Prostitution means exchanging sexual acts for some form of payment such as money, drinks, drugs, consumer goods, or a bed or roof over your head for a night. It can be carried out on the street, or in a house or other venue, such as hotel rooms.
Prostitution is not typically a free choice - most people enter prostitution because of lack of choice and it can affect men, women and transgender people of any age. A significant number of people involved in prostitution do so as a means of survival behaviour rather than sexual behaviour, with poverty, addiction, homelessness, violence, and abuse regularly reported. Many enter prostitution before age 18. They experience high levels of sexual activity that can be physically harmful, may be forced to have sex without condoms, or be subjected to sexual violence. They can experience trauma symptoms in response to their situation. See Trauma page and Rape and Sexual Assault Page.
If you are currently in this position – for whatever reason – you should try to take care to protect yourself from sexual infections with regular checkups. This can be done at any NHS Lanarkshire sexual health service. No-one will judge you and you can speak to a worker about any aspect of support or care. We understand that prostitution is extremely difficult to leave and to stay out of. If you wish to speak to someone about changing your circumstances, you can do so in confidence. If you are operating in the Glasgow area, there are services specifically for women, and for men who are on the streets. If you are operating from home, or somewhere else that isn’t on the street, you can still get help. Contact the services below to speak to someone.
- The Base – Glasgow Community and Safety Services, http://www.saferglasgow.com/what-we-do/support-services-for-victims/tackling-prostitution.aspx. Information and support services for women who are selling sex on the streets in Glasgow.
- Routes out Team – Address: East Gate Building, 727 London Road, Glasgow G40 3AW. Tel: 0141 276 0737. Provides: Individual work, duty service, group work, development work.
- Open Road Project – Address: The Gatehouse, West Street Centre, 123 West Street, Tradeston, Glasgow, G5 8BA, Tel: 0141 420 7284. Provides: support to men involved in prostitution, works to identify the population, addresses their health and social needs in partnership with a range of statutory and voluntary services. Contact Julian Heng. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.openroadproject.com
- Lanarkshire Rape Crisis http://www.lanrcc.org.uk/
- Rape Crisis Scotland http://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/
- EVA Services, based in NHS Lanarkshire (offers services to women living in Lanarkshire) Ask a health professional to contact us on your behalf. EVA Website: http://www.nhslanarkshire.co.uk/Services/EVA%20Services/Pages/default.aspx
(EVA can help and support you with specialist advocacy, counselling and psychology services for women who have experienced trauma at any time in their lives).
- NSPCC National Child Trafficking Advice and Information Line (Fresh Start) - 020 7428 1188 9.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. or http://www.nspcc.org.uk for more information.
Prostitution and the Law
In Scotland, it is a crime for a man or a woman to offer sexual services under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, section 46(1). Buying sex is also a crime. A law was passed in Scotland from October 2007, the Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Act 2007, which makes it an offence to loiter in public places with the intent of purchasing sexual services, commonly known as ‘kerb crawling’. It should be noted that this doesn’t only have to mean using a car it can be any vehicle or even on foot.
Prostitution is seen by the Scottish Government as a form of violence, and harmful to the physical and mental wellbeing of the people involved. If you feel you wish to speak to someone about why you are buyuing sex, contact your GP or sexual health services and ask for counselling to explore this further.