A prostitute in the United Kingdom returned to work on the streets only 30 minutes after giving birth due to her desperation for money.
Police Community Support Officer Jacqui Fairbanks, who has assisted sex workers for a decade, spoke to the Hull Daily Mail about the tragic backgrounds of many of the approximately 40 women who work in the Hessle Road area of Hull and the vicious cycle they are in.
“Some of these women have come from backgrounds of child abuse, both physical and sexual,” Fairbanks said. “Violence in their lives has been commonplace and many are homeless who just sofa surf.”
Many of the prostitutes suffer from mental health problems and some are victims of trafficking and coercion by pimps and boyfriends.
According to Fairbanks, “the biggest issue is drugs and many of these women are on the streets to pay for theirs and their partner’s next fix.”
Fairbanks lamented some of the women’s desperation for money.
“One woman had a baby and, within half an hour, was back out on the streets. That’s how desperate some of these women are,” Fairbanks said. “We had one woman come out because her washing machine had broken and she needed some cash to have it fixed.”
Despite the conditions, Fairbanks said that it is challenging to get the prostitutes to stop working the streets.
“Our problem is that these women will not come and deal with us. Their self-esteem is so low that they enjoy the attention they receive and that is really sad,” Fairbanks said, adding, “This isn’t Pretty Woman, I’m afraid. Some rich punter isn’t going to come along and sweep these women off their feet and live happily ever after.”
The police work closely with social services agencies and private organizations in an effort to assist the women.
“There is a perception that these women are all on benefits but that is not always the case,” Fairbanks said. “For many, this is their only source of income.”
Fairbanks is sympathetic to the women’s plight.
“At the end of the day these women are somebody’s daughter,” she said about the women on Hessle Road, who are mostly in their 20s and 30s. “I try to tell them they are better than this. But all we can do is offer them the help through the different agencies.”