Street prostitution has existed in Peterborough for many years, especially in the area surrounding Burghley Road.
But now it has extended onto Green Lane, Eastfield Road, Crawthorne Road, urging councillors to request counselling for young woman and girls caught up in the sex working cycle.
The danger to women sex workers has prompted councillor Ikra Yashin to put forward a motion to Peterborough City Council to form a 'coherent and robust' approach to helping the 35 known workers in this city.
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Speaking to her fellow councillors at the Full Council meeting this week, councillor Yasin said: “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.”
The problem of how to tackle sex workers in Peterborough is not a new one.
In June 2019, a total of 609 sex worker-related offences were recorded in the month of April 2019 alone.
By July 2021, the police were making ‘renewed efforts’ to tackle ‘decades old’ sex working problems in Peterborough, and was the subject of the first ever ‘Ask The Leader’ session, when councillor Wayne Fitzgerald took over the administration of the council.
Just this April, it was reported that issues associated with the sex trade in Peterborough included littering and street drinking, with police once again reiterating it was ‘one of their priorities’.
‘Difficult’ to break the cycle
Speaking to all members, councillor Yasin added: “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.”
The motion put forward by Cllr Yasin asks councillors to recognise street prostitution as adult sexual exploitation, ensure harm reduction measures are in place for women selling sex on the street and help to facilitate a forum for services to fast-track women into trauma-informed support.