Last Friday saw the launch of a month long campaign against the Managed Approach in Leeds. While we recognise the subject matter divides opinion, we have also seen many opinions being offered that may not reflect the reality of our work and as an evidence-based organisation we would like to make the following statement in response:
Basis supports sexworkers working indoor and on street. Although the vast majority of women we have reached out to and supported are those who work indoor (in terms of number of women), the vast majority our case work (and resources) currently focuses on street sexworkers. The group of women we support is highly diverse: not all women we support are currently sexworking or want to; some women are therefore supported to sustain a life away from sexwork and/or exploitation; this can be an incredibly long and challenging process.
Our work offers a wide range of intensive support with accessing housing, substance use, health, domestic violence and abuse, exploitation, emotional and practical support (incl benefits access and digital inclusion ) and support accessing training, volunteering and employment. We do this in partnership with many other services in the city and we therefore also engage at strategic level to ensure women have access to the support they need from other services in a way that best meets their needs. While outreach is how we are perhaps most visible it represents also only a small proportion of our work, time and resources. Nonetheless it is a crucial area of our work, allowing us to meet and build trust with women we otherwise might not be able to and to find out how we can best support them over a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, arrange access to emergency accommodation, health checks and appointments and clothing and toiletries.
COVID continues to have an impact on the lives of sexworkers (including the temporary closure of the Managed Approach for women working on street). Basis have been offering an enhanced level of service during the pandemic to support women during this time and will continue to do so within the resources available. When the Approach is re-opened our support remains essential and continues as we know the alternative resources such as benefits to women are limited as was already the case prior to COVID. We are extremely grateful for the kindness and donations offered by so many of our supporters. We would encourage anyone involved in this debate to do so in a kind and compassionate manner. We would also like to extend an invitation to those campaigning against the Managed Approach to meet with us to find out more about our work.
Sep 3 2020