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Publication - Research Publication

Exploring available knowledge and evidence on prostitution in Scotland via practitioner-based interviews

Published: 24 Feb 2017
Part of:
Equality and rights, Law and order, Research
ISBN:
9781786526410

Exploration of available knowledge and evidence on the scale and nature of prostitution in Scotland based on practitioner-based interviews.

102 page PDF

1.3MB

102 page PDF

1.3MB

Contents
Exploring available knowledge and evidence on prostitution in Scotland via practitioner-based interviews
Footnotes

102 page PDF

1.3MB

Footnotes

1. We were therefore unable to investigate this issue within sufficient depth within the scope of this project.

2. Which has a capacity building and development role in relation to Commercial Sexual Exploitation ( CSE) and a remit to develop networks across specialist third sector specialist support providers. The project is a registered charity which more broadly works to raise awareness of the extent, causes and effect of male violence against women and for improved services for those affected.

3. Scotpep is a registered charity dedicated to the promotion of sex workers' rights, safety and health. It's stated long term goals include: 'Actively campaigning for the full decriminalisation of sex work, sex workers, clients, management and others related to sex workers, within a human rights-based framework. Ensuring that services aimed at and relevant to sex workers meaningfully consult sex workers in the commissioning, design and delivery of their services'.

4. As well as campaigning for rights and safety, SWOU aims to build the sex work community and organise workplaces, providing support, education and a social network for sex workers.

5. A Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation described as a Glasgow-based sex worker community project which aims to develop networks, share information and resources as well as offer services based on the needs of those who sell sexual services.

6. While this may not necessarily mean that women have exited, the frequency of involvement was seen to have reduced for many women.

7. In the last 6 months, prior to October 2016.

8. i.e. through analysis of online advertising and police and agency encounters. However, caution should be attached to this finding as no comprehensive study of the indoor prostitution market has yet been done.

9. Balfour, R, Allen, J (2014) 'A review of the literature on sex workers and social exclusion' UCL Institute of Health Equity for Inclusion Health, Department of Health.

10. either due to low pay or benefits issues (highlighted as having been recently exacerbated by welfare reform for a number of women)

11. However in relation to risk a number of respondents from both campaigning organisations and the third sector raised the issue of how the context in which sex is sold increases or decreases levels of risk ( i.e. some highlighted how current legislation around brothel keeping criminalises women who are working together for safety).

12. The Women's clinic refer to these as 'Social, Health and Welfare' visits while police term them 'Support, Health and Wellbeing' visits.

13. Indeed one respondent with specialist knowledge in alcohol and drug addiction services highlighted that there is emerging evidence that trauma and substance use problems need to be addressed simultaneously to enable a person to maintain recovery.

14. Although it was also suggested that street-based prostitution activity may have dispersed to different areas beyond traditional 'red light' areas such as parks/car parks etc. with technology having enabled more discreet methods for arranging the purchase of sex.

15. January 2016

16. Which has a capacity building and development role in relation to Commercial Sexual Exploitation and a remit to develop networks across third sector specialist support providers. The project is a registered charity which more broadly works to raise awareness of the extent, causes and effect of male violence against women and for improved services for those affected by violence.

17. Scotpep is a registered charity dedicated to the promotion of sex workers' rights, safety and health. Its stated long term goals include: 'Actively campaigning for the full decriminalisation of sex work, sex workers, clients, management and others related to sex workers, within a human rights-based framework. Ensuring that services aimed at and relevant to sex workers meaningfully consult sex workers in the commissioning, design and delivery of their services'.

18. As well as campaigning for rights and safety, SWOU aims to build the sex work community and organise workplaces, providing support, education, and a social network for sex workers

19. Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation

20. Key topics covered with police were: scale and nature of prostitution, crime and trafficking; impact on local communities; demand for prostitution and support available. Local authority covered: available support for those involved in prostitution, social impacts of prostitution and priorities and challenges. Support and service providers from the third sector and NHS covered: the nature of support, profiles and circumstances of the target support group and challenges and benefits of the service.

