The Oldest Profession




News of raids, prosecutions, robberies, assaults etc from the world of punting


Is Leeds ‘managed approach’ an innovation?

Published in The Yorkshire Evening Post
23rd August 2017

The idea of letting sex workers in Leeds to ply their trade without fear of arrest has been nothing if not controversial. As our series continues, we look at how the ‘managed approach’ has developed since it was quietly introduced almost three years ago.

Holbeck had had an unwanted association with prostitution for several years, during which the authorities accept they struggled to deal with the issue.

A 2013 study by Dr Kate Brown, a researcher from York University, found that the policy of police enforcement – using the law against sex workers – had failed to reduce prostitution or associated problems. And by October 2014, Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police and the other agencies which make up Safer Leeds had decided to conduct a pilot.

Sex workers would be allowed to operate freely between the hours of 7pm and 7am within a specified series of streets, as long as they followed the rules. They included not working outside the agreed times and locations, not leaving used condoms or syringes behind, and not using drugs in the street.

A ‘three strikes’ policy meant rule-breakers would get a warning for a first breach, a caution for a second and be arrested for a third infringement.


Leeds sex worker gives her views on city’s ‘legal’ red light area

Published in The Yorkshire Evening Post
23rd August 2017

The concerns of residents and businesses in Holbeck have had a significant influence on the way that the ‘managed approach’ has evolved.  But the views of the sex workers, who lives are most directly impacted, are all often conspicuous in their absence.

They were not formally consulted by Safer Leeds last year when the decision was being made about whether to continue with the approach or to make changes.  The task of giving them a voice has largely fallen on charities such as Basis, who work directly with the women to offer practical support.

Understandably, many are wary of speaking to the media after the national coverage in the wake of Daria Pionko’s murder in December 2015. But one of the women, who agreed to give a recorded interview with a Basis worker present, said that the current approach was much better than the past focus on enforcement.

“Well it’s a lot better because you’ve got a time to come out and the blokes know when you can come out and do the business,” she said. “Everyone knows when they should be working, then there’s no issue between yourself and the police. Out here, if you’re out whenever you want, you don’t know where you are from one minute to the next and your [drug] habit is worse as well. Most girls that are out here have got habits.”

She is appreciative of the ready access to support from the likes of Basis and staff from health and drugs services who join the charity for its regular outreach sessions in Holbeck.  “The ladies [from Basis] come out with Durex and sort you out and look after you,” she said. “They’re all brilliant. As soon as they see you, they go to stop and check up.”


Harrow brothel exploiting 'vulnerable victims' shut down by police

Published by Get West London
22nd August 2017

A brothel in Harrow which exploited “vulnerable victims” has been shut down by Metropolitan Police .

Police officers attended the property in Toorack Road in June after complaints. Notices were then served by Met Police ordering the occupants to leave with support from Harrow Council , which provided details about the property's landlord.

Officers returned to the property on Monday (August 21) and found occupants of the brothel had left.

A spokesman for Wealdstone MPS took to Twitter after the closure to condemn criminal gangs operating in west London.

He said: “Brothel closed by police with support from Harrow Council. We will not tolerate organised criminal gangs exploiting vulnerable victims.”

A Met Police spokesman added no arrests have been made following the closure of the brothel.