Over 25 sex workers’ flats in Soho, Central London were raided by police last night (4 December). Police broke down doors, slapped closure notices on the doors of premises and threw women out onto the street. Some immigrant women were taken into custody on the pretext that they may be victims of trafficking, despite their protestations that they were not being forced to work. Other women were given papers instructing them to appear in court today and tomorrow (5 and 6 December).
Cari Mitchell from the English Collective of Prostitutes commented:
“It is outrageous that the police are raiding premises where women are working together safely and collectively with friends. The police must know that some women will end up working on the street as a result, where it is much more dangerous. Most of the women thrown out of premises are mothers and grandmothers who have now lost their livelihood.”
Evictions and closure of the flats of sex workers are opposed by many other local residents and businesses because they feel that if the “Soho girls” go the whole character of Soho will change. It is this unique, diverse and tolerant community – immigrant, LGBTQ clubs, small independent businesses, theatre — which attracts many visitors from around the world. People fear that the evictions are aimed at making way for large scale development, like the one proposed in Walkers Court, which most residents are against.
For more information and comment please contact: English Collective of Prostitutes firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7482 2496 07811 964 171
Crossroads Women’s Centre, 25 Wolsey Mews, Kentish Town, London, NW5 2DX