Thursday, December 14, 2006


During the time I worked in Spide City I got to know a few predatory men who’d hang about the place. They weren’t particularly nice characters although you couldn’t have told the hostel residents that – they thought these kind and generous fellows were just great.

The one I knew best was Jim. He had just one special friend in the hostel. She was eighteen, looked and acted younger, and he was at least thirty years older. He’d first met her when she was in the Children’s Home. He’d run a sweet shop quite close to the Home and he befriended the kids. He’d gone up in the world since then and now he made his living at the milder edge of the skin trade – lap dancers, strippers and so on. Since then I heard he’s making sex videos. He was a smart operator and his special friend was very pretty and mildly learning disabled. She was also severely mentally troubled. He’d take her away for the weekend and keep her drugged up. Who knows what happened? She was an adult. She didn’t complain.

Then there was Neville. He dressed like a tramp but he was a successful businessman with a bookie’s shop and a pub. He drove a Mercedes and kept the glove compartment well stocked with cigarettes, cannabis and sweets. His modus operandi was to make friends with the older women first, win their confidence, and then access their younger friends or their daughters. He was known to the police but nobody had ever complained.

I heard the stories about the parties and the young girls he shared with his sleazy friends but there was nothing I could do.

Those guys were pimps – they kept the really young ones for themselves and sent older girls out on the streets. They told them how much they’d earn out there and sure they were only getting money for what they’d give away for free.

You’re sitting on a goldmine girl!

The saddest thing was that the likes of Neville would often get an older girl to chat the newbies into it. He'd provide the lift. But if there was any trouble he'd just drive off and leave the girl or girls stranded. And if those young women were lucky the police found them and brought them back and when that happened it was me or my colleagues who listened to them as they told us the stories of what had happened, how scared they were and how little, if anything, they got for what they did.

Of course it's the current news from Ipswich that has got me thinking about this. Joan Smith of the Guardian has a good perspective on the way the media is dealing with the story.


Ganching said...

You are in a very sombre pre-Christmas frame of mind.

Nelly said...

Christmas does not begin for me until I have completed my first teaching practice this coming Tuesday. Then I will start drinking, baking, cooking, shopping and present-wrapping.