21. http://fampra.oxfordjournals.org/content/13/1/92.full.pdf

22. Scottish Government (2015) Recorded Crime in Scotland http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/09/5338/318201

23. In Edinburgh discontinued in 2002, while in Aberdeen discontinued in 2007.

24. The other three categories are Rape and Attempted Rape, Sexual assault, and Other sexual crimes.

25. This was attributed by Police in the local area to a particular focus on intelligence led enforcement during this time.

26. Crimecode definition: 'A prostitute (whether male or female) who for the purposes of prostitution loiters in a public place, solicits in a public place or in any other place so as to be seen from a public place, or importunes any person who is in a public place. Scottish Crime Recording Standard

27. Immoral traffic, procuration, excluding homosexual acts and procuration of homosexual acts

28. This may partly be attributed to population size, although the 2004 report 'Being outside: constructing a response to street prostitution' suggested a number of hypothetical reasons as to why numbers have historically been low in terms of street prostitution, despite high levels of injected opiate use overall, including prompt police intervention, the possibility that off-street prostitution is more characteristic in Dundee and the suggestion that women may be travelling to Aberdeen and Edinburgh to work in prostitution,

29. The Prostitution (Public places) (Scotland) Act 2007 came into force in 2007. This Act contains specific statutory offences which criminalise behaviour associated with the purchase of sex in public places.

30. Criminal proceedings data - statistics based on the main charge involved in a case.

31. January 2016

32. i.e. based on Escort Scotland, Adult works, Viva St and Backpage.com. It was also noted that there are other, less popular websites.

33. Police Scotland Prostitution Policy 2016

34. Police Scotland refer to these as Support, Health and Wellbeing visits while the Women's Clinic term them Social, Health and Welfare visits.

35. Prostitution Strategic Directive 2016

36. Police also noted that Begonia was developed in response to a number of complaints about the harbour area - in relation to the volume of crime related to prostitution (drug abuse, discarded needles, muggings, robberies etc.) as well as the murder of a woman involved in prostitution. This had precipitated a more holistic approach.

37. Key partners within Begonia hold regular meetings to discuss whether women have reduced or exited from prostitution using a 'red, amber or green' code to assess progress. Women who haven't been seen working and have engaged positively are omitted from further Begonia discussions.

38. If there is evidence that the individual is there for the purposes of prostitution, then the police approach is to provide 2 cautions/warnings (within a 2 year period) before they are eventually charged for whatever offence is most appropriate, and their crimefile checked.

39. This figure relates not to the estimated number of indoor street workers, but the number of premises.

40. i.e. in 2010 there were long waiting lists for access to drug treatment, now due to increased service capacity all people referred to treatment will be seen within 3 weeks, with women involved in prostitution prioritised even within the 3 week target.

41. While this was partly attributed to the process of catching up with information sharing protocols, the drop in street prostitution was identified as the main factor.

42. i.e. although it is difficult to provide accurate figures, Drugs Action Aberdeen, as part of its gender-based support in terms of tackling Violence Against Women ( VAW), estimated in October 2015 that they worked with an estimated 65 women involved in on-street work as well as an additional 30+ women (some of whom may be involved in prostitution) who access a range of other services. Providing definite numbers is complicated by the transient nature of prostitution, with people moving in and out of selling sex and the difficulty in distinguishing between those who have historical and current involvement.

43. A figure of approximately 200-250 women operating on the streets of Aberdeen was given by Aberdeen City Council Community Safety Partnership in their 2011 Strategic Assessment. It also estimated that approximately 12% of street-workers travel from the Aberdeenshire area.

44. Although this was slightly higher than the numbers seen at the time the drop-in centre (offering services to women involved in prostitution) was closed, it was considered that this was due to the more proactive approach currently being taken, with workers actually going out to the area itself.

