Annual Report 2003-04

SCOT-PEP service provision to both indoor and street  based sex workers had to be further reduced when funding came to an end in February 2004 for dedicated work with young people involved in prostitution.

Street based sex workers’ vulnerability to violence, abuse and exploitation has continued to increase as a result of the on-going dispersal of street prostitution. The rising trend of violence against street based sex workers has continued with 100 Ugly Mug incidents reported this year  - representing a 1,000% increase in attacks since 2001. The abuse and exploitation of young people has continued to rise with 5 under 16 year olds reported to be involved in street prostitution last year. Criminality associated with street prostitution, previously minimised in the non-harassment area, has become entrenched within the street prostitution scene in Edinburgh. Drug dependency has risen from less than 50% to 95%, drug pimping and protection racketeering continue to shape the experiences of street based sex workers and the community. Current law  enforcement and criminal justice measures are failing to protect both sex workers and the community.

The on-going stigmatisation, scapegoating and marginalisation of sex workers in Edinburgh requires society, and SCOT-PEP in particular, 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 difficult and volatile period our talented and dynamic staff and volunteer team have continued to adapt to a challenging working environment. We have succeeded in maintaining both practical and emotional support to street and indoor based sex workers, at times within a hostile atmosphere, and with limited resources.

We remain committed to the unequivocal belief in the value, worth and potential of all human beings, including sex workers, and their equality of status and right to equitable treatment within an inclusive society.  

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.