Funding to support prostitutes during the coronavirus pandemic has been made available by the Scottish Government.
A total of £61,771 will be given to nine organisations to provide financial and emotional assistance to sex workers in Scotland.
Community safety minister Ash Denham said that women working in the sex trade may be experiencing “extreme hardship” and are less likely to be able to access support.
“No one should feel unsupported during this crisis,” Ms Denham said.
“Stigma and the hidden nature of prostitution creates a barrier to engagement with mainstream services.
“It is essential that specialist services, such as those within the Encompass Network, provide a bridge to national support and this funding will enable such services to reach out to women to help them access assistance and counselling.”
She added: “We understand that the outbreak of Covid-19 and the lockdown measures raises the risk of harm to victims of gender-based violence.
“We continue to work closely with victim support organisations and justice partners to understand the impact Covid-19 is having on those most at risk, including where additional support may be required, in order to help keep all of Scotland’s communities safe.”
Linda Thompson, who is the national coordinator for the Encompass Network – the umbrella organisation for groups who give support to prostitutes – said: “Women involved in selling or exchanging sex in all settings have faced some incredibly difficult times recently and we know how hard it has been for them to overcome barriers for financial help.
“The Encompass Network is pleased to receive this funding for the next three months.
“This will help offer more direct support to women who are facing difficulties, work alongside them to link into local services and offer some financial help.
“We need to make sure their needs are met now and in the future as well.”
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