Exploring available knowledge and evidence on prostitution in Scotland via practitioner-based interviews

Exploration of available knowledge and evidence on the scale and nature of prostitution in Scotland based on practitioner-based interviews.


The project was undertaken in tandem with research conducted by the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research ( SCCJR) reviewing published research and evidence on prostitution (with a particular focus on the extent and nature of the 'sex industry', impact on health and wellbeing, vulnerability and violence as well as access to resources). This is attached as an annex to this report and is intended to provide contextual background to the Justice Analytical Services report. These two connected pieces of work were designed to provide context and understanding to a further piece of work undertaken by the SCCJR which considered the evidence on the impact of the criminalisation of the purchase of sexual services in places where that has happened.

In this report 'prostitution' refers to the activity of buying and selling sex, including women and men, and from 'on-street' or indoor environments. The research focussed mainly on women, reflecting the mainstay of support provision and the majority of those police come into contact with. However, it does provide information on men in prostitution where available. Similarly the research found a lack of available information on those involved in prostitution (selling sex), who are transgender [1] . The research focuses on the sale and purchase of sex, but does not include wider aspects of the commercial sex industry (such as lap-dancing and pornography) although a degree of overlap was highlighted by a number of respondents.

People and organisations involved in this project sometimes used different language to refer to people who sell sex, to emphasise or avoid certain implications. Some terms may be perceived to associate the sale of sex as being inherently exploitative, while other terms might be perceived to present prostitution as a legitimate form of employment. In this report, in an attempt to use neutral language, and with reference to terminology used within the report of the 2004 expert group on prostitution in Scotland we have mainly used the term "women and men involved in prostitution" to refer to those who sell sex, apart from situations where the respondent is directly quoted, or where the context of the discussion depends on the use of specific language or terms.


Email: Justice Analytical Services

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