MSP backs new north-east based hub to support women out of prostitution
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Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has backed a move by the Scottish Government to create a hub in the north-east to support women out of prostitution.
It comes after the Scottish Government announced a pilot of the hub would begin in summer before being phased in nationally.
The hub will bring together specialist services which support women affected by commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) – linking them more closely with local mainstream services, such as housing, health and social security.
The national hub is part of a new strategy to support women to safely exit from prostitution and challenge men’s demand for prostitution.
The strategy also includes actions to tackle stigma for those with experience of prostitution and challenge the normalisation of men purchasing sex.
Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said: “Both women and girls are exploited through prostitution and it is important we tackle the drivers of commercial sexual exploitation including social and economic inequalities.
“An approach which links mainstream and specialist services will make it easier for women to access the support they need.
“A new multi-agency group on commercial sexual exploitation will be established in March to help progress this work as part of a new strategy to tackle the drivers of exploitation.”
The hub will be rolled out in a phased approach across Edinburgh and Borders, Highland, Perth & Kinross, Aberdeen and Dundee. Glasgow and Ayrshire and following this roll out, the Hub will provide a network of support where organisations across Scotland can seek advice.
Victims and Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown said: “Prostitution is recognised as a form of violence against women and girls, and is exploitation. By linking mainstream and specialist services, we will make it easier for women to access the support they need so they can sustainably exit from prostitution.
“A key part of our new strategy is the need to tackle the drivers of commercial sexual exploitation, including social and economic inequalities and the need for collective leadership from government, the third sector and beyond to tackle these. A new multi-agency group on commercial sexual exploitation will be established in March to help progress this work.
Linda Thompson, national co-ordinator of the Women’s Support Project (WSP), said: “The WSP is pleased to see the Scottish Government reiterate that commercial sexual exploitation in all forms is violence against women and that those exploited must have robust comprehensive support and exiting services across the country.
We hope that national and local leadership, with commitment, partnerships and specific resources, will disrupt this industry and hold to account all those who benefit and profit from the exploitation of inequality and vulnerability.”