'Managed area' for prostitution in Leeds shut down due to coronavirus

Sex workers will be banned from operating in a part of Leeds known as the 'managed area' for prostitution in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under a controversial policy which has been in force since 2014, sex workers have been allowed to solicit for business in part of Holbeck at certain hours of night without fear of prosecution.

But the Safer Leeds Partnership, which operates the scheme, said it was no longer safe.

In a statement it said: "It is clear that allowing women to solicit for sex at a certain time in a public place is contrary to national health and scientific guidance associated with Covid-19, and as such the delivery and strategic and operational administration of the managed approach must change immediately."

Under a new "engagement" strategy, third sector organisations and charities will tell women who are still working in the area to stop and go home.

Support will be provided to those without accommodation.

But patrols will be carried out in the area and those who ignore the new rules will face police action.

An independent review of the managed area is still expected to publish its findings this summer.