Sex Workers in Hackney Can’t Get Support Unless The Police Are Involved

Vice, July 2016

“When I first came to Open Doors I was picked up off the street by a drugs worker. I was wearing shoes without any soles,” says K, who suffers from a range of health problems but now describes her life as “harmonised”.

“When I first met Open Doors, I was homeless, in prostitution and smoking crack cocaine,” says J. “I hadn’t eaten in a day. Within two weeks [they] got me a flat and I’m still living there today. Most organisations that deal with prostitution or drugs, they judge you, but here they don’t.”

The stories poured out, many accompanied by tears. It was early June and a group of sex workers, outreach and health workers had gathered at a meeting called by local watchdogs, Hackney Health Watch to discuss Open Doors, the borough’s longstanding NHS support service for sex workers. The stories were being told because things are about the change for the worse…

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