A man has been jailed for eight and a half years after being found guilty of raping and assaulting a sex worker in Southampton.
We were called to Empress Road in the early hours of 23 January after the attack on a 36-year-old woman.
Christian Hingarau, aged 30, of Derby Road, Southampton, was found guilty on 26 July at Southampton Crown Court of rape and assault. He had pleaded guilty to a second count of assault.
Hingarau was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison and placed on the sex offenders register for life. He was also given a sexual harm protection order for 15 years.
There is often a reluctance for sex workers to come forward and the brave woman in this case initially felt the same.
When asked following conviction if there is anything she would say to other working women, the victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, said:
“We can get justice, we deserve it, we are valued.
“If you have been hurt - come forward, get help, you will be listened to.”
Detective Sergeant Janine Bradley, Senior Investigating Officer, said:
“The victim didn’t want to report this crime at first as she thought she would not be believed.
“There is often a reluctance to come forward, but this case shows how seriously we take such crimes.
“We want to encourage sex workers in the future to report these crimes. If you report it, you will be listened to.”
Operation Hem is our long term response to issues around street prostitution in Southampton.
We are working with our partners to develop routes out of prostitution while safeguarding those street workers who are at significant risk of harm.
We will target those people who abuse, exploit or are violent towards sex workers.
If you have information about the exploitation or abuse of sex workers or if you have suffered abuse, violence or exploitation yourself, please report it to the police on 101 (or 999 in an emergency).
If you are involved in sex work and would like support or advice to keep yourself safe, we can help direct you to the appropriate agency.