One25 helps record number of women escape sex work on Bristol’s streets
The impact report just released by One25 shows over a third of women involved in sex work on Bristol’s streets broke free last year (59 out of 147). This is an all-time high of 40%. One25 also worked with 24 women who were at risk of entering street sex work, and 23 of these women were prevented from doing so (96%).
One25 reports that there are far fewer women trapped in this lifestyle than when they first started in 1995. Back then police estimated there were 360 street sex-working women in Bristol, and the current estimate is fewer than 150 women. This number continues to fall, with only 46 women sex-working regularly (i.e. 6 times a year or more).
One25 CEO Gill Nowland, who received an MBE for her work last year, comments: “One25 exists to help women break free from the streets and live a life that we all might take for granted: a safe roof over their heads, reunion with safe members of their family, a chance to explore their potential. Twenty-one years ago we didn't have the capacity to meet the needs of the women in the way we are able to today. We hope to continue offering routes out to women who find themselves trapped in street sex work and keep supporting those at-risk."
The Bristol-based charity enables women to break free from street sex work, addiction and other life-controlling issues and build new, independent lives. Women working Bristol’s streets are homeless (80%), acutely malnourished (92%) and addicted to drugs and/or alcohol (99%). Often they are deeply traumatised from childhood abuse, and from the violence of life on the streets: last year 71 reported violent attacks, including rape, assault with weapons and attempted murder.
Sandra, who is now free from street sex work, says: “I can’t even put into words how much the One25 van means to me. The horror of endless dark nights out there where I was raped and beaten…to have One25 coming out and showing me kindness was an absolute lifesaver.
One night on the streets I was raped and he did whatever he wanted to me: it was torture. After that it really was suicide or accepting help to change my life. My One25 caseworker turned up at my squat to take me to rehab and I was absolutely broken.
Now my life has changed beyond all recognition. I used to think I had nothing to offer. Now I’m loving life. I see my little boy once a week, I have a job and a home. I can’t even think of One25 without welling up. There is no question, they saved my life.”
To see more statistics or to read the impact report in full, visit one25.org.uk/our-news/59-women-broken-free-year-numbers/
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