Understanding the problem
Every town and city in the UK has its problems associated with prostitution. After all it's the oldest trade in the world and one in three UK men are said to have visited one at least once. So, what about Birmingham? Is it any different?. The answer has to be no.
Birmingham has always had a prostitution problem. That's if you regard it as a problem. If you are here looking for photographs or porn then ooops......sorry wrong web site. This is about Birmingham and the West Midlands and this information is included purely because we try and cover every aspect of our region.
Prostitution in Birmingham used to be concentrated around Balsall Heath. Concerted efforts by the locals succeeded in driving most sex workers out of the area. However, this is no solution as the problem just went elsewhere.
Prostitution is concentrated around the Edgbaston area of the city in several streets off the Hagley Road. It seems to get worse as you near the Oratory by the Plough and Harrow. There are also reports of girls still operating around Speedwell Road, Hockley and the Jewellery Quarter. Competition and the dependency on drugs has driven the going rate down to around £20 for a quickie in the back of the car. The problems that residents have with the prostitution issue is based on needles and condoms being left in places where they shouldn't be and droves of vehicles driving aimlessly around looking for girls.
West Midlands Police now have active patrols in these areas and are taking a tougher line with the problem. Once happy to caution a driver for kerb crawling they are now arresting the offender and carting them off to the police station. A call is then made to their home address to verify the persons identity. The police will then press charges.
It has to be understood that the police are acting in the interests of both the girls and the local residents. Many of the sex workers are beaten up, abused by pimps and addicted to drugs. Some have even been murdered. Many are under aged. There are many massage parlours in Birmingham offering sexual services and these are seldom raided unless problems occur. This level of tolerance would appear in contradiction to the pursuit of kerb crawlers whereas in fact it is a logical and sensible approach to the problem. The girls at a massage parlour are less likely to be abused, less likely to annoy the locals and far less likely to be taking drugs.
Birmingham City Council has even considered using paid informants to help drive prostitutes from residential streets. Equally they have considered licensed brothels. Getting the girls off the streets would appear to be the main concern. A recent NOP poll in the UK resulted in two thirds of the people supporting the sex trade so long as it took place in designated areas. It would seem that no one minds particularly as long as it isn't taking place in their street. Some so called third world countries have tackled the problem head on and licensed brothels and set aside designated areas for the sex trade. Can the police be expected to battle against all odds, moving the problem from one area or town to another in the hope that it will go away? Is there another solution?
Whilst police in Birmingham have been active in trying to clear the streets the reverse would appear to have happened in Walsall. Sex capital of the Midlands, girls as young as 12 ply their trade aggressively from dusk onwards. No attempt is made to cover up what is going on and the obvious attire and gestures of the street girls would indicate complete confidence in not getting caught or apprehended by the police.
Sex is, always has, and always will be, big business. Forget for a moment the street girls which are the most obvious but consider the massage parlours, tons of them around the Midlands, then look at the newspapers and the adverts for massage services or escort agents. Some girls have regular clients and work from home. Many operate only via a mobile phone. Consider the sex shops and even your local newsagent selling the latest video copy of "Busty Blondes from Birmingham". The extent of the sex industry is all around you.
You won't find telephone booths plastered with stickers advertising sex in Birmingham. The situation is not as bad as in some towns and cities. The police do their best. The problem is not an easy one. However, consider this. Whilst some of the girls working on the street may actually feel they have a right to sell their services so long as they are not harming anyone, there are many more who are trapped in a spiralling road to disaster. Drugs and pimps force them to work in the trade. They lead miserable lives as a result and may even be maimed or killed in this dangerous trade.
If you have to visit a sex worker then at least have the common decency to treat her like a human being. Go to one of the many massage parlours where you will be less likely to get arrested for kerb crawling. Sure it may cost you more but the chances are the girl will be cleaner and you less likely to catch something undesirable. Finally, spare a thought for the girls predicament. What would you do in her shoes if you had no choice in life? What trauma of her past made her resort to prostitution for a living? I hope you care. You should care.