The Midnight Helpers

DISCLAIMER: The women featured in the below video wishes to remain anonymous so her identity has been hidden via a fake name and an actress has been used to voice her story.  

A few weeks back, an article entitled ‘The Midnight Girls’ was uploaded here on BithellTom.Com. It was a short article that pondered on the secret, almost underworld life of prostitution that is hidden away here in Huddersfield. This short article and video is particular  is a direct follow up and a further investigation into the help that is being offered to women in the sex industry.

According to a UK Government publication on the subject of prostitution,  ‘The number of sex workers in the UK is estimated to be around 72,800 with about 32,000 working in London‘ and ‘An estimated 152 sex workers were murdered between 1990 and 2015. 49% of sex workers (in one survey) said that they were worried about their safety.’. So who is here to help protect the women who ‘work’ the streets late at night?

One of many charities that are situated up and down the country, Basis is a charity based in Leeds. The charity has a project focused solely on Sex work and how to help women and transgender women in the sex industry who need support and help. The charity supports women and transgender women who choose to stay and work in the industry as-well as helping women and transgender women who want out of that particular lifestyle and who wish to start afresh.

 Closer to home, here in Huddersfield, 20 year old ex-prostitute *Krystal spoke about her experience in the local sex industry, how she got involved in that particular lifestyle and what events forced her to distance herself from the sex industry altogether and to take a new path/ approach to life.

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The Midnight Girls.

They say a picture is a thousand words, but for the women in this picture,  it is a way of life.

Being one of Huddersfield darkest secrets, the girls of the so called “red light district” work a very public night shift. I live on Ray Street, and  I feel sympathy for the girls who walk up and down Great northern street, risking their lives daily, flaunting what little they have to catch the eye of a passer by.

I can only guess as to how they ended up at this point in their lives. Guess as to what dark force is over them making them do what ever it takes to have a little more.   

And this way of life is increasing, more and more girls join the street each week. Last week there was seven ladies of the night scattered along the street as I drove past on my way home.

In June 2016, two men were arrested for the rape and assault of two sex workers. But still, the girls continue to work.

But why? Where is the help and protection for these girls?.

This is not new news to Huddersfield, people just ignore it. So why is it not in the news more often and why is nothing being done?

 

    

 

Changes.

Well. Here I sit, one year into my journey through university, and what a journey it is turning out to be. For those who do not know, I am studying Theatre at The University of Huddersfield, which is a great university in my eyes that has already churned out many memories for me to share at a later date. But for now… 

It was always the plan to head to university, that is a decision  I have never questioned. I knew exactly what I wanted to spend a sickening amount of money on also, or so I thought.

In the mind of my young naive self, I had it all planned out. I would complete my GCSE Drama, go onto study the subject that I so passionately liked at A level and then further my study at university. It would all go swimmingly because this was what I really, whole heartedly loved. Which is all true. My 16-year-old self did love it, so we followed our carefully crafted plan and we made it past GCSE and we got through our A level. We even managed to get to the university part which was all thrilling, until  life got in the way and my 19-year-old mind slowly and subtly began to change.

Now I have realised the fundamental flaw that my plan had, I did not want it.

I was enjoying it don’t get me wrong, I was having fun and I was good at it. In theory my plan was perfect But in reality I am not interested in theatre theorists, the history of theatre or Shakespeare to be honest. I have no desire to immerse my self in the subject, I wanted to just do it.

In my eyes however,  wanting to “just do it” isn’t enough to justify spending so much money on a degree, when you do not need a degree to do it.      

Many people tried to persuade me off my decision,  but I am not sure what exactly changed in my mind to make me realise that this isn’t for me, for myself. The experience of sitting in the lectures and having no interest but feeling guilty because I should have an interest? or was it the fact that all the way through high school I had not been on the stage during the school plays, but sat in the audience reporting and reviewing it?

 In the back of my mind I have always had a passion for writing. From the ages of 6 I was writing short stories, staying up late at night creating different worlds where my imaginative characters could dwell and then rushing to draw the front cover for my “book”. I thrived on bringing the adventure to life by  drawing the characters I had created.

In primary school I had a part in creating the schools first magazine, and then in High school I was apart of the schools  first newspaper, which in its second year went on to win an award. In year 12 I went to my local newspaper for two weeks for work experience and then before I had even started university, I had submitted my first piece of writing for T’hud magazine, my University’s student publication.

Maybe it was all of this that was occupying my mind while I should have been learning about the difference between theatre, drama and performance? and maybe that is why I am restarting my university adventure and changing my degree from Theatre to journalism. ;D 

I look forward to sharing my new experience here on this blog.