JALNA HANMER

FEMINIST CAMPAIGNS

CAMPAIGN TO END THE LEEDS SEX TRADE

The so-called Managed Zone or Managed Approach in the Holbeck area of Leeds was set up by the West Yorkshire Police and Leeds City Council to allow men access to prostituted women without fear of arrest. This talk will cover the experiences and responses of residents in the area, those of prostituted women and campaigning by CELST, the Campaign to End the Leeds Sex Trade.

About Jalna: Jalna Hanmer is a Professor of Women’s Studies who has been influential in developing our theory and understanding of male violence against women and established early Women’s Studies courses at the University of Bradford.  In 1974 Jalna was involved in setting up the National Women’s Aid Federation (NWAF) and later the Women’s Aid Federation England (WAFE). She also was part of the organising group for the international conference on multiple forms of violence against women (WOVA) held in Brighton in 1996. She was a founder member of the radical feminist journal, Trouble & Strife, and is a founder member of Feminist Archive North. 50 years on from her first involvement with the women’s movement, Jalna is now involved in a new campaign - Campaign to End the Leeds Sex Trade. 

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The Campaign to End the Leeds Sex Trade strap line is:

NO MAN HAS THE RIGHT TO BUY AND SELL WOMEN

This is exactly what the West Yorkshire Police Force and Leeds City Council have joined together to promote through setting up of the so-called managed zone that is sometimes called a managed approach in Holbeck in South Leeds.

The Zone is not managed in the sense that it is safe for women, but safe for men as it ensures punters are not arrested. As would be expected men are being drawn into the Zone from an ever widening geographical area as their access to women’s bodies is not being legally limited. Class A drugs are easy to obtain and pimps are not being arrested. It is a free for all.

So far there has been one murder and other serious crimes against prostituted women. Daria Pionka from Poland was battered to death by a punter.  Immediately after her death the continuation  of the Zone was agreed by the Leeds Community Safety Partnership, the managers of the Zone, which consists of representatives from the West Yorkshire Police  and Leeds City Council.

The Zone is located in a semi industrial area, but punters and prostituted women are spread throughout surrounding neighbourhoods. Residents and local businesses overwhelmingly want the Zone to be closed, but their continued calls for action are rejected. The Leeds Community Safety Partnership has tried to win around residents by sending in cleaning teams daily to collect needles, used condoms, wipes, human faeces and other left behind items. Police say prostituted women can report crimes against them which they will follow up.

But residents and local businesses continue to want the Zone closed as they do not like girls and women being propositioned on the streets and men too object to being approached. Residents also do not like sex debris being left in the gardens, on streets, in parks and on playgrounds or to see punters circling their neighbourhoods and engaged in sexual activities outside their houses. The residents have a community organisation, named Save Our Eyes, which collects reports from residents on the left behind debris and the location of prostituted women outside the Zone and sometimes are able to photograph the cars of punters and their license numbers.

WHAT HAS CELST DONE TO HELP?

There is an example of a successful project to end street prostitution undertaken in Ipswich after five prostituted women were murdered by a punter. CELST contacted the police superintendent responsible for ending street prostitution in Ipswich and arranged meetings with Leeds City Councillors and with Holbeck residents. The project consisted of coordinating Ipswich statutory and voluntary organisations to assist women to exit and by systematically arresting punters. Street prostitution has not returned to Ipswich. The approach could be adopted by Leeds City Council and the West Yorkshire Police. It is supported by Holbeck residents and their coordinating organisation, Save Our Eyes, but neither the police or local authority show any interest in doing so.

WHAT ELSE NEEDS TO BE DONE?

While there are organisations to respond to prostituted women in Holbeck, they do not offer the needed long term support to individual women. It is not enough to help a woman find new housing or an agency to overcome Class A drug addictions as long term support is needed when women are without family support and  friends not in prostitution.

WHAT DO WE WANT YOU TO DO?

Please support the Campaign to End the Leeds Sex Trade by contacting us on our email: admin@celst.co.uk                CELST website is: http://celst.co.uk/

NO POLICE FORCE HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO IMPLEMENT PARLIAMENTARY LEGISLATION

NO LOCAL AUTHORITY HAS THE RIGHT TO SUPPORT MEN TO BUY AND SELL WOMEN