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Why we are needed

looking down on a kerb and double yellow lines

150 women are sex-working on Bristol’s streets. It’s dangerous, lonely and difficult to leave.

But our vision is of a community where all women are valued and able to live fulfilled lives without the risk of being trapped in street sex work.

The women we meet are in desperate situations. There’s no one-story-fits all. They’re somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister, even somebody’s mother… Most of the women we see on the streets are homeless, acutely malnourished and addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.

We see women who are deeply traumatised – from childhood abuse and the violence of life on the streets. Yet these courageous women show tremendous skills and potential: in their supportive peer relationships, their creativity and humour and their survival.

Some statistics

Of the 150 women sex-working on the streets:

  • 99% are addicted to one or more Class A drugs and/or alcohol: average age of first use was 13 years old1
  • All suffer from chronic ill health and half suffer from acute ill health (requiring immediate medical attention)1
  • 80% experience homelessness within any given year2
  • 92% suffer from malnutrition2
  • Women in street prostitution are 12 times more likely to be murdered than the normal rate for all women in the same age group in the UK3

Of all the women we support:

  • Almost all have reported childhood abuse or neglect2
  • 38% have been through fostering or children’s homes4
  • 32% left school at 14 or younger and only 41% have any qualifications1
  • Their age range is 18-552
1 Jeal, N and Salisbury, C (2007) ‘Health needs of parlour based prostitutes compared with street based prostitutes: a cross sectional survey’ International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 114 pp875-881 [Based on One25’s service users]
2 One25’s own stats
3 Salfati, C. G. (2009) ‘Prostitute Homicide: An Overview of the Literature and Comparison to Sexual and Non-Sexual Female Victim Homicide’, Safer Sex in the City: The Experience and Management of Street Prostitution, pp. 51-68. (ed. D. Canter, M. Ioannou, D. Youngs)
4 Jeal, N and Salisbury, C (2004) ‘Self reported experiences of health services among street based prostitutes’ British Medical Journal, 65 p123 [Based on One25’s service users]

One25 is the only organisation in Bristol specifically supporting street sex-working women. They are some of the city’s most vulnerable women. Our approach of unconditional love means we work with each woman who says she needs us until she is ready to move on.

So what do we do about it?

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