There has been a lot of recent publicity about Tooting Bec Common in the media. A couple of days ago there was a BBC local news report about it. There have also been newspaper articles. About 10 years ago there were many prostitutes who got into cars late at night on the roads around the eastern end of the common. The police had a big crackdown, but the problem has been getting worse. Residents have been complaining.
I didn't go there 10 years ago and I have never been there at night. I didn't like the BBC news report because it was trying to make it sound worse than it is. It showed women it short skirts, some of them hanging around doorways and neon signs showing illicit services. None of this has anything to do with what happens on Tooting Bec Common. It also said that 'drugs paraphernalia' and condoms are found near to paths. I have never seen any drugs paraphernalia. Sometimes you do see used condoms and wrappers but in secluded places far away from paths. So I think the BBC is being untruthful here.
I have been to the common 3 or 4 times this year. There was mainly older women there. I have not given money to any young women, and have seen only a couple of them. One of the older woman I met was quite unpleasant. She was slagging off one of the street girls (C.), saying that she lets men shag her up the arse without a condom. She told me that she herself comes from a criminal family. She described herself as a cripple, because she has a pronounced limp.
I met another older woman who was very chatty. She told me that one of the girls that I knew (N.) was pregnant and was giving up prostitution. She told me that it often happens that a street girl gets pregnant and gives it all up.
Another older woman was telling me about K. but I don't know how accurate her information was. She told me that K. looks like an old woman now and was injecting heroin. She said that K. is still quite young and had been involved in prostitution since she was 13. That doesn't seem to fit in with what K. has told me about herself, but then K. might have been telling me a load of rubbish.
I have seen N. twice this year. First was in a supermarket. She said hello to me and smiled. She looked much rougher than I had ever remembered her. Then a few weeks later I saw her in the street. I asked her if she had had rehab. She said that she was about to. I hope she gets off the drugs because she is a nice person. Although I was sad to see her looking so rough, I was pleased to hear she may be getting out of it. I was also pleased that she remembered me and did not think that I was like an abuser. She didn't offer me sex and I didn't offer her money.
I have also seen, but not spoken to, T. twice this year with a baby. She looked OK but older than I remember her.