Sex workers in London reported crimes against them under a trial scheme that lets them add information to a database anonymously.
Since July, women and men taking part have logged nearly 60 incidents – half of which were rapes or sexual assaults. But less than a third were prepared to make a formal complaint to police.
‘We’re talking serious crimes such as rape, violence, homophobic and racist hate crime,’ said Andrew Boff, leader of the Conservatives on the Greater London Authority.
‘The police must start regularly and formally engaging with sex workers to remedy this.’
The English Collective of Prostitutes said victims were afraid of being arrested.
‘Until the police prioritise prostitutes’ safety over prosecuting them, we do not think things will get better,’ said spokesman Niki Adams.
The Ugly Mugs scheme helps police to gather intelligence.
ECP full statement here:
It is important that Andrew Boff has raised that he is concerned, as we are, about the high levels of violence against sex workers.
But we have no reason to believe that if attacks on sex workers are categorised as hate crimes it will make any difference. Has it done so with racist attacks? Will it deal with the prejudices of the police and the crown prosecution service who prioritise prosecutions over our protection? Will it change that, because we are criminalised, attacks on us are rarely taken seriously by the police?
If sex work were decriminalised, as it is in New Zealand, then we could come forward and report any attacks to the police and demand to be taken seriously.