Shocking pics show ‘sex worker’s home in the woods’ next to Leeds primary school – The Sun
DISTRESSING pictures show the abject poverty a sex worker in Leeds has been forced to live in – just yards from the front gates of a primary school.
The photos were taken by 34-year-old mum Amanda Sullivan, one of the founding members of Save Our Eyes, a campaign group set up to highlight the amount of prostitution on the streets of the Yorkshire city.
Leeds has adopted a “Managed Approach” to prostitution which has seen one area of the city become a "red light district".
The Sun visited the area last year and discovered it to be plagued by heroin addiction, sex attacks and public indecency.
Amanda took the images in an attempt to show what impact the scheme has had on communities in the south of the city.
She wants to reveal the heartbreaking situation an unnamed woman has found herself in, but also to enforce the message that homelessness and sex work are often inextricably linked, Leeds Live reports.
The mum made the “devastating” discovery after dropping her children off at Lane End Primary School in Beeston on Wednesday, June 5.
The school told The Sun: "We were informed by the parent on the Thursday morning about the items left in this area.
"We verified the information as fact, and as we work closely with our local police team, we contacted them immediately. The police came out within the morning, and the area was then quickly cleared."
She said: "I have found needles in those bushes before, I hadn't checked for a long time so I thought I'd have a look."
After going to check she came across a small, open area of woodland that had been tidied by its occupant to make what looked like makeshift bedsit.
Amanda said: "It's one of the most devastating things I've ever seen. It's one of the things that has hit me – and others that have seen it – very hard emotionally.
It was literally just a woodland of suffering. That's the only way I can describe it.
"It was literally just a woodland of suffering. That's the only way I can describe it.
"You walk in and there's a tree and there are toilet rolls put in clear bags hanging from the tree.
"You walk down a bit and then there's a table full of shampoo bottles."
Amanda says that although she did see condoms and needles, none of them looked to have been used. She said their presence seemed 'symbolic'.
"It's the bed that got me more than anything," said Amanda.
"The bed that was laid out with slippers, and then the condom and needles that were hanging above.
"There was only one condom there in a wrapper attached to a fence but this and the needles looked symbolic, as if she was saying: 'That's all I'm worth'.
"We honestly think that has become her home. The place was spotless. It was like she was trying to make a home. It was immaculate. She even had a bin she was using.
"The pictures don't give you the sense of feeling that was there."
Amanda immediately spoke to teachers at the school, who contacted West Yorkshire Police.
"Some of the parents go and sit in the pub there and the children go and pay in those bushes," she said.
"It's absolutely petrifying."
She then rung a leading sex worker charity in Leeds to investigate further, so they could try and find the women to offer her support.
SAFER SEX TRADE? What is the Leeds ‘Managed Approach’ to street prostitution?
MANAGED approach is the term given to describe a scheme introduced in Lees in a bid to make street sex work safer.
It was set up in response to more than a decade of high level street prostitution in the Holbeck area.
The managed zone was introduced in 2014 with men free to kerb crawl for prostitutes between 7pm and 7am after research found out that police action against sex workers was failing to reduce levels of prostitution.
Charities, such as Basis Yorkshire, support dozens of street sex workers in Leeds by helping them to arrange appointments and fill out forms to get benefits.
But they warn that helping somebody off the streets is a complex situation that often requires many different services – and it can sometimes take months or even years to achieve.
The rules of the managed approach are:
- No offences will be tolerated at any time within residential areas;
- No offences will be tolerated between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.;
- No offences will be tolerated outside businesses which are operating;
- Business premises will be respected and litter disposed of responsibly;
- Drug use, trafficking, organised crime and coercion will at no time be tolerated;
- Crime, public disorder and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated
- Indecency will not be tolerated at any time
"Three members of their staff went out and were in absolute tears," Amanda revealed.
Although leading charities in Leeds try and help vulnerable sex workers where they can, they are at pains to stress that there often isn't a quick fix for some of the women.
Amanda admits that although Save Our Eyes have occasionally been at loggerheads with the sex worker charities in Leeds, the most important matter is helping the individuals on the streets.
"It was nice to know that as much as we are on opposing sides, if we do come across something like this, they are there and they are trying to do something," she said.
"I do think if they do find homes it gives these women a chance to be more stabilised. It might take some of the needles of our streets as well."
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