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Tariq Rashid has urged residents not to 'turn a blind eye' to working girls who have been stabbed, raped and worse. Be it night, afternoon or even morning - the sex workers of Soho Road are selling their bodies in what has become an all-day, everyday problem. They roam the notorious mile-stretch through Birmingham and its back streets searching for 'clients' and in most cases, their next drug hit.
Some of the women and girls have turned to a life of prostitution because they have been raped, stabbed or worse, he says. And now working on Handsworth's main drag, which sees thousands of commuters pass every day, they are reportedly 'manhandled', raped, robbed and forced into non-consensual gang sex. Those are just a couple of the horrific tales Tariq and his team of 30 volunteers have heard as they offer support to sex workers trapped in a 'vicious circle'.
Now, you see them in the day, during the night, and people see them in the morning. But when you talk to them, your heart bleeds. If you spoke to them, your heart would bleed too. That's the sad thing to see. Some of them have been in such harrowing situations that trying to get them off the drugs is a nightmare. We need to take them off the streets and into a normal life. The group is in talks with outreach charities and homeless organisations to support the prostitutes, but says kerb crawlers will not be 'tolerated'.
Since starting the community initiative and spending hours patrolling Handsworth's streets, the volunteers have seen dozens of kerb crawlers in the act with prostitutes.
Worrying images taken by the group capture the state of Waverhill Park, littered with remnants of the area's drug and prostitution problem. Plunged into darkness after the park's lighting failed, condoms are often strewn across the grass, along with syringes and empty alcohol cans and bottles.