Shock Teesside prostitution figures show over 630 men and women in area trading sex for as little as £5
'In Middlesbrough there is a street sex market that does not really exist anywhere else': Report provides snapshot of prostitution trade in the area between 2012 and 2013
A shock report has lifted the lid on prostitution in Teesside - and revealed that more than 630 men and women in the area are trading sex for as little as £5.
The highest number of prostitutes are found in Middlesbrough and Stockton, but there are also problems in Redcar and Hartlepool.
Roughly half of those involved in the Teesside sex trade are engaged in “survival sex” - in which men and women exchange sex for drugs, alcohol, accommodation and essentials such as food.
Punters are paying from £5 to £60 for oral sex, with an average cost of £20 - while full sex ranges from £5 to £150 and has an average of £50.
Drug and alcohol abuse and poor housing lead many women into prostitution, says the study, produced by social research group Barefoot Research for the Northern Rock Foundation and the Durham Tees Valley Probation Service.
It provides a snapshot of the trade between 2012 and 2013, and was released at an event at the Acklam Green Centre in Middlesbrough yesterday.
A case study in the report tells of Jude, in her early 40s, who was abused as a child and has been involved with prostitution since 18.
Agencies trying to help her had to leave her in B&B accommodation “they wouldn’t have put a dog in”, while reports of landlords managing the money of tenants staying at their B&Bs, locking them in their rooms and supplying alcohol and drugs, are commonplace.
One would “leave a bottle of vodka and cigarettes in a flat, and come back for sex as payment later”.
A 30-year-old who grew up in care was put in an expensive three-bedroomed house in Norton.
Her boyfriend and landlord took her passport from her, and “treated her like a prisoner, a sex slave”, the report said.
Houses of multiple occupancy encourage substance misuse and prostitution, with young girls in this type of accomodation often turning to the sex trade.
The report quotes one as saying: “They say that the first time is always the worst, after that it’s OK.”
Services to help those involved are more developed in Middlesbrough and Stockton, but less so in Redcar and Hartlepool.
Charities such as Barnardos Secos in Middlesbrough and A Way Out in Stockton are “a blessing and a curse” for local agencies, as “referrals are made and then people forgotten about”, according to the report.
The report added that there has been a huge drop in the numbers of arrests for kerb crawling in Middlesbrough between 2003 and 2012.
In 2003 the Gazette launched its Kerb The Crawlers campaign to name and shame those kerb-crawling on Teesside as part of efforts to stamp out the problem.
Dr Christopher Hartworth, director at Barefoot, said: “Prostitution is a problem in Teesside, especially for those with ongoing drug difficulties particularly with heroin and crack. There are problems across the region, but each area has there idiosyncracies - for example in Newcastle, there are more escorts and brothels, and in Middlesbrough there is a street sex market that does not really exist anywhere else.
“Doing this research and bringing all these statistics together can give agencies such as police and councils a head start in tackling the problem.”
Jessie Joe Jacobs, founder of Stockton’s A Way Out charity, which fights poverty and sexual exploitation, said: “Those involved in prostitution need the hope that there is a way out. This report is shocking, but not surprising.
“While budgets for local authorities and the police are squeezed, it is vital that we do not turn a blind eye to those in society that really need it.
“Who deals with those caught up in prostitution? If it is from a criminal justice point of view, the police, otherwise it might be the social care system but they are very stretched.
“Unfortunately, it seems that if you are not mad enough, bad enough or sad enough you don’t get the help you need.”
Report findings at a glance
• 221 women and 107 men involved in ‘commercial prostitution’ - advertising on the internet, becoming escorts or working from brothels.
• 268 women and 35 men across Teesside involved in “survival sex” - exchanging sex for drugs and alcohol and essentials like food and accommodation.
• “Survival sex” is strongly linked to substance abuse, while many involved were first sexually exploited when they were under 16 years of age. Of 108 women involved in survival sex in Middlesbrough, 33 had children taken into care.
• The number of male prostitutes are concentrated in Middlesbrough - 99 of the total 142.
• Vulnerable young mothers aged between 20 and 28, with young children, find themselves having to provide “payment in sex” for accommodation, alcohol or other essentials.
• Number of arrests in Middlesbrough for kerb crawling down drastically by more than 200 from 2003, to less than 50 in 2012. The street trade has reduced and has been driven into homes, but the numbers involved in sex trade remain roughly the same.
• Stockton sex market is roughly the same size as it was 10 years ago, but has changed location from the Bon Lea Trading Estate to residential areas.
• Redcar used to have problems with prostitution on the seafront, but due to recent construction work this has stopped and women have moved to Middlesbrough or Stockton.
• Thirteen of the women involved in prostitution have learning difficulties. Young women with learning difficulties are “pimped” by boyfriends. One woman with learning difficulties in her early 30s has been exploited by pizza delivery drivers for food. One 27-year-old smokes heroin, works from home or in a pub, does not wear a condom with regulars and can earn £700 a week - she once had 15 clients in one day.http://oldestprof.com/index.php/crimewa ... ittle-as-5