A SEX workers charity have hit out after a large-scale police raid on brothels.
Charity Scot-pep have said they were “extremely concerned” after police in Edinburgh raided several massage parlours across the city.
Over 150 officers were sent in to seven saunas across the capital, including one on Dundas Street and another in Roseburn.
The charity, who aim to protect the health of prostitutes, raised their concerns after it emerged that officers had questioned both workers and customers on the streets outside the saunas.
During the raid, 30 women of various nationalities were interviewed by police.
Social workers accompanied officers, to provide support for any potential victims.
The operation by Police Scotland follows concerns over the lenient approach previously take to prostitution in the capital.
Previously Lothian and Borders Police had been accused by critics of taking a blind eye to Edinburgh’s sex trade
However, support has also been shown in the past for the cities liberal approach, which has a number of licensed saunas.
Supporters believe that Edinburgh’s approach makes it easier to protect the health of those in the sex trade and that without them prostitution would be driven underground, putting workers at risk.
A statement released by the Scot- Pep said: “Scot-Pep are very concerned about reports we received from women involved in the raids and question the assertion that this is about keeping people safe. Is it safe to instil fear amongst sex workers of police and social services?
“We remain extremely concerned as to whether this is a taste of things to come in light of the attempt to introduce a bill to criminalise the purchase of sex. We advise all sex workers to take extra precautions at this time.”
Edinburgh MSP, Margo MacDonald tried to get a bill put through Holyrood which would allow Edinburgh to keep its prostitution tolerance zones.
The MSP said: “If this is a portent of a future change of direction for the management of prostitution, then we can only hope that it does not sweep aside decades of greater success achieved by Lothian and Borders and Grampian police in dealing with prostitution.
“That was achieved as a result of policies pursued by Grampian Police and Lothian and Borders Police, which differed from those pursued by Strathclyde Police.”
A statement from Police Scotland said: “Three people in locations in Edinburgh and Fife have been charged with drugs offences, including supply and cultivation, and it is estimated that assets worth in excess of £500,000 have been seized.
“Large amounts of cash, electronic equipment and documentation relating to business matters have been recovered.”
Highland and Islands MSP, Rhoda Grant, recently proposed a Purchase of Sex Bill, which would lead to the prosecution of those buying sex, rather than those who working in the trade.