45. Offender information taken from crime files

46. However, they highlighted that the police focus was mainly from a criminal angle - and that women advertising or working on their own wouldn't necessarily appear in police statistics.

47. Estimate based on research circa October 2015

48. Between 1st April 2015 and 30th June 2016

49. Dundee Community Planning Partnership - Street Prostitution Policy Statement

50. Street prostitution was identified as causing concern and alarm within the community, often generating numerous calls ( i.e. at least 5-6 in a 24 hour period), but calls were now described as much less frequent.

51. A small minority recorded a different nationality: British (8%), Polish (3%) and Lithuanian (1%).

52. 38% were aged between 30 and 34, 26% were aged 25-29, 19% were aged 35-39, 10% were aged 20-24 and 7% aged 40+. Due to a lack of robust data on the age profiles of women involved it is impossible to say whether the age composition of the women supported is broadly representative or whether certain age groups may be more likely to seek support than others. However, the organisation emphasised that (in terms of the women they had supported), these tended to be women who, for whatever reason, were accessing support after having been involved for a period of time.

53. Although it was not possible to say if substance misuse problems preceded involvement in prostitution or the other way round.

54. It should be noted that these figures also include multiple contacts for some women. However, the organisation highlighted that providing this service has become an increasingly important part of the work they do. In October 2016 the organisation estimated that they provide longer-term support to 34 women, crisis support to 9 women, and assistance via the weekly drop-in service to 3 women. In 2015 the organisation worked with approximately 60 women, 41 of whom received intensive one-to-one support.

55. The outreach takes place on a weekly basis on one night each week. This is due to capacity issues.

56. February 2015

57. i.e. the police commented on a recent estimate within a news article that 200 sex workers are currently working in Dundee https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/2015/02/20/dundee-project-helps-highlight-the-problem-of-prostitution/ (2015) was that this was not an official Police Scotland estimate.

58. With adverts citing that a woman would be in town for a temporary period, although a core were based in Dundee.

59. An initiative, initially termed 'Operation Lingle' in Glasgow, aimed to provide support and assess the safety and wellbeing of those involved in indoor prostitution involving close partnership between police, sexual health services and key agencies. After Lingle was discontinued a new approach was introduced in Edinburgh and Glasgow, with an emphasis on addressing health needs as a priority. These are termed 'Social, Health And Welfare ( SHaW) visits by the Women's clinic, whereas Police Scotland refer to them as Support, Health and Wellbeing visits. Similar approaches are planned for Dundee and Aberdeen, once an appropriate evaluation has been conducted.

60. Information presented is a combination of interview content and information contained in the 2015 Harm Reduction Report

61. Edinburgh Council Public Entertainment Consultation (December 2013) NHS Lothian Comments

62. These are referred to by the Women's clinic as 'Social Health and Welfare' visits while the police term them 'Support, Health and Wellbeing' visits.

63. The team is multi-disciplinary consisting of consultants, doctors, nurses (including specialist mental health nurses) as well as support from an employability specialist, clinical support worker and community health advice initiative.

64. This is an informed estimate based on information gleaned from regular NHS harm reduction visits to saunas.

65. However, women attending the Women's clinic may not be representative generally of those involved in prostitution. In addition many women are moved every few weeks or months so it can be difficult to contact them to raise awareness of services available and also try to engage and build regular relationships with.

66. These are referred to by Police Scotland as 'Support, Health and Wellbeing' visits, whereas the Women's Clinic term them 'Social, Health and Welfare' visits.

67. Christmas was commonly identified as a time when some women become involved due to the financial stress of this period.

68. Also noted as important was that some continued to work on-street, with the reasons identified as complex.

69. Scottish Executive (2004) Being Outside: Constructing a Response to Street Prostitution, report of the expert group on prostitution in Scotland.

70. i.e. with the possibility that women may be advertising under a number of different profiles.

