Two new reports have looked at the lived experiences of Scottish sex workers and how other countries are attempting to stop the cycle of prostitution.
The research was commissioned by the Scottish Government to inform the development of a framework to effectively tackle and challenge men’s demand for prostitution.
The lived experience report and international evidence review highlight the personal stories of those involved in sex work, the need to better understand and tackle the stigma that many feel, and the international efforts aimed at tackling men’s demand.
The lived experience report also underpins how many women involved in prostitution are unaware of support services that could potentially help break the prostitution cycle.
The international evidence review shows that comparative international frameworks have three common strands.
The first, laws that criminalise the solicitor and decriminalise the sex worker; the second, support for victims aimed at helping and preventing those involved in prostitution from continued involvement; third, changing social attitudes focused on informing the public of the law, preventing further demand and reducing violence against sex workers.
Any changes proposed to the current criminal law would require legislation to be brought before the Scottish Parliament.
A Working Group with key stakeholders is helping develop the “fundamental principles” to underpin a model for Scotland with a report expected to be published later this year.
Community safety minister Ash Regan said:“We want all women and girls to be treated with respect, and tackling sexual exploitation is key to realising this. We are developing a framework for Scotland that effectively challenges men’s demand for prostitution.
“We must listen to and apply the lessons learnt from the approaches adopted by other countries, as detailed within the international evidence review research work. These reports are important milestones towards delivering our Programme for Government commitment.
“I would like to thank our short life working group and reference group for their contributions to date informing the framework’s fundamental principles, which we will publish later this year.
“I would also like to specifically thank those who have shared their experiences as part of the research published today we want to ensure our policies work for those involved in prostitution and remain committed to continuing to engage with those with lived experience.”