This picture was taken in the red light district in Holbeck, Leeds. Holbeck was the first red light district to be legalised in the UK between 2014 and 2021. It was called “The Managed Approach” and certain authorities thought that doing this would help the women sex workers be safe. Imagine if the walls in that tunnel could speak?! Could you even begin to comprehend the horrifying stories they would tell?! Traumatic stories of distraught, destitute, desperate women who are often mothers that had to leave their children to go out on the streets and do things with men that they really didn’t ever want to do. Feeling like they have no other choice but to go and sell their bodies to survive, because they would get sick if they didn’t! Endless stories of broken families, heartache, pain, rejection, abuse and misery!
For many many years women have walked this tunnel and the surrounding area selling their bodies for various different reasons. While the “Managed Approach” was operating Tasha and many other volunteers from different organisations went out onto the streets to offer help to these women and do all they could to support them.
One thing Tasha tends to find is that people try to put different types of sex work under one umbrella. “It doesn’t work that way unfortunately”, says Tasha. Understanding that each form of sex work whether that be standing on the street corner, laying in a penthouse suite, operating out of a brothel, working from home or even those that have been sex trafficked all need to be addressed differently. “We’re dealing with completely different women, situations, levels of brokenness and various reasons as to why these women are sex working in the first place and they all need to be tackled on an individual basis”.
No matter what type of sex work the women are participating in, Tasha’s heart is to see as many women as possible who are trapped in any form of sex work be set free and transformed just as Tasha was. Retrieve visit various red light districts (not just Holbeck) on a monthly basis. Our “Outreach to the Beats” is exactly that… we reach out to the women while they are working their beat and share the love and goodness of God with them. We spend time talking with these women, getting to know them, showing them love and kindness, giving them toiletries and clothes and offering solutions to break free from the destructive cycles they find themselves in. “Love is an action”, Tasha says. When Jesus went to the cross it was an action for all of humanity to witness and it is the goodness of God that leads a soul to repentance.
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- NATASHA WYER