The group campaigning against the “Managed Approach” to street sex work in Holbeck, Save Our Eyes, have called on supporters to join a peaceful vigil on the steps of the Civic Hall next Wednesday (14 November 2018).
Campaigners have worked with the Conservative group on Leeds City Council to get the issue onto the agenda of the full Council meeting next week. Conservative deputy leader Cllr Amanda Carter will table a “white paper” to the meeting, which is attended by all 99 Councillors. The motion reads:
“This council notes the mounting objections to the managed approach in Holbeck and further notes growing evidence of resident and business dissatisfaction with this policy. This council agrees with the concerns of the member of Parliament for Leeds Central and believes it is time for the ruling administration to prove to residents and businesses that they can make the managed approach work, or suspend it.”
The vigil will take place in Millennium Square from 4-5pm on Wednesday 14 November. On their website, Save Our Eyes stated:
“We believe that the MA does not benefit the prostituted women it was designed to help, the residents or the businesses. At the moment all sides are suffering.
“We want to see a Leeds where modern slavery is tackled by helping victims who are trapped escape, not be “worked” more “safely.” We want to see our communities freed from the kerb crawlers who persistently follow female residents and even ask children for sex in the streets.
“We want the streets cleared of the pimps and drug dealers who threaten and intimidate residents. The time has come to build a better Leeds, a fairer Leeds. We call on all Councillors to oppose the Managed Approach – or be willing to move to Holbeck and live amongst the filth, fear and chaos.
“We call on all Leeds residents to stand in solidarity with the residents of Holbeck & Beeston Hill.”
The “Managed Approach” aims to restrict street sex work to non-residential areas of Holbeck and night time hours, whilst providing more support for women engaged in sex work. It has been heavily criticised by residents and Hilary Benn MP recently called for an independent review of the scheme.
Cllr Debra Coupar, executive member for communities recently told South Leeds Life:
“We are fully committed to working closely with local ward councillors, community representatives and all stakeholders regarding the managed approach.
“Taking account of their views and concerns we have already changed the operational hours of the managed approach, established a dedicated policing team and increased local environmental budgets and resources to support the local community and local businesses.
“We do acknowledge that this is still work in progress and that there is more that needs to be done to fully address the concerns of local people. To further inform our thinking and actions moving forward we are continuing to meet with local residents to develop solutions that work for the local community.
“I would like to reassure all local stakeholders that our work on the managed approach is under continuous review as we seek to ensure it is meeting the original aims set, with a particular emphasis on significantly reducing the impact of on-street sex work on local residential communities. If these aims are not met, further steps will need to be taken and further options will have to be considered to tackle the long-standing challenges associated with on-street sex work.”
The date of the event in this post was corrected on 12 November.