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Sex inquiry to continue despite police claims there is "no problem"

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: October 26, 2012

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INVESTIGATIONS into the sex trade in Cheltenham will continue even though it is not considered " a huge problem".

Borough council chiefs held a meeting behind closed doors this week, hearing the views of police and child protection services on the scale of prostitution and people trafficking in the area.

The Echo was told not to attend, but it is understood speakers advised members the scale of the problem was no worse than other towns or cities.

The assessment contradicts a host of evidence and recent police concerns prostitution was rife in the town.

Councillor Barbara Driver (C, Lansdown), who has led calls for the review, said the committee would not be deterred from continuing its research.

"Our plan has always been to interview as many people as possible who are involved in the sex trade to look at it from different perspectives," she said.

"From the feedback we have had, it appears Cheltenham does not have a huge problem compared to other towns.

"But that's not to say we don't have a problem at all.

"We are determined to continue this work and find out how, if possible, we can reach people affected by exploitation linked to brothels."

Cheltenham has endured persistent problems with sex crime in the past.

It was at the centre of a nationwide police swoop in 2008, called Operation Pentameter II, in which vice dens across the town were raided.

Last month a man and a woman from the town were charged with conspiring to run a brothel following raids in Suffolk Road and Pittville Lawn.

Only this month Detective Inspector Sue Bradshaw, of Gloucestershire police, said brothels spring up in Cheltenham's leafy suburbs every few months. She was unavailable to comment yesterday.

The council task force is due to report to the full council in December with findings and recommendations on tackling issues linked to the sex trade.

Councillor Andrew Chard (C, Leckhampton), who also sits on the group, said: "Despite some big headline cases we don't think there is a lot of exploitation going on in Cheltenham.

"By undertaking this work the council is effectively saying to police 'is there anything we should be doing to help?'

"Judging from this week's meeting, the answer is 'no – not really'."

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  • forester_girl  |  November 01 2012, 10:49AM

    "Which one do we wish to go on then for this 'imaginary' problem? http://tinyurl.com/afa5v42 http://tinyurl.com/ala7s5s http://tinyurl.com/a5sv7fd http://tinyurl.com/a9vba6x http://tinyurl.com/bcvmpgo http://tinyurl.com/bfhzsvl http://tinyurl.com/bacqmyr http://tinyurl.com/bkmb2sf All found in less than 10 seconds. No, not any sex workers or illegal immigrants in the sex trade ever in Cheltenham, stop burying your heads in the sand!"

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  • daniboy72  |  October 29 2012, 10:25AM

    Yep, @TimMessanger. Because of the prim hypocrisy surrounding the subject, figures on the sex-trade are hard to find, but tax on tobacco brings in £9.5 billion, alcohol over £11 billion and gambling £1.6 billion annually. Given the cost of care for the elderly, then, the truly public-spirited should drink, smoke, ***** and gamble themselves to an early death, so contributing far more to the common weal than they take. Such civic heroes must not only endure condemnation from the respectable majority (porn-watchers, the routinely unfaithful and the all-day wine-bibbers or NHS tranquiliser-poppers), but are subjected to the further insult of seeing their tax contributions, so strenuously earned and given, wasted on television, billboard and leaflet campaigns purportedly dissuading others from following in their philanthropic footsteps. A case may of course be made for discouraging excessive drinking, smoking and gambling, since such excessive generosity to the community hurts not only the givers but their families and associates. The patron or patroness of prostitutes, however, contributes tax revenue, pumps money into the local economy, is generally constrained by cruel nature from health-threatening excess and harms no-one. In case you had not noticed from this thread, Ms Driver, the people of Cheltenham would rather see their money spent on those things which affect their day-to-day lives - litter, pavements like bomb-debris, the maintenance of public services and public buildings - and police-time devoted to the prevention of crime, the protection of the weak, the effective containment of public drunkenness, drug-dealing and other anti-social behaviour, than wasted on indulging your personal hang-ups with a legal business so private, orderly and discreet that we, no less than the police, are hard pressed to find it at all!

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  • gallopingbear  |  October 29 2012, 10:07AM

    Tim Messenger, good point! It goes to show how vague the law is. For the benefit of Forester-girl here's a link which tells you all about paying tax http://tinyurl.com/9f8hae4

  • TimMessanger  |  October 28 2012, 6:45PM

    @gallopingbear - if they are paying tax would then HMCE be living off of immoral earnings?

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  • Bonkim2003  |  October 28 2012, 11:14AM

    Hope the Cheltenham Councillors have a taster session to make up their minds about value for money of the trade. Apart from that the real question - what are they going to do after the investigation and report writing/debating in the council chamber? subsidised comfort girls' therapy for deprived and depraved residents? increase in social benefits for the lower paid? shipping trafficked girls back to their countries of origin? report them to inland revenue? increase business rates? any other suggestions???

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  • joldav  |  October 28 2012, 10:12AM

    There are families starving all over the world; are Cheltenham Borough Councillors going to invetigate that as well, or are they going to leave it to experts who stand a better chance in sorting it out?

  • LordGagas  |  October 28 2012, 9:50AM

    my name is jenny, i am 25 years old, size 8 i have got sexy curve body with long black hair,and a wonderful smile. i can be your perfect attentive girl, i know how to treat you so please call or text me to make an appointment. . (no withheld numbers or land line ) hope to see you soon x in the cheltenham classified

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  • joldav  |  October 27 2012, 10:48PM

    Cheltenham Borough Council will investigate anything to provide a smokescreen to avoid the council being investigated. Meddling with police matters could mean that there will be two lines of enquiry borne by the taxpayer, it may even find itself interfering with the efforts of the police, especially at such times. This is how CBC reacts to being asked to keep its costs down.

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  • daniboy72  |  October 27 2012, 11:35AM

    The link which I posted has been replaced by another which is not working, so I will try again for the benefit of all those who prefer the facts to the fiction: http://tinyurl.com/cyg5qfe

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  • daniboy72  |  October 27 2012, 11:03AM

    @forestergirl. Wrong, wrong and again wrong. Although there are many unjust restrictions in British law designed to penalise girls, not their clients, prostitution is entirely legal in the UK. I refer you to: http://tinyurl.com/9u9ejsw Many prostitutes pay tax. They perform a service. They are not on benefits. And prithee explain why a single mother's concerns for her child's welfare (you don't cite chapter and verse, so we cannot know details) render her somehow less reputable than the innumerable less enterprising scroungers to be found in our bars every weekend? Or was this a street prostitute (we have long since established that these do not exist in Cheltenham) at work whilst her child was untended? Thus far you have wrongly informed us (whilst insisting that it is 'fact') that most prostitutes are drug-addicts, that prostitution is not a career choice but is part of a downward spiral (when it is more usually a means to rise - often to vast fortunes and the nobility!) and that it is illegal. All commonplace, long-outdated myths born of prejudice and fear. No wonder Ms Driver believes that she can use other people's money to persecute a class so misrepresented.

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