Our public meeting, Storified

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.

Public meeting: 6:30PM, Wednesday 27 June 2012

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.

View the event on Facebook

Welcome to the campaign

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).

If you live or work in Tower Hamlets, please get involved. You can sign our petition and follow us on facebook and twitter.