Many affected or who have an interest in part 2 of the Police and Crime Bill, which addresses prostitution, met last night.
Many fail to realise that one reason behind the new closure orders could be the ability under the recent Proceeds of Crime Act for the police to keep 25 per cent of the proceeds from a raid. The Crown Prosecution Service keeps 25 per cent and the Inland Revenue the other half.
Yesterday, I spoke to a working girl who had kept all her savings, for the sunny day when she could move away from prostitution. She kept the money in a box in a cupboard in her room along with her jewellery. The box was seized during a police raid, which was made under the wrong premise of a ‘suspicion of drugs’.
She had a three year old and was left with nothing.
It’s hard to believe the by- product of the legislation, which will turn these girls out onto the streets, wasteland and into cars, risking their lives, will be a boost to the government’s coffers.
The Priest from Soho spoke last night.
He spoke about the girls’ abusers as those in the wider political debate using for political means. Wonder who he meant by that?
He asked how long until he had to officiate at a funeral and point a finger at the government and say, “that was your fault”.
He spoke of care and compassion, and how every girl is someone’s daughter, mother, grandmother, sister. Not a scourge on society, not a ‘ hooker’, but human beings, deserving of the same dignity as us all.
He made us all laugh saying he didn’t agree totally will all the girls choices; but he did enjoy getting whistled at every now and then, and at his age that was a privilege.
I was delighted to meet Jean from Hampshire WI.
The WI passed a resolution at their conference to support safe indoor working environments for ‘working girls’.
Andrea was there from the RCN. A trained nurse from Liverpool who works closely within the sector with ‘working girls’.
All knowledgeable well-informed people.
But it was the words of the man who knew the most, which I thought about as I walked back to my committee room.
The man who walked up to the prostitute thrown, lying in the dirt; the man who gave hope, compassion and dignity, the man who said:
“where are those who condemn you?”
I opened the door to the Public Bill committee meeting and thought, that’s easy Lord, they’re here, in Room 11.