To receive a report from Daniel Hunt, ASB Co-Ordinator, Community Safety Unit.
RECEIVED a report from Daniel Hunt, ASB Co-ordinator, Community Safety Unit.
i) Enfield has historically had an issue with street sex work, which is mainly being reported in the Fore Street area (Upper Edmonton Ward).
ii) In contrast knowledge of the locations of brothels suggests that they are located more widely across the borough.
iii) Over the past few years the profile of sex workers has changed from being local females, known to be Class A drug dependent users to largely being eastern European females. There are however still a high number of Class A drug dependent users still actively working in the area.
iv) The eastern European sex workers have previously stated to police and others that they are here as economic migrants with the purpose of earning as much money as possible to send back home to their families. However, it is believed that there may be the possibility that this activity is being controlled and there may be instances of human trafficking taking place.
v) As part of its response to these issues Enfield Council has previously commissioned outreach work delivered by the Terrance Higgins Trust to work with sex workers around their sexual health. Joint operations have also been carried out with the police and immigration to the Fore Street area and to other known brothel locations. The Salvation Army also conducts outreach work in the Fore Street area to offer assistance to the sex workers who may have been trafficked.
vi) MOPAC (Mayors Office Policing and Crime) provided resources to deliver the Change Program in Enfield. This program is run independently and is ultimately self-funding. It is a conditional cautioning option offered to people arrested for and pleading guilty to kerb crawling. Individuals attend a one-day program which highlights the personal, social and legal issues with using sex. This program has been used in several other areas with a high degree of success in stopping re-offending.
vii) MOPAC funding is also being used for a Display Vehicle which has been used in the Fore Street area making people aware of the issues and warning people not to use sex workers.
viii) This is part of a targeted communications campaign which also includes posters, which are currently placed in bus stops reminding kerb crawlers of penalties for kerb crawling activity.
ix) Enfield Council has also implemented a Public Spaces Protection Order which applies to the whole of the borough and prohibits prostitution related activity. This new power has allowed for the Police and Council to carry out more targeted operations from which fixed penalty notices have been issued on individuals.
x) Enfield Council also work with landlords where brothels have been reported to ensure they are taking action to stop the activity which has an impact in the community.
xi) Local data information was provided in the forms of charts and tables. In the year 14th March 2018 to 13th March 2019 there have been 126 calls to the Police about ‘Prostitution Related Activity’, compared with 118 calls recorded in the same period for 2017/18.
Following Daniel’s update the following questions/comments were raised:
· Further information was provided on the issues and challenges faced which included a high turnover in sex workers every few months, the numbers of sex workers in the area, a large number of kerb crawlers not having English as their first language meaning they are unable to be offered the Change Program, high resource costs for coordinated council and police operations plus lack of funding to commission further outreach work on a more regular basis.
· Work will continue to: issue Fixed Penalty Notices to kerb crawlers, promote the Salvation Army’s 24hr number that will be issued to sex workers who may be trafficked or need other support, physical changes will be made to affected areas to reduce opportunities for crime and work will continue to monitor locations of reported brothels in the last year and identify landlords that have repeatedly allowed their properties to be use for prostitution related activity and take legal action.
· Erica Crawshaw provided information on coordinated police and council work taking place which included a five-week activity plan which would see the emphasis paced back on the sex workers as well as stepping up enforcement and focusing on outreach work. At the end of the five-week period success will be measured by whether the situation has improved, if the girls have changed etc.
· Leaflets (in five different languages) will be handed out to men parked up in cars for seemingly no apparent reason advising on the legislations around kerb crawling.
· It is often very hard to divert the sex workers away from this type of business as this is usually what they have come to England for. However extensive outreach work continues in the hope of building trust between the sex workers and the outreach teams.
· Discussions took place about Operation Make Safe and the work that takes place in the borough around exploitation and safeguarding.
· There is no direct correlation between areas in the borough with high levels of prostitution and those with high levels of serious youth violence. This could be very much to do with the area/environment which can unfortunately be very hard to change as certain behaviour and activities become entrenched. It is therefore important to make generational changes around education etc. so that history doesn’t repeat itself.
· Members thanked Daniel and his team for their outstanding work. The Chair also thanked Daniel for his informative and interesting report and felt that although there was a lot to digest, it was reassuring to hear that a lot of work had taken place to tackle this issue and was encouraged to hear that there would be a continued focus on this moving forward.