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A Model for Scotland: Aberdeen victim of online pimping tells of fear as campaigners call for sex websites to be outlawed

Model Scotland pimping Aberdeen
Victims of online pimping are being sold in Aberdeen

A victim of online pimping in Aberdeen has revealed her shocking treatment as campaigners demand the Scottish Government outlaw controversial websites where women are sold for sex.

Natasha, a woman in her late twenties, was holed up in flats with multiple females, where pimps took most of her money and sold her online through Adult Service Websites (ASWs) like Vivastreet.

On Wednesday, A Model for Scotland campaigners, led by Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant, are demanding that such ASWs are made illegal in this country.

Natasha was brought to Scotland to work as an escort and promised she would earn £8,000 a month.

On arrival in Aberdeen she found the reality was very different.

A house full of girls

Drawing of an Image of a women in darkness with someone walking through a door

Natasha told Encompass Network, a group who support those involved in the sex industry in Scotland, how she drank every day for a month out of fear.

“I was with the pimps when I arrived here,” she said.

“I was sent to Aberdeen to a house was full of girls. It was a house with two bedrooms and one living room – used as a bedroom.

“Inside it had like seven girls and three males. I didn’t like it.”

Her pimps took £250 per week from Natasha in rent and £200 for protection, plus bills and the cost of running her website.

She thought she may be able to get home after a month but was moved flat instead.

Natasha said: “I moved and it was like a two floor house.

“There was three or four girls. There was a pimp also but he was living in London and his girlfriend was there taking care of the other girls.

“One of the girls – she was doing unprotected sex and everything. She was nineteen year old girl and she was orphaned, she had a small baby back home.”

‘In case someone punch me’

Her pimp’s girlfriend put Natasha’s advert online, lying about what sex acts she would carry out.

“I don’t want to have problems with the customers in case someone punch me in the room because it says on the profile I do something,” said Natasha.

“I was thinking about everything that can happen you know?

“Because in this job anything can happen.

“If someone slapped me, I was not in the same position to kind of fight back.

“So I was afraid.”

Rhoda Grant MSP, convener of the Cross-Party Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, is demanding that sites such as the ones Natasha was sold on are outlawed.

The move is part of A Model for Scotland, the campaign fronted by prostitution and trafficking survivors, politicians and charities, to change the prostitution laws in Scotland.

A Model for Scotland campaigners
A Model for Scotland campaigners, including Mia de Faoite, Ruth Maguire MSP, Diane Martin CBE and Rhoda Grant MSP

Current prostitution laws in Scotland

Ms Grant claims the current laws “are not fit for the 21st century”.

She said: “If the Scottish Government wants to challenge men’s demand for prostitution, they will have to combat the pimping websites that these men use to find women to sexually exploit.

“Pimping websites provide an online catalogue of women for men to choose from.

“They enable abusive men to easily and quickly select and ‘order’ a woman to sexually exploit – while remaining completely anonymous in the process.”

Earlier this year The Press and Journal carried out our own investigation, The Exploited, into human trafficking and modern slavery where we found hundreds of women for sale in Aberdeen and Inverness on adult service websites.

Ms Grant said: “Not only do pimping websites provide a helping-hand to sex buyers, they are an absolute gift to sex traffickers.

“We know that trafficking gangs use these websites to advertise their victims. That’s because market-leading pimping websites concentrate and centralise the customer base for sex traffickers: men who pay for sex.

Websites advertising women for prostitution in Scotland are getting rich from facilitating sex trafficking – and it is an absolute scandal that they are able to do this with impunity.”

Image of Bronnagh Andrew, Operations Manager at TARA – an organisation providing support to victims of sex trafficking in Scotland

Bronagh Andrew, Operations Manager at TARA – an organisation providing support to victims of sex trafficking in Scotland – backs the campaign and the outlawing of ASWs.

“The stark reality is trafficked women are advertised daily on these websites,” said Bronagh.

“Some women are coerced into placing these adverts by their traffickers but for many others they simply do not know how or where they are advertised online.

“Week after week we see and hear of the devastating impact this has on women who are treated as a commodity to generate profit.”

The Nordic Model for prostitution

A Model for Scotland campaigners look to Sweden where the Nordic Model has been in place for more than 20 years.

The Nordic Model changes the criminalisation of prostitution from female to buyer and the country has seen a huge shift in attitudes towards sex buying in the last two decades.

Countries like Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Ireland and France have already adopted the Nordic Model.

Online pimping websites have been illegal in the United States and France since 2018.

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