Updated: Friday, 29th May 2020 @ 6:20am

Special report: Prostitution on the streets of Manchester will stay as long as demand is there

Special report: Prostitution on the streets of Manchester will stay as long as demand is there

By Sarah Brook

With thousands of fresher’s having descended on Manchester for the start of the university year, are any of them aware of some of the darker aspects that hide under the city’s arches? 

Prostitution continues to be a problem in Manchester but while the demand is still there, business will run as usual, as MM discovered Sarah Brook took to streets under Piccadilly Station to see and hear just what it is like on the average Saturday night for a ‘working girl’.

Walking along the cold, grey roads, a mixture of girls hang on every corner, wooing the drivers with their miniskirts and knee high boots.

For Claire, 31, life on the streets started at age fourteen, where she was tricked into a car by someone she once called her ‘friend’. 

Eighteen years on, Claire, a heroin addict, has seen the ups and downs of life on the streets and is now covered in scars that are a constant reminder of the traumas she puts herself through on a regular basis.

Talking about some of her incidents Claire said: “A lot of things have happened to me – I have had my teeth punched out and I have been run over.“

Surprisingly when asked about her regular customers Claire explained that she gets everything from the suited and booted married professional in a Porsche to police officers who have just come off a shift.

If these working girls were given a choice not to dress the way they do and spend their evenings for as little as £10 a session selling themselves to every man and his dog, which would they chose?

Cate Allison, chief executive of MASH, a confidential and specialised service to street and sauna based female sex workers and female drug users in the Greater Manchester area said it was often the girls' own choice to work the streets,

She said: “It is very difficult when they have alcohol, drug and domestic violence problems. Are aim here at MASH is to empower them to make their own choices in their lives. By offering support for their other problems will hopefully enable them to make the right choice.”

MASH has five hundred women who come through their centre each year for advice and support and through the help of all the volunteers, twelve women have been rescued from the streets of Manchester this year.

Unfortunately one girl, Maria, 26, who did manage to escape, was pulled back into the job by the astonishing sums of money that she could earn in an evening. For Maria, prostitution was initially a way of fuelling her £150 drug habit

She explained: “No other job could offer me this sort of money but after being stabbed numerous times I left the streets and worked in a call centre.”

This unfortunately was short-lived and like many she was drawn back to what she knew best, the sex industry.

She added: “It could not pay the bills for my two children, so I had to return. The hardest thing now is I am clean and I am fully aware of what I am doing when I get in these cars.

"It is very hard to sleep at night, I hope to meet someone who can take me away from all of this.”