71. The NHS and some third sector organisations had adopted an email/text approach to contact those advertising online.

72. The initiative is in early stages of development and implementation and therefore monitoring and evaluation data is currently unavailable.

73. The Women's Clinic refer to these as 'Social, Health and Welfare' visits whereas police Scotland refer to 'Support, Health and Wellbeing' visits.

74. Usually via neighbours who may have reported activity and expressed concerns

75. i.e. police incident and intelligence data, initial scoping work and contact between third sector support and specialist sexual health service data

76. Women's clinic data from 2014-15 show that 43% of women attending are non- UK (mainly Romanian) and that 56% are from the UK.

77. Noted as often escalating due to involvement in prostitution according to sexual health and specialist drugs support respondents.

78. A specific gap was highlighted by one local authority respondent in relation to black and minority ethnic communities where prostitution was highlighted as also being an issue, although less commonly discussed, and more hidden than within the general population.

79. i.e. they are not based on systematic monitoring data, but rather informed reflections based on professional experience.

80. Through the Women's Clinic

81. Balfour, R, Allen, J (2014) 'A review of the literature on sex workers and social exclusion' UCL Institute of Health Equity for Inclusion Health, Department of Health.

82. Again though with the recognition that those attending clinics and support services are not necessarily representative of all those involved in prostitution. In addition, the Women's clinic highlighted how many women are moved every few weeks or months so it can be very difficult to contact or raise awareness of services available and engage and build relationships.

83. While this data is potentially retrievable, the process would be time consuming and further complicated by slight differences in systems approaches across the country.

84. A practice note from 2012 in relation to Operation Begonia noted that 'It is suspected that 'on street' sex workers engage in other criminal activity, using violence or the threat of violence to rob their clients. These robberies are rarely reported as the males involved do not wish to reveal that they had been engaging in the services of a prostitute.' http://www.safercommunitiesscotland.org/wp-content/uploads/operation-begonia.pdf

85. Many organisations also operate the ugly mugs scheme whereby women and men can report experiences of inappropriate behaviour or harm without necessarily reporting directly to the police. This information is then made available for others to read and is also shared with Police Scotland. When individuals submit an Ugly Mugs report, if they wish for their details to be passed on to Police Scotland they can opt do to so, otherwise the information can be passed on anonymously.

86. Chlamydia increased by 2%, blood borne viruses hepatitis B increased by 0.7% and hepatitis C increased by 0.5%.

87. To reinforce the message that they must have condoms available and encourage the use of them as well as other aspects of safety.

88. It was suggested that the removal of licenses had led to men being worried about using saunas and being caught, therefore it was thought that demand was increasing elsewhere i.e. the respondent had heard of women in hostels being contacted directly by text from people they previously saw in the saunas.

89. 'Sex work in Edinburgh - A harm reduction framework - Year one progress report' (April 2015) Health, Social Care and Housing Committee.

90. Scott, A, Crossley, S (2013) Comparison of sexual ill health in UK and non- UK female sex workers based in Lothian.

91. Although it is unknown how common or widespread this practice is.

92. i.e. in terms of understanding women's needs and wishes and enabling people to make informed choices.

93. There is also a public education/awareness raising element to the role in terms of the delivery of one off events and conferences.

94. Agencies include: street work Edinburgh, Vice Versa in Dundee, Quay services in Aberdeen, the Cyrenians Aberdeen ( VAW project), TARA and Routes Out Glasgow.

95. The NHS and Alcohol and Drugs Action had adopted an email/text approach to contact those advertising online.

96. The Women's clinic refer to these as 'Social, Health and Welfare visits whereas Police Scotland term them as 'Support, Health and Wellbeing' visits.

97. Usually via neighbours who may have reported activity and expressed concerns

98. Given these complexities, numbers of women who had been supported to exit weren't readily or easily available from existing organisational databases.

99. Sex work in Edinburgh - A harm reduction framework - Year one progress report' (April 2015) Health, Social Care and Housing Committee.

