‘Prostitution is violent and coercive and must be stopped’

Journalists have criticised attempts to legitimise prostitution.

Former BBC newsreader Christa Ackroyd railed against the Leeds ‘safe’ prostitution zone, calling for it to be scrapped.

Meanwhile, award-winning Canadian columnist Meghan Murphy hit out at Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), after it encouraged University of Brighton students to consider prostitution.


Ackroyd highlighted the recent protests in Holbeck, the country’s first unofficially legalised prostitution area. She said the plans – marketed as helping women – have only made the situation worse.

The journalist from West Yorkshire got to know a young, drug-addicted prostitute back in 2010, and said that “she and others like her haunt me”.

She added: “There are an estimated 80,000 others like the girl I write about. Some are groomed. Some are trafficked. The vast majority are drug addicts. All are exploited.

“And don’t tell me it’s their right to choose what they do with their bodies. These women don’t choose to sell sex to strangers. It’s hardly a career choice. It is an act of desperation carried out under a cloak of fear.”

‘Holbeck isn’t working’

Ackroyd advocated a multi-agency exit strategy, whereby addiction services join with social services, housing and police to help women leave prostitution.

She noted that Yorkshire is “rightly famous for its social conscience”, with Hull’s William Wilberforce leading the fight against slavery.

“Well slavery is still happening on our streets right now and we are being told just to ignore it.”

She concluded: “Holbeck isn’t working. It is time to end this crazy experiment now. There is no such thing as a happy hooker. And there never will be.”


Meanwhile, Murphy denounced SWOP for its failure to tell students “the level of violence and misogyny women are subjected to in the sex trade”.

She also hit out at “progressive-sounding lines” chanted by “modern liberals” which distract from the “exceedingly violent” truth of the sex trade.

She added: “Even in a non-violent exchange, paying another person to have sex with you should not be acceptable.”