Holbeck residents to protest over Leeds managed red light zone tonight

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Angry Holbeck residents are to stage a protest against the management of Leeds' red light district tonight.

The demonstrators claim that the current 'managed' zone, which covers a largely industrial area in Holbeck, has begun to encroach into residential neighbourhoods in Beeston, and that sex workers and their clients are not respecting curfews and other conditions of the scheme.

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They will gather outside the Kasa convenience store on Top Moor Side at 5pm today.

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Sex workers are only allowed to solicit for business between 8pm and 6am - when the industrial units and workplaces within the zone are expected to be empty - but those living nearby claim these restrictions are regularly being ignored. Other complaints include sex acts being performed in broad daylight, and litter including condoms and needles being scattered on residential streets. Parents have raised concerns that teenage girls are being approached by kerb-crawling men who have mistaken them for prostitutes.

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Some have even called for the zone to be scrapped completely, and claim that it has not improved safety or crime rates in the area. Several charities and organisations have a presence within the zone and provide support to sex workers.

Back in January, local shopkeeper Laura Walton announced plans to stand as an independent candidate in the local elections with the aim of closing down the scheme altogether - describing it as a 'failed experiment'.

Prior to the introduction of the managed zone, the city's illegal sex industry was centred on areas like Spencer Place in Chapeltown, which has seen its crime rate decrease since the trade migrated to Holbeck.