Councillor proposes Cowley sex trade legalisation

first_imgAn Oxford Citycouncillor has called for prostitution to be legalised in the Cowley Road area. Sajad Malik told the Oxford Mail,“Prostitutes use anywhere dark and anywhere quiet in my ward to do theirbusiness. They leave behind filth in alleyways, parks and tracks: it’s a healthissue.”He added, “It would be far safer forthe girls if they were in licensed premises where they could have regular healthchecks. Prostitution has been going on for centuries; there is nothing we can doto stop it.” Mr Malik proposed that Oxfordshould consult Liverpool City Council who are currently setting up a scheme forprostitution tolerance zones.Ruth Beer, councillor for Oxford Marshsaid she supported Malik in his frustration and that his decisionto speak out “raises awareness ofthe problem and of the need to debate these issues.” Beer added “I completely understandthat no one wants it on their doorstep but criminalization obviously isn’tdiscouraging it.” Members of the University have expressedconcern over the issue, particularly as Cowley is a popular areafor student accommodation. Ellie Cumbo,OUSU VP (Women) said, “The Cowley Road doesn’t have themost impressive street safetyrecord as it is, which is already a grave concern for the many students wholive there.” She continued, “Female students alreadyfeel extremely uncomfortable walking through parts of the area at night, and sofilling it with people who are specifically there to buy sex could hardly bemore detrimental totheir welfare.”Dr Ann Buchanan, dean of St Hilda’sCollege said that she “would be very concerned” if the changes Mr Malik hasproposed came into place and she pointed out that “there have already been anumber of cases of students being approached inappropriately”. Emily Pull, JCR President for Exeter said, “There arealready a number of safety concerns about the Cowley/Iffley area with incidentsof sexual assaults and violence.” She added, “I believe this wouldlead to segregation of the centreof Oxford andCowley even more so than exists at present and I don’t believe this issomething that is in anyone’s interest to do.” In a letter signed by CraigSimmons (St Mary’s Ward) as well as four other Green Party councillors for theCowley area, support was givenfor the legalisation of prostitution, but they stated that they did “not agreewith the Liberal democrats that Oxford should go it alone”.“Our view is that such a change requires national legislation if the problem ofsex tourism ‘hot spots’ are to be avoided.”ARCHIVE: 3rd week MT 2005last_img read more