Police community support officer Jacqui Fairbanks, who has been helping sex workers for ten years, revealed the miserable lives of prostitutes in Hull’s Hessle Road. Hull, a port city 175 miles north of London is where 40 girls work. Most of the ladies working in the red light district come from harrowing backgrounds where they have often been physically or mentally abused.
A prostitute was so desperate for money, she went back to work the streets just 30 minutes after she gave birth according to a social worker. Some of the women are homeless or crash on sofas as they work the streets desperate to make some cash.
Fairbanks said: “One woman had a baby and, within half an hour, was back out on the streets. That’s how desperate some of these women are.”
“This isn’t ‘Pretty Woman,’ I’m afraid. Some rich punter isn’t going to come along and sweep these women off their feet and live happily ever after.”
“Our problem is that these women will not come and deal with us. Their self-esteem is so low that they enjoy the attention they receive and that is really sad.”
“The women are usually in their late 20s to early 30s with johns as young as 17 or 18 paying for sex,” Fairbanks said.
Fairbanks revealed some of the men exchanging cash for sex can be in their 80s. Hull police work closely with agencies such as social services and the Together Women Project, a charity that helps women avoid a life of crime. The police try to protect the workers, who are often tormented by mental health problems, from trafficking, violence, and coercion by pimps and boyfriends.
Fairbanks said: “There is a perception that these women are all on benefits but that is not always the case. For many, this is their only source of income.”
“At the end of the day, these women are somebody’s daughter. I try to tell them they are better than this. But all we can do is off them the help through the different agencies.”
“We have managed things better now and there is less violence towards these women.”
“There will always be dodgy pimps and violent boyfriends but, otherwise, the women are quick to tell us if they have been victims of violence. We have a better rapport.”
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