The decision by Safer Leeds to sustain its support to the Managed Approach to Sex Work in Leeds is welcomed by Basis Yorkshire. As a key partner in its development, we have been supportive of this approach from the start, based on the evidence from Leeds, as well as information on best practice from elsewhere in the UK and internationally. We also welcomed the commitment to undertake further consultation on this in the past few months, ensuring wider engagement with the community on the Approach including a consultation with sex workers. The evidence has shown that the Managed Approach has had had a positive impact for sex workers, the majority of residents consulted have reported no adverse impact to a large extent and the most popular choice by businesses was to continue with the Managed Approach (with rule changes). Based on this consultation, while maintaining its position on street sex work, there may be some changes. We will work with all key stakeholders, with sex workers at the heart of this, to assess the effect of any changes and ensure that the best interests of all stakeholders are taken into account.
We welcome the recognition of the need for additional support for sex workers in the area. We currently offer access to more services than we are funded for by the authorities and endorse the need for increased funding for specialist services like ourselves. We also understand the stigma many women face and therefore the challenge to accessing other non-specialist services without the support of an organisation like ourselves. Basis Sex Work Project offers them a safe, non-judgmental, confidential space to share information, raise issues or access services. Our focus remains the empowerment of all sex working women with information to make choices, with their safety and well-being as primary aims.
As a service that has worked with female sex workers for over 25 years, evidence has shown us that any approach that seeks to use enforcement or coercion tactics to respond to sex work is more likely to result in greater danger, with sex workers being fearful of authorities and unlikely to take up offers of support.
Gemma Scire CEO of Basis Yorkshire: “The Managed Approach has allowed sex workers to no longer fear being arrested and has increased reporting of crimes to the police, which in the past year has led to 4 cases being taken to court for prosecution. In 3 of these cases, criminals were found guilty of serious, violent crimes, thereby protecting not only the women but the residents of the community of Leeds from further potential crimes they might have committed. This has also allowed the police to focus their attention on those who commit violent and harmful crimes, who pose a danger to the women and the wider citizens of Leeds instead of arresting and re-arresting women, impacting them negatively for the rest of their lives. Basis Yorkshire maintains the position that any criminalisation of sex work is wrong and will continue to challenge stigma in all it’s forms”.
CEO Basis Yorskhire
Tel: 0113 – 243 0036