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Support services for prostitution

Prostitution is the exchange of sex for money, goods or shelter. If the person is under 18, then this is child sexual exploitation (CSE). Prostitution is considered as a form of sexual exploitation within Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG), due to its gendered nature.

There have been many high-profile cases of serial killers who target women involved in prostitution. Women involved in prostitution are often targets for physical and sexual attacks, including rape and are 12 times more likely to be killed than a woman not involved in prostitution. This is why we do no refer to prostitution as ‘sex work’.

Prostitution can happen ‘on-street’ or ‘off-street’, which includes brothels.

Perpetrators of abuse

Research suggests that the average buyer of sex is men who are currently in a relationship. These men believe that buying sex is not ‘cheating’ or are more tolerant of cheating on their partner. They are repeated buyers of sex, report high levels of pornography use and ‘strip club’ attendance.

"Boyfriends" and "Pimps"

Women involved in on-street prostitution sometimes have ‘boyfriends’; media uses the term ‘pimp’. Sometimes the women are coerced into selling sex by their boyfriends to repay a ‘debt’ or to pay for them to buy drugs/alcohol. Some boyfriends use physical and emotional abuse to coerce the women into prostitution.

Report buyers of sex

Tower Hamlets police run regular operations to target buyers of sex. If you see vehicles in your neighbourhood which you believe are being used to solicit people involved in prostitution, please take note of the registration plate and report to police. If you know there are certain times, areas or buildings that are being used for prostitution, please inform the police with as much information as you can give.

Massage parlours

If you know that massage parlours are offering services of a sexual nature, please contact the police and the Council’s Health and Safety Licensing Team, email: 

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Support services

Beyond the streets

 A UK charity working to end sexual exploitation.

A small team of women with good listening and coaching skills with experience of supporting women who want to move forward towards their dreams on their journey out of prostitution.

Tower Hamlets Prostitution Partnership (THPP) meetings occur monthly to create a holistic support package for women involved in prostitution who are deemed high risk. Members of the partnership work together to ensure the needs of women involved in on-street prostitution are prioritised and met.

They operate a free call back service

Tel: 0800 1337870



Tower Hamlets Prostitution Partnership referral form (THPP Referral Form)



Door of Hope

An operating activity of Beyond the Streets Charitable Trust. Door of Hope provides support for women involved in street prostitution in East London. Many women find themselves vulnerable to exploitation and trapped on the streets. Alongside regular outreach, support is offered for women as routes out are explored.

Tel: 0300 302 0762

National Ugly Mugs (NUM) 

 A pioneering, national organisation that provides greater access to justice and protection for sex workers who are often targeted by dangerous individuals but are frequently reluctant to report these incidents to the police.

They aim is to prevent crime by improving the safety of sex workers, bring to justice offenders, supporting sex workers to access frontline services, increase reports to the police and to enhance the levels of intelligence.


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VAWG service directory

You can find lots of other useful services on the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) service directory homepage.