Council asked to create new strategy to tackle prostitution in Peterborough

“Various police operations have been launched, however, no such intervention has had a significant impact on reducing the number of street sex workers.”

By Ben Jones
Thursday, 21st July 2022, 5:00 am
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Peterborough City Council has been asked to do more to create a “long term, coherent and robust” violence and vulnerability strategy to tackle street prostitution in the city.

The calls have been made by Labour representative for Park ward Cllr Ikra Yasin in a motion to be tabled at next Wednesday’s (July 27) full council meeting.

The motion calls for the council to recognise street prostitution as adult sexual exploitation and a form of violence against women and girls, ensure harm reduction measures are in place for women selling sex on the street and and enable departments within the Council to work with local third sector organisations to develop exiting pathways that allow women who wish to stop selling sex to do so.

This includes helping to facilitate a forum for services to fast-track women into trauma-informed support and promoting collaborative working and holding organisations to account for the support they offer.

Peterborough’s new Superintendent Neil Billany made prostitution a priority when he took over April and police have been carrying out Operation Glacier over the past few months to engage with women and offer them support.

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In the motion, Cllr Yasin said: “Street prostitution has existed in Peterborough, especially in the area surrounding Burghley Road but has now extended onto Green Lane, Eastfield Road, Crawthorne Road and many more; for many years.

“Various police operations have been launched and a number of street sex workers are known to the constabulary, however, no such intervention has had a significant impact on reducing the number of street sex workers.

"Women who sell sex are at significant risk of psychological, emotional, physical and sexual harm. The psychological impacts of selling sex are immense and multiply the longer a woman remains in prostitution. Trauma responses make managing everyday life more difficult, so accessing services and agencies is more challenging which, in turn, leads to increased vulnerability and further exploitation.

“Being in prostitution becomes a cycle that is incredibly difficult to break. There is also a significant impact on the local community with high levels of anti-social behaviour as a result of the women selling sex and the men in the area who are pimping the women or buying sex, including drug-dealing, hazardous litter and noise nuisance.

“Peterborough needs a long term, coherent and robust approach to street prostitution within the city that seeks to end the harms caused by those who purchase sex.”