Prostitution - challenging and deterring men's demand: strategic approach

Sets our our collective approach, working with stakeholders across the wider public and third sector, to challenge and deter men’s demand for prostitution and support those with experience of it.

Ministerial Foreword

Our commitment to challenge men’s demand for prostitution is an important part of the delivery of our Vision for Justice in Scotland and our Equally Safe Strategy, which both aim to ensure we live in a society where all individuals are safe and respected, and where women and girls live free from all forms of violence and abuse, as well as the attitudes that perpetuate it.

This Strategy builds on that commitment by reinforcing the clear message that there is no place for the exploitation of any individual and that prostitution is recognised as a form of violence against women and girls - with the Strategy rooted in the aims of our Equally Safe Refresh. We recognise the links to wider forms of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and our work to tackle violence against women and girls more broadly.

Last year I attended a performance organised by the Cross-Party Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation which shared the words of women involved in prostitution and those who have exploited them. Hearing the words of men who had purchased sex was disturbing, with the misogyny of their words ubiquitous. The normalisation of this behaviour towards women must be tackled by all.

Prostitution clearly cannot be viewed in isolation and has wide reaching impacts for individuals involved – intersecting many aspects of inequality and poverty. This was highlighted in Scottish Government commissioned lived experience research which has been key in informing the Strategy and shines a light on how we can collectively improve support for those with experience of prostitution.

The Strategy outlines the next steps we will take, working across government and with stakeholders to implement its aims. This will include piloting an approach, this year, to improve access to support across Scotland for those with experience of prostitution, with support made easier to navigate through the development of a support pathway. This will be supported by a national hub, which will strengthen the links between specialist and mainstream services. Lessons learnt from the piloting of the Strategy will help inform any future legislative considerations, including whether to criminalise the purchase of sex.

The development of the policy principles and the Strategy included contributions from a range of stakeholders and those with lived experience, and I would like to thank them for their continued work in supporting those with experience of prostitution. As we now implement the Strategy, their role will be key and we will continue to listen to the voices of practitioners, and importantly those with lived experience.

It is only by working together that we can successfully challenge men’s demand and better support those with experience of prostitution. Delivering this Strategy will therefore require collective leadership across organisations to ensure we turn the Strategy’s policy principles into practice.

I look forward to building on the collective drive and commitment to challenge demand and improve outcomes for those affected.

Siobhian Brown

Minister for Victims and Community Safety



Back to top