Red Street Workers To Get SMS Of Safety Tips

A Scottish Government-funded body, which provides health and safety advice for prostitutes is compiling a data base of cell phone numbers so that they can send safety tips through text messages.

The group has had trouble-reaching prostitutes ever since the closure of Aberdeen's long-established tolerance zone. Because of the change in the law, which brought in a zero-tolerance approach to prostitution, women are now avoiding their previous harbour side haunts for fear of being arrested.

"Since the zone went, women are dispersing from the harbour area to other parts of the city centre," Scotsman quoted project spokeswoman Luan Grugeon, as saying. "We are now finding it more difficult to reach women and offer them access to our services. We are concerned about their safety," Grugeon added.

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Now, Quay Services has decided to contact sex workers directly by text. The social work body feels many women are now too afraid to come and seek advice. Therefore, it is currently compiling a database of sex workers' mobile phone numbers from the Internet and newspaper ads.

In a radical move, the group plans to use the numbers to make contact with the women by text message and urge them to make use of their services. "A number of women use the newspapers and other sources to advertise themselves and include their mobile phone numbers," Grugeon said.

"We are planning to use this to text them and make them aware of the services that are available for them. "This will include women who are working in flats rather than on the streets," Grugeon added.

Story first published: Monday, June 16, 2008, 17:50 [IST]

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