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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 July, 2004, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Naming of prostitutes criticised
Prostitute in street
Names and addresses of the women have been published
A naming and shaming of prostitutes campaign by police has been criticised by a group representing sex workers.

Seven women from Reading, in Berkshire, have been placed on Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (Asbos) for being involved with prostitution in the town.

Pictures of the women have been put on the police website along with their names and addresses.

But the International Prostitutes Collective says authorities should be helping the women - not punishing them.

The challenge is to get them away from drugs and prostitution and keep them away
Supt Dilip Amin

A spokeswoman for the collective said: "What earthly good do Asbos do when these women need help, not jail.

"If Reading has a drug problem why aren't the authorities putting money and resources into helping people give up drugs, not putting them on the road to jail?"

But police say they have a fine balance to make between the needs of the women and the needs of the communities.

Supt Dilip Amin: "The reason we applied for Asbos was twofold.

"Firstly, we want to send a clear message to offenders and the community that illegal sexual activity will not be tolerated.

"Also, Asbos give the courts more flexibility in terms of sentencing than prostitution convictions do.

"We hope sentencing powers will be used to redirect these women towards treatment and resettlement to break the cycle of drugs and offending.

"The challenge is to get them away from drugs and prostitution and keep them away."

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