A “dirty man” asked me for sex at the bus stop. I’m 13.

A “dirty man” asked me for sex at the bus stop. I’m 13.

Holbeck is one of the few places in the UK where men roam residential streets looking for sex 24 hours a day.  The “managed approach for prostitution” nearby has made them feel like they have the right to ask any woman and even children if sex is available for sale.  Katie is not the youngest of our residents to experience this…

“Hello!  My name is Katie and I’m 13 years old.  Me and my mum are so angry about what’s happening in Holbeck that we’ve agreed our story can be published by Save Our Eyes.
 
Last Saturday morning, we were at the bus stop on Domestic Street near Kasa.  It’s a residential area away from the “managed approach.” There’s a lot of prostitutes and dirty men who are looking for the prostitutes around there in the streets all the time.
 
A man came up to us and said “Are you working?”  My mum was confused and asked what he meant.  He replied “Not you! I mean her. Is she working?” and pointed at me.  My mum realised what he meant. She shouted at him “She’s only 13, she’s a child!” but he wasn’t even bothered.  He carried on, “It doesn’t matter about her age.  She looks like one (meaning a prostitute) she doesn’t look like a child.  It’s acceptable in Holbeck to ask.”
 
My mum was furious and I can’t even tell you what she shouted at him next.
As teenagers me and my friends often have encounters with prostitutes and dirty men while we are walking to and from school.  Sometimes we see them having sex or shooting up drugs in the streets.  I once saw a man having a blow job in the church yard on my way to school.  Sometimes residents get into arguments with prostitutes in the street, that can be quite frightening.
 
The walk to school became an experience to avoid.  It should only take me 15 min to walk there, but I can’t go the direct route as there are too many prostitutes and dirty men hanging about near the bridge.  So I have to walk to school the long way which takes me 25 minutes.  I set off for school at 7.15am.  The “managed zone” hours are from 8pm to 7am but the Police don’t check that the prostitutes and men have gone.  To be fair, they never actually go home!”
Katie’s mum, Helen, is still outraged by what has happened.
“I’ve lived in Holbeck since I was 15.  It used to be a lovely place, now we can’t go into the streets without being stopped by perverts looking for sex.  I’ve been stopped myself several times but Saturday was the first time I’d seen a man go after my daughter.
 
There have been times when young children pick up the used condoms left on the pavement. They think they are balloons because many of them are pretty colours.
I’ve complained to the Police several times in the past about sex acts I have witnessed or times I have been intimidated.  The “managed approach” has made the punters and prostitutes much bolder than they were before.  Their attitudes towards the local residents can be shocking.  As Katie described, the man who wanted to buy her on Saturday argued with me.  He felt he had a right to ask any woman in the area for sex.  He was not even in the zone.  The sex industry are trying to claim the whole of Holbeck, not just the small area they have been allocated for the zone.
 
Now the winter is coming, I’ll go out to meet Katie after school to walk her home.  It’s not safe for women to walk the streets after dark here.  Not far from here, a 12 year old girl saw a woman being raped on her way home from school a few weeks ago.  All parents here are concerned about their kids safety.”

Our Mission:

Save Our Eyes campaigns for the rights of all Leeds residents whose lives are blighted by the “managed approach to prostitution” which is currently located in the Holbeck area and spreading to other parts of the city.

We aim to become a community where residents are not subjected to daily harassment from kerb crawlers, prostituted women, danger from discarded condoms, needles and sex industry litter.

We aim to see prostituted women freed from the grips of a drug addiction that was created to enslave them. We recognise that the women who are prostituted would rather lead different lives and we support their wishes to exit the sex industry.

Both sides in this dispute want the same outcome: a peaceful life free from prostitution and abuse.

