Cabinet to discuss street prostitution strategy and charter

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s cabinet will discuss a new street prostitution strategy and charter of agreement.

Civic Centre in Southend

(Cabinet item 16, 13 January 2022).

The overall aim of the strategy and charter is to protect and improve the quality of life of this vulnerable group and make sure residents feel safe in areas where street prostitution happens.

Street prostitution has a significant impact on the local community with high levels of associated anti-social behaviour, including drug-dealing, potentially harmful litter, and noise. By making sure support services work together to provide assistance to this group of vulnerable women and helping them leave prostitution, community safety will improve.

The strategy aims to understand the current support available and how it can be improved. This includes departments within the council working more closely with local partners to help women who wish to stop selling sex do so.

The strategy also wants to make women’s voices heard, so they feel valued and invested in as individuals. Co-ordinated support services and clear ways of getting help will also ensure that the women have the opportunity to leave and create a new life for themselves.

Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for communities and housing, said: “This paper is a result of discussions and joint working, and I would like to thank all the women who have been brave enough to share their deeply personal experiences. Their testimony is a vital part of this journey, and we value the trust placed in us.

“The strategy will protect and improve the quality of life of this vulnerable group and ensure residents feel safe and secure in areas where street prostitution operates.

“Once appropriate pathways are in place to enable women to leave street prostitution, the focus will move to ending street prostitution. We plan to expand the scope of our work to include other people in the city involved in sex work and I want to commit to further consultation and collaboration with others affected.

“We want to send a clear message that this city will not tolerate perpetration of sexual harm.”

Street prostitutes are often under the influence and dependent users of drugs and alcohol. Other vulnerabilities may include poor mental health, depression, vulnerable housing status, domestic abuse, and previous experience of the criminal justice system. Every day these people, the majority of which are women, put themselves at risk of harm from sexually transmitted diseases as well as potential harm from violence and exploitation.

To read the report in full, please visit our democracy site.

Published: 10th January 2022

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