Minister praises sex trade crackdown

HOME Office minister Vernon Coaker was today in Ipswich on a fact-finding mission to discover more about the town's successful prostitution strategy.

HOME Office minister Vernon Coaker was today in Ipswich on a fact-finding mission to discover more about the town's successful prostitution strategy.

The Labour MP for Gedling praised the work undertaken by police and partner agencies in eradicating the street sex trade in the town, which was prompted by the murder of five sex workers in late 2006.

After touring the red light district, Mr Coaker held talks at Ipswich police station with the key figures behind the strategy.

He said: “I'm very impressed with what I have seen here in Ipswich.


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“To see the difference which has been made during the last 18 months is a tribute to everyone involved.

“I am here to see what has been done and to learn lessons which can be used in other parts of the country.

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“It's about prevention, giving women routes out of prostitution, tough enforcement and working with the community. If we put all these things together, we can make a real difference.”

The strategy aims to help women off the streets by giving them support to beat their drug habits and address other issues in their lives.

Suffolk police recently revealed that no prostitutes were currently working in Ipswich thanks to the efforts to convince women to stop touting for kerb crawlers.

Mr Coaker, who will tomorrow fly to Amsterdam to assess the Dutch approach in dealing with prostitution, said the government was also determined to tackle sex trafficking and exploitation.

“People are worried about the exploitation problems within the sex industry. We are looking at that exploitation and abuse which takes place.”

Councillor Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council said Mr Coaker's visit had been very productive.

“He was able to see first hand the excellent results of the prostitution strategy over the past year, namely no prostitutes on the streets of Ipswich and no kerb crawlers seen for the past few months, and hear from the local community about the improvement in their neighbourhood.

“Meeting the multi-agency team, Mr Coaker was able to understand the broad scope of the complex work the team is involved in and how the success in Ipswich could be used as a model of good practice across the country.

“Working in partnership within the current laws we can deliver a very positive outcome in tackling on street prostitution.

“I asked the minister to pass the word that we would be very pleased if other towns and cities want to look at the Ipswich model. They would be most welcome to come and visit us.”

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