Saturday, 5 May 2012

”…walk the streets for money, you don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right…”

Police have been targeting prostitutes and kerb crawlers in the Olympic ‘host’ boroughs like Tower Hamlets to clean up the streets in the run-up to the summer Games.
The ‘zero tolerance’ policy has been brought in because of what they say is public demand before London goes under the international spotlight with tens-of-thousands of spectators arriving.
Because of ‘what they say’ is public demand? Why wouldn’t that be true?
But a group of women residents were out launching their petition on Saturday asking police to change tactics.
“Woman shouldn’t be put through this harassment in our name as residents when it’s not true that we want to get rid of prostitutes,” said campaign co-ordinator Shannon Harvey.
“We want police instead to go after the kerb-crawlers who are the real danger to residents—not the women.
“Prostitutes don’t harass residents. But kerb-crawlers make many residents feel unsafe.”
Strange, isn’t it? Whenever there’s some social panic on – junk food, loans, top-shelf magazines – it’s always the eeeeeeeeevil corporations – the businesses themselves – that are the culprits, with the customers helpless in their clutches.

But on this, it’s the other way round – it’s the ‘business’ that’s helpless, and the customers that are the eeeeeeeeeevil ones. How odd!
Shannon, a 29-year-old domestic violence charity worker, was out in the rain with other volunteers on Saturday collecting signatures from passers-by and passengers coming out of Whitechapel station.
They plan a public meeting at Toynbee Hall on May 9 to press police to switch tactics.
Well, you can swat flies all you like, sweetie, but while you leave a bin open full of garbage, you’re just going to get a never-ending supply of flies to replace them, aren’t you?

Solution? Remove the bin!

But maybe she’s right, and this is just old-fashioned prudery? Maybe the residents aren’t concerned about…

Oh.
The police targeting was sparked by calls at Tower Hamlets council in January to stop street prostitution before the Olympics open.
A delegation of families from Vallance Road, Bethnal Green, told councillors they had had enough of prostitution on their doorstep for the past 20 years.
It has led to a ‘get tough’ policy which has made 47 arrests for loitering and soliciting in the area so far since January.
So, for once, the police are doing as the residents wish?
Deputy Mayor Ohid Ahmed said at the time that residents had been telling the council that “street prostitution in Bethnal Green is an issue—that’s why we are working with police to tackle the problem.”
So who are these feminists to try to gainsay them?
But the Tower Hamlets Residents Against Persecution of Women in Prostitution campaign says arresting the women won’t get them, off the streets—it alienates them from the authorities and puts them in further danger.
How, exactly? And do speeding drivers and shoplifters who get hauled before a judge get to whinge that this 'alienates them from the authorities'?

Probably. But no-one listens to them. So why should we listen to the streetwalkers?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I feel another episode like Lumb Lane and Balsall Heath in the making.

Laban

Woman on a Raft said...

Remove the bin!

Good luck with that. If they wanted to hold the Olympics in a prostitution-free area, I'd have suggested....er....um......er.... well, there's probably less of it on the North York Moors, although the National Anthem of Yorkshire is ambivalent in some versions about what exactly is not being worn up there.

Instead, they've chosen an area which historically is linked with prostitution, murder, drunkenness, and running away surprisingly fast whilst jumping over things - which seems highly appropriate.

The thing to do is to issue Olympic licences to our plucky prostitutes and deck them out in Dickensian garb for the duration, lord luvaduck chim chimminey, strike a light Mary Poppins and what's a chennelman like you doin' so far from the Emirates stadium.

Captain Haddock said...

Ahh, yes, Vallance Road .. that historic East End thoroughfare, renowned worldwide for the rectitude, compassion and tolerance of some of its inhabitants ..

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dgeezer/2337244022/

Greencoat said...

Tower Hamlets - two words forever synonymous with lies, cruelty and corruption.

Even worms wouldn't eat its foulness.

The Stigler said...

The thing to do is to issue Olympic licences to our plucky prostitutes and deck them out in Dickensian garb for the duration, lord luvaduck chim chimminey, strike a light Mary Poppins and what's a chennelman like you doin' so far from the Emirates stadium.

my local massage parlour charges £20 extra for the "spit-spot" treatment. It is... Supercalifragolisticexpialodocious, though.

Trevor said...

Speaking as a former resident of a notorious prostitution hot-spot, I can say it definitely wasn't the kerb-crawlers who would brazenly and aggressively accost me or squat and defecate behind our bins, but I suppose I would say that, being part of the phallocentric hegemony or whatever the current gibberish is.

Anonymous said...

Are you seriously comparing women involved in street-prostitution with speeding drivers? What a quality commentary!

If you want to remove the bin (to use your awful analogy) then maybe the authorities should provide support to the women who are often homeless, addicted to heroin and crack, controlled by pimps and drug dealers, abused care leavers etc. Or maybe we should wait for five of them to be murdered (as in Ipswich) before we wake up to the reality of the dangers that these women face.

This is indeed another Balsall Heath in the making unless people stand up and speak up against it... or we could just resort to making silly analogies.

blueknight said...

Tower Hamlets Residents Against Persecution of Women in Prostitution.. I was hoping it would spell a funny acronym.
It was looking promising when I got THRAP

blueknight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James K said...

It's interesting that the police have suddenly found a way to remove prostitutes, beggars, and other undesirables from the streets of East London when foreign TV cameras are here.

Why can't they do the same in every district, all year round?

JuliaM said...

"I feel another episode like Lumb Lane and Balsall Heath in the making."

Very possibly!

"The thing to do is to issue Olympic licences to our plucky prostitutes and deck them out in Dickensian garb for the duration..."

Hey! Don't give away the proposed content of the opening ceremony! ;)

"...that historic East End thoroughfare, renowned worldwide for the rectitude, compassion and tolerance of some of its inhabitants .."

But they were good to their mums!

JuliaM said...

"Speaking as a former resident of a notorious prostitution hot-spot, I can say it definitely wasn't the kerb-crawlers who would brazenly and aggressively accost me or squat and defecate behind our bins..."

*gags*

"Are you seriously comparing women involved in street-prostitution with speeding drivers?"

Errr, no. Read it again. I was comparing them to an open garbage can.

"This is indeed another Balsall Heath in the making unless people stand up and speak up against it.."

The residents are doing so. They want it gone (probably for reasons that Trevor outlines above).

And I'm sick and tired of seeing criminals, living a criminal lifestyle, portrayed as 'vulnerable'. It's those who have to live near them that are the vulnerable ones!

"Why can't they do the same in every district, all year round?"

Because of idiots like THRAP and anon up there, squeaking in outrage about the 'unfairness' of it all...

Anonymous said...

And I'm sick and tired of seeing criminals, living a criminal lifestyle, portrayed as 'vulnerable'. It's those who have to live near them that are the vulnerable ones!

Well, maybe you shouldn't listen to people who say that and look at existing legislation and policy that addresses street prostitution? Just a suggestions before you go out there ranting. How much do you really know about the subject and how much of it is just populist daily fail kind of assumptions?

Previous government's

http://www.uknswp.org/wp-content/uploads/GuidanceonSection17PolicingandCrimeAct2009FINAL.pdf

Current government's

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/crime/responding-to-prostitution?view=Binary