Prostitution is rarely a lifestyle choice. Many people who are working in prostitution do so having suffered some type of abuse. Poverty, drugs, pimps, leaving care, trafficking and most of all, demand – keep prostitution alive.
Prostitution can lead to: unwanted pregnancies, abortion, sexually transmitted infections, rape, assault, illness, shortened life expectancy, alcohol and drug abuse, and chaotic lifestyles.
Prostitutes are often trafficked. Trafficked women may have been sold by family members, or led to believe they were coming to do domestic work in the UK, or be dancers. They may have a bond to pay off, often this can £1000’s of pounds. They may be charged rent, and other fees and have no way of paying the debt. Pimps – usually men, will demand money from the women, may have introduced them to drugs and may be their supplier. Drug or alcohol addiction may be the prostitute’s way of coping with what they are forced to do. Once addicted they can be stuck in a cycle, needing money to fund their habit, and still unable to pay off debts.
Another very vulnerable group is those leaving the care system. Girls who may have suffered sexual abuse as children may find that selling their bodies can bring in a regular income. Girls can be procured by parents into prostitution with high prices being paid for virgins or the young.
Prostitutes are often given ASBO’s. These are used to deter street work. However, they can stop a prostitute being able to get the help they may require.
There are projects trying to help women exit prostitution. This can be a long process, and may mean that women need a lot of help with underlying issues.
Men are just beginning to be targeted and in some areas they will find that their car could be crushed if they are found to be buying sex on the streets. Other schemes are educating men to understand that a majority of the women in prostitution are there because of abuse that they have been subjected to.
Prostitution Strategy (tackling the demand)