Video: Reclaiming Lives; Sex Work and Addiction
Friday, February 18th, 2011
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If your daughter ended up as an addict and sex worker walking the streets, where would you go for help? Inexcess interviews Award winners of the guardian Charity Awards 2010, one25. Claire McKenzie, Casework Manager highlights the challenges, dangers and atrocities women face when caught up in addiction and sex work.
Claire talks frankly about how women get caught up in a Parallel Society, finding them not only abused but abandoned. The levels of abuse women face are horrifying the shame and stigma is equally damaging. It is also highly distressing for families to stand by and watch their daughter, their sister, maybe even for a young child their mother, fund their habit in such a way.
One25 Ltd in Bristol started 15 years ago to offer support to women trapped in street based sex work. Our mission statement says: -‘One25 reaches out to women trapped in street sex work, supporting them to break free and build new lives away from violence, poverty and addiction’.
Naomi House has been open for two years and offers a primary drug treatment facility with parenting input to mums wanting to leave behind a life of addiction. It is the only such facility in the country with a primary focus on helping women, with their babies, who are exiting sex work as well as addiction.
Claire’s compelling insight and experience clearly shows the perseverance and sheer strength of women on their journey towards recovery. Those who stand the greatest chance of making a really clean break and enter a true journey of recovery are those who have safe and strong family relationships to return to and rebuild. These are family members who have often already taken on the care of children born to the women whilst they are still chaotic.
In 2010 One25 supported around 280 women in total; the van made 2700 contacts with 209 different women and the Drop In made 1684 contacts with 145 different women of which 115 were still working. We saw 25 women exit street sex work and 32 maintain their exit. 61 accessed some form of drug treatment, 33 were safely housed and 32 made positive contact with safe family members. In addition One25 Ltd won the Glaxo Smith Kline IMPACT Award and Guardian Charity Award for its impact on the community.