Meeting over Leeds managed prostitution zone

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Prostitute working in Holbeck
Image caption,
The managed area in Holbeck was established in 2014

Opponents of an official red-light zone in Leeds are meeting later on Saturday to discuss alternatives.

The event has been organised by anti-prostitution groups, which are against the "managed approach".

The zone, set up in 2014 on an industrial estate in Holbeck, allows sex workers to operate without fear of prosecution.

Local residents have held protests claiming the area is plagued by anti-social behaviour.

Leeds City Council has promised an independent review of the zone and recently police introduced extra officers to patrol in the area.

Independent councillor Sarah Field said the authority needed to hear the other side of the argument.

"However well intentioned some people at the time may have been in introducing this so-called managed approach, I don't believe there was any real discussion from any other side of the argument - people who don't believe that prostitution can be made safe and who aim for it to be eradicated," she said.

A charity that provides safety advice and support for sex workers in Leeds, has said its research had shown the the zone had made sex workers more likely to report crimes against them.

Basis Yorkshire said a survey of women working in the managed area (MA) reported that "the number of women willing to a report a crime against them with personal details to the police, thus facilitating potential prosecution, has gone from 7% prior to the MA to over 50% in the past two years".

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