Drug workers supporting vice girls

DRUG rehabilitation centres are providing “emergency” support and advice for prostitutes in an effort to keep them off the streets of Ipswich in the wake of the murders.

DRUG rehabilitation centres are providing “emergency” support and advice for prostitutes in an effort to keep them off the streets of Ipswich in the wake of the murders.

As detectives continue the hunt for a possible serial killer or killers, many women are still risking their lives in a bid to fund their addictions.

But yesterday representatives from various organisations said they were working hard to ensure that support and advice was on offer.

Patrick Palmer, co-founder of the Iceni Project in Fore Street, Ipswich, said the group had received charitable donations to offer immediate financial support to prostitutes who had problems with debts and housing.


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“The money has been provided by organisations that wish to remain anonymous but it is available straight away,” he said. “A number of our clients have previously worked in the sex industry and we would urge anyone to come in and take advantage of our friendly and confidential service.

“We are open Tuesdays and Thursdays to anyone who wants to come in and sit down and have a chat. You don't have to make an appointment and can just walk in off the street and talk about issues.”

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Chip Somers, manager of drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre Focus 12 in Bury St Edmunds, said: “Suffolk has responded very quickly and there is a pot of money in place to provide an emergency level of care for temporary measures.”

Mr Somers said often people in the grip of a dependency acted in an irrational way, which could explain why prostitutes continued to work during such a dangerous time.

“Prostitution is just one consequence of drugs use and we come across many people who act irrationally and illegally because they are in the grip of a dependency that doesn't necessarily respond to logic.

“Going out in a dangerous situation is not that different from a person on bail going out and committing a robbery or burglary, although obviously with much more fatal consequences.”

Paul Simmons, a former heroin addict who works for Suffolk Partnership for Addiction and Care Engagement (SPACE), said the government needed to supply more money for long term strategies to prevent a similar situation in the future.

He said: “Waiting lists for de-tox beds and prescriptions need to be cut because presently they can be as long as 12 weeks.”

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