The red light road to ruin: Britain's only 'legal prostitution' zone was billed as a way to make streets safer - but sex crimes have DOUBLED, a sex worker has been murdered and paedophiles are prowling the streets targeting babies (6 Pics)

Britain’s first “managed” red light zone is under threat amid claims children’s lives are in danger.
Since 2015, a small industrial zone near Leeds city centre has become an area where police say there is a “lower likelihood of arrest” for those involved in the sex trade.
Leeds councillors yesterday voted to have an independent review into the managed approach, in Holbeck, after calls were made for it to be suspended.
The women working in the zone have a dedicated female plain-clothes officer they can turn to for help.
And police, who make regular patrols, mostly turn a blind eye to the sex trade.
Woman on the street in Holbeck
CCTV cameras were put up by the council shortly after the 2015 murder of Polish national Daria Pionko, 21.
But the managed scheme has been slammed by locals. Campaign group Save Our Eyes claims children are in danger, and are witnessing sexual activity and drug taking on a daily basis.
But the sex workers in the city defended the arrangement, saying “it’s keeping us alive” and “feeding our kids”.
Cllr Amanda Carter yesterday told the chamber: “The pimps have to be dealt with because [the women] are controlled by these men who are evil.”
But Cllr Andrew Scopes told the council: “In 2014, only 7% of crime was reported – now that rate is 50%.”
The Mirror has spoken to those on both sides of the debate.
Holbeck area in Leeds city centre

You can't stop this trade but it's safe for us here

Desperate women who say they are forced to sell their bodies after getting caught in a poverty trap are urging the council not to axe the zone.
One, a 30-year-old mum, said: “I’ve got no criminal record and I don’t take drugs. I’ve never stolen anything in my life. But three months ago I lost my professional job of 10 years and I’ve got nothing to live on.
“I’ve got a claim in for benefits but haven’t had a penny. They tell me to be patient, but being patient isn’t going to feed my child or pay my mortgage.
“A few months ago I’d only ever slept with seven men, now I’m seeing perverts every night.
“I hate it but I’ve got to pay my bills and save my home. This is my secret, my partner thinks I work in a bar. It’s a horrible secret to keep.”
But she urged the council and police not to shut the zone down, adding: “This is an industrial area, there’s CCTV and police patrolling all the time.
"It’s safe for us here. You’re never going to stop this trade, toleration is the key.”
A mum-of-two, aged 29, also claimed a cut in benefit forced her on to the streets. She said: “They took £72 a week off me. My kids are nine and one and I need to get school uniform for the eldest.
“I didn’t have a good childhood. My kids aren’t going to suffer like I did. What the kids want, they get.
“But it has to be paid for. That’s why I’m here. My boyfriend doesn’t know. He thinks I work in a strip bar. He doesn’t agree with it.
"My first [punter] was really sweet and now I can earn £450 a night. I’m good at it. I’ve been out in snow shivering but I made £1,000 that night because they felt sorry for me.”
Scene in the Holbeck "toleration zone"

Many street workers congregate on Holbeck Lane under the scrutiny of half a dozen CCTV cameras.
The area is littered with pink condoms, given to the girls by a local charity.
A makeshift bed – an old massage table – lies in waste ground nearby surrounded by condoms and human excrement.
“They complain about the condoms but don’t provide bins,” said a 36-year-old, clutching her silver heels to give her aching feet a break. “I bring nappy sacks with me.”
She said she had been a sex worker for 15 years and had entertained some 30,000 men at a rate of up to 20 a night.
She said: “We need these cameras to protect us. I’ve got called a slag – I’m not a slag, I get paid for it.
“I had six eggs thrown at me the other day and one hit me on the head.”
CCTV in the area

She admits working the streets to feed her crack cocaine habit.
A Romanian aged 23 told how she boosts her £270-a-month factory wage by coming to the zone twice a week.
She has been in the UK for five years and said: “I feel safe because of the CCTV cameras and police. There are some men I’m scared of.”
Another woman, who is with her, discreetly nods at a middle-aged man in a Volkswagen car who has been parked up watching the girls all night.
She said: “He owns half the girls on this street. He supplies them with cocaine and they pay him. He’s got six women under his control. But not me.”

Chloe, 14: I get old men offering me sweets for sex on my way to school

Gemma Lynch with daughter Chloë

A schoolgirl who lives nears the red light zone claims she has been approached about 12 times by “old men” with one offering her sweets for sex.
Chloe Lynch, 14, said she has been pestered since she was 12 while walking to and from school in her uniform.
She said: “Once I was in a group walking back and a man offered us sweets.
“Another time an old man asked if I was working and asked me to go in his house.
“It is frightening. Before, I thought prostitute meant some sort of politician. I didn’t even know what one was. But now I know what it means. It’s scary.”
Chloe’s mum Gemma, 35, said locals fear for the safety of their children, who are exposed to sexual activity almost daily.
She told how her youngest child, nine-year-old Charis, saw a prostitute injecting a man in his genitals.
“We don’t let the kids play out now,” Gemma said. “This managed area was all right at first but now it has spread to residential streets.”
Even the local primary school caretaker has been forced to clear up condoms and used syringes every morning, campaigners claim.
And recently a grandmother alleged a man approached her as she pushed a pram and sickeningly asked her for an hour alone with the baby. Police said they were investigating this claim.
Local shop owner Laura Walton, 39, said “The managed area has spread – some can’t be bothered to walk down to the zone.
Nine-year-old Charis Lynch has seen sex workers plying their trade in the street 

“There’s used condoms and needles all over Holbeck now. The prostitution seems to have moved to the residential areas.
“People are seeing them having sex outside their homes, in people’s driveways, phone boxes and around St Matthew’s Church.

"In the summer it gets worse and we have to prepare ourselves. I had customers in one day with children and a woman lifted her skirt up at us.
“My friend’s little boy is four and he asked his mum about one woman: ‘She’s not coming back is she, that bad lady?’”
Chief Superintendent Steve Cotter said: “We encourage people to report incidents immediately.
"We recently increased the level of resources we have dedicated to the Managed Approach and we have had some positive feedback about policing of the area.
“We will not allow crime or antisocial behaviour to go unchallenged.”
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