Girls as young as 13 pestered for sex in UK’s first legal red light district

Schoolgirls as young as 13 who need to walk through a "managed approach" red light area in Leeds are being regularly propositioned by kerb-crawlers.

Ben Mallinson, the headteacher of The Ruth Gorse Academy in Black Bull Street, Leeds, is calling for the tolerance zone to be closed down, saying he is "gravely concerned" that a pupil could be harmed.

One pupil told reporters she was approached by a man and asked if she was "open for business".

She told the BBC: "I was 13 and was wearing my school uniform walking to school.

"I barely got down the street and I was approached by a man asking if I was a prostitute."

She added: "I've been asked by sex workers if I was one of them as well walking back from school on a different occasion.

"It will happen to other children probably just as it happened to me and as long as the zone is there it will carry on happening."

Another young girl from the Academy says a man tried to grab her as she walked along one of the red light zone’s streets.

"I was really scared because I was by myself and it was dark," she said.

"He was just saying 'I like you' and I was walking faster and he started walking faster."

Mr Mallinson says the area is littered with drug paraphernalia and used condom.

He said: "There was extensive evidence of drugs and alcohol misuse, and experiencing that every day takes its toll on a young person's mental health and wellbeing.

"Students should be free from harm and be able to travel to and from school without being worried for their own safety and that of their peers."

He has called for the zone to be scrapped and says if it is allowed to remain operational, a student could be abducted.

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