* Names have been changed but all other details are as told to Save Our Eyes on 22nd October 2018

Punter of the week – MF08 ZVN – Silver Audi

Well, well, well… what have we here?  This week’s happy punter is Mr Silver Audi driver, registration number MF08 ZVN.  He brought a whole new meaning to “paradise by the dashboard light” when he had sex on the back seat of his car with a local prostituted woman.  Sir, your prize can be collected from the customer services desk at Elland Road Police Station.

Our resident tells her story….

“This morning my husband was getting his van ready for work and saw the Audi pull up and park. He checked again after a couple of minutes and realised it was still there and very steamy.  He walked out and checked the car and saw them having sex in the back. He shouted at them to get off a residential street!  The girl got out of the back and walked away and the guy got out and got back in the front.”

He goes forward as a candidate for our “Punter of the Year” competition.  Who will win?  The people will vote and the winner will be announced at a star studded ceremony in Leeds Town Hall next January.

Punter of the week MX53 FJJ

This week’s punter is a genuine “white van man.”  Driving an Iveco van registration number MX53 FJJ

Over to one of our long suffering Beeston residents who says

“11 o clock on a Sunday morning and we are subjected to these people rocking and moaning on the dirt track at Beggars hill by the childrens play area.  I object to spending my day banging on car/ van doors to move them on to be told by her “me again!”

I’ve reported to the police and emailed them the photos.”

He goes forward as a candidate for our “Punter of the Year” competition.  Who will win?  The people will vote and the winner will be announced at a star studded ceremony in Leeds Town Hall next January.

24 hours in Holbeck: A day in the strife of local residents

We are regularly faced with pro-prostitution campaigners who believe that the zone must be working and the residents are just unreasonable.

So on Friday 7th September 2018 we compiled a few notes from just 24 hours in Holbeck.  

Midnight: Resident report into Save Our Beeston & Holbeck group. SOE admin contacted the resident to get more details.

Calum and his friend Dave finished work late at a club in the city centre and were walking home near the managed zone around midnight when they heard a woman’s voice calling for help…

“We took a detour to a street in the direction where the calls were coming from.  We saw a man trying to strangle a woman.  He released her as soon as we approached and she ran towards us.  The arguments continued.  She’s a sex worker and he’s the punter.  The fight was about condoms.  He wanted her to have sex without a condom and was offering her extra money but she refused.  She had said she would only do it if he wore a condom and he became angry then tried to strangle her. We told him off and threatened to call the Police.  He skulked back to his car.  Dave was stood with the woman on the pavement reassuring her, he said we’d walk her home.  I was watching them.  The punter started the car engine and drove at them, mounting the pavement.  He hit Dave and Dave flew across the bonnet of the car then fell off onto the road.  He missed the woman.  After that the punter drove at me and tried to run me down but I dodged him.  He drove off and we called the Police.”

Save Our Eyes issued this appeal for info 

“Members we need your help to identify a punters car seen in the zone last night. The punter ran over a local resident who went to help a prostituted woman who was being attacked near Dunelm.
The witness believes the reg starts with YF11. It’s a Ford Fiesta 5 door, black, new shape.
Punter is described as approx 5ft 6in, stocky, black hair & black goatee beard.”

12.30am resident report to Save Our Eyes

Resident posts video from her CCTV camera showing prostitute & punter coming out of children’s play area and driving off in punters car.

3am Beeston resident report to Save Our Eyes

“Two prostitutes soliciting outside my house on Malvern Road.” (Malvern Road is in Beeston and is some way from the zone.)

11am Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes

photo of used condom left on pavement outside her house at Gaitskell Walk. (This street is outside the managed zone.)

1pm Holbeck specialist cleansing team report that they have attended in response to the report below (made yesterday) and collected a large amount of used condoms, needles and drug litter.

