But clamber past the crowds of wide-eyed girls squatting on red plastic buckets by the entrance to step inside, and you hear a different story. Out of 375 sex workers surveyed on behalf of a local NGO Girls Not Brides across four such brothels in Bangladesh last year, 47 per cent were former child brides, trafficked into prostitution against their will. Once inside the brothels, they’re imprisoned – held captive until they can save up enough money to buy their freedom, and vulnerable to violence, disease and psychological abuse.Rupa, a local village girl who was married at 11 and then tricked into working at the brothels by traffickers when here husband died shortly after, is a case in point. An hour ago her phone screen lit up with a missed call from one of her regulars; their private sign that he’s on his way. “This one isn’t violent,” she says, lifting her sleeve to show a ladder of raised scars and blistered cigarette burns: some self-inflicted, some not. “I get scared when the men start forcing me to do things I haven’t agreed to,” she says. “They say that they’re paying me for a service, so it’s my job to make them happy.” The council says the increase in crime is due to improved reporting and includes Beeston which is not part of the zone. Others disagree. “It was a disaster from day one,” a senior police officer told The Telegraph on condition of anonymity. “Other criminals came into the area quick as a flash. Drug dealers, pimps, even traffickers that brought the women from Romania. Loads of illegal immigrants, and complaint after complaint from people that worked and lived nearby. “It was obvious we couldn’t contain it in the zone. The women were given carte blanche and it was like there was a total amnesty on any of the scumbags that were buying and selling the girls. If we thought we had complaints from the public before, that paled in comparison after they set up the zone.“We’ve had rapes, a murder (Polish prostitute Daria Pionko was killed by a client in 2016), loads of women being beaten up, massive health risk to kids and others because of the condoms and needles and everyone’s forgotten about the state the girls are in.” The model is concerned solely with HIV transmission and ignores both the direct physical and emotional harm of working in prostitutionProfessor Richard Byng Claire Bentley-Smith, who wants to see an end to Britain’s first red light district in LeedsCredit:Charlotte Graham /Daily Telegraph The contrast with Holbeck’s hands-off policy could not be sharper.Additional reporting by Rory HannaProtect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security Ex-detective superintendent Alan Caton trialled something similar to the Nordic model in Ipswich. The scheme was introduced after the murder of five street prostitutes in 2006 by Stephen Wright, an ex-merchant seaman known as the Suffolk strangler and now serving a life sentence.After leading the biggest investigation in Suffolk police’s history, he took charge of a multi-agency strategy to eliminate prostitution through zero tolerance of kerb crawlers and offering the women a way out of prostitution through an amnesty backed by intensive counselling and support. In the first two years, 140 kerb crawlers were arrested, with the option of avoiding publicity by admitting their guilt and getting caution.Most were married or in long term relationships and had children. “When I asked the [men] about it, they said: ‘I am paying for it, I can do what I want.’ That helped me form the view over time that this is not right. Men should not be able to exploit and abuse women in that way,” said Mr Caton.The result, independently validated by the University of East Anglia, was that more than 80 women “made life changes to move on from prostitution”, kerb crawling and street prostitution was eliminated, 400 children were identified as being at risk of sexual exploitation and criminal justice costs were halved. Police and charities say the zero tolerance continues, with nearly all the women still out of prostitution. “I think I know what HIV is, but I don’t know if I have it,” says Jinuk, another girl, 16, who’s been working in Kandipara for three years. “None of us do.” More than 6,000 people in Holland are the victims of human trafficking every year, two-thirds of whom are coerced into the sex trade, according to first joint UN-Dutch report. At least 1,320 of them were Dutch girls aged 12 to 17.Research by economists at the German university of Marburg used data from 149 countries from 2001 to 2011 to show liberalising prostitution laws increased demand for prostitutes, which led to more trafficking and not only failed to reduce the violence and suffering of women but could actually make it worse. “My empirical analysis using a global sample of data from 149 countries shows that the liberal prostitution regime is at best irrelevant to victim protection, if not negative,” said Professor Seo-Young Cho.If there is light at the end of the tunnel it comes in the form of the Nordic model on prostitution, first introduced in Sweden in 1999 and now being implemented in countries including France, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Iceland. Under this model prostitutes are also decriminalised in order that they can seek help but the buying of sex is made a criminal offence. Now Ms Bentley-Smith and other residents are fighting to force Leeds council to rethink their “managed zone”, a liberal experiment in decriminalisation where soliciting, kerb crawling and loitering have allowed between 8pm and 6am seven days a week since October 2014.It is a battle that is now raging in cities across the world where similar attempts to decriminalise or legalise prostitution are foundering because of their failure to stem violence, drugs and sexual diseases. Communities in countries as diverse as New Zealand, Holland, Germany and Bangladesh have all been affected. Not that Ms Bentley-Smith feels anything but compassion for the “enslaved” prostitutes and disdain for the men exploiting them. “These men don’t want to do it in a brothel, they just want to do it on the way from work. It’s almost as if the dirtier it is, the better,” she said. Resident now want to force Leeds council to rethink their liberal experiment in decriminalisationCredit:Charlotte Graham /Daily Telegraph It was a disaster from day one. Other criminals came into the area quick as a flashSenior police source Liberal policy on prostitution – specifically decriminalisation – has been promoted globally for more than a decade as a means to fight HIV and Aids.The policy was given wings in 2014 when the medical journal The Lancet published a peer-reviewed paper as part of a wider series which claimed decriminalisation could avert 33 per cent to 46 per cent of HIV infections across all settings globally.Despite obvious drawbacks to the hypothetical modelling used, the journal gave it a blaze of publicity and it has been promoted widely by policy makers ever since. Leading health and aid agencies including Amnesty International and UNAIDS have all cited it when calling for decriminalisation. