An ambitious strategy could see prostitution in Luton eradicated by 2018 if it is given the go-ahead tonight.
The five-year plan aims to remove the on-street sex trade from the town and is set to be approved by the council’s executive committee.
Inspired by Ipswich, the only area with a successful strategy to remove on-street sex trade, Luton’s Community Safety Executive (CSE) aims to help prostitutes leave the trade, tackle kerb-crawlers and protect children and young people who are at risk of exploitation.
The Community Safety Partnership report says: “Our overall aim is to protect our communities and residents from the harm associated with the on-street sex trade, by engaging in sustained and co-ordinated multi-agency initiatives to remove the on-street sex trade from Luton by 2018.”
As reported in the Luton News, residents have campaigned for years for a crackdown on prostitution, especially in problematic areas like High Town.
The High Town Against Prostitution residents group have met with the Community Safety Partnership to discuss what action is being taken.
Various groups already work together in Luton to address the sex trade, including the health services, Luton Borough Council, Beds Police and CCTV Operators.
Operation Turtle, which involves police and partners working together, began in January this year, and since then the police have dealt with 209 kerb crawlers, 77 of them being taken into custody.
Beds Police will continue to target kerb-crawlers, arresting all of them including first time offenders.
They will have to provide fingerprints and DNA which will be added to the National DNA Database, as part of the strategy’s aim to reduce demand for sexual services.
The strategy will also focus on developing routes out of prostitution for those already involved, preventing individuals from becoming involved and ensuring that serious and organised crime is addressed and that those who control, coerce, abuse or exploit others are brought to justice.
In the short-term, they plan will ensure victims of anti-social behaviour are supported, maintain the dawn patrol to clear up litter associated with prostitution and drug use, disperse those selling sex from residential areas and improve areas where the environment encourages prostitution, such as dimly lit streets.
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