"Women in the sex industry are often vulnerable and sometimes desperately need support to find a way out." This was the message from Green MEP Jean Lambert today as she called for a change in the law to increase the safety of prostitutes following the horrific murders of five women in Suffolk.
Jean, who has continued to campaign for women's rights and previously called for the legalisation of prostitution and licensing of brothels, today said; "First and foremost it is vital that we recognise that the five people who have been murdered are women first and prostitutes second. The fact that their lives have steered them into the sex trade does not renounce their human rights and respect that we are all entitled to.
"Reports following the Ipswich murders suggest that many of the women involved in prostitution do so because they can not see another way out or any other way of raising funds to feed a drug addiction. We need to offer these women a safe option where they can gain specialist help and advice from highly trained professionals, reassuring them that they will not be penalised for any involvement in the sex industry.
"To successfully persuade women to leave the streets, the circumstances in which they have turned to prostitution must be addressed first. This is not a job for the Police. A number of support projects have been set up to deal with drug addiction but they can suffer from erratic or little funding and thus the long term approach and support that is needed to really make a difference breaks down.
"Women working in the sex trade are vulnerable through a combination of circumstances and unless the law changes to allow brothels to operate under license, or we see the setting up of managed areas as Ipswich prostitutes have demanded, horrific crimes such as those in Ipswich will continue to be a very real possibility."
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.