Holbeck locals continued anger at red light zone

October 11, 2018

Residents continue their protest against councils ‘managed approach’ towards sex workers in the area 

By Lily Ryder

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Many experts claim that the Leeds model of prostitution is modern slavery. Photo by Pexels.

The UK’s first legal red light zone is situated in Holbeck, where women are lawfully allowed to be sex workers. The aim was to help improve the safety of prostitutes in Leeds, encouraging them to report crimes towards them. However, not everyone is happy about this. Locals are aware that prostitution happens whether it’s legal or not, but say they’re furious that the women have been leaving the zone and entering residential areas to have sex outside people’s homes.

‘Managed approach disregarded’

The council’s ‘managed approach’, introduced in 2014, is being disregarded by sex workers, according to locals. Therefore, they have had no choice but to protest against them. Many protests have taken place to demonstrate the impact that sex workers have had on their lives in an attempt for action to be taken.

From 7pm-7am sex workers are able to stand on street corners waiting to ply their trade.

People that live in the area are fed up and have found an increased number of sex work related items littered around their streets. Not only is it frustrating for the local people but it is potentially harmful to children in the area. Parents say they have to be cautious when taking their children to the park due to the risks of finding harmful items left behind by prostitutes.

Save Our Eyes

Items that have been found include condoms, needles and syringes, used tampons, human faeces, baby wipes and associated wrappers, according to Save Our Eyes, a local association.

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‘Women rely on prostitution to supply their drugs’ photo by Pixabay

Save Our Eyes’ mission is to ‘become a community where residents are not subjected to daily harassment from kerb crawlers, prostituted women, danger from discarded condoms, needles and sex industry litter.’

Paula from Save Our Eyes told Leeds Hacks: “Women don’t rely on prostitution to live. They rely on it to supply drugs. The vast majority of the Holbeck street prostitutes are drug addicts who are very ill and live difficult lives.

“Residents are suffering”

“The impact they have on the Holbeck community is excessive and the residents are suffering.

“The kerb crawlers and punters on foot are out of control. We’ve had pimps threaten to kill the residents.”

Leeds City Council set up the manged approach scheme to not only improve the safety, but to help control the prostitution in Leeds.The idea was to place the sex workers in a zone close to an industrial estate on Holbeck Lane and Springwell Road. But the women have been entering residential areas.

Businesses affected

Businesses have also been affected by the red light zone, especially those situated in the middle of it. Customers will stop visiting the cafes and restaurants when sex workers are committing sex acts outside.

“People should not have to see prostitutes having sex in a residential area. That is not how the scheme is meant to work,” local MP Hilary Benn told Leeds Live.

People argue that legalising prostitution in the area is not the resolution to the problem. They say these women need help to escape the industry. The also claim that with 90 percent of the prostitutes in the city addicted to class A drugs, legalising it is only going to help fund their drug addictions.



One thought on “Holbeck locals continued anger at red light zone

  1. Sarah

    Thank you for your report. We are concerned that the managed approach does not really act in the best interests of the women or the residents.
    The women seem to sink further into poverty and ill health as they “work” the zone. The people profiting are the drug dealers and pimps. We want to see resources put into helping women exit the sex industry, not helping them work in it.
    We’d also like to see the punters targeted. These men prey on the prostituted women and on ANY women they see in the streets. Residents can’t walk about safely. The sex industry has claimed the residential streets far beyond the boundaries of the zone. Even if activity could be restricted to the zone it would still leave at risk the staff of the companies who operate there.
    We believe a resource like the “managed approach” is not needed or helpful. However, if the Police are convinced it’s the way forward then they could move it to the Police Carr Gate training centre which they own. It’s got streets and buildings. Instead of pushing the problem onto the residents and businesses of inner city Leeds they have their own land available!


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