Rhoda Grant, Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands has welcomed the Scottish Government’s pledge to tackle prostitution. The commitment from the Scottish Government came in response to the public consultation on challenging men’s demand for prostitution.
Rhoda Grant, who is the Co-Convener of the Cross-Party Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, said:
“I welcome the Scottish Government’s pledge to tackle prostitution. Exchanging money, accommodation, goods or services in exchange for sex is sexual exploitation and abuse. The model that Scotland adopts to combat this form of violence against women must start with an urgent overhaul of our unjust and outdated prostitution laws.
“Right now, online pimping is legal, men who pay for sex enjoy immunity, while women abused through prostitution face criminal sanctions for soliciting. One of the many intolerable results of our failing prostitution laws is that Scotland is an attractive place for pimps and traffickers.
“To stop sexual exploitation, we need support, not sanctions, for victims; and accountability, not impunity, for exploiters. That means criminalising pimping and paying for sex, while decriminalising victims and providing support and exiting services.
“It is time for Scotland to put traffickers and pimps out of business. The Scottish Government has promised action. Now they must deliver.”
£90,000 is being invested by the Scottish Government in three projects to support women involved in prostitution. None of these services are conditional on exiting prostitution.
- £30,000 for Victim Support Scotland’s Victim’s Fund to ensure the continued availability for crisis funding for women engaged in prostitution in the financial year 2021-22
- £3,000 will be awarded to Encompass Network to continue their crisis counselling pilot which offers women access to free counselling for up to ten sessions
- £57,172 will be awarded to the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre to deliver legal advice surgeries and upskill the SWRC legal team to deliver tailored information for women involved in selling or exchanging sex
Chief Executive Officer of Victim Support Scotland Kate Wallace said:
“Victim Support Scotland has built strong relationships with partner organisations to ensure financial support reaches all those who need it, including those supporting women who sell or exchange sex.
“We are looking forward to building on these partnerships to ensure women who sell or exchange sex can continue to access this vital support.”
Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham said that the Scottish Government will build on the findings of the consultation.