Women selling sex on the streets suffer high levels of violence from men, in comparison to other occupational groups, they bear the greatest risk of homicide for women.
Cunningham et al. (2018)
The women involved in selling sex on the streets are some of the most marginalised and vulnerable in Southampton, facing multiple disadvantages and hardship. Many suffer high levels of violence and harm and are at risk of sexual exploitation. These women have complex realities for why they have ended up selling sex on the streets including drug and alcohol misuse, vulnerable or unstable housing, often poor mental health, and have experienced domestic violence and past sexual abuse.
“70% of women enter prostitution as children”
Rotherham Plan 2020
The Olivia team of staff and volunteers provide twice weekly evening outreach sessions. The team are known for their friendly faces; we give out wellbeing gift bags including condoms and rape alarms, information about local support services and alerts from the Police and National Ugly Mugs. We offer to report assaults for women if they wish to remain anonymous. We provide the opportunity for conversation and prayer as well as one-to-one appointments.
Some women have told us they are worried about their safety and ask us to pray for them whilst out on the streets. A number of women have told us that they have suffered assaults and rape.
We have recently received funding for an outreach van which will provide a confidential safe space for women during outreach sessions which will replace our current system of using our own cars; this means that we can meet women inside the van, offering prayer in confidence, rather than having to interact with them on the street. This will have many benefits and we are excited by this opportunity which will be up and running by September 2023.
“70% of women who sex work were at one time placed in local authority care as children, once women are in the sex industry 70% suffer extreme PTSD”
Rotherham Plan 2020
As we get to know women we are able to celebrate each small step they take. Their resilience to challenges inspires our work.