Westminster Council has warned that the recession has increased risks for sex workers in the Capital. They say that market forces created by the financial crisis mean that prostitutes are more likely to be a victim of violence.
But how can the recession be to blame?
The reportThe council has produced a report, which found that the recession means more people are turning to the sex trade in order to make ends meet. The closure of several brothels in the area means many more of them are working on the streets.
At the same time, cash-strapped clients are less likely to use prostitutes, because they are too short of money.
The combination of an increased supply of sex workers, and a drop in demand for them, means that sex workers are dropping prices. Those who contributed to the report said that prices had fallen 50% since the onset of the recession.
This means that in order to maintain their level of income, they are offering a wider range of services, and accepting more clients. In order to increase the number of clients they see, they are having accept those that they may previously have deemed too dangerous.
HelpThe report said steps needed to be taken to protect them - including more guidance for police in how to engage with prostitutes, and the employment of an independent adviser to enable women to report crimes, and assist in the prosecution of their attacker.
Anyone affected by these issues can call SupportLine on 01708 765200. They will provide details of helplines and support available in your area.