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Your cookie preferences have been saved. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Introduction . This report constitutes a desk-based review of published research and evidence on prostitution in Scotland. It should be read alongside the report from researchers within the Scottish Government's Justice Analytical Services JAS who were tasked with exploring and summarising existing evidence on the nature and scale of prostitution in Scotland.
This report is intended to provide a contextual background to the JAS study, which is based on interviews and intelligence gathering from key informants including police, local authorities and the third sector. It is important to note that this review does not purport to provide a comprehensive and definitive of the evidence on prostitution, but rather, constitutes a collation of the material which could be identified and accessed within a relatively short space of time.
Furthermore, due to the limited focus on considering existing evidence from research carried out in Scotland, international comparative analysis was not undertaken. This report examines existing evidence on prostitution in Scotland but acknowledges the challenges of conducting research in this area, given the 'hidden' nature of this phenomenon and the ideological positions that often determine methodological priorities as well as dissemination and publication opportunities.
Data produced are frequently subject to challenge or viewed as partial and subjective. This report adopts a working definition which is focused on the sale and purchase of sex rather than sex-related activities such as lap-dancing, pornography etc. Terminology in this area is contested; however the Scottish Government has used the term 'prostitution' in other contexts and this report does the same.
While 'sex work' is used by some academics and support organisations, the sale of sex is subject to dispute as a form of employment. The contested nature of words is ificant and the report is premised on an acknowledgement that it is not possible to find a 'neutral' language on this subject.
Accordingly, the term 'individuals involved in prostitution' is used throughout the review. When reporting studies which have adopted the terminology of 'sex work', this is used where appropriate. While the exact s of people involved in prostitution in Scotland, as elsewhere, is unknown, evidence suggests that women for the majority of those involved English Collective of Individuals cited in All-Party Parliamentary Group, Accurate figures are impossible to obtain due to the hidden nature of much of prostitution and the stigma attached to it.
However, distinctions between 'on-street' and 'off-street' prostitution are unclear as individuals may move between different forms of prostitution at different points in time. Existing estimates often draw upon evidence provided by organisations offering support services. InKinnell estimated that around 80, people were involved in prostitution on and off-street ; a figure that she notes was an estimate and as such open to considerable inaccuracy.
Nevertheless this figure was subsequently used in the Home Office document Paying the Price: a consultation paper on prostitution Cusick et alnoting the limitations of this data, attempted to provide their own estimates inleading them to conclude that the of individuals involved in prostitution did not appear to have risen substantially in the intervening period.
However, they describe research in this area as being "fraught with theoretical and methodological difficulties" Much of the research conducted in this area has focused on street-based prostitution resulting in criticism that this has problematically been used as a basis to inform and develop policy. Estimates of involvement in prostitution in Scotland during the 's indicated that Glasgow had one of the highest levels of street prostitution in the UK around insee McKeganey,compared to approximately in Matthews et al.
Inthe Expert Group on Prostitution  noted that approximately women were involved in street prostitution in Scotland. This was recognised as an estimate and it was acknowledged that attempts to calculate the of individuals involved in indoor prostitution was even more challenging. The Expert Group agreed to review prostitution in Scotland in three phases and to focus first on women's involvement in street prostitution. The expectation was that subsequent attention would be given to indoor prostitution and male prostitution. However the Group was not reconvened after its' first report Being Outside: Constructing a Response to Street Prostitution was published in December and the remaining areas indoor prostitution and male prostitution were never addressed.
Figures on indoor prostitution in Scotland, as elsewhere, are difficult to obtain however an internal report for Glasgow Community Safety Services GCSS in cited in Matthews and Easton, 38 was produced from an examination of field reports from the PunterNet UK website relating to indoor prostitution in Glasgow and detailed examination of escort websites and advertisements in The Sport newspaper.
This indicated that different clubs, saunas and massage parlours were providing 'sexual services' in Glasgow with women from 18 different non- UK nationalities advertised within these establishments. A total of women were identified from PunterNet UK as involved in indoor prostitution in Glasgow although location changed across the years. The majority from onwards appeared to be involved in prostitution from their own house or flat. A further women were identified in February as 'escorts' with 37 escort 'link sites' identified.
Pitcher drawing on her own work in this area attempted to provide estimates of the of individuals involved in prostitution across Britain, taking of male, female, and transgender individuals in both the indoor and outdoor sectors.
Pitcher noted that street-based workers ed for only a quarter of all individuals involved in prostitution in Britain. Other studies have highlighted that many individuals will commute to larger cities through involvement in prostitution and there is a notable expansion in the use of new technology i. National attention to prostitution in Scotland in the s highlighted the different circumstances that predominated in different parts of the country and the different models of response that were in place. The Expert Group, while calling for a national strategic framework, also noted the relevance of local implementation plans based on a multi-agency approach.
