Redbridge charity launches event to give hope to sex workers

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 January 2016

Ilford Lane Feature 

Ilford Lane sign

Ilford Lane Feature Ilford Lane sign


A woman who was stabbed in the head and back while she tried to protect four sex workers has returned to her charity work.

Outreach worker Sophia Burley, 47, was attacked in Ilford Lane by Robin Kardam, of Madras Road, in November 2014.

He was later found not guilty of attempted murder at trial as he was suffering from schizophrenia.

Ms Burley, a mother of two, set up Women on the Frontline Ministry (WOFM), four years ago, in order to help sex workers on the road.

Now, just over a year from the attack, she has organised a sponsored walk, called A Light in the Night, to promote the group in the borough.

She said: “The attack did deter me for a while, but outreach work is my life and I knew I would return.

“Now we need fundraising if we are to continue our work.

“We believe some of the women are trafficked and we want to raise our profile in order to give those women choices.

“I’ve been back on the streets since November and it’s been going very well.

“I think the attack built trust in me – now the girls are more open with me.”

Sophia hopes the charity walk will raise enough money to buy a van, which can be used to transport women in the industry to various refuge houses.

The route includes locations where sex workers are known to be, as volunteers make sure they are well known on the scene.

Sophia said: “We go and say hello, armed with gift bags, a flask of coffee, sweets and always a smile, to meet, greet and to administer love, compassion, understanding and hope to those we meet.”

It will take place on Friday February 5, starting at 11.30pm, and covers Newham and Redbridge as the group volunteers in both.

To be involved, phone Sophia on 07535 604739 or via email at

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