Statement: Leeds “no arrests” zone

Re managed sex worker area in Holbeck, Leeds

We have the tragic murder of Daria Pionko in our mind because the managed zone didn’t save her from being viciously attacked. But we hope that the women who worked alongside her were able to come forward with information that helped find her killer, without fearing arrest for prostitution.

But why not a worldwide decriminalised zone so that sex workers can come forward and report violence without fear of arrest?  A managed zone is no substitute for decriminalisation. Some women complain that the police wash their hands of the area and they feel segregated from view and the protection of the local community. What happens if you get attacked on the wrong side of the road, outside the zone, outside the designated hours? Does that mean the police don’t pay attention and continue with their campaign of harassment and arrest of sex workers, as they are doing elsewhere?

Only decriminalisation will improve sex workers’ safety by allowing women everywhere to report violence, exploitation and abuse without the threat of arrest, or if we are immigrant of deportation.