England’s first legalised ‘red light district’ has opened for business in Leeds.
The decision comes after Leeds City Council experimented with a pilot scheme where workers could advertise themselves on the street, without the risk of arrest.
Leeds City Council claim the scheme, which puts in place a ‘managed area’ where sex workers can work between 7pm and 7am, has encouraged higher safety levels for prostitutes and made it easier for them to report crimes or exploitation.
The scheme has come into effect just three weeks after a sex worker was murdered in Holbeck, Leeds, and demonstrates the effort that local police are going to in an attempt to help keep people safe.
Despite that, the scheme has caused a fair amount of backlash from some quarters.
The Daily Mail rather unsurprisingly claim a number of the businesses and residents in the city are ‘horrified’.
They also condemned the scheme, claiming it amounts to the ‘legalisation of a crime’ – because God forbid you try and keep people safe.
Think of the property prices!
Charlotte Rose, a sex worker and therapist, has been fighting for the legalisation of brothels for years, as well as rights for prostitutes in the UK.
Speaking to Kobini, she said that the decriminalisation of prostitution was vital for improving working conditions for sex workers.
It will never end, it’s the oldest profession in the world.
We just need to make it safer for sex workers, provide more support groups for those who want to leave and leave the ones who want to work alone.
The council has claimed that their ‘red light district’ is not a ‘universal cure-all’ but should help improve community relations, sex worker safety and protect people against harassment.
Despite the size of the sex industry, it is still one of the most under-represented industries, with workers in the UK yet to see their rights firmly cemented.
Whether you support the decriminalisation of prostitution or not, I think we can all agree that people should be kept as safe as possible, and any effort to do so is a good thing.