Reports of prostitutes on Front Street sparks concern
Prostitutes are said to be openly touting for business outside the busy bars and restaurants of Front Street.
Women are understood to be regularly soliciting in the heart of Hamilton by targeting men who are on their own at night.
In just two weeks there have been at least four incidents of prostitutes “discreetly” offering their services to lone men on Front Street.
This has included a prostitute approaching a man who stepped outside of Bolero restaurant to have a cigarette. She said to him: “What you up to honey? Want to have a good time?”
Another man, who was visiting the Island, was reportedly targeted as he made the short walk from Hog Penny to Pickled Onion on a busy Friday night.
The “relatively new thing for Front Street” has been called “a sign of times” as families are struggling to make ends meet in the economic downturn.
But police are being urged to clamp down on the prostitutes before the problem “gets out of hand” and Front Street becomes a no-go zone.
Opposition Senate leader Michael Dunkley raised the issue of prostitutes on Front Street in the Senate last week. And today he is expected to go into more detail by making it the subject of his motion to adjourn Senate speech.
Mr Dunkley said: “Prostitutes are selectively approaching people on Front Street. They are plying their trade in the heart of Hamilton.
“It’s a sign of the times as this is one of the oldest ways to make money.
“But we can’t allow this to happen. It’s not acceptable.
“We have to act now and deal with this before it gets out of control.”
Mr Dunkley said several people had voiced their concerns to him about prostitutes on Front Street.
It is not known how many prostitutes are working the busy street but they are said to usually operate on Friday and Saturday nights.
Mr Dunkley said: “It’s not really outright and appears to be less blatant than other places around the world, but it’s happening, the prostitutes are there.
“You just don’t expect to come into town and see prostitutes doing their thing.
“This is a busy area and there are always people about. It’s wrong.”
It comes after then National Security Minister David Burch warned that women were being brought to Bermuda to work as prostitutes.
He said last year that the Department of Immigration had received “complaints and investigated cases where women had been brought to Bermuda specifically from the Dominican Republic for the purpose of prostitution”.
Mr Dunkley said he saw prostitution as “another step” in the downfall of Bermuda and would hate to see Hamilton becoming a red-light district.
He said prostitutes added to the “unsightly problem” of vagrants sleeping in shop doorways on Front Street.
Mr Dunkley said: “Traditionally prostitution was not something that was part of our way of lives … You have to wonder where Bermuda is heading.
“All these things are going to start adding up and people will be scared away. This could really hit our revenue when it comes to tourism and international business.”
Mr Dunkley said he knew police were “stretched in every area” but suggested high visibility policing could help to tackle the problem.
Tourism veteran Tony Brannon said a prostitute approached the friend he was having dinner with on November 18 “when he went outside for five minutes”.
Mr Brannon said: “These women are approaching men who are on their own. They seem to be cruising around looking for the right people to target and it’s happening more and more.
“You may not always see them, but they are definitely there.”
Mr Brannon added: “I’m not surprised it’s happening. The way the recession is right now, it’s another way to make quick money.”
Acting Police Commissioner Michael Jackman issued the following comment today: "In relation to the allegations being levelled in today’s Royal Gazette, the Bermuda Police Service has not received any reports from members of the public about being approached by females offering sexual favours. Our police officers regularly and proactively patrol in the areas where there is night time economy, in particular throughout the Front Street area.
"We encourage Senator Dunkley to report what he knows to us and anyone with any information regarding prostitution is encouraged to report it to police on 295-0011 or via the independent, confidential Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-8477.
"Prostitution is an offence punishable under the law and if reported to or encountered by police, will be dealt with accordingly."