Editor: Better to know what and where or force it to hide?
They say it is the oldest profession in the world and it has certainly been causing issues in Attercliffe for as long as I can remember.
Now I am sure there are many readers of The Star who remember when the sex industry operated in other areas and, indeed, there were loud rumours of Kelham Island being a favourite spot until it was given an extensive facelift.
In came the lovely restaurants and posh apartments, out went the business that nobody wants to talk about. But you can never get rid of it – sex sells and it always will. So, what should Sheffield do with an issue like Attercliffe?
It stands on the verge of what we all fervently hope will bring new hope for the neighbourhood, new homes and a more positive outlook for the families who live there.
Attercliffe was once one of the most popular places in the city to live, thanks to the steelworks but the whole East End when downhill as folks moved to be closer to the unpolluted, countryside.
Today there are still some worldbeating manufacturers, new university offerings and the Olympic Legacy Park, of which other city’s can only dream. Yet, when potential investors are shown the area, they are usually driven a torturously long route from the city centre, even though one of the attractions is that it is so close to town. Why? Well, you’ll have seen the windows full of undies and most of us know what goes on behind the black painted windows.
Is the best thing to force it to move on? That means police and the charities which support women who work in the sex industry may not be able to keep as close as watch as they presently do.
It also means it will pop up somewhere else, inevitably. Would you vote for it moving to streets near you? Of course you wouldn’t.
There is very little said about Sheffield’s approach to prostitution and the legal elements of the sex industry. We have been requesting an interview with South Yorkshire Police on the issue for months … nothing.
So I can’t tell you what our city’s approach is, other than through the odd court case which taken place over the years. But something needs to be done and Sheffield needs to be reassured that, as Attercliffe lifts itself to a new level, our authorities have a plan.