Ipswich, take a bow

The last time you probably heard about prostitution in Ipswich was almost certainly in the aftermath of five women being killed by Steve Wright in 2006. The response has attracted less attention however, a multi-agency strategy was created in 2007 and implemented by the Make a Change team.

There was a recognition that the women involved had no choices and were often funding a serious drug habit. The strategy was developed to tackle the causes of prostitution with women being assisted with exit strategies and not prosecuted, more than 200 women were helped to avoid a life of prostitution, battle addictions and sexual exploitation. One charity even offered the town’s sex workers money to stay off the streets. At the same time a more punitive strategy was used to target those trying to enlist the women’s services; 140 kerb crawlers were arrested and 55 people suspected of trafficking and sexual coercion were arrested.

Local authorities now report that street prostitution has been virtually eliminated from Ipswich and this is a magnificent acheivement. The battle is not over and Suffolk County Council recognises this, the progress has been reviewed and goals renewed with plans to address off-street prostitution and sexual exploitation across the whole county.

This success is a fantastic example of effective rehabilitation working alongside sensible, targetted policing and lessons should be learned by other areas and is response to other types of social issues. I take my hat off to everyone involved.

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2 Responses to Ipswich, take a bow

  1. scouse says:

    Thanks for enlightening us with news of a positive project. It’s very frustrating that often it’s the bad stuff that makes the press and sharing best practice can be last on the list of things to do.

    A few years ago someone did a study in Liverpool about prostitution and every single woman they were in contact with had drug addictions that were keeping them on the street. They felt trapped by the drugs and limited options to make money, which i suppose resonates with our experiences of some young people we know who are gang affiliated in some ways.

    I heard of a social enterprise called freeset recently, i bought a gorgeous throw made from sari’s that women had sewn together. The charity supports women in India to escape the sex trade by giving them an alternative way to make money.

    http://freesetglobal.com/who-we-are/our-story.html

    keep fighting the good fight mate and bigging up the positive news!

  2. scouse says:

    actually this is a better website link for the above – brings together a few different projects working with women in India http://www.globalseesaw.co.uk

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