Living in the red light district


You may or may not know that Holbeck, Leeds, my home, is the only « official » red light district in Britain. Prostitution here is not illegal so long as it happens between 7pm and 7am. So I’m going to tell you how that is for us.

Why Holbeck? Well, we are poor. This is the working class area of Leeds, mainly two up two down terraces, a high rise, and 1980s council houses. We are mainly low paid minimum wagers. The zero hour contract people you read about. A lot of cleaners and care workers. A lot of us are on benefits. A lot of us are refugees. Many of us are disabled.

There are posh parts of Leeds. Nice, green leafy spaces. Prostitutes used to work there, too, but the middle class residents complained about it. They don’t like women (and it always is women) « selling sex » outside their homes…

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