Down & Out in Bournemouth & Poole: Day 6: The Earnest Pimp

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To say that the gentleman in question looked this good would be to flatter him, with several teeth missing and dressed in decades old Kappa Sportswear he certainly didn’t look half  as successful as the guy in the picture. He was seated at the breakfast table in a hostel for the homeless lying in wait for potential victims, you know, the way you do. As we talked he discussed having family in Liverpool, travelling through Birmingham and having travelled down from Bristol just to be in sunny Poole. Oh I didn’t doubt that he had travelled to all those places, but he did however look like what he was, a local thief not enjoying much in the way of luck and in need of some hefty financial help. Most people in need of hefty financial help receive it from family or from a loved one, but this gentleman had decided to be a pimp.

He wasn’t the only pimp in the local area either, it seemed that though black and Asian women were sparse on the ground we were Prostitute Procurer Magnets. I personally have laid eyes on married Asian women with kids, and black women with kids, and women who were both Asian and black who looked to me like middle-class professional women who worked in the neighbourhood, but to the seedy, mainly aged men approaching them, they looked merely like prostitutes. We had found ourselves living next door to a paedophile and pimp also a drug dealer & now here we were homeless and encountering these gems of humanity on the streets of Poole.

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Words failed me, the phrase ‘black must be a prostitute’ seemed to play over and over like a broken record in these men’s head. So let me get this straight, in this town where any woman who is homeless is considered ‘fair game’ by the local seedy, sleazy populace, and where if you have a young family you don’t have any entitlement to a safe and secure roof, on the streets of this ‘Tourist Town’ this is the treatment you should expect? Who are tourists? Foreigners who are visiting your neighbourhood and are expecting a warm welcome, though by this logic so far as the local population of men are concerned they are actually prostitutes in disguise.

Does it sound as if I am doing this town into the ground? A town dependent to a great extent on the largesse of local churches who are picking up and helping those who have fallen through Poole’s Conservative lubricated cracks. A town full of official & unofficial foodbanks and homeless crisis care centres, a town in which tourists are considered and approached as if they were sex workers? If it does I do apologise, I’ve had a lousy couple of days.

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