Charity worker speaks out on prostitutes on Ambleside Drive

The WOMEN working as prostitutes at Ambleside Drive “aren’t there by choice,” said a founder of a charity that works closely with them.

Marie Edmonds, founder of the Aspirations Program, which operates in Southend, has had an experience of drug addiction and selling sex.

She slept rough and struggled with addiction for over 15 years. Today, this inspiring woman has set up an outreach program to help other people in a life of prostitution escape.

“Awareness started when the pandemic hit. I knew some of the women and at first they didn’t even know about the virus, ”said Marie.

Marie helped organize, providing hand sanitizer, masks and educational programs for women to educate them about the dangers of Covid-19 as part of a program known as Carrie’s Outreach.

Now the program offers tips and supplies to help keep women safe and, if they wish, help them start a new life away from the sex trade.

“These women are very suspicious of people,” said Marie. “They went through many unfavorable childhood experiences, they came from places of trauma. Most women are in a coercive and controlling relationship, many are controlled by men.

“They’re not up there by choice, they’re not up there having a good time. Many are fueled by addiction. Again, they are not addicts by choice, they are mentally and physically addicted to drugs and have lost all power over choice.

“We were able to place nine homeless women in hiding in housing with HARP or their own locations. ”

The program has even helped some women turn their backs on prostitution.

“Some women are really involved in making positive changes in their lives,” said Marie.

“I know the residents are saying it’s getting worse, and I can believe it, but we’ve helped a few make some really positive changes and they’re not going there anymore. ”

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