SEX WORKER: Prostitutes are able to operate in areas of Holbeck between 7pm and 7am
SEX WORKER: Prostitutes are able to operate in areas of Holbeck between 7pm and 7am

Green light for Leeds’ red light district

Leeds has become the first city in the UK to have its own full-time ‘red light district’ where prostitutes can legally operate, as long as they follow a list of rules.

Sex workers in the Holbeck area of the city had previously been allowed to ply their trade between the hours of 7pm and 7am on a trial basis – yet following its success, the initiative has been rolled out indefinitely.

Extra bins have been installed across the district to keep the area tidy, with reports of crime and anti-social behaviour reportedly decreasing since the area was set up.

Councillor Mark Dobson, Executive Member for Environmental Protection and Community Safety in Leeds, said: “I accept that there are people who will always have a moral objection to the issue of prostitution.

“I’m of the opinion that it is an industry that’s as old as time and it isn’t going to stop and, as a city that is responsible and cares about the people who live here – including the women who work in this industry – we have had to take a pragmatic approach to keep them safe.

“The managed area isn’t a universal cure-all. Sex work remains – as last month proved – an extremely dangerous and fraught occupation. But it’s incumbent on us to make it as safe as possible.”

Rules have been drawn up by the Safer Leeds group, a partnership between the police and the council, to ensure safety of the sex workers and the local public.

A report published last year said it had been a success to date.

Critics of the scheme point to the recent murder of sex worker, 21-year-old Daria Pionko, who was found with fatal injuries in the area just three weeks before the project was made permanent.

A 24-year-old man is currently in custody awaiting trial.