The streets are deserted and only the desperate women venture out which makes them even more vulnerable. We need a reclaim the night march in Ipswich and we need it soon.
Women of Ipswich, you need to march. To remember your sisters, to support each other and to stake your claim to the right to walk at night without fear of violence. Women Unite! Reclaim the Night!
Why does the UK have virtually the same laws on this that it had when Jack the Ripper slaughtered ?
About 7 years ago I went from Amsterdam to Frankfurt to Glasgow to Dublin to Leeds to Norwich in a period of a year.
In Amsterdam my girlfriend felt perfectly safe walking anywhere day or night. I'd been there for years and never been propositioned by any sex worker, and there was no 'kerb crawling', except of course the hoards of tourists gawking in crowds at the girls in the windows. It was all perfectly open and shameless - some old American woman would be telling some young girl exactly what her husband liked, and there were two way mirrors in the cubicles to ensure no one stepped out of line. Because the girls were safe they would happily be naked though they'd never kiss and insisted on condoms as they were educated by their union and the council, and seemingly they weren't that cheap and would pump you for more cash if they thought they could get away with it. Locals were often quite proud of their local brothels - my girlfriends brother took us all out for a tour simply to try and make me blush me I think. Okay, the immigration laws were laxer then maybe things have changed slightly now the country has swung to the political right. And a lot more Russian gangs have moved in and the 'word on the streets' even back then was they were dangerous places, but everyone but tourists knew that and recently the police have been cracking down on the gangs brothels. The sex workers who needed heroin were provided it free by the state, and although they were taxed and forced to take regular health checks that meant no punter would be wreckless enough to use any girl that walked the street - if she couldn't work legally it implied she was either sick or dangerous.
Frankfurt ws a fucked up place, gangs of street walkers hanging around just outside the train station shooting up in public. Really quite shocking in comparison
Glasgow had streetwalkers shivering in the cold in the city centre calling out for business and then disappearing into side alleys and car-parks because the 'city fathers' were too prudish to allow brothels - the few brothels I'd hear about were gangster places that bribed the police. My niece works there and says she can't go to the shops for milk without some driver slowing down and eyeing her up. Edinburgh just along the road had 'massage parlours' - safe for prostitutes though an impossible town to get a proper massage.
Dublin had street urchins, seriously under-age, rather filthy girls begging, and once I gave one a quid only to hear 'You're a really handsome man Mister, do you know that ?', and I'd had to convince myself that I wasn't being solicited. I mean, as a guy what can you do in such a situation - you can't say come with me I'd like to help you, giving them all your cash won't help them a bit.
Leeds was much the same - some poor kid came up and asked for money for a bus fare home which i gave her, and when I passed her later she was waiting with a much older man at a bus-stop who I feared was her pimp, and making the same request to other passers by, men only.
I went to look at a cheap flat to rent in Norwich and there was a large fortified club on the corner, obviously a sex club, and on the street there 30 parked cars full of either couples or single girls. I suppose at least they were in cars - quite posh cars - and there must've been bouncers within screaming distance. There were streetwalkers too, one who looked exactly like one of the dead girls but couldn't have been as she was older, came up and asked if I knew where an address was - I said I didn't as I wasn't from the area. She said 'Well, it's just over there and I'll be there for the next 30 minutes'. I may be naive but it was 5 minutes later that I even realised I'd been solicited. Her similarity to one of the victims really brings it home to me.
As a man I see the sex-workers but women see the johns, the kerb-crawlers. From both perspectives Amsterdam has to be the safest, least scary place I have been to where I've been aware of sex workers. Not just Amsterdam, all over the Netherlands, each street I lived on was near a brothel, a cheeseshop, a canal and a bike shop. In the same way I don't like cheese I wouldn't pay for sex but I don't think either should be illegal.
If you are going to the trouble of having a Reclaim the Nights march then try and lobby for a change in the laws too, or this will happen again soon enough.