The Handbag Project
West Midlands Police have very generously donated 95 handbags and a wide range of toiletries too. These will be handed out to female sex workers who have faced or are at risk of sexual violence and abuse, and are accessing services offered via the new Red Project. The donations will mean women will receive everyday essentials in the handbags and information about support services too.
The Red Project is a West Midlands wide service offered by RSVP, Black Country Womens Aid (BCWA) and CRASAC. It’s a partnership which is funded via the Tampon Tax, specifically for female sex workers facing or at risk of sexual abuse.
From left to right:
Clare, Prevention Worker from RSVP
Sally Simpson, Detective Chief Inspector from West Midlands Police
Alison, Butterfly Project worker from BCWA
Detective Chief Inspector Sally Simpson, Lead for Rape and Serious Sexual Offences, Modern Slavery and Sex Work at Public Protection Unit, West Midlands Police, acknowledges how female sex workers are often targeted and how the project will help to build relationships.
“West Midlands Police recognise that sex workers can be incredibly vulnerable as they are targeted for violent and serious sexual crimes. For many reasons sex workers find it difficult to report offences and engage with the police. The handbag project is a great way for WMP to work closely with our partners in RSVP/Black Country Women’s Aid/CRASAC to distribute vital safety information and information about support services such as Sexual Assault Referral Centres and National Ugly Mugs. By supporting this project we hope to build the trust of sex workers so they may feel able to report either directly or through the outreach and prevention workers so that we can target those people who seek to cause them harm.”
We are delighted to receive the donations from the police as they enable us to deliver items to those in the greatest need and get the project, which only started last year, off to such a great start. Thanks to all involved.