SOE committee member: “The guys from Sweet St Car Park by Halfords just called us to say they’re having increased sex and drug waste strewn across their land and by public footpaths. I just called in to see and there’s unsheathed needles everywhere across the grassland and many areas being used by prostitutes and drug addicts! Holbeck Lcc Cleansing is it you guys for this job, it’s a lot to contend with or should I call council separately?? Awful! X”

managed approach litter Holbeck, 24 hours in holbeck
how the managed approach for prostitution affects residents in Holbeck Leeds

4pm Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes

My 12 year old daughter walking home from school rang me to tell me she’s just seen a lady being raped! 2 men had pinned her up against the wall between Holbeck cemetery and Beggars Hill Park and one was pulling off her knickers as she screamed. My daughter ran home and I’ve called 999. She is very upset and vague on description but one male had a white t shirt and the other black tracksuit bottoms. The lady had quite long brown hair and a patterned top.

Her dad says, “A couple of hours later I was checking to see if she’s OK and she said “nah I’m fine.”  I said “It must have been quite an upsetting thing?” and she replied “but it happens round here all the time.”  My 12 year old thinks this is normal.”

Her mum is very angry. “Do you know how horrible it is to have your 12 year old daughter ring you panicking because of seeing this! This area used to be nice – it was somewhere I was proud to live. Now it’s been destroyed!”

Police attended the girls home and interviewed her with her parents.  The location of this incident was outside the zone in a residential area near a childrens playground.

5pm Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes

Prostitute on Bridge Road near arches.  Reported to Police. 

6pm Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes for LCC Cleansing team

Used discarded condom left outside her house, photo attached

9.00pm Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes

“Just phoned the Police to report 2 prostitutes behind Sewells and the response I got from PCSO was that he was on his dinner and would go when he is finished.”

9.45pm Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes

“Prostitute on St Matthews street. Hair tied up. Long cardigan, 3 Quarter length trousers. Reported to Police”

(St Matthews Street is not in the zone, it is a residential area)

10pm Holbeck resident report to Save Our Eyes

“Think they’re at it again near my house. Man and woman got out of a yellow transit van, reg no. FG03 NNY. Went round and got in sliding doors at the side.  Been in there together 10 minutes now.”

Our Mission:

Save Our Eyes campaigns for the rights of all Leeds residents whose lives are blighted by the “managed approach to prostitution” which is currently located in the Holbeck area and spreading to other parts of the city.

We aim to become a community where residents are not subjected to daily harassment from kerb crawlers, prostituted women, danger from discarded condoms, needles and sex industry litter.

We aim to see prostituted women freed from the grips of a drug addiction that was created to enslave them. We recognise that the women who are prostituted would rather lead different lives and we support their wishes to exit the sex industry.

Both sides in this dispute want the same outcome: a peaceful life free from prostitution and abuse.

A short interview with a woman prostituted on the streets of Holbeck

This short and emotional interview was given to a resident in the street late in 2017.  It was originally on video and has been transcribed to protect “Carol’s” identity.

We understand that in the months after the recording was made she managed to turn her life around.  We haven’t seen “Carol” for months and hope she continues to recover.  Over the last couple of weeks we have noticed (on Twitter) that pro-managed approach campaigners try to silence some of the women who have suffered in street prostitution.  We have seen campaigners claiming that street prostitution is a proper job and that women choose to do it.  From the conversations we have had with current and former women who work the streets of Holbeck we believe that none of them chose this “job” and none of them actually want to do it.

That’s why we have decided to publish Carol’s words – they come straight from the heart.

Do you know my pimp?  Do you know how many times I get battered at night?
Do you know how many times we get raped & battered every night?
I’ve been pimped out all my life. I’ve been raped all my xxxxing life.
I’m getting raped every day to do this shit (we think she means the drugs)
You think we don’t get raped every day?  You think we don’t get beaten like xxxxing sluts?

I lost my child-like 17 year old niece to a Holbeck rapist who escaped conviction by claiming she was a prostitute

I live in the Beeston area and was close to my sister, Cheryl. Cheryl had three children, the youngest is Sally. We haven’t had much luck as a family. When Sally was just 15, her mum died. The family rallied round and Sally remained close to family members, especially her gran (my mother.) Sally has learning difficulties and eventually her social worker felt she’d be better off moving into supported accommodation. She was given a place in Harehills aged 16 where she was happy.

