Children in council care 'turning to prostitution'
Wednesday 22 November 1995
Home Affairs Correspondent
Some children going into social service care in South Wales are leaving as prostitutes, according to a suppressed report into child sex in the area.
A draft of the report says that about 50 teenagers in Cardiff are prostituting themselves, and some of them were introduced to the business only after entering the care system.
It concludes: "Some young people will be involved in prostitution before they enter local authority accommodation ... but for others the local authority accommodation system and particularly residential units can create what one worker described as 'a network of opportunity' for young people to get involved in risk behaviours such as prostitution."
It quotes one youth talking about why he became a prostitute: "It just happened when I went into care and stuff like that. I got introduced to things and I ended up trying to see what it was like."
The study, by the University of Cardiff and the Children's Society, was partly funded and commissioned by South Glamorgan County Council, and a variety of children's charities, which have so far failed to publish its findings.
But details were revealed in last night's BBC Wales's Week In, Week Out documentary, which alleges that the local authority was worried about bad publicity. The programme had a leaked memorandum from the former director of social services, Chris Perry, saying: "I wanted to do nothing which would link South Glamorgan to child prostitution in any way."
It also showed a letter from one of the report's authors to the local authority, urging publication: "It would be unfortunate indeed if concern over the consequences for the county council of reporting such an issue were to take precedence over promoting knowledge and awareness of youth prostitution more widely."
In the film, the present social services director, John Jevons, said the report was the property of a voluntary organisation, who "have expressed their intention to publish it next year".
He said: "Children who come into our care ... they are damaged and inevitably a small proportion will engage in undesirable activities. That's a fact and every social services department needs to divert them from this.
"The actions of South Glamorgan, which have taken place over a number of years, have been such that there is a heavy investment of council activities and police activities, and other agencies directed toward assisting the problem," he said.
But Allan Levy QC, who headed the "pindown" inquiry into council care in Staffordshire, has called for a national inquiry into child prostitution and attacked the authority for not publishing the findings.
The programme contained interviews with teenage girls in care who described how they can earn hundreds of pounds a night from prostitution, but also describe fear and violence.
One of the girls, Stacey, 15, said she ran away to earn money on the streets. "It's a horrible place to be and everyone I know who has lived there has run away and got involved in prostitution ... because they can't stop you from going out ... so you just do it," she says.
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 Floyd Mayweather's mouthguard costs $25,000 - enough to fly to Las Vegas and back 18 times
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Which country would be hardest to invade?
Morgan Freeman on the riot-focused coverage of the Baltimore protests: 'F**k the media'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
Nepal earthquake: Many survivors receiving no help despite relief effort
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...