The Scottish Executive supported the recommendation that local authorities should take the lead in developing approaches tailored to local need, in partnership with police, health boards and local community and voluntary agencies; acknowledging differences between situations across the country and particularly in relation to the four major Scottish cities Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen. The Expert Group report recognised that prostitution was an issue in three major Scottish cities Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen with some involvement in prostitution in Dundee.
There is evidence to show distinctive practices in each of the cities where prostitution was identified. The following section therefore provides a recent historical overview of different approaches in each of the different areas and how these have developed in response to local issues. This should be read alongside the accompanying Justice Analytical Services report based on interviews with police, health professionals and third sector support staff which provides a more up to date description of key issues in each of the local areas as well as consideration of the structure of specialist service provision in the four cities.
In Glasgow, a of deaths  and violent assaults on women involved in prostitution highlighted the need to address this issue and particular attention was focused on exiting and preventative work supported by increased inter-agency work. This and leadership from Glasgow City Council shaped an approach where prostitution was identified as 'violence against women' and 'intrinsically harmful' to the individuals involved.
The aim of policy interventions in Glasgow was that prostitution should be reduced and ultimately eliminated, and women involved in prostitution should be seen as 'victims' in need of care and support, via an holistic, integrated inter-agency approach. The main objective of intervention was to be the demand for prostitution with women helped and encouraged to exit prostitution wherever possible. Although Strathclyde Police claimed that there was no unofficial 'tolerance zone' operating in Glasgow Strathclyde Police evidence to Local Government Committeethe Committee nevertheless concluded that there was in practice Payne et al, The Routes Out SIP consisted of a strategic inter-agency approach to service delivery and organisational practice, and the establishment of a dedicated Intervention Team to assist individual women to leave prostitution.
Acknowledging the complexity of evaluating a structurally complex initiative, Mckay et al found that the contested nature of prostitution presented challenges for the partnership. The SIP 's attempt to highlight prostitution as an issue of social exclusion, gender inequality, abuse and harm was controversial and led to some internal and external resistance.
As well as learning from experience about what did and did not work, the objectives of Routes Out were periodically revised. The 'tangible benefits' identified as outcomes by the evaluation included:. Matthews and Easton conducted a strategic review of services for women involved in prostitution in Glasgow. Their study emphasised the need for a cohesive co-ordination of service delivery as a response to conflict in ethos and working practices between Base 75 which provided a confidential service for women involved in prostitution and the Routes Out of Prostitution Intervention team which provided long-term therapeutic support for women who wanted to exit prostitution.
Base 75 and Routes Out merged to form the new 'Routes Out' service - delivered across three areas: case-management, drop-in and outreach. This service involved information sharing between agencies and the introduction of Multi-Agency Case Conferences for women known to be involved in prostitution but who were not engaging with service providers. Glasgow City Council reaffirmed its position on prostitution in when a motion was passed which stated that selling sex was rooted in gender inequality, survival and the commodification of the bodies of women and vulnerable men.
In Edinburgh, an 'unofficial' tolerance zone operated for a of years. Edinburgh had, by the late s, a higher proportion of intravenous drug users who were known to be HIV seropositive than any other British city. A more co-ordinated approach to prostitution subsequently developed involving the police, health board, local authority and Scotpep a rights group set up by and for sex workers.
However, as the area in which the zone operated became more residential, complaints were made by the public and although the zone moved a few streets away complaints continued, culminating in a public demonstration in and organised patrols of the area from March by Leith Links Residents Association. This apparently led to a dispersal of individuals involved in prostitution across the city leading to claims from Scotpep that attacks on individuals involved in prostitution had increased while visits to Scotpep's facilities for advice, needle exchange or condom supply had decreased .
In Februaryindoor prostitution was affected by the Council's Regulatory Committee decision not to licence saunas. After partner engagement on the issue, a 'Harm Reduction Framework for Sex Work' in Edinburgh was approved Health, Social Care and Housing Committee,taking an 'holistic approach' where saunas and massage parlours were a focus with street and on-line prostitution to be included. Agencies and individuals involved in prostitution participated in the development and implementation of the Framework.
Reports from NHS Women's Clinic indicated that the of women attending the clinic service had decreased in reduction in consultations of 9. This, despite any evidence to suggest the of women involved in prostitution had reduced. However, through the provision of more accessible outreach support, engagement with another project Sacro's Another Way Service was reported to have increased, while a of women were reported to be informally supported in saunas and at the Women's Clinic in Edinburgh.
