Leeds Tories call for ‘exit strategy’ for managed red-light zone

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Politicians in Leeds have claimed a recent review into the city’s managed prostitution zone ignored large numbers of local residents.

The managed zone was originally introduced in 2015 and was designed to allow sex workers to operate without reprisal. However, the move divided communities in Leeds and generated national debate.

An independent report into the zone was published back in July, which claimed the zone should remain but must continue to evolve.

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But Conservative members on Leeds City Council say not enough local people were listened to during the review, and have submitted a motion, known as a white paper, to be voted on by councillors next week.

The Holbeck managed zone is coming under further scrutiny.The Holbeck managed zone is coming under further scrutiny.
The Holbeck managed zone is coming under further scrutiny.

The paper calls for the council to do more to engage with local people around the zone, and to even consider an “exit strategy” for the policy.

The motion, submitted by Coun Amanda Carter, reads: “This council notes that the Managed Approach in Holbeck continues to be deeply controversial with local communities and businesses, with a number of protest groups having voiced their concerns.

“Whilst the independent review into its future concluded that the approach should continue with changes, council is concerned that only a small fraction of the residents and businesses in the area had their views recorded in the survey, and council notes that the review itself conceded that the findings could not be taken as representative of the people of Holbeck.

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“Crucially, council remains concerned that no action appears to have been taken to address child safeguarding concerns raised by schools in the area.

“Given the significant and demonstrable deficit in local engagement, council is not satisfied that the recommendation to continue with the managed approach is based on a sound understanding of the impact on the local community and their concerns.

“Council calls on the administration to bring forward detailed plans for how it can listen and engage with local communities about the future of the managed approach.

“In order to be in a position to respond to concerns about the Managed Approach, Council requests that a regular report is brought to Executive Board which should include updates on: the support available for the women; community feedback; Police input; and options for both

reducing the size of the area and considering an “exit strategy” from the managed approach policy entirely.”

The motion will go before a full meeting of Leeds City Council on Wednesday, November 11.