Following the success of our first alternative Jack the Ripper tour, The Forgotten Women of Tower Hamlets, we’re running the tour again on Tuesday, 11 June 2013. This historical walking tour remembers and celebrates the lives of the five women murdered by Jack the Ripper – Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly. Rather than visit the places where the women were murdered, we take you to the streets where they lived, talk about their lives, and discuss the links through to women’s lives in Tower Hamlets today.
Tower Hamlets council launches it’s Violence Against Women & Girls Plan today. We welcome the inclusion of prostitution in this strategy, but we’re concerned to ensure that the general commitments around service provision meet the needs of women involved in prostitution, and that their commitment to hold perpetrators accountable is not only focused on domestic violence, but includes measures to hold accountable those who force or coerce women to be involved in prostitution and those who pay for sex.
You can help us hold the council accountable by sending this template letter, either in the post or by email. Please only send this letter if you live or work in Tower Hamlets, and if you can, add something personal about your own experience as a resident. Personal touches always make letters more effective.
If you couldn’t make it to our Alternative Jack the Ripper tour or the Forgotten Women of Tower Hamlets event – or if you just thought it was that brilliant that you want to see it again – we’ve now put the audio up on Soundcloud and created a Storify to highlight the main issues from the evening and share some pics.
More Alternative Jack the Ripper tours are planned soon, watch this space!
- Lisa Young from Eaves will present findings from their research with women leaving prostitution about what support they need to exit
- Clare G is an author and a survivor of prostitution
- Rebecca Perry manages the Safe Exit project at Toynbee Hall, supporting women to exit prostitution
- Amy Doyle is from the Chrysalis Project, providing accommodation and support for women in prostitution
- Fiona Dwyer is the Violence Against Women & Girls Strategy Manager at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and will talk about their approach to tackling this issue.
Thanks to the 45 residents and Tower Hamlets professionals who attended our public meeting last week. We were pleased to have the opportunity to discuss this important local issue together and especially encouraged to hear that Tower Hamlets council are committing to tackling prostitution as a form of violence against women and girls.
We’ll have a more detailed blog post up shortly, but in the meantime, here’s our Storify of the event.
LOCAL RESIDENTS MEET TO PRESENT A LONG-TERM SOLUTION FOR PROSTITUTION
ONE MONTH BEFORE OLYMPIC OPENING CEREMONY, RESIDENTS HOLD PUBLIC MEETING ASKING POLICE AND COUNCIL TO CHANGE APPROACH
We have collected nearly 200 signatures on our petition which appeals to the local authority and the local police to change their current approach to the policing of women in prostitution in the borough. Now, exactly one month before the Olympic Opening Ceremony, we are holding a public meeting on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 6:30PM at St Margaret’s House, 21 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green to present the petition to local councillors and discuss an alternative, borough-wide strategy to prostitution in the borough.
Since the campaign launched in April, local police have increased arrests of kerb-crawlers in areas affected by street-based prostitution in the borough and along with other residents, we are now asking for an approach that improves support for women involved in prostitution.
Speakers at the event include Councillor Rania Khan, Marta Dapenda Calvo of Toynbee Hall’s Safe Exit project, a survivor of prostitution and Lily Islam of the Flower & Dean Estate residents group. A representative of the Residents Solidarity Campaign will also speak. All local residents interested in this issue are welcome to attend the event.
We’re a group of residents and workers from Tower Hamlets concerned about recent targeting of women involved in street-based prostitution by local police. The police have told us that they’re acting on residents’ complaints, so we want to show them – and women involved in prostitution – that most residents don’t want these women criminalised.
We want services and support for women involved in prostitution in the borough, and we call on the police and the council to stop this victimisation. Instead, we ask them to focus on those who buy sex (kerb-crawlers), those who perpetrate violence against women and those who exploit them (abusive partners and drug dealers).