Annual Report 2002-03

The world has remained a cruel and unforgiving place for sex workers. SCOT-PEP service provision to both indoor and street based sex workers had to be reduced with the loss of the New Futures Project funding in March 2002.

The situation of street based sex workers since the loss of the designated area for street prostitution has deteriorated and many of the benefits of Edinburgh's pragmatic approach have been lost. Street based sex workers vulnerability to violence, abuse and exploitation has increased phenomenally. The trend of violence against street based sex workers has continued to increase this year with 40 Ugly Mug incidents being reported - a 400% increase in attacks. The eradication of the involvement of under 16 year olds in the sex   industry has been lost with 3 under 16 year olds reported to be involved in street prostitution in the last year, while other crimes normally associated with street prostitution which had also been eradicated, such as drug use and dealing and protection racketeering have increased significantly impacting on the community and sex workers safety and well-being.

The new millennium has not heralded the social inclusion of sex workers. The on-going stigmatisation and further marginalisation of sex workers in Edinburgh requires society, and SCOT-PEP, to maintain its essential purpose of delivering practical and emotional support to one of the most vulnerable and socially excluded communities in Scotland - sex workers.

Throughout this turbulent and challenging period our talented and dynamic staff and volunteer team adapted to the new working environment and maintained practical and emotional support to street sex workers and continued to further develop support and outreach services for indoor sex workers whilst dealing with the constantly changing and uncertain environment within which we were operating services and continuing the on -going battle to combat the social exclusion and isolation of sex workers in Edinburgh.

Our thanks to all who have supported us in the struggle to maintain a safe environment for all sex workers in Edinburgh and especially to those who have shared their time and experience with us.