

Hannah Besley, community safety officer with Ipswich borough council and chairman of Ipswich's Prostitution Steering Group, said: “We don't want a repeat of December.

“We've never had such a sign-up from all the agencies. We've got no better opportunity than now to do it.”

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