Check out today’s YEP letters
Your views on the city’s ‘legal’ red light area
Almost three years ago council and police bosses in Leeds launched what was thought to be the country’s first ‘legal’ red light zone. If sex workers followed the rules they could openly ply for trade on certain streets without fear of arrest. But this ‘managed approach’ has not been without its problems as the YEP found when it spoke to local residents for a series of reports. We asked YEP readers for their views on the subject and here’s what some of them said on social media...
Leeds has a horrible and dark history with sex work that revolves around the murders of sex workers and regardless of the obvious Victorian view on this matter, I’d rather this in my city than the deaths of young and sometimes vulnerable girls.
It’s about creating a safe area for them. Giving them the ability to talk to police about rapes, drug dealers, etc without the fear of being arrested themselves and to enable them to get the help they need for their own issues without those same fears.
Amanda Jayne Turpin
I feel so sorry for the residents. Their neighbourhood suddenly being designated a trial red light area even though it was always unofficially known to be prone to it. It’s not fair.
These prostitutes are not in the right frame of mind to know what they want. They are being abused. It needs banning.
I think Leeds City Council have now given them a green light and the people that live there are now the ones suffering. Imagine your child having to live with that on their doorstep? It’s disgraceful and should be banned.
You can ban it all you want. That won’t stop it happening unfortunately. Leeds City Council have decided that lessening the impact to them is a better option than the impossible task of trying to stamp it out.
This area has been like it for years and there’s been more murders than one, plus a lot of assaults. My mother worked at a factory near there and that was in the 70s so it’s been going on since then.
Amanda Billie Sullivan
Yes it’s been going on for a long long time - the problem is because it’s now a “legal” area it has brought many many more sex workers with it, and that has brought a lot more crime that is spreading well out of the area.
Before this was a legal zone, it wasn’t a huge problem. Now it is.
Faizal Bruva Jeewa
Ok, so the council are letting this happen, so why don’t the council just rent them a brothel somewhere away from residential areas, it can all be contained then, problem solved.
4am makes it look like they’re still ladies of the night... not here they’re not.
You can walk up the street most times of day and you’re pretty much guaranteed to find one! Give them a warehouse somewhere, medical checks etc. Then they’ll be safe. They’re not safer in the slightest as there’s no police around ‘managing’ it. It’s a step too far where I live and where we have to endure this day in day out.
Oldest trade. You won’t get rid of it. So let’s deal with it properly until legalised. Hopefully having them there makes them safer. Easier to police. Access to drug and healthcare. I used to live near a similar thing. The problem a lot of the times comes from the customers.
I agree that a warehouse would be better but that legitimises it even further. Having a tolerance zone was a bold step by Leeds City Council and police. Getting a warehouse for them might be a step too far for some people.
Council should pay for it, why should local residents and business owners have to clear up the disgusting mess?
I used to work in Holbeck. When I got the bus and got to work early, the ladies used to knock door to door offering sex. That was about 8.50am and about 12 months ago.
These are the enlightened days of the minimum wage and workers rights. So what progressive policies do Leeds City Council make? They legitimise the exploitation of vulnerable women.
Some will argue that it’s these women’s right to choose this vocation.
However how many young girls wake up one day saying what I really want to do for a career is risk my life several times a day having sex with weirdos? Then I’ll give half my money to a pimp and spend the rest of it on smack or alcohol, whilst living in squalor.
Oldest ‘profession’ in the world. Some people are going to be prostitutes regardless, may as well give them a relatively safe place to do it.
Cordelia Frances Threapleton
And that is all we want, a better managed place and a building for them.
They are not allowed to work outside the 7am and 7pm but there’s nothing in place for them to take the punters, that is also an issue.
My husband works down near where all this goes on and constantly they find used condoms, and when I’ve been to work with him I’ve seen girls doing business at around 2pm in the afternoon.
When something is illegal it’s illegal, you want these girls to be safe I get that I do, legalise it!
Make them pay tax and insurance, giving them a safe zone is no different than giving a drug addict a safe place to inject, both illegal and both very unsafe. But that’s just my opinion.
Sarah England Grant
People who sell their bodies for money really need to rethink what they’re doing with their lives, it’s disgusting!
Nice that the residents of Holbeck have forgotten how bad it was before Safer Leeds stepped in and turned it in to a managed area. Because I don’t forget.
The “working area” was much bigger and there was girls working 24/7. At least now it’s only happening at night.
As for needles and condoms, I get that near my house and I live two miles away.
It just happens in the poorer council estates, simple as.
Would be far better banning off streets and then legalised in brothels, taxed wages and woman tested monthly for stds.
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