Needle exchange, condom supplies and posting to other services continued to be provided by various agencies including NHS Lothian, Sacro Another Wayand Streetwork. The Health, Social Care and Housing Committee progress report recommendations were that the Committee noted the: "innovative partnership working, improved service interventions and improving knowledge of issues facing sex workers that have taken place during year one of the Framework; and agree that responsibility to address the key improvement actions identified be remitted to the multi-agency group with a reporting line to Edinburgh's Chief Officers' Group - Public Protection" p2.
In Aberdeen, Grampian Police pursued a prostitution management policy similar to Edinburgh in its aims. In both cities, interventions were aimed at providing a safer environment for individuals involved in prostitution which also enabled agencies to work with them and to offset criminal activity and nuisance for local residents.
This approach can present a challenge in implementation for local authorities who are required to protect individuals involved in prostitution but who can subsequently be accused of aiding an illegal activity by introducing 'safety features' such as CCTV. Expansion of the area in which street prostitution had traditionally operated began to affect local businesses and a Sex Industry Forum was established as a task group of Aberdeen Community Safety Partnership aimed at resolving issues related to the unofficial zone and existing drop-in centre.
Lister conducted a small study in Aberdeen following the sudden end to the 'management zone' which had existed for six years in the city. Based on semi-structured interviews with three street-based sex workers, six project workers and one police officer, Lister illustrates the effects of the expansion of criminalisation as a result of this change.
Her study shows increased 'risks' taken by women and the increasingly proactive approaches by women involved in prostitution towards men in the city, largely due to continued need to access money resulting from financial hardship. The impact of re-gentrification in particular areas of Aberdeen and the subsequent change in working practices reflects developments in Edinburgh. The emergence of new technologies i. There is limited evidence available on prostitution in Dundee and it would appear that there tends to be fewer individuals involved in prostitution than in other major Scottish cities.
The Expert Group report indicated that there were approximately women involved in street prostitution in Dundee with three to four on the streets per night. Despite high s of drug users in the city it seemed that s of individuals involved in street prostitution remained low and as a result, there was no dedicated support service in place at the time of the data collection. McKeganeyrecounting his ethnographic research in Dundee as part of a study across the four major Scottish cities, noted that the situation in Dundee was 'markedly different' to Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
There had never been a recognised street-based tolerance zone in the city and during his fieldwork he commented that: "On the basis of a series of two hour fieldwork visits to the city one had the impression of the near total absence of a street prostitution scene of any kind within the city".
Police activity in the city meant that few women involved in prostitution actively contacted clients on the street, preferring instead to use telephone contact. Models of service provision across the main Scottish cities, and the understandings of prostitution that underpinned them, were evident.
Holmes considered the differences in attitudes and approaches to the regulation of street prostitution in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Public consultation had helped to offset public dissent and there appeared to be effective multi-agency working with funding forthcoming for a new drop-in centre. Edinburgh, at the time, had adopted a policy of discretionary policing where possible, following the discontinuation of the cities tolerance zone. Glasgow, at the time, addressed prostitution through the Routes Out of Prostitution Social Inclusion Partnership Scottish Executive funded and viewed prostitution as harmful to women.
Interestingly, while police respondents did not consider differences between the three cities to be ificant, other respondents referred to the philosophical differences between, for example, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Holmes attributes the key differences in practice in the three cities to: people and organisations involved; and practical details of the prostitution 'scenes' characteristic of the cities. Other features noted by Holmes included the areas where prostitution took place in terms of contact with the public i.
Holmes also considers characteristics of the cities in relation to religiosity she suggests that people in Glasgow are more likely to define themselves as religious than Aberdeen or Edinburghsocio-economic trends Glasgow had higher unemployment and lower socio-economic prosperity and political culture stronger feminist influence and potentially "a more explicit gender awareness" p80 in Glasgow. She highlights the challenge of introducing a nationwide policy that would be acceptable across the country.
Differences were also evident in approaches to the development of policy across different local authorities - in Edinburgh and Aberdeen it was primarily police led, while in Glasgow the city council led within a multi-agency approach Payne et al, Research conducted in Scotland on the impact of prostitution on the individual has focused ificantly on street-work and associated problems. The discussion that follows reflects this but considers, where possible, findings from off-street prostitution.
Concerns from the late s saw a range of research turned towards women and men involved in prostitution and where possible, their clients e. Fears surrounding the spread of HIV focused attention on those defined as 'high risk groups' with a view to estimating potential incidence and transmission of the virus and developing harm reduction practices to reduce this. In a of areas, this appeared to bring legislation into conflict with public health concerns e.Escorts central scotland
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