Middlesbrough sex worker violence: Cleveland Police say 40 women helped in campaign

Officers in Middlesbrough have supported more than 40 sex workers as part of a programme to reduce violence against them. Credit: PA

More than 40 women have been helped by officers investigating reports of violence against sex workers, a police force has said.

Cleveland Police said it is engaging with sex workers in Middlesbrough to try and reduce violent crimes against them.

Police say offenders deliberately target those who sell sex because they believe it will not be reported.

A sex worker liaison officer is now working with the force and an initiative has seen police engage with more than 40 women in the town.

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said officers are now seeing women flag down officers in the street to flag concerns.

More than 70 sex buyers, or those associated with offending against the women, have been identified and dealt with by a cautions, arrests and charges.

Detective Inspector Dan Cook said: “We have seen some great success with Operation Beech and now that we have enough information from the initiative with regards to engaging with sex workers, we are able to come up with a long-term plan to help with the challenges that are faced in order to safeguard vulnerable victims, reduce related violent crimes and help make the relevant areas safer for our communities.

“Sex workers are vulnerable and often suffer from addiction, homelessness, and face many challenges where sex work becomes their only option for financial support. They are often targeted by dangerous individuals.

“We want to continue to ensure that anyone who is a victim of a sexual offence or violence can feel comfortable and confident enough to come forward and report it; and to know that they will be fully supported throughout and any allegations thoroughly investigated. Every sex worker is entitled to safety, support and justice when they have been a victim of crime.”

Cleveland Police said calls relating to sex work had decreased in Middlesbrough.

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