There are problems with services to help women selling sex, according to new research for the Scottish Government

Ministers are developing plans to challenge men’s demand for prostitution and the study to provide more information about women’s experiences was commissioned.

The report in Scotland, interviewing dozens of, mostly, women involved in selling sex, including in Glasgow, found there was a need to improve services. 

READ MORE:Drug Death Taskforce final report branded a 'farce' that offers 'little change as deaths continue'

It uncovered gaps in in-person service provision and barriers that prevented women from accessing services.

The report stated: “There were a number of identified practical barriers including the need for services to be open at evenings or weekends, waiting lists, difficulties getting appointments and services not being easily accessible by public transport.”

It also stated: “Barriers included feeling workers were not knowledgeable, not feeling heard, and being judged.”

It found, often help with re-location support was only available to those who met strict eligibility criteria, including women who have been trafficked, and those who have already exited from involvement in selling or exchanging sex.

A parallel study looking at international evidence shows there are three common strands in efforts to reduce prostitution.

READ MORE: Drug Deaths Taskforce final report calls for new approach in Scotland

The review of international evidence found the components that can prevent further demand for prostitution and reduce violence against women, highlighted justice systems that criminalises the purchaser and decriminalises the seller, support for victims aimed at helping and preventing those involved in prostitution from continued involvement, and changing social attitudes focused on informing the public of the law around selling or exchanging sex.

Ash Regan, community safety minister said: “We want all women and girls to be treated with respect, and tackling sexual exploitation is key to realising this.

"We are developing a framework for Scotland that effectively challenges men’s demand for prostitution. 

“We must listen to and apply the lessons learnt from the approaches adopted by other countries, as detailed within the international evidence review research work.”