Scheme pledges help for sex workers

A CHARITY dedicated to helping prostitutes break free from their lives of vice and drugs today said it was determined to offer Ipswich women help following the red-light killings.

A CHARITY dedicated to helping prostitutes break free from their lives of vice and drugs today said it was determined to offer Ipswich women help following the red-light killings.

The Bridge Project, which is run by Stowmarket-based The RSVP Trust, has been checking the streets of Ipswich for working girls in the weeks since the killings.

There had been fears prostitutes may simply have been displaced by the killings of Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Paula Clennell, Anneli Alderton and Annette Nicholls but Don Egan, a Church of England evangelist who runs The RSVP Trust, said so far there had been no signs that prostitutes had relocated to other streets in Ipswich.

He said the killings had come at a time when the charity's street pastors and missionaries had been building a relationship of trust with many of the prostitutes.


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Mr Egan said: “We were just coming to the point where women were starting to trust us when the women started disappearing.

“Our approach is non judgemental. Our aim is to see women coming out of prostitution but we do that by letting them come to their own conclusion.

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“It states the obvious to say no one wants to have the kind of life they are living.”

The Bridge Project has been working with prostitutes in Ipswich's red-light district for more than a year. It focuses on spreading a Christian message and is one of several projects which aim to help Ipswich's sex workers break free from drug addictions and their life on the streets.

The charity offers an escape by giving the women the opportunity to take part in rehabilitation programmes outside the area.

When they go out on the streets the charity workers approach the women and talk to them, offering to pray with them and also handing out packs containing condoms.

Mr Egan said: “We offer support. What strikes me about this sort of problem is you have got to change inside. That's our role in that we can help people be aware of that and want to change.

“It is building relationships and being there. What it needs is for people to be committed - to turn up week after week and be there for the women.

“If they want to pray with us I'm happy to do that. If they want to go away somewhere we can help them go away from the area.”

WEBLINK

www.rsvptrust.co.uk/bridge

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