The UK’s seedy “dread light” district is gone.
The Holbeck red light zone in the city of Leeds, the first in the nation for the legalized sex trade, has closed after the failed experiment angered local residents and activists across the country. Neighbors decried public sex in broad daylight, the harassment of teenage girls and a withering list of quality of life crises that “terrified” the area.
Prostitution and soliciting sex will be re-criminalized in the area according to local reports.
The so-called “Managed Approach” to prostitution was pitched by local leaders as an effort to provide a safe haven for sex workers when it launched in 2014. But it quickly became a sex- and drug-filled cesspool.
There was even murder. Daria Pionko, a 21-year-old sex worker in the area, was brutally killed by a john – a “punter” in British parlance – in late 2015. Lewis Pierre was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
“My husband has been offered business when he’s pulled up outside our house. He had our two kids in the car,” one Holbeck neighbor told The Sun. “My teenage daughter has been harassed by kerb crawlers. It’s a disgusting way to live and we have felt terrified to even go outside for years.”
Another resident, Pauline Lawn, claimed she looked out her bedroom window to find a man and woman having sex in broad daylight.
“They were up against the fence. It was only 2 p.m.”
A 2017 documentary about Holbeck, “Sex, Drugs & Murder: Life In The Red Light Zone,” achieved both popular and critical acclaim in the UK.
The pandemic effectively brought the Holbeck red light zone to an end last year. But its closing became official in June following an announcement by the Leeds City Council.
“I don’t think it [the red light district] protected women and girls,” Mayor Tracy Brabin told the council.
One Facebook group opposed to the prostitution haven, Save Our Eyes, welcomed the return of law and order enthusiastically.
“The #Holbeck residents and Police hunt the perverted predators in packs. It’s a glorious sight to behold!,” the group posted this week with the picture of a cop approaching a van near a park. “There is NO tolerance zone for kerb crawlers here! #Leeds.”