Redbridge pastors call for volunteers to combat prostitution
PUBLISHED: 12:41 14 May 2013 | UPDATED: 12:41 14 May 2013
Female volunteers are being called for to help at a new drop-in centre for prostitutes being set up by a Christian group.
Redbridge Street Pastors is starting the Safer Space Project to give support to women who want to exit prostitution. Over the past few years, they have conducted regular patrols of Ilford Lane, Ilford, checking on the welfare of women working there late at night.
Monica Abdala, project co-ordinator for Redbridge Street Pastors, said: “We are hoping that our volunteers will give these women the opportunity to help them make the most of their lives.
“It’s about listening to the stories of the women and to find out who they are.”
The new drop-in centre will officially open on June 3, from 1-4pm, at the Salvation Army, Clements Road, Ilford. “Some of these women have been trafficked into the UK which is a great concern for us,” Mrs Abdala said.
“The traffickers take their documents. They come here to work in cafés and are forced into prostitution. It’s been going on for years in this country.”
Redbridge Street Pastors is run buy a group of churches which patrol the streets late at night helping those in need.
“On a Friday night, unless the police are doing an operation, we meet anywhere between five and 15 prostitutes,” Mrs Adbala added. “We started patrolling a few years ago and it’s an issue for the community.”
The drop-in centre will offer counselling, conversational English classes and support for any woman who wants to leave prostitution.
The project is being run in partnership with Redbridge Council together with the Met Police and has been given £30,000 in funding.
Organisers say they hope that if the initial Monday drop-in centre is successful, that they will run a Friday night service for anyone in need.
Mrs Adbala said: “Mondays will be women only, but when we move forward to the Fridays it will be for all vulnerable adults such as rough sleepers or people coming out of clubs.”
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