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