Tamar are based in the heart of Westminster, the UK’s hotspot for sex workers and trafficking networks. Women are often trafficked into the sex trade from other countries, where they can quickly lose hope of anyone being able to reach them.
Our outreach team regularly visit a number of addresses in Westminster. At one address we met Sandra* who made us aware that she was very unhappy working there and desperately wanted to change her situation, but felt helpless.
We offered to meet her for a coffee outside the premises so that she could chat freely to us away from the boss and the other women. When we met with her she spoke of how her situation had spiralled out of control and she had ended up in a position where she felt trapped. She was being forced to carry out a high demand of sexual services that she didn’t want to provide, and in addition was being financially exploited.
After learning more about Sandra’s* specific situation and background, Tamar helped her gain access to a network of local services which could provide her with much needed support. Our volunteers then helped Sandra* apply for an NI number so that she had the option to find alternative work. This gave her hope for a different future. With new found confidence Sandra* eventually ended up moving back to her own country and working for a friend’s business, free from exploitation.
An encouraging moment was hearing Sandra* say to our team, “What would I have done if I hadn’t met you?!”
*Name has been changed
Sex workers in Westminster come from all over the world, and often there can be cultural and language barriers to accessing services or communicating a need. We have found that even if a woman wants to access support or help, they often don’t know who to turn to or who to trust.
We have multinational volunteers who help bridge the gap across cultures and languages to better connect with those who are most isolated, and critically need support.
There are over 32,000 sex workers in London (Office of National Statistics, 2016) and there have been more trafficking survivors reported each year (Home Office, 2018). Tamar exists to restore hope to each person we meet.