Hookers overun city streets - Blame tough times for increase in numbers

June 17, 2016

Hookers overrun city streets

n Blame tough times for increase in numbers

Besides reporting to work everyday as a bartender by day, one young woman has sought to employ resourceful methods just to make ends meet. For her, turning to sex work after hours is the only immediate choice available to adequately provide for her son.

Monique Facey*, 25, feels that life has thrown her quite the curve ball as she has been abandoned by her child's father. Her bartending job is hardly enough to cover her expenses, forcing her to turn up at the sidewalk to solicit clients. She feels it is her only solution.

THE WEEKEND STAR, this week, spent some time roving around the streets of the Corporate Area. Quite a number of ladies were observed clad in threads that hardly leave anything to the imagination. Facey was no different. She was dressed skimpily in an increasingly competitive space.

Facey and several others like her are actively engaged in prostitution for the sole purpose of earning their bread in light of economic troubles. A lack of opportunities for these women has resulted in an apparent increase in the number of sex workers on our nation's streets.

"Sometimes, friend carry friend and friend carry friend. It just nah go stop. Time hard," Facey explained, adding that there seems to be an immeasurable cycle as the number of sex workers seems to grow.

Facey claims that others like herself are driven to prostitution for a number of reasons. "Some a dem, dem man nuh want dem, dem pickney father run weh lef dem, too, some a dem owe how much money; all sort a something," she added.

A short distance away from where our news team spoke with Facey was a 23-year-old woman who gave her name only as 'Chicken Little'. She could hardly spare a moment as business appeared to be booming. "Yes, I am [a sex worker], but me a do something now. Me a go work ya now," she said, dressed in a bright pink bikini top and short jeans shorts.

strong police presence

She related sentiments similar to Facey's. She was also perturbed by the strong police presence on the streets of late.

"Right now, there is less work, and we can make money yah so," she explained. "Most a we pon the road, really, we have kids weh nah nuh father and stuff like that. We have bills to pay, but we a get a fight by the police dem. Dem charge we fi loitering. Dem have a time when dem come out and go after everybody. All if yuh nah loiter pon di road, just like that, dem want charge you."

The casual observer may notice an increase in the number of sex workers on sidewalks around town, however, the police say that there is simply no tangible evidence to substantiate such claims.

"We can't comment on a perception," said Assistant Commissioner Devon Watkis, head of the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime branch (C-TOC). "A mere standing on the streets does not constitute prostitution."

In addition to it's many functions, C-TOC serves to snuff out instances of persons who are trafficked for forced labour or commercial sex exploitation. As it appears, human trafficking is most often linked to prostitution.

"We deal with human trafficking and trafficking in persons. However, if prostitution comes in between and its considered a part of exploitation, then we will investigate," ACP Watkis said. "We police the exploitation of females and the vulnerable population, which would include males, if it comes to that. If a group sends a girl out there against her will for prostitution and they benefit from the money, then there are a number of laws, including the Child Care Protection Act and the Trafficking Persons Act, as well as the original act that deals with prostitution. At that point, we will act."

* Name changed

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