WI calls for legalised brothels

MEMBERS of Suffolk's Women's Institute (WI) today called on the government to license brothels to protect women who work as prostitutes.

MEMBERS of Suffolk's Women's Institute (WI) today called on the government to license brothels to protect women who work as prostitutes.

Pam George, chair of the Suffolk East federation of WI groups, which has 3,500 members, said legalisation was the best way to get sex workers off drugs and to help them find somewhere safe to stay.

And she backed the Evening Star's Somebody's Daughter campaign to help vulnerable young women, launched last year after the deaths of five sex workers in Ipswich.

Mrs George said: “Prostitution is the oldest profession. If it was legalised then there would be a chance to help get women off drugs and stop them feeding their habit.”

She said these were her personal views, rather than those of everyone in Suffolk East WI, but added that a number of other members had given her their support.

The issue will be discussed at the next executive meeting of Suffolk WI after another group in Hampshire voted in favour of licensing brothels.

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Now the national WI is set to mount a lobbying campaign to try to persuade MPs to change the law.

Mrs George, who has three daughters, said Suffolk members had brought up the topic of prostitution after being moved by the spate of killings in Ipswich in December last year, when Gemma Adams, Annette Nicholls, Anneli Alderton, Tania Nicol and Paula Clennell lost their lives

She added: “All the women killed were somebody's daughter.”

Since the Somebody's Daughter campaign was launched, Ipswich residents have joined with leaders in sport, business and government to raise money for a unit to help vulnerable young people.

A prostitute steering group for Ipswich has been launched and a coalition of authorities, including the police, health service and councils, is working to help sex workers beat their drug addictions and build lives away from prostitution.

The number of female sex workers has fallen from 35 to just two or three in the last year and 115 men have been arrested for kerb crawling since March.

Do you agree with the WI? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

How to back the campaign

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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