A prostitute at a notorious red light district in England was back at work just 30 minutes after giving birth.
A Police Community Support Officer has revealed what she has learnt after working with sex workers in Hull for a decade.
Jacqui Fairbanks says there are currently around 40 prostitutes working in the Hessle Road area at various times.
Many come from backgrounds where they have been physically and sexually abused, while many of them are homeless and sleep on sofas.
Some of the women suffer from mental health problems and are often trafficked or coerced into selling sex by pimps or boyfriends, the officer 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,’ she told the Hull Daily Mail. ‘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.’ PCSO Fairbanks said the age ranged women in their late 20s or early 30s to a couple of women in their 60s though ‘thankfully we don’t have any young girls on the streets in Hull’.
When it comes to customers said: ‘We have lads as young as 17 or 18 using these sex workers and the age range goes up to those in their 80s. ‘They are all from different backgrounds and cultures. There are those who are very affluent and those who are unemployed.’
She said the police work with social services and other agencies, including the Together Women Project, Lighthouse, the Vineyard and Humbercare. And PCSO Fairbanks says the lack of sympathy for prostitutes can be unfair.
‘There is a perception that these women are all on benefits, but that is not always the case,’ she said. ‘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 offer them help through the different agencies.’ She says there has been a reduction in violence since her time working at the red light district and that the women often come forward to report abuse or attacks.
‘We have a better rapport. It has been around ten years since the last murder of a sex worker,’ PCSO Fairbanks said. Orders were introduced in 2014 which meant prostitutes and kerb crawlers face arrest if found loitering, soliciting or having sex. In the last three months, 16 section 222 orders were handed out to kerb crawlers while 33 section 222 orders were given to sex workers. Police say the long-term plan is to put kerb crawlers on courses rather than send them to court.