Web has driven Mansfield and Ashfield sex workers off our streets and into cyberspace

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Prostitution, kerb crawling and brothel arrests in Mansfield and Ashfield have reduced dramatically in the past four years.

Nottinghamshire Police statistics show that in 2010, 177 arrests were made, yet in 2014 only eight people were cuffed - this was up until 26th February.

The statistics are in no way an indication prostitution is decreasing. It is just changing the way in which people are selling sex

Daniella Scotece

Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is an offence to cause or incite prostitution or control it for personal gain.

The 1956 Sexual Offences Act bans running a brothel and it is against the law to loiter or solicit sex on the street.

In many countries prostitution in itself is not illegal - but there is legislation covering activities surrounding prostitution, such as soliciting, living off immoral earnings and trafficking.

Chad obtained the statistics from a Freedom of Information request.

But chief executive Daniella Scotece, of Prostitute Outreach Workers Nottingham, - which helps women in the area, said the statistics do not mean prostitution is reducing.

In fact, like many modern day ‘services’, it appears prostitution has moved from the ‘real world’ to cyberspace.

Said Ms Scotece: “The reason we are not seeing as much street prostitution is because online and internet based services are being used. The statistics are in no way an indication prostitution is decreasing. It is just changing the way in which people are selling sex.”

The charity - which has been running for 25 years - helped those involved in on and off street prostitution.

Added Ms Scotece “There are so many different reasons why people get into prostitution, but around 95 per cent are addicted to Class A drugs.

“And a third are university degree educated, so there is no one set type of person that gets involved.”

There are also 350 registered escorts in Nottinghamshire.

“Even though trends are changing and evolving we are here too to reach out to people to offer help and support.”

Emails and messages are sent via online groups.

“We don’t know how things will change in future whether it will increase or decrease but we just need to keep up to date with new methods of offering sex and ensure we are doing all we can to help those who want help,” said Ms Scotece.

Meanwhile, police chiefs say they will do all they can to help individuals who are forced into working in the sex trade.

Said Supt Helen Chamberlain, of Public Protection: “Nottinghamshire Police looks to support vulnerable people who find themselves forced into working at a brothel, involved in prostitution, or in a position where others take advantage of them. We work closely with partners to target offenders who seek to exploit these people and work with communities to take action where intelligence suggests this is happening.”