New charity worker to help get prostitutes off the streets of Gloucester
PROSTITUTES in Gloucester are to be given help to curb addiction and get out of the trade by a dedicated worker.
Street sex workers in the Barton Street area, of which there are thought to be about 20, will be helped by a full-time employee who has just been appointed by the ISIS Women's Centre.
Women's Services Manager Rose Mahon said the new employee has just taken on the role.
"We know through the centre there is a cohort of women who, through substance abuse, are sex working. Their lives can be very chaotic with many complex problems and issues such as safety, mental and physical health needs and accommodation.
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"So we wanted to have someone dedicated to working with them."
But she added that she didn't think Gloucester had a huge problem with sex workers on the streets.
Prostitution is not illegal but activities associated with it, such as soliciting on the street, are.
The centre, run by Nelson Trust, supports women with the aim of reducing offending. It has been given a grant of almost £100,000 from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to fund the three-year project. Rose said the first year would mainly be spent engaging with the sex workers and developing the service.
The next two will then see ideas put into practice.
Rose said they also hope to develop the service so it can help to stop women entering prostitution in the first place.
The outreach worker will liaise with Gloucestershire Constabulary's vulnerable persons officer based at Barton Street police station, Homeless Healthcare Team, Probation Trust and the Gloucestershire Domestic Violence Support Advocacy Project.
Azam Hassanjee, owner of Continental Foods, in Barton Street, said more needs to be done in areas like prostitution to improve the area.
He said: "This area used to be really nice but over the years it has got worse and worse. It has really deteriorated for all sorts of reasons, including the prostitution. More definitely needs to be done."