Some prostitutes operating in the Corporate Area are complaining that robbers are targeting them especially during the festive season, usually a peak period for the sex trade.
“Men come out here and watch in corner who making money and rob them. They even present themselves as clients to buy, then take back their money and other money the worker has,” a member of the Sex Workers Association who calls herself ‘Blue Bells’, explained.
Another sex worker, Latty Brown*, who has been operating near New Kingston for two years, told Paparazzija she is now scared to carry out her trade, after being attacked by armed robbers twice in two months.
She explained that last month, two men approached her on a bike and asked if she was doing ‘business’, and upon responding in the affirmative, she was attacked with a knife.
“One of them came off the bike and said, ‘Hey gyal, gimme you phone before me cut up you face’,” Brown shared, adding that she quickly complied.
She was again attacked this week, but managed to outrun the attacker.
Brown said she believes they are hot targets because the robbers are aware that some workers take home well over $30,000 on what is considered a good night.
She added that many sex sellers use high-end phones to market their business online and keep in touch with their clients.
As a result of the attacks, some sex workers have decided to discontinue the trade.
“A brown girl used to sell beside us, and one night she was sitting down using her Samsung phone and a man just ride up and grab weh the phone. From that happen she say she nah come back, and me no see her again,” Anna Lee*, another sex worker said.
Despite the eminent danger, Lee, who has been in the sex trade for five years, said she will not be scared away as she has set some goals she must achieve before retiring.
“I must finish my house and save some money to start a business,” she shared.
Girls like Lee, who are determined to stay in the dangerous trade, have responded to the attacks in various ways.
Bells said the workers are forming alliances with each other, arming themselves with weapons, and even taking along their boyfriends to protect them, because most police officers shun them.
“Police say them no business with sex workers because them a whore who a sell, so them don’t get no justice,” Bells explained, while clarifying that there are a few police officers who are sympathetic to their plight.
Despite the illegality of the sex trade, Superintendent Stephanie Lindsey, who heads the police’s communications unit, is urging the robbery victims to report the crimes against them so that the matter can be addressed.
*names changed on request