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Thursday 28 November UK News feed. The area around Toynbee Hall, one of the charities that will benefit from the Telegraph Christmas Appeal, is one of London's busiest red light districts. Most sex workers - as they prefer to be known - operate from flats, saunas and massage parlours but the police have counted women working and living on the streets, some as young as Being a street prostitute is dangerous.
Most have been beaten up, many stabbed, some murdered. Often the women would like to find some other way to support themselves, but this is a far easier line of work to get into than to leave. Lisa, for example, left home at 13, because she was being abused by her stepfather. Within a year she was earning money from sex and spending it on drugs. Christmas Appeal The hall that Jack built. Arresting prostitutes is often counter-productive.
Aware of the problems these women face, and of the nuisance they present to residents, Toynbee Hall is running a project to make the streets safer. Sgt Keith Simpson, who runs the vice team at Brick Lane police station, said: "They are taking a fresh approach which combines the needs of local residents and of the women who, in some ways, are victims themselves.
From the meetings have come ideas which will make life pleasanter for those sick of finding condoms and syringes outside their homes and safer for the women on the streets. A special "Grimebusting" council service to pick up the debris, is one scheme to emerge.
Another is a register of sex workers to prevent them simply disappearing. Much of the effort centres on helping the women into alternative ways of life. Lisa knows she wouldn't have got to her current "clean" state - taking methadone rather than heroin or crack cocaine; working the streets only occasionally to buy food - without assistance. The turning point came for her a few months ago. During her five years in jail for her part in a manslaughter - she says she took no part in the killing beyond being present and doing nothing to prevent it - she took two degrees, in English literature and philosophy, and won a Koestler Prize for short stories.