I suppose I should explain a little more about Sally. At the time she was attacked, in summer 2015, she was 17 and still living in Harehills. Her learning difficulties meant that she was rather child-like, more like a young 12 year old. The aim was to help build her independence. She had a bus pass and loved to travel back to Holbeck & Beeston to meet friends and family. Sally’s learning difficulties were immediately obvious to anyone who met her.

On the day she was attacked she had gone to visit a friend in Holbeck as she’d done independently many times before. Sally didn’t have a mobile phone, so she just set out on the trip hoping her friend would be in and enjoying the ride. She liked going out and having little day trips with her free disabled bus pass. Her friend wasn’t at home so Sally went back to the bus stop near City Evangelical Church and waited for the bus home. It was 2pm on a weekday afternoon. While she was waiting a man pulled his car up to the bus stop and started making small talk with her. He offered to give her a lift into Leeds instead of having to wait for the bus. Sally refused his offer but he became insistent that he wanted to give her a lift. As she would not accept he eventually got out of the car and forced her into it.

The man drove Sally to a house on Stratford Street in Beeston, not far away. He dragged her from the car into the house and raped her. After a while he went to the toilet and she ran for her life. She escaped and ran to a house opposite. The neighbours immediately tried to help and took her in. The police were called and the man was arrested. DNA evidence was obtained and the police seemed really confident they would secure a conviction. Due to the attack being so serious he wasn’t let out on bail. He stayed in prison on remand right up to the court date which I think was in October 2015.

“despite her mental age being 12, Sally was forced to testify in court”

My mother told the family that the attack had been so humiliating and degrading for Sally that it would be in Sally’s best interests if her own family were not told the full details. As a result we were asked not to even attend court. My mother went alone with Sally to court without the rest of the family.

Up to this point the proceedings had gone as well as could be expected… but a sad twist of fate meant that the court date fell after Sally’s 18th birthday. The defence forced her to appear and testify in open court, even though she had the mental age of a child. She was torn to shreds. The defence barrister argued that Sally was a prostitute and had been “waiting for business” at the bus stop. She really struggled to answer the aggressive questioning and just fell to pieces.

Even so, the police were shocked when the defendant was found not guilty. All he had to do was claim she was a prostitute and it was apparently believable because she was standing in an area where street prostitution occurs on a daily basis.

What you need to understand about the “managed approach for prostitution” is that it covers a small area of industrial Holbeck but the women & punters spread out way beyond the boundaries of the “zone.” As a result street prostitution is evident over a much larger area, including residential streets. This is why residents are campaigning for the zone to be closed.

We can’t protect the women of Holbeck and Beeston. When women are attacked the men involved can simply claim “I thought she was a prostitute!” and get away with it. Holbeck is the only area in Leeds where men can abduct and rape local women and get away with it. (Read Alice’s story here)

After the trial Sally completely lost her way in life. She got into an abusive relationship with a man and got pregnant. She desperately wanted to keep her baby but social services recommended he be adopted as Sally wasn’t mentally capable of raising a child alone. We haven’t seen her for a while now… she’s lost touch with her family.

I keep thinking about the defence barrister. To him it was just a job: keep his client out of jail no matter what. He was willing to put a rapist back onto the streets and condemn poor Sally to a life of hell. My family have lost confidence in the justice system and those who were supposed to protect us. Sally’s case is well known locally and I’ve been very vocal about it. I’m still so angry.

The residents need help and we need a solution. I don’t know what the solution is but I believe that if we prosecuted sex buyers and cleared the streets of kerb crawlers men would not be able to say “I thought she was a prostitute” in future.

Interview by Paula, Save Our Eyes Committee. This article is strictly copyright and may not be reproduced without permission.