ONE prostitute today rated Blackpool as “the Amsterdam” of the UK.
Leona, 25, works at Natalie’s on Cookson Street, where she says she works to send gifts to her six-year-old son, who lives with her mum, and to buy food and clothes for herself.
She started as a street worker on Central Drive where she admits, standing out in the cold, could “be frightening and some bad things happened.”
Leona does not expand on the “bad things” but has now moved into Cookson Street’s parlours.
Clients can vary in age from teenage stag parties to pensioners, with the busiest times on Friday and Saturday nights during the summer.
Midweek is popular with businessmen and prices start from £40.
Leona added: “I did some shifts in parlours and then came to Natalie’s – I’ve been here for around eight months. It’s better than being on the streets. It’s a lot safer and more professional.
“A lot of people think it’s sleazy, it’s not – it’s professional.”
Leona says she has never been one to shy away from work.
She said: “I’ve worked since I was 12 and this is the best job I’ve had. I started in a fish and chip shop back home in Scarborough. I’ve worked in a bakery, factories and Argos.
“There are lots of working girls in Blackpool – this sort of job is the norm. Blackpool is like Amsterdam. Scarborough is a totally different seaside town – it’s very conservative, I’ve never known a parlour there.
“I need a job. I send my son things and spend money on clothes and takeaways for myself.
“I drink and I have been there (involved with drugs) in the past but I’m out of that now.
“I used to be into everything – heroin, crack, cannabis, ecstasy. But I got sick of it and got off it myself.
“If you can do it and it doesn’t bother you, why not?
“Some girls do it because they have to for drugs but they hate it. It’s a way of life and I want to do it.
“Sometimes you can see 15 to 20 clients in one shift. ”
Kirsten, 31, from Mereside, has been a sex worker since 18.
Like many in the trade she uses her cash to feed a drug habit.
She previously worked for Natalie’s Sauna on Cookson Street but has since crossed over the road to Dolly Babes.
The mum-of-one said: “I saw my friend had loads of money but she wouldn’t tell me how.
“I followed her one night and she went into a house on Central Drive where there were just men going in. I went in and that’s how I got into it.
“I’ve earned £1,500 in one night. In the summer you get day trippers and we rely on our regulars in the winter.”
Kirsten’s enthusiasm for her chosen work does come with some stark realities. She freely admits she is a crack and heroin addict.
She has also heard the horror stories from the streets where girls are “abused on the street” while she has known girls get raped – “one girl had her tongue bitten off.”
Kirsten feels safer indoors and shows no signs of quitting. Tragically she adds: “Whatever I earn I spend on drugs. I’ll never stop doing this.”
Blackpool’s sex trade: