It’s hard to think that this goes on just outside the home I lived for a year, and I had no idea. The newspapers and police seem to view prostitutes as a nuisance that needs to be moved on, but where too? Another street in another area in another town?
Arresting them and giving them a conviction for soliciting, isn’t going to stop them working in the sex trade, it’s only going to make it harder for the women to get a job if they choose exit it.
More newspaper article research:
Coventry Evening Telegraph
October 6, 2006 Friday
Things are nowhere near as bad as they once were. But in just a couple of hours on a chilly evening, the Telegraph saw five girls plying their trade on the streets.
For police and the women it is an endless game of cat and mouse.
The women are determined to earn cash – usually to pay for heroin and crack cocaine – and the police persist with their public duty to clear them off the streets and stop kerb crawling in the predominantly residential area, which is home to families with children, the elderly and students.
We joined plainclothes officers on patrol in an unmarked car to see how they are tackling the problem.
The women quickly spotted the officers, and walked endless laps around Paynes Lane, East Street, Read Street, Hood Street, Canterbury Street, Vauxhall Street and neighbouring roads, trying to carry on working.
One woman was seen getting into a car in Canterbury Street, but the car disappeared before police could challenge the driver.
The officers, PC Sid Jandu and PC Antony Coy, spoke to the women, telling them they were being watched and warning them to be careful.
PC Sid Jandu, who led the patrol, said that when officers catch a known prostitute in a car or speaking to a driver, they talk to both of them.
They will challenge the driver to account for what he is doing and, as most of the girls immediately tell police what is going on, men also admit what they are doing.
Kerb crawlers, who face prosecution, are also warned that prostitutes can carry a range of sexually transmitted diseases.
Women are arrested for soliciting, but once in the criminal justice system they are given advice and information about organisations that can help them with drug and alcohol abuse, and can help them out of the sex trade.
PC Jandu said that for residents the problem blighted the area, and police had a duty of care to protect them, and the girls – who are particularly vulnerable to being attacked – from harm. The officers took us to a notorious alley in Sparkbrook Street, where women take men for sex, to demonstrate what the sex trade leaves in its wake. The alley was a sickening sight, strewn with scores of used condoms and empty condom packets.
An emaciated woman was sitting in the road, cross-legged and stooping over a bottle of booze.
PC Jandu told her she had to move, or she could be hit by a car. After dragging herself to her feet, and buttoning up her open blouse, she staggered off.
All kinds of men visit the area, say police, and many are married with children.
The patrols, part of a long-running crackdown called Operation Christian, will continue in the area. PC Jandu said the problem goes on, but added: “Compared to three years ago, it is a lot better today than it was.”