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Forest Gate teacher urges crackdown on ‘prostitution stickers’

PUBLISHED: 08:49 02 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:49 02 March 2017

Workmen from Newham Council's street cleansing team scrape stickers advertising women's names and phone numbers from a lampost outside East Ham underground station.

Workmen from Newham Council's street cleansing team scrape stickers advertising women's names and phone numbers from a lampost outside East Ham underground station.

Archant

A campaigning teacher intends to take the council to court claiming Newham has failed to take action against the posting of “prostitution stickers” on its streets.

Karl O’Keeffe said he warned the council about an epidemic of sticky labels, which advertise women’s names and mobile phone numbers, on the lamp posts and street furniture in Shrewsbury Road, East Ham.

The 36-year-old, who is also taking the council to court over food dumping in Plashet Park, said: “This is a rapidly escalating epidemic for which the council does not seem to have a preventative, long-term plan.”

Karl, who lives in Forest Gate, said he sees the stickers as a sign that organised crime, people trafficking, sex trafficking and sex slavery is rampant in Newham. He said he first urged the council to take action via the Love Newham app on February 6.

“I fulfilled my part of the bargain, now they’re to do theirs,” he said.

He added: “If found liable, the council faces a bill of £2,500 for each location for each day the problem remains.”

A spokeswoman for Newham Council has disputed Karl’s claim saying they are unable to keep pace with the people responsible for posting the stickers.

She said: “Street cleansing teams are tackling the problem head on, with targeted operations to wipe them off street furniture. But the problem is persistent and very hard to police.”

According to the council, it costs tax payers £70,000 a year to remove the stickers with £10m spent annually on street cleaning.

The spokeswoman added that a pilot this spring will test whether applying a special paint to street furniture will stop the stickers appearing.

In addition, the council, along with police officers, are collecting the numbers to stop them working and identify who is posting them.

“We need to catch the perpetrators of this anti-social behaviour in the act, and unlike offences like fly-tipping, CCTV is of limited use, as often there are no leads to follow up, like vehicle registration numbers for example,” she said.

“In addition to the stickers, the council is trying to tackle the brothels that fuel them. Last year alone we closed down 19.”

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