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.