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Suffolk sex trade services shock

PUBLISHED: 09:40 06 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:29 06 July 2010

PROSTITUTION services are being offered in almost 250 premises across Suffolk, shocking new figures have revealed.

A report which will go before Suffolk Police Authority on Friday has revealed there are 241 premises in the county where men and women can go for sex, and not just in the big towns.

PROSTITUTION services are being offered in almost 250 premises across Suffolk, shocking new figures have revealed.

A report which will go before Suffolk Police Authority on Friday has revealed there are 241 premises in the county where men and women can go for sex, and not just in the big towns.

In a number of cases they are known to exist in rural parts of the county as well as places like Mildenhall, Newmarket and Haverhill and other market towns.

These premises are often linked to organised crime and people trafficking with women from China, Poland and Russia brought into the county and exploited for sexual gain.

Helen Hepburn, development manager of the Suffolk Prostitution and Sexual Exploitation Strategy, admitted that she was shocked by the findings.

“It is an issue in Suffolk and the evidence is there that off-street premises are throughout the county in market towns along with Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft.

“These people are part of the community and if they are being sexually exploited or forced in any way to do this against their will then that is a great concern.

“It is hidden. It is not as obvious as street prostitution and I suppose for that reason there may be less community concern compared to when they are 'on street' but there have been complaints from people who have seen comings and goings in flats.”

The report highlights the success of the Ipswich Street Prostitution Strategy following the murders of five women in 2006.

But it says that because of this success, some of the focus now needs to move to “off-street” prostitution.

The report, written by Suffolk Constabulary's Chief Constable Simon Ash, reads: “Off Street prostitution is often linked with organised crime, people trafficking, exploitation of children as well as being anti-social in the neighbourhoods where such activities take place.”

The report says that the Ipswich Street Prostitution Strategy has helped the majority of women previously involved in prostitution to change their lives and move away from drugs and the sex trade. It says there is “no evidence” that the women have been driven underground.

The report reads: “The team believes that kerb crawling and street prostitution is no longer a problem on the streets of Ipswich.”

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