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. These men don’t want to do it in a brothel, they just want to do it on the way from workClaire Bentley-Smith The liberal prostitution regime is at best irrelevant to victim protection, if not negativeProfessor Seo-Young Cho In Holland, where rates of gonorrhoea have risen, the true scale of trafficking of women and girls has been exposed for the first time, countering claims that legalisation would be effective in countering exploitation and violence against women by bringing the trade into the open. In Europe, as in Leeds and Bangladesh, the experience of legalised brothels appears little different. Jurgen Rudloff, a smart-suited media-friendly father of four teenage children and owner of the Paradise brothel in Stuttgart, was ostensibly the clean face of German prostitution. He boasted his women were “independent entrepreneurs” working in a venue with bars, sauna, restaurant and in-house gynaecologist.In March, however, he appeared in court with three of his colleagues accused of human trafficking, exploiting prostitutes, pimping and fraud. Prosecutors say he used two gangs – Hells Angels and United Tribuns – to procure women for his brothels. Some of the women were allegedly deprived of all their earnings by pimps. Those that tried to escape were beaten and threatened. Several were tattooed with the names of their pimps.Police chiefs in Munich and Ulm said there had been an “explosive rise in human trafficking from Romania and Bulgaria” after legalisation in 2002 as brothels fuelled demand by advertising unprotected sex and flat-rate offers of 99 Euros for customers to have sex with as many women as they wanted from 4pm to dawn. But as the feminist and sex trade expert Julie Bindel writes for The Telegraph, the Lancet modelling took no account of what might happen to the size of the market in prostitution if you took the legislative lid off. Condoms, needles and other paraphernalia discarded by prostitutes litter the roads and surrounding areas of HolbeckCredit:Charlotte Graham /Daily Telegraph It was the sight of a prostitute injecting drugs into her groin on the backseat of a car in full view of residents in the neat terraced street in Beeston, Leeds, that convinced artist Claire Bentley-Smith it was time to act.Britain’s first official red light district in neighbouring Holbeck, a sprawling mix of industrial units, car businesses and open wasteland, had until last summer rarely impinged on her life with her husband, a theatre set designer, and nine-year-old son.She returned with her son to school for the autumn term to hear parents and teachers tell of condoms, needles and soiled tissues discarded by prostitutes not only in parks and woodland but in the grounds of St Luke’s, her Church of England primary, which the caretaker had to clear each morning.“We had girls staggering into moving traffic with no socks and shoes on when it was snowing, in an absolute blind state from drugs,” she said. “It’s so distressing for parents and children to see that on the school run in the morning.” Critics say such schemes have not only failed on their own terms and are not protecting prostituted women but may have made matters worse. In many instances, far from controlling prostitution and the related crime that goes with it, they appear to have expanded the market and – most worrying of all – encouraged trafficking of women and girls by international criminal gangs.In Leeds, as elsewhere, the statistics speak for themselves: complaints of rapes and sexual assaults have doubled in Holbeck and Beeston and rates of gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia are up in Leeds, as is the prevalence of HIV. There was at one point a surge into the area of East European prostitutes, raising concerns over trafficking and sparking a crackdown by the Border Agency. Professor Susan Bewley, a member of the 2017 WHO Guideline Development Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of women living with HIV, said the Lancet’s claim HIV would be reduced by up to 46 per cent was “dubious”.“Firstly, this is just modelling, not hard evidence. Secondly, people do not always behave as predicted. That’s why you need to test everything in the real and complex world. You should not take claims like that at face value,” she said.Professor Richard Byng, a specialist in evaluating interventions for vulnerable groups and who, as a GP, works with women who have left the sex trade, said the assumptions on increased condom use and reduced sexual violence in decriminalised zones were “unrealistic and not supported by evidence.”“Perhaps most importantly, the model is concerned solely with HIV transmission and ignores both the direct physical and emotional harm of working in prostitution and the potential wider societal harms of endorsing the rights of men to buy sex,” said Professor Byng. Proponents say the results have been impressive as the policy constricts rather than expands the market. In Sweden trafficking has fallen away sharply as a result. Complaints of rapes and sexual assaults have doubled in Holbeck and Beeston, and rates of gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia are up in Leeds – as is the prevalence of HIVCredit:Guzelian In few places are those harms more evident than in Kandipara – one of Bangladesh’s estimated 20 legal brothel “villages”, with approximately 400 sex workers employed within its mildewed pink and green concrete walls. According to Bangladeshi law, everyone employed by the brothel is supposed to be over 18 and in possession of a State Magistrate issued license that declares they’re fully prepared to work in prostitution. Rupa would would like to use condoms, she says, but the 10 to 12 customers she sees daily tend to object. While condom usage in Kandipara used to hover at about 40 per cent 20 years ago, following free distribution and peer awareness programmes, their popularity now appears to be on the decline. Meanwhile, the last NGO-run medical clinic closed its doors in the brothel in 2014 due to funding cuts, and Rupa hasn’t been tested for any STIs since despite multiple studies claiming HIV and other STD are steadily increasing.