100. Alcohol and Drugs Action provide a specific prevention service which has a focus on assisting young people at risk of sexual exploitation and SACRO also offer support to those at risk of involvement in prostitution.

101. A questionnaire was carried out within the West Community Addiction Team in 2008. While the questions predominantly related to women involved in prostitution, 2 questions were directly asked about men involved in prostitution.

102. This is based on advertisements in 4 main escort websites, and reflects the range in number of live adverts.

103. While this may not necessarily mean that women have exited, the frequency of involvement was seen to have reduced for many women.

104. In the last 6 months, prior to October 2016.

105. Balfour, R, Allen, J (2014) 'A review of the literature on sex workers and social exclusion' UCL Institute of Health Equity for Inclusion Health, Department of Health.

106. Either due to low pay or benefits issues (highlighted as having been recently exacerbated by welfare reform for a number of women)

107. Although it was also suggested that street-based prostitution activity may have dispersed to different areas beyond traditional 'red light' areas such as parks/car parks etc. with technology having enabled more discreet methods for arranging the purchase of sex.

108. Report produced by Margaret Malloch, SCCJR, University of Stirling.

109. Despite any accurate figures, Police Scotland estimated in 2014 that 90% of all prostitution in Scotland was located indoors.

110. The Expert Group on Prostitution (the Expert Group) was established in 2003 by the (then) Scottish Executive following the suggestion of the Local Government and Transport Committee during consideration of 'tolerance zones'. The Expert Group's task was to consider the legal, policing, health and social justice issues surrounding prostitution in Scotland.

111. Between 1991 and 1998, six murders and one suspicious death of women involved in prostitution in Glasgow occurred.

112. Written Submission from Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership to the Prostitution Law Reform (Scotland) Bill Consultation (2015).

113. As noted in the policy memorandum for the Prostitution Tolerance Zones (Scotland) Bill (2003), Scotpep evidence to the Local Government and Transport Committee.

114. The study was based on documentary analysis, observation of Committee meetings and interviews with representatives of the three city councils, the three police forces, voluntary organisations working with women involved in prostitution in the three cities, representatives from two Health Boards and an interview with an MSP. This research was the basis for the author, Lucy Holmes' undergraduate dissertation, for the degree of MA (Hons) Social Policy, University of Edinburgh. She later joined the Routes Out evaluation team.

115. Morgan Thomas notes that the majority of both male and female sex workers in her study had male clients, however a minority (11 men and 10 women) had both male and female clients and a smaller group (4 men and 2 women) reported female clients (1990: 93).

116. Of 33 women who were surveyed by Matthews and Easton (2010), 16 reported that they did not currently use alcohol while 28 of the 33 were current drug users, most commonly using heroin (20 women) and methadone (12) and with drug use and type often increasing in direct relationship to their involvement in prostitution.

117. Support services can report incidents 'remotely' so that anonymised reports can be passed onto the police e.g. Another Way, Edinburgh; Base 75, Glasgow.

118. Interestingly, O'Neill et al (2015) note that the decriminalisation of sex work in New South Wales (Australia) followed on from the Wood Royal Commission in 1997 which concluded that police corruption was endemic and that well-run brothels would offset the potential for corrupt conduct by the police.

119. Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, section 46.

120. Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Act 2007, section1.

121. Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Act 2007 (Disqualification from Driving) Order 2011, section 3.

122. Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005, section 9.

123. Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995, section 11.

124. Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015, section 1 (offence), 3 (definition of exploitation) and 9 (support for victims).

125. A number of studies have been carried out into wider aspects of 'sex work' in Scotland. Several of these studies ( i.e. Bindel, 2004; Lister, 2012) challenge the notion that legalisation is likely to improve working conditions for women in, for example, lap dancing arenas.

126. This category included prostitution.

127. Available figures are for the time period 2003-2013: see Freedom of Information Request published 01 July 2014 available at www.copfs.gsi.gov.uk


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