‘I used to be happy and healthy – now I sell sex for the cost of a meal deal’

A woman has been banned from entering a busy residential area in Liverpool after being caught 'loitering for prostitution'.

Natalie Richards started working as a prostitute on Kensington Street to fund her crack cocaine addiction after becoming addicted in her 20s.

The 31-year-old was handed a criminal behaviour order – including a ban from certain areas of the city, and a ban of using abusive, threatening or offensive words, report Liverpool Echo.

In a BBC documentary, Sex Map of Britain, that aired in September 2017, Natalie talked about her as an addict and a sex worker.

Natalie showed a picture that was taken just a year ago of her looking healthy and dressing up for a night out.

She described how her drug addiction made her drop from a size 14 to a six in less than 12 months.

Talking about how she funded her habit, she said: "It's alright for men, they can go graft, rob shops, whatever.

"But us women, we've got to go and sell our bodies for our habit, it's horrible."

The documentary also revealed Natalie's relationship with a resident on Sheil Road who tried to protect women working in the area.

The man, known as Liam, said at the time: "She was a good girl when I met her, wasn't a mad druggy like she is now but the people is hanging around with, it's only going to go one way with her.

"She's going to end up dead. She's got no one, no friends.

"I'm the only person who has ever tried to help her."

Natalie also revealed that some sex acts cost as little as the price of a meal deal and that's because of the competition from other girls.

Sometimes, she had to face violence almost daily from customers, even putting herself in danger by taking punters back to abandoned houses to have sex with them.

Natalie said in the documentary that she attempted to change her life in the hope of being able to see her family again.

"I don't know how to be respected, how to be treated normal. I can't remember anything like that," she said.

"I can't remember the last time someone opened their arms and gave me a hug and told me everything was going to be OK."

She continued: "The only time somebody opens their arms to me is when a man is dragging me on a bed and wanting sex, pinning me down."

In 2017, she received drug counselling and even attended a meeting in the hope of going into a rehabilitation centre.

She explained: "I'd love to wake up tomorrow and there's my mum knocking at the door and giving me a big hug.

"Asking me to come home and telling me everything is OK, I don't need to do this anymore."

Unfortunately, Natalie did not turn up for her appointment, and began working on the road again.

Fast forward to today, almost two years later, Natalie was charged with 'being a person persistently loitering for the purposes of prostitution, and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place'.

She was given a two-year criminal behaviour order that prohibits her from carrying any knife or bladed article in any public place.

She was banned from entering the area outlined in black on map.

Within the county of Merseyside, she was not allowed use to abusive, threatening or offensive words or behaviour, including but not limited to shouting and swearing, that causes harassment alarm or distress to any person.

Community Inspector Bobby Woodhall said: "We have worked with partners to address the ongoing issues relating to sex work in the Sheil Road area, and the impact it is having on what is a busy residential area.

"Criminal Behaviour Orders are one of many tools available to us to tackle this, and I hope the issuing of this CBO will reassure the wider community that we will deal robustly with anyone who has a negative impact on our communities.

"Local policing teams work closely with residents and partners, engaging directly with the sex workers themselves and educating them on litter, community concerns, law and anti-social behaviour as well as safety messages."

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