West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin hails end of Leeds managed red light zone, says she failed to ‘protect women and girls’

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire

Leeds City Council announced earlier this week that the so-called ‘managed approach’ area, which has been in existence since 2014, will be shut down.

The policy allowed sex workers to trade at specific times in the area without fear of prosecution, but critics have claimed that does not make them safer.

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There have also been complaints of women who are not sex workers being approached on the streets by men in Holbeck.

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

Leeds Conservative Councilor Amanda Carter, long-term critic for the project, said: “I am delighted that the council has now abandoned the managed area and I am delighted for the residents as well.

“However, the problem will not go away.

“The police tell me that these women are now going underground. They probably work online or from home, so the problem is still there.

“Many of these women are addicted to drugs and alcohol because of problems that arose earlier in their lives or because of a traumatic event.

“They are serial victims and they cannot break the vicious circle. “

She asked Mayor Brabin directly: “What help are you able to offer women like this? We will never stop it completely, but how can we reduce it? “

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

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

I am really happy that Leeds (city council) made this decision, but I am happier that they have kept their commitment to protect women working in the sex industry.

“There are a multitude of problems here.

“I have received numerous emails on Holbeck and heard what the residents have said and it looks like we have taken a reasonable step forward.”

The council said earlier this week that it would seek to prosecute the traffickers rather than criminalize the sex workers themselves, despite the decision to end the zone.

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