SCOT-PEP's funding withdrawn

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SCOT-PEP, or the Scottish Prostitutes Education Project, describes itself as "promoting health and dignity in prostitution". Want their creds? Sure you do -

Between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2007 SCOT-PEP worked with 557 individuals - recording 3,977 contacts. Services and support were provided to an average of 122 sex workers each month. 367 of our service users were indoor-based sex workers and 89 were street-based sex workers. During the year contact was maintained with sex workers in 37 establishments.

The average number of individuals accessing sessions were:

* daytime service - 10.43 (189 sessions)

* establishment outreach - 6.41 (86 sessions)

* night-time services - 10.94 (97 sessions)

We provided
info and advice to 404 individuals on 2,627 occasions;
a listening ear to 318 individuals on 1,669 occasions;
referrals for 192 individuals on 1,152 occasions;
high level support to 8 individuals on 12 occasions;
and our website received 5,729 hits.

Safe Sex Supplies - SCOT-PEP distributed 91,063 condoms.

Ugly Mug Scheme - SCOT-PEP received 81 Ugly Mug reports in 2006/7 with information being shared amongst sex workers to alert them to potentially dangerous clients - related to:

* Abduction - 0

* Rape - 7

* Assault - 36

*  Robbery - 4

* Attempted murder - 1

* Other - 27 (including verbal abuse, harassment and intimidation

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Moving On - 29 (33%) of street-based and 142 (47%) of indoor-based sex workers have moved on from the Edinburgh sex industry since 2005/6.

So, their funding's been withdrawn by NHS Lothian (see SCOT-PEP's front page for details); SCOT-PEP will lose £150 000 per year and six jobs will be lost, which means from the 31st March, the group will be unable to provide outreach and support services to sex workers in Edinburgh.

Now, this is crap in itself, but don't forget Scotland has recently adopted the Swedish model, which has led to an increase in violence against sex workers.

The group plan to restructure as a voluntary campaigning group,

bringing together sex workers and allies to argue for better legislation and services and ensure the voices of sex workers are not lost.

They're gonna need support.

Here's their fundraising page with the details, which include options of a one-off donation or regular donations. Do check out these pages for more information, or ring the Project Manager, Ruth Morgan Thomas, on 0131 622 7550.

Also, if you wish to voice your concerns at the withdrawl of funding, you can email Jim Sherval, Public Health Specialist at NHS Lothian - jim.sherval@lhb.scot.nhs.uk

(corss-posted at Sex In The Public Square)

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