Plans to tackle problem of Sheffield sex workers

Sheffield Council is working to tackle the problem of prostitution in the city.
Sheffield Council is working to tackle the problem of prostitution in the city.

Work to tackle prostitution in Sheffield’s Kelham Island has been highlighted after a fed-up resident called for more to be done to tackle street soliciting.

Chris Savage, aged 28, of Mowbray Street, Kelham Island, contacted Sheffield council to complain about the number of sex workers in the area, which he says is a ‘known’ area for kerb-crawling.

He said: “It’s just all over the area. I’ve lived here for nearly three years and regularly see female sex workers on Mowbray Street and Harvest Lane.

“I am concerned for these women.

“Rather than just law enforcement, are efforts being made to help them to find another way to make a living?

“It needs to be changed for economic reasons, too. With the development in Green Lane, Little Kelham, they are attempting to attract young families here.”

Mr Savage received a response from the city council chief executive John Mothersole, who said the council provided £103,000 in the last financial year for Sheffield Working Women’s Opportunity Project.

Mr Mothersole said: “SWWOP provides an advice and support service to women working on the streets as commercial sex workers.

“The primary focus of this service is to ensure access to health and social care services whilst enabling women to exit street work.”

He added SWWOP provides increased access to services, recruits and trains volunteers for outreach sessions and develops ‘exit strategies’.

Mr Mothersole said: “Between April 2013 and March 2014 police referred over 50 workers into SWWOP. They do also enforce the law and caution the workers. In the last year over 50 kerb crawlers have been cautioned.

“However, instead of fines, workers can now be given Engagement and Support Orders, which include conditions of liaison with SWWOP, who can then support the workers

“Exiting prostitution is not easy and can take many years to achieve, which is undoubtedly why you continue to see workers on the street.”