A new scheme to help sex workers leave the industry is set to be expanded into Ayrshire in the future.

A new hub is to be set up to help sex workers leave the industry, the Scottish Government has announced.

Ministers say the initiative will bring together specialist services aimed at helping those impacted by commercial sexual exploitation.

They will also be able to link up with more mainstream services, such as housing, health and social security.

Work is due to start this summer, with the scheme to be first rolled out in the Edinburgh and Borders areas, before being expanded into the Highlands, Perth and Kinross, Aberdeen and Dundee, and then Glasgow and Ayrshire.

It is part of a new strategy from the Scottish Government to support women out of sex work and to challenge men’s demand for such services.

Ayr Advertiser: Community safety minister Siobhian BrownCommunity safety minister Siobhian Brown (Image: NQ Archive)

Community safety minister Siobhian Brown said: “Prostitution is recognised as a form of violence against women and girls, and is exploitation.

“By linking mainstream and specialist services, we will make it easier for women to access the support they need so they can sustainably exit from prostitution.”

She added: “A key part of our new strategy is the need to tackle the drivers of commercial sexual exploitation, including social and economic inequalities and the need for collective leadership from government, the third sector and beyond to tackle these.

“A new multi-agency group on commercial sexual exploitation will be established in March to help progress this work.”