New Ilford centre aims to offer escape from prostitution

The organiser of a new drop-in centre for prostitutes has said she is extremely pleased with the number of women who turned up to help.

The Safer Space project, being held in the Salvation Army, Clements Road, Ilford, opened on Monday. Monica Abdala said she was thrilled with the number of people who turned up to volunteer with the project and said they had varied backgrounds.

The centre is now open each Monday from 1-4pm and will help anyone who wants to exit from prostitution.

Mrs Abdala said: “The women met for the first time and it was an opportunity for them to get to know each other and share their experiences. Some have worked with vulnerable women before and others worked on human trafficking.”


The centre will offer a place for the prostitutes to ask for help, take conversational English classes and get advice on what services are available to them.

“It was amazing to see the amount of women who gave us their time and skills and they are really all offering something special,” said Mrs Abdala.

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“It was a lovely atmosphere and I’ve never done anything with just women before so I was a little bit apprehensive.”

Mrs Abdala said she hopes to get their first service user visiting the project during the next week and said she always expected take up to be slow due to the nature of their work.

“It’s not going to be easy and there’s no easy answer to the problem,” she said. “All the volunteers want to give back to the women that we will be working with and help them come out of the situation.”

About 12 volunteers turned up to the first session which included training from the chief executive of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London, Rita Chadha.

Ms Chadha said: “We were really grateful for the opportunity to do training about the different nationalities in Redbridge – especially those who may be being exploited.”