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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 January, 2005, 20:50 GMT
Approval for first red light zone
A prostitute leans in to speak with a customer
Prostitutes would be better protected, proponents have said
England's first prostitution tolerance zone could be set up within months after councillors in Liverpool approved the move.

They will now write to Home Secretary Charles Clarke to get his approval for the scheme.

Up to five areas of the city could be earmarked as vice-friendly zones but council leaders say the locations have not been decided.

Under the plan, sex for sale would be allowed during the night.

A Liverpool City Council spokeswoman said: "The council has voted with an overwhelming majority to approach the Home Office with our plans.

"The majority was so clear vocally that we did not need to take a hand count on it. It was a very rapid decision.

"This means we are going to move quickly in approaching the Home Office with our plans and the ball will be in their court.

"It is now up to the Home Office to decide if we can have the UK's first official managed zone."

The vice-friendly blueprint will be based on the Dutch model used in Utrecht, only operating at night and situated in an industrial area of the inner city, away from homes and night-time businesses.

We will allow prostitutes to work but we will be intolerant of prostitution
Flo Clucas, Liverpool City Council
The site would also have CCTV cameras and premises to be used as a health and welfare centre.

The exact area of Liverpool has not yet been decided, and the city council has not disclosed its potential shortlist.

Flo Clucas, the council's executive member for housing, social care and health, described the scheme as an "intolerance zone".

She said: "We had to come up with a solution to the terrible problems caused by prostitutes working in our residential communities.

"We scoured the world for potential solutions and the best two came from Doncaster, where they work to get women out of prostitution, and Utrecht, where they have a managed zone.

"We want to combine the two ideas. We want to provide a safe area for prostitutes to work in, but at the same time we want to offer them all the support and help necessary to get out of the sex trade.

"We are not proposing a tolerance zone, but an intolerance zone. We will allow prostitutes to work but we will be intolerant of prostitution."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We raised the question of managed zones in our consultation paper on prostitution, called Paying the Price.

"We are looking into the pros and cons of such zones, but it would require primary legislation to make them legal.

"Any change to the law would be subject to the usual Parliamentary process, with the usual thorough debate and scrutiny."

How the red light zone plan would operate

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