Revenge list putting Edinburgh sex workers at risk

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EDINBURGH sauna customers are arranging £800-a-time sex sessions outside the premises because they are too frightened to visit.

A highly-publicised police crackdown on prostitution resulted in sauna bosses retaliating by drawing up a list  of high-profile public figures who have used their services.

Fear of ending up on the list has resulted in many regular customers paying a small fortune to organise liaisons with sauna workers in cars, hotel rooms and flats.

Sex workers are now taking unnecessary risks as scared customers stay away from the sauna
Sex workers are now taking unnecessary risks as scared customers stay away from the sauna

Some sauna sex workers are charging up to £800 to meet clients at outside locations, while still paying a “desk fee” of around £200 to their bosses.

Other girls have gone completely “off radar” as pressure on the saunas from police and licensing chiefs increases.

Critics of the crackdown say the spread of the sex industry outside saunas poses a serious risk to public health as well as the safety of girls and their clients.

Sauna bosses recently drew up a 50-strong list of police officers, lawyers and council officials who have used their services. They plan to use the list in court to lay bare what they claim is hypocrisy on the part of officials.

But one prostitute, Annabel, said the list was hated by the girls and their clients.

She said: “Girls are now getting calls from customers asking them to go to them instead of the client coming into the sauna because they’re scared of ending up on the list.

“As soon as the girls leaves the premises for a job, her safety is compromised greatly and now, because some of the girls are getting desperate, they’re doing jobs that really aren’t safe – around £800 a night with about £200 paid back to the sauna.”

When customers visit saunas they usually pay the “desk fee” themselves of around £20 and then typically £50 for sex, which the girl gets to keep.

Annabel,  27, added: “I know of quite a few of the girls are going off on ‘private’ jobs that they have found on their own and they don’t tell anyone at the sauna.

“They have no security driver, they have no mobile contact with anyone to let them know where they are. It’s really incredibly dangerous.

“But because business has slowed down so much since the raids and then even more since the list was drafted, girls are having to do these jobs to get by.”

MSP Margo MacDonald says the news was “alarming”.

She said: “We all knew that other working arrangements would be made by the girls involved but it’s really quite sad and alarming that it has happened this soon.

“The only real outcome of the latest sauna raids were that they were going to end putting the women at risk and could create a public health issue. They’ve not taken into account the purpose these saunas have.

“The longer this sauna investigation goes on, the less likely it is that any relationship will be mended between these saunas and Police Scotland.”

She added: “Some of the girls clients will be long standing but others will be new and could pose a serious risk to the girls safety.”

Several individuals said to be linked to six saunas have been charged with offences including brothel keeping and living off immoral earnings.

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