West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin welcomes end to Leeds' managed red light zone, says it didn't 'protect women and girls'

Tracy Brabin said she believed the controversial zone, which permitted prostitution in Holbeck between certain hours, didn’t “protect women and girls”.
West Yorkshire mayor Tracy BrabinWest Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin
West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin

Leeds City Council announced earlier this week that the so-called “Managed Approach” area, which has been place since 2014, will be stopped.

The policy allowed sex workers to trade at specific times within the area without fear of prosecution, but critics claimed it did not make them any safer.

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There have also been complaints of women who aren’t sex workers being approached on the street by men in Holbeck.

The issue was raised at a West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel meeting on Friday.

Leeds Conservative councillor Amanda Carter, a long-term critic of the scheme, said: “I’m delighted the council have scrapped the managed area now and I’m delighted for the residents as well.

“However, the problem won’t go away.

“Police officers tell me these women are now going underground. They’re probably working online or working from home, so the issue is still there.

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“Many of these women are addicted to drugs and alcohol because of issues that have occurred earlier on in their life or because of a traumatic event.

“They’re serial victims and they can’t get out of the vicious circle.”

She asked Mayor Brabin directly, “What help are you able to offer to women like this? We’ll never stop it entirely, but how can we reduce it?”

In response, Mayor Brabin said: “My position on Holbeck managed area has been very clear.

“I don’t think it protected women and girls.

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I’m really pleased that Leeds (City Council) have taken this decision, but I’m more pleased they’ve retained their commitment to protect those women who work in the sex industry.

“There are a multitude of issues here.

“I’ve had many emails about Holbeck and I’ve heard what the residents have been saying and it looks like we’ve got a sensible step forward.”

The council said earlier this week it would look to prosecute kerb crawlers rather than criminalising sex workers themselves, despite the move to end the zone.

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