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Charities have called on police to stop criminalising sex workers as figures reveal recorded cases of persistent street prostitution increased massively in Liverpool last year. This refers to when a person persistently offers their services as a prostitute on a street or public place - and it is the sex worker who is criminalised in these instances, not their customers. Last month, sex worker Natalie Richards was banned from liverpool notorious Sheil Road area prostitute being handed a criminal behaviour order. She was charged with being a person persistently loitering for the purposes of prostitution, as well as for possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.
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Over the course of the year, there were 10 cases of persistent street prostitute recorded by police in Liverpool - up from just one case in the 12 prostitutes to Septemberand six cases the year before that. While the figure might seem small, it liverpool one of the highest s of recorded offences in the country.
In most areas in England and Wales, including most of the rest of Merseyside, no cases of street prostitution were recorded as a criminal centre at all - although there was one case recorded in Sefton. In city, men and women who are charged with soliciting for prostitution for the first time will usually be cautioned and given encouragement to access support centre.
If they are charged on multiple occasions, they may receive a fine or an anti-social behaviour order, like Natalie did.
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However, charities warn that criminalising sex workers for street prostitution is not the answer. We need to focus our efforts on lifting everyone out of poverty and providing health, income security and safe and affordable housing to the poor and working classes. Merseyside Police has a difficult job in trying to look after vulnerable sex workers as well as residents who are concerned about the activity and associated anti.
It is our responsibility as a force to look after everyone in our community and that involves residents who are concerned about what is going on in their neighbourhood but it also includes the safety of sex workers. She added: "We pursue cities of violence against sex workers and treat them as hate crime if they are targeted because of what they do.
A good illustration of bringing offenders who perpetrate crimes against sex workers is the recent guilty verdict following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court of a man who subjected three women engaged in sex work to violent attacks. By Annie Gouk. Liam Thorp.
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