Zero tolerance for Ipswich prostitutes

Three months on from the terrible murders of the five Ipswich prostitutes, police and council chiefs are planning the biggest ever crackdown aimed at ridding the town of its red-light district.

Plans being drawn up include stricter use of Asbos against prostitutes and a more focused law enforcement against kerb crawlers. Women will be offered help to tackle the cause of their problems as part of a move that will also see the introduction of improved street lighting and extra CCTV cameras for the red light area.

But the English Collective of Prostitutes said it was horrified the authorities want to introduce a crackdown that has been shown to force women underground and make them more vulnerable to attack and asked: “Have no lessons be learned?”

They say women in Ipswich are waiting months to get into drug treatment programmes and believe think the street lighting and cameras are just a cover for a “brutal crackdown”.

Ipswich borough councillor David Ellesmere said the plans represent a “once in a lifetime opportunity? to banish the problem.

“What this strategy will say is; ‘We’re not going to tolerate street prostitution anywhere in Ipswich. We’ve never had a strong statement like that before.

“We’ve got to do as much as we can to help these women out of these difficult circumstances but if they have received the help and are still going out on the streets then you have got to look at Asbos.

“The reason Ipswich and Norwich have red-light areas is because kerb-crawlers know they can pick up prostitutes. If you break that cycle, kerb crawlers won’t come here and women won’t go out on the streets.?

Coun Ellesmere is right to say this is the time for them to banish the problem. But I note that the plans have been put forward by the Ipswich Prostitutes Steering Group made up of police, council and drug worker representatives. Are any represent from the ECP taking part in this unique opportunity?

I’ve written about this subject before, and raised the question of legalised brothels, and the many comments give a valuable insight into various views on this. We clearly need to tackle the drug issue, the reality is that prostitution will continue and forcing it underground will not help their safety.

I do not see how plans can be formulated without seeking the views of prostitutes on what it will mean for them. I would like to see the police and local authority working with these women and their organisation and try to achieve a solution that could be a model of best practice for the country.


  1. I was horrified to read in the news about those poor girls .. I personally feel that if they legalised prostitution and let them have a place to go instead of on the streets then there will be less of a problem. Prostitution has been around for years and no matter how much someone tries there never going to stop it.There will always be girls out there doing some sort of prostitution .. only because there is not enough help out there for them .

  2. Steven_L

    And another thing…

    ‘the reality is that prostitution will continue and forcing it underground will not help their safety’ (ellee)

    If someone decides to climb Everest and dies of hypothermia or suchlike whos fault is it? The Nepalese climbing industry? The sherpas? The media for publicising previous climbs? No, it’s their own fault, they put themselves in a dangerous situation and paid the ultimate price.

    If someone decides to start taking crack and heroin whos fault is it? Everyone knows they are addictive, expensive and dangerous drugs. If a drug addict decides to rob someone in the street to fund their habit who is at fault?

    If a woman decides to start taking these drugs then sell herself to strange men for sex to pay for them it is her fault in my view.

    She is the author of her own misfortune

  3. Steven_L

    ‘I do not see how plans can be formulated without seeking the views of prostitutes on what it will mean for them’ (ellee)

    And I suppose if we’re going to have a crack-down on drug dealers or car-thieves we should seek their views on the possible effects it will have on their livelihoods?

    At the end of the day these women are breaking the law and they know they are. Why shouldn’t they be arrested and prosecuted for it?

  4. Seems like an attempt of cleaning akin to brushing “dirt” under the carpet. Attention entirely on women (as Ellee says not even engaging the prostitutes). What about the motivation of men who are using street prostitutes – what is understood about that?

    And as newmania says, the mainstreaming of sexual imagery in the music, fashion, entertainment, television and other industries reveals yet more double-standards.

    Thanks for keeping the issue up on your blogging agenda, Ellee.

  5. It all seems very heavy-handed to me.

  6. The council are imposing this draconian law enforcement programme becuase it is an easy vote winner prior to the local elections.

    How easy to say we will banish prostitutes and ‘clean up’ our city. How much easier than dealing with the difficult issue of drug use and the desire of men to pay for sex.

    Draconian measures always sound good to small minded politicians.

    see John Reid, David Blunket and all their sordid coterie.

  7. eeeek horrid spelling even for me ..sorry

  8. I can tell you what has happened here . For a very long time there was a concerted Police campaign to clear up the notorious infrasound Kings Cross. Naturally the business moved on and as David quite correctly says it is beyond the control not only of legislation but local measures I rather doubt there is any solution . Why would legalised brothels make any difference they exist already in that and a blind eye is turned to open advertising in all our local papers .

    Walking the Street is for those the commercial operations do not want and they will be as they are now perhaps it is not the same in Cambridge but sex is sold quite openly form premises in Iz . The Kings Cross Flotsam and Jetsam simply moved up the road to Barnsbury and , to tell you the truth I laughed a good deal at the outrage of its well heeled denizens .

    Still I can see some limited advantages to legalisation and no draw-backs.
    In the time I have been working in London , most of it kn the City I have noticed a great increase in the availability of sex , lap dancing , and a whole penumbra of entertainments are everywhere . I cannot help but notice that the style e of Pole dancing and lap dancing finds its way I onto the videos made by Artists for very young people,. Pornography is undergoing a great expansion as well. I `, not one to get to fussed about “ Standards are slipping “…but if I was a woman I would be concerned that with the image of the career and the education on very magazine there is an entirely different relation between the sexes beneath the surface. This dual reality is dealt with by Martin Aims a lot

  9. David Allen

    What with the Web as a place to advertise, email to communicate with prospective clients _ and mobile phones too _ what excuse can there possibly be for street prostitution? It makes women so vulnerable, attracts lowlifes, results in non-prostitute women being pestered by prospective clients. It is perfectly reasonable for police/ councils/ local communities to insist that street prostitution is proscribed. The flipside must be that women who operate discreetly from suitable private premises should be left to carry on their trade unmolested by the law _ and should be offered the full protection of the law.

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