Leeds managed approach zone campaigners concerned after petition set up to decriminalise sex work in Sheffield

Campaigners from the Leeds managed zone have raised concerns after a petition was set up to decriminalise Sex work in Sheffield.

The petition, submitted by Jenni Wright, urges Sheffield council to decriminalise sex work in the South Yorkshire city.

Stock photo.

Stock photo.

According to our sister site The Sheffield Star, Ms Wright said: “Every day, sex workers have to put themselves in danger to avoid a criminal record. They can’t work together to keep each other safe, they can’t look for a safe working environment in a parlour, they can’t rely on the authorities for protection.

“Most sex workers are mothers supporting their families, struggling to make ends meet. Let’s help not hurt them.”

Under current UK laws, prostitution itself is legal but a number of associated activities are not including: owning or managing a brothel, pimping and kerb-crawling.

The managed zone in Leeds, dubbed the country's first 'legal red light district', was introduced as a pilot scheme in October 2014 by the community safety partnership Safer Leeds - a group which includes Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police.

The 'managed approach' allows street sex workers to ply for trade without fear of arrest, in a particular area of Leeds within agreed hours.

-> Leeds 'legal red light district' explained - how the managed approach works in Holbeck

However, Save Our Eyes, a community group in Holbeck, has now warned Sheffield residents that the managed approach is a "disaster" and urges them to consider the downfalls of decriminalising sex work.

In a statement, the group said: "Warning to all Sheffield residents and business owners!

"Your city is considering having a Managed approach to prostitution.

"We have had one forced upon us in Leeds and it is an outright disaster on the local community.

"Do not be fooled by media reports claiming it to be a success, this model will only increase any prostitution problems you already have, bring men from all over the country to approach females for sex and trap the vulnerable prostitutes in a web of drugs and entrapment.

"Please look through the Save our Eyes page for some of the shocking things we are now made to live with."

The agreed hours for the 'managed approach' in Holbeck are from 8pm until 6am.

Safer Leeds said no offences will be tolerated between 6am and 8pm

Following the murder of Daria Pionko, a review was conducted into the future of the 'managed approach'.

Its findings were published in July 2016 when it was announced that the scheme would continue but with some small changes to the way it was run.