Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Calls to Make It Legal to Sell Sex Backed; CITY COUNCIL LEADER AND PCC ARE IN FAVOUR OF MOVE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Calls to Make It Legal to Sell Sex Backed; CITY COUNCIL LEADER AND PCC ARE IN FAVOUR OF MOVE

Article excerpt

Byline: Keiran Southern keiran.southern@trinitymirror.com @KeiranSouthern

CALLS to decriminalise prostitution and create legal red-light districts have been backed In a report published yesterday, the Home Affairs Select Committee says there needs to be a change in the law on soliciting by sex workers, and sex workers sharing premises.

Earlier this year Leeds became the first city in the country to introduce a legal red-light district, a move police say has made sex workers safer.

The scheme allows women to work in a designated area within certain hours without fear of arrest.

But just three weeks after its permanent introduction, 21-year-old prostitute Daria Pionko was killed, prompting serious questions to be asked about how safe the scheme actually is.

Newcastle City Council says it has no plans to follow suit and introduce a similar plan, though leader Nick Forbes agrees with the Committee's report.

He said: "Criminalising the actions of women who in many cases feel forced into prostitution only causes more harm. We need a grown-up conversation about the impact of prostitution on individuals and our city as a whole. "The Home Affairs Select Committee is right to say that there should be zero tolerance of the organised criminality behind prostitution. I await the outcome of the committee's research."

Earlier this year, a report found thousands of North East men are paying for sex each day - with some women touting themselves for as little as PS2. The report - Selling Sex for Survival - revealed a total of 1,468 women and 221 men involved in prostitution in the North East and Cumbria.

Laura Seebohm, director at charity Changing Lives, believes decriminalising prostitution would be a step forward, but does not think the introduction of legal red-light zones is the right answer.

She said: "For most women who go into prostitution it is linked to abusive childhoods and sexual exploitation. …

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