Why Pace opposes the Leeds managed zone and the legalisation of prostitution

In 1993, Irene Ivison’s 17 year-old daughter Fiona was brutally murdered. Fiona had been groomed by an older man for many years and forced onto the street, sold to other men for sex and murdered. The man who killed Fiona received a life sentence, but the man who groomed her and sold her to other men for sex still walks free today. Pace was founded by Irene and a group of parents, to fight for justice for Fiona and the recognition that children who are sexually exploited by being forced onto the street and sold to other men for sex are victims of abuse, not criminals.

Pace has continued this fight for Irene, by supporting and empowering parents to disrupt perpetrators of abuse and bring them to justice.

In 2014, Leeds City Council launched a managed zone of prostitution, where all activities relating to prostitution have been decriminalised. In memory and support of Irene, Fiona and everything that Pace stands for, we vehemently oppose legalisation of prostitution and urge our supporters to stand with us.

Councillors who defend the managed zone proport that it has made it safer for women to come forward with reports of violence against them. Whilst this could be the case for women who haven’t been coerced into prostitution, we know from over 23 years of experience working with families affected by sexual exploitation, that the manipulative hold abusers have over their victims will prohibit them reporting abuse. These children and young people remain hidden and powerless.

Pace supports the Nordic Model, where investment is directed into giving women in prostitution support and services to build a safe, new life outside. We believe that the only way to reduce the demand for human trafficking, is to prosecute people who buy sex and decriminalise women who are prostituted.

Join us in the fight against the legalisation of prostitution because it will always have the capacity to hide, trap and inflict violent abuse against children and young people.

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