New support services for sex workers launched in Glasgow
Service offering advice and support to sex workers extends the hours of its drop-in service
Two initiatives to improve support for sex workers have been launched in Glasgow.
Routes Out, a service which offers advice and support to those working in the sex industry, has extended the hours of its drop-in service, a move which has been deemed "crucial" by centre staff and outreach workers.
A Routes Out website has also been launched, to make it easier for women involved in the sex industry to get help.
The drop-in offers services such as a needle exchange for those with addiction problems, advice about homelessness, health and benefits, safety advice and harm reduction, as well as emotional and practical support.
The move to extend opening hours - to 1am on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays as well as from 7.30pm to 11.30pm on Thursdays - follows a fall in the number of women using the centre, which was previously only open during the week.
The service also provides support and advice for those wanting to leave the sex industry.
Nicola McPhee of Community Safety Glasgow said: “Those involved in prostitution are vulnerable and at high risk of harm. The drop-in is a safe place where people can come for help.
"The staff are highly trained and able to offer women a range of support including practical assistance in a crisis - for example, if they have been attacked.
"Staff from the wider Routes Out service can offer women who need on-going support, specialist one-to-one assistance and help to access other services.
"The new extended opening hours will improve the service and make it more accessible to those in need. Prostitution has changed over the years and our services have to adapt.
"Widespread use of mobile phones and the internet mean women are less visible on the streets.
"The new website will make it easier for those who are not engaged with our support services to contact us.”
The drop-in is exclusively for women. Men involved in the sex industry can get help and support from the Steve Retson project at NHS Sandyford, 6 Sandyford Place, Glasgow.
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