Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton sex workers thrive as police continue crackdown

Woman arrested
Image caption Sex workers are plying their trade at all times of the day residents claim

Residents and people who work in an area of Luton blighted by drugs and prostitution claim the 2013 five-year plan to clear the streets has failed.

People living in High Town claim the situation has become even worse with sex workers plying their trade at all times of the day.

Their anger towards the police and council was vented at a meeting on Thursday.

Sgt John Killick said the situation was complex with many issues to be tackled.

He claimed: "Five years was not enough as a lot of the women involved in the sex trade were vulnerable for many different reasons."

"We need to tackle all these issues and signpost women to places where they can get help."

Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption Sgt John Killick admitted a five-year programme was not enough and police needed more time
Image caption Gerry Taylor said the borough council had some success in helping women leave the sex trade

Gerry Taylor, from Luton Borough Council, said: "We've had some successes. For instance look at the support for women who wanted to get out of the sex trade.

"We've been able to help them exit while also cleaning up the environment and making things safer for people."

Image caption Jamal Uddin said women's safety was an issue

Jamal Uddin, a resident in High Town, said safety was a big issue. "These women can lose their life. So their safety is an issue.

"Number two, the rubbish around is not nice for local people. The council has a policy for everything. Why can't they do something about this."

Another resident Wendy Walker complained about condom wrappers and drug paraphernalia left around.

"We are the people who live with this disgusting filth.

"People's sympathies around here are very thin. We just want to get the whole area cleared," she said.

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