One brothel is shut down every week in Redbridge
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
One brothel is shut down every week in the borough on average.
These pop-up premises are located in all parts of the borough but are often found close to tube stations.
Councillor Neil Patrick Zammett is chairman of the roots out of prostitution working group, which was set up after the number of sex workers in Redbridge was identified as a concern to residents.
He said to tackle the issue, focus should be put upon helping the women involved in the industry but it can be an “uphill struggle” at times.
“You can’t tell me that well over a hundred young Romanian women all meet in Bucharest and decide to book tickets to Ilford,” he said.
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“It is more like organised crime and we need to look at how they get here.
“Criminals are making a lot of money out of it.”
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Cllr Zammett said good criminal evidence is needed to tackle pop up brothels.
He finds it absolutely horrendous that very young girls are trafficked not just across national boundaries and across England, but between different locations in the borough.
“Very few indigenous women are doing this and they are almost exclusively Romanian,” he added.
“It is not a short-term issue and we have to consider language issues, cultural appropriation and how to encourage them to come forward for us to help them.
“It is not right that vulnerable people have to live in this way when someone higher up the line is making big bucks.”
On-street prostitution has decreased in the last few months in Redbridge, thanks to a proactive operation by the police and council.
However as brothels operate behind closed doors, police are very much reliant on the information and tips from residents to shut them down.
Councillor Khayer Chowdhury, vice-chairman of external scrutiny panel said: “I call on residents to work with us and the police to help us keep Ilford safe and clean, and also send a strong message to those who commit crime - we will show total zero tolerance to your activities and we will relentlessly pursue you and lock you up if you come to Ilford and commit crimes.”