The Scottish Government has set up a new fund that aims to reduce the harms associated with prostitution, as well as reducing men’s demand for it.
A total of £100,000 has been set aside, with community safety minister Ash Denham saying the “harsh reality” for women involved in prostitution is they are “at risk of violence and victimisation”.
While Ms Denham said much of the harm that occurs is “behind closed doors”, she said the Scottish Government wanted to act.
Ministers are already committed to carrying out a consultation in how best to challenge men’s demand for prostitution, with this scheduled to take place later this year.
The new Addressing Prostitution as a Form of Gender-based Violence fund will be able to make grants to groups working in this area, as well as providing cash to projects supporting women involved in prostitution.
Ms Denham announced details of the fund, which will open for bids this spring, when she spoke at the Purchasing Power – Men Who Buy Sex conference in Glasgow.
The minister said: “The harsh reality for women engaged in prostitution is that they are at risk of violence and victimisation and their sexual health may be compromised.
“While recorded crimes for prostitution have substantially decreased in the last 10 years, the circumstances that may lead to involvement in prostitution remain.
“In 2020, much of the related harm occurs behind closed doors and is hidden from public view.
“The fund I have announced today will support new and innovative work aimed at addressing those issues through front-line services, as well as initiatives to challenge demand for prostitution.”