A controversial ‘Pimps and Hoes’ student night coming to Leeds this weekend has been slammed for ‘glamorising the sex trade’.
The fancy dress bar crawl, which encourages students to dress up as prostitutes and the men they work for, has provoked a storm of protest ahead of it taking place on Sunday.
But organisers of the ‘Carnage’ event insist their aim is to provide a fun night out for the city’s students, who chose the theme for the evening themselves in an online poll.
Outraged Katie Siddall, welfare officer at Leeds University Students Union said: “To bring an event like this to Leeds glamorises the sex trade instead of informing students about the dangers of it.
“It’s also an industry inextricably linked with violence – including in Leeds where one study suggested more than 60 per cent of sex workers experienced violence on our streets”.
The Pimps and Hoes event will take place in 25 cities across the UK. Varsity Leisure Group, owners of the sold out event, say they welcome more than 250,000 students each year to their events nationally. Sunday will be the fifth time the Pimps and Hoes theme has been chosen by Leeds’ students
But Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West, said: “The truth about so called ‘pimps’ is that they force vulnerable women into the sex industry and they are often beaten, raped and seriously terrorised so that they do not dare escape their situation. This is hardly a light-hearted fancy dress theme. We should be educating students and young people on the dangers of the sex industry, not encouraging them to see it as a bit of a joke.”.
A statement from Varsity Leisure Group which runs the events, said: “Our aim is to give students ... a fun night out with other students from differing ethnic and social backgrounds.
“The fancy dress themes for our events are chosen by the students and not by us.
“We strongly disagree that a fancy dress event such as ours is in any way ‘a glorification of the sex industry’ and particularly violence against vulnerable women. We would be surprised if the majority of the general public disagreed given the frequency of similar such events and the fancy dress industry surrounding it. This is a fancy dress student event, nothing more.”