Prostitutes to get job advice

FORMER prostitutes could be set to work for the police as part of a bid to keep them off the streets, it has emerged.

Neil Puffett

FORMER prostitutes could be set to work for the police as part of a bid to keep them off the streets, it has emerged.

As part of an ongoing effort to help break the cycle of prostitution in Ipswich, the police, as well as Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council have been asked to consider employment opportunities for former street workers.

The idea forms part of a raft of measures that have been mooted to ensure the town's prostitution strategy, brought in following the murder of five prostitutes in 2006, stays on track.

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A report on the progress of the strategy makes a number of recommendations for how best to continue the good work.

Among these it was suggested that Suffolk police, Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council “consider offering appropriate forms of employment to those people exiting prostitution and recovering addicts”.

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The report revealed this could be either full, part time employment, work experience, work-based learning or Train to Gain opportunities.

Anne Whybrow, chairman of the joint scrutiny working party, said it would not be possible to use positive discrimination to give former prostitutes work.

“What we are saying is we want everybody to know that these people exiting prostitution have got an open playing field when applying for jobs,” she said. “These girls are very much like other minority groups in that sometimes they don't think that even if they do apply for jobs - regardless of their qualifications - positions will not be open to them.

“We want to send the message that if they have been rehabilitated then these jobs are open to them.

“There are massive employment opportunities in these three agencies and we have to make sure anybody exiting out of prostitution has a level playing field within those agencies when applying for work.”

Other recommendations made by the joint scrutiny working party - made up of members of Suffolk Police Authority, the county council and Ipswich council - include maintaining funding levels for the prostitution strategy and supporting initiatives aimed at preventing people entering prostitution.

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