Protest staged in Leeds 'legal red light zone' as Holbeck residents urge end to street sex work

Protesters gathered in Holbeck earlier this evening to call for an end to what has been dubbed Britain's first legal red light zone.

Tuesday, 21st August 2018, 8:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st August 2018, 9:00 pm
One of the protesters who took part in today's demonstration in Holbeck, Leeds.

More than a dozen residents with placards turned out to highlight their anger about the 'managed approach' to street sex work in that area of Leeds.

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Introduced by community safety partnership Safer Leeds in October 2014, it allows sex workers to operate in parts of Holbeck during certain hours, with the aim of getting more of the women to engage with support services.

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But residents have become increasingly vocal about the negative impact on surrounding streets and regular breaches of the scheme’s rules.

Those who turned out for today's protest carried banners bearing messages including "We're not safe here", "Keep our kids safe" and "Stop street sex".

Last month, Safer Leeds dispelled reports in a national newspaper which suggested a “crisis meeting” was being held about the future of a controversial scheme.

It said it regularly meets with a wide range of partners and stakeholders – including members of the Holbeck Reference Group set up to assess the impact of the Managed Approach – as part of its ongoing commitment.