'The police have caused this issue' - Leeds sex worker speaks out about Holbeck's Managed Approach

The Managed Approach has been billed as the country's first 'legalised' red light district.

The Managed Approach in Holbeck is a highly contentious issue that has proved to be a big talking point ever since its introduction in Leeds in 2014 - writes leeds-live.co.uk

Billed as the country's first 'legalised' red light district, it allows sex workers in Leeds to ply their trade between 8pm and 6am in an area of Holbeck which is based primarily near an industrial estate on Holbeck Lane and Springwell Road.

The idea is to allow the authorities to help better control prostitution in the city, move it away from residential areas and provide better support for the sex workers.

However, residents in Holbeck have become so disillusioned with the impact on their day-to-day lives that they staged a protest on Holbeck Moor on Tuesday, August 7 .

During the demonstration, a member of the public became embroiled in a heated argument with Olivia, a sex worker, about the used condoms and dirty needles that are found outside front doors in Holbeck as a result of the sex industry.

Once the tension had calmed down, LeedsLive spoke to Olivia about her take on the Managed Approach.

She's been a sex worker in Leeds for 15 years and used to ply her trade in other parts of the city. She says she was 'pushed out' to the Managed Approach in Holbeck in 2014 and agrees that more should be done to deter the city's sex workers from breaking the rules that have been put in place.

She said: "I don't mind it down here. I think the Managed Approach is a fair compromise. At the end of the day you're not going to get arrested if you come down at a certain time.

"I think the Managed Approach should stay and I think they should bring ASBO's in. They should slam them [the women who don't adhere to the rules] with an ASBO if they're taking the p**s and are working up here in the residential areas.

'Everyone needs to be on the same page'

"But at the end of the day they don't care. It's all politics.

"I've had a copper come up to me and say: 'Don't stand near the shop. Go and stand in the bus stop and be discreet.'

"You have one copper telling you that, and another copper telling you to f**k off. It's mixed messages.

"Some of the coppers are even turning a blind eye.

"Everyone needs to be on the same page.

"All this is just causing friction now because people are getting riled up."

Olivia said that she believes that police have exacerbated the problems in Holbeck by not managing the scheme effectively enough.

"The police pushed us further down. Six or seven years go no-one thought anything of Holbeck. 'Push them up there into that area,' thought the police. We got pushed out of Spencer Place [in Chapeltown] and down to here.

"At the end of the day the police have caused this issue."

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