Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Wales
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

BBC Wales's Social Affairs Correspondent Gail Foley
"Cardiff council said it had offered the teenager help"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 15 March, 2000, 19:58 GMT
Social workers at 'breaking point'
Teenage prostitution in Wales is a concern
Social workers in Cardiff have warned they are breaking under the pressure of carrying life and death responsibilities about child protection without "proper management support".

The warning comes on the day when the case of a girl who has been a prostitute since she was 12 was raised in the Assembly as an illustration that the care system is still failing children.

An investigation by BBC Wales unearthed the teenager's case.

I would like to come off the game, get a flat and lead a normal life

Jade, teenaged prostitute
Jade, 18, is one of an estimated 30 teenagers, many of them still within the care system, who are prostituting on the streets to the south of Cardiff's bus and train station.

She has been on and off the streets since she was 12 and she is now hooked on heroin and needs specialised help.

Cardiff South and Penarth MP Alun Michael has written to Cardiff council on the issue.

Debbie Jones, from the charity Voices from Care, said there is no clinic in Wales suitable for her and accuses social services in Cardiff of failing to deal with her problems.

'Help offered'

Jade told BBC Wales: "I would like to come off the game, get a flat and lead a normal life."

Jade's case will be raised in the Assembly by Llanelli AM Helen Mary Jones, who said it highlights gaps in provision not addressed by the Waterhouse report.

"I think we need to be taking a very hard line on the men using prostitutes and for the police to have a crackdown," said Ms Jones.

"But at the end of the day, dealing with the demand will not deal with the problem.

"There is always some way to reach that child (Jade) and if a voluntary organisation like Voices from Care has managed to stay in touch, then professional organisations should be able to."

Cardiff council refused an interview but said a range of help had been offered to her.

The council's legal responsibility to care leavers effectively ends when they are 17, though charities are lobbying for that to be extended to 21 or even later.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

02 Mar 00 | Northern Ireland
Teen prostitution ring alleged
02 Mar 00 | Wales
Law change to protect children
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other Wales stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories