Push to change prostitution laws

THREE petitions have been set up on a government website calling for changes in the law on prostitution in the wake of Ipswich's red-light killings, The Evening Star can reveal today.

THREE petitions have been set up on a government website calling for changes in the law on prostitution in the wake of Ipswich's red-light killings, The Evening Star can reveal today.

The e-petitions, which have a combined figure of 216 signatures, call for the legalisation of brothels and push for prostitutes to be able to work in a safe environment.

They have been set up on the 10 Downing Street website, under a section created in November 2006 which allows people to send electronic petitions to the Prime Minister.

One of the petitions, set up by Ryan Day, who lives near Ipswich, has more than 103 signatures.

His petition calls for the government to give sex workers a safe place to work in the wake of the deaths of Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24 and Annette Nicholls, 29.

The petition, which closes on April 14, says: “These girls that are selling there bodies for whatever need are living a dangerous life.

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“They should at least be offered the chance of working in a safe environment instead of on the streets and easy prey to the evil currently out there and also in the future.

“As a citizen living in Suffolk and close to Ipswich I'm in shock and stunned at this tragedy knowing if it was legalised then these poor girls may have lived.”

Duncan Paine, whose address is not given, is running a similar petition on the site, though his does not close until January 9, 2008.

The 55-signature petition reads: “Since long before the tragic Ipswich killings, women (and men) have put their safety at risk by selling their bodies for money.

“Whilst it is accepted that many are forced into the industry through economic or other needs, nevertheless people should be free to choose this profession (of their own free will) and to work within the industry in safety.

“It is proposed to legalise licensed prostitution and brothel keeping, in suitable areas, providing sex workers with safety and an opportunity to offer them help to overcome the factors that have made them choose the industry if they wish to leave it.”

The third petition by Emily Waugh closed on March 14 with 58 signatures and also called for brothels to be legalised to reduce the number of street workers.

To view the petitions visit petitions.pm.gov.uk.

Did you set up one of the petitions? Call The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk. Do you think prostitution should be legalised? Write to Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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