Prostitutes’ safety threatened by council sex sauna action
The future of Edinburgh‘s ‘red light’ saunas has been threatened by a private action brought against the District Council. which could end up putting large numbers of prostitutes back on the streets. The private action has been brought by Debra Scanlon in an attempt to force the council to revoke an entertainments licence issued to a sauna operator who plans to Open premises near her Leith home.
Scanlon objects to the location of the sauna which she says is too near a
Taylor. who worked as a prostitute for
I Shiva. a frontline organisation 3 campaigning on behalfofscx workers
' Taylor believes it would be disastrous if
, v . _ c statement issued by the licensing
; '- g .‘ N " * i~ department.
" ' lfthe council is not aware that licensed saunas are being used for selling sex. Shiva certainly is. ‘We have been funded by Lotlrian Health Board since l988 to issue condoms and to promote safe sex.‘ says Taylor. ‘We had clear specifications to target all areas used by prostitutes — including saunas.‘
Taylor is convinced that Edinburgh‘s sauna scene. which contrasts with a far higher proportion of street prostitutes in Glasgow. has been directly responsible for a drop in the number of working women being attacked.
‘l’rostitution is a fact of life that is not going to go away — at least not until men change.‘ says Taylor. ‘Meanwhilc we have a chance to debate the role of the prostitute in our society. Decriruinalisation would be a positive first step towards allowing women to take control of their own lives. After that perhaps we could shift the focus away from prostitutes and initiate research into why men have created a need for them.‘
The initial hearing of Scanlon‘s case was adjourned and is expected to resume later in May. (Conchita Pinto)
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Sauna prostitution is safer than the streets, according to Shiva.
sauna licences were revoked. ‘lt will be E a backward step which will push I women onto the street.‘ she says. ‘Prostitution won‘t disappear —- instead covert brothels will be set up making the contact work of Shiva and other outreach organisations irnpossible.‘
Most prostitutes regard sauna work as safer than street soliciting. according to Taylor. but the council‘s official line is clear. ‘Iidinburgh District Council does not license premises that are known to be used for sex.‘ according to a
family neighbourhood. In her court action. she has accused the council of acting illegally by licensing premises known to be used to sell sex. The codncil firmly denies that its policy is to tolerate prostitution in saunas. Watching the case closely is June
fifteen years before quitting to set up
to improve health and safety standards.
SCVD hits out at private '
The traditional role of voluntary organisations could be revolutionised by a Scottish Office review, leaving them exposed to the whims of the private sector.
Organisations aiming to improve social conditions in deprived areas could lose out to those geared towards economic benefits, according to Donna McKinnon of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisation .
‘We could end up with a situation where organisations are effectively looking for sponsorship,’ she says. ‘Proiects which aim at direct economic benefit, such as credit unions and community businesses, may be the ones which attract private L sector funding. Those which offer a l social benefit may struggle.’
The Government says tackling urban regeneration is one of its priorities, though much of this work has traditionally been done by voluntary organisations. Urban Aid in Scotland currently funds projects in deprived areas, with 75 per cent of funding coming from central government and the rest from local authorities, but the Scottish Office proposals due to be published this month will make significant changes.
The idea is that all the private and public bodies with an interest in one area come together to produce a regeneration strategy. SCVO is concerned this will lead to increased workloads for small community organisations, many of which are already at full stretch.
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‘ One of Glasgow’s most architecturally important buildings could be
3 and now the Glasgow Building
‘ Preservation Trust has been given
? until early June to find a financial
? solution to the problem. ‘We know it
Scot’s case highlights Death Row inhumanity
death sentence. They include Scot . highlighted at a conference in
Edinburgh later this month organised a by the anti-death penalty group.
attack after an argument with his
Trust pushes to save Glasgow landmark
landmark in the city and it’s too l important a building to let go without . exploring all the options. Problems are i arising all the time with concrete buildings but the lion Chambers is unique.’
The city council has funded an engineer’s report on the building which will give an idea of the cost involved. The report was due this week, but Davidson expects it will cost at least £1 million to put new concrete cladding on the building.
‘Glasgow has got to grasp the nettle and realise this is one of the most famous buildings in the city,’ says Gavin Stamp of Glasgow Art School, i : who first highlighted the threat. 1
The lion Chambers was designed by '
; Glasgow architect James Salmon, who I
demolished next month if a last-ditch attempt to find cash to fund vital repair work fails.
The remarkable lion Chambers on llope Street, which was built in 1907, is renowned among architects as an §mportant example of the modernist movement. The revolutionary construction is beginning to show its age, however, and the outside walls are crumbling, throwing large lumps of concrete onto the street below.
Council building inspectors have slapped a dangerous building notice on the Grade A listed lion Chambers
i like his contemporary Mackintosh, can be saved, but at what price?’ says was inspired by Scottish castles. the trust’s director Liz Davidson. ‘lt’s a 1 (Eddie Gibb)
girlfriend. He maintains he did not
: know there was anyone in the flat.
I The case is weak. according to Stafford Smith. and despite lngram‘s fate. Ritchie's time on Death Row
When Briton Nick lngram died in the electric chair in Georgia last month. it was the end of another battle for his British lawyer Clive Stafford Smith. whose desperate last ruinute attempts to secure a stay of execution showed the American justice system at its most barbaric.
All Stafford Smith‘s clients face the
opponent of the death penalty for years. LifeLines. which holds its annual conference in Edinburgh on l3 May. is a support group which writes to prisoners on Death Row in America should not be seen as putting off the and campaigns against the introduction inevitable. ‘It isn't a question of ofthc dth penalty in Britain. ‘lt‘s a dragging things out.‘ he says. ‘The case fantastic organisation with over 2000 is extraordinary. because even the people writing letters to folk on Death , prosecution admits the offence was Row] says Stafford Smith. ‘My clients . accidental. In my opinion the evidence are really grateful for the letters. They is so weak he shouldn‘t even be there.‘ get some sense that people out there do Ritchie is now waiting for a hearing to care.‘ (Stephen Naysmith) challenge the validity of his conviction. He‘s been on Death Row for nine years — the average is seven. ‘lt's par for the course in America,‘ says Stafford Smith. who has been an outspoken
Kenny Ritchie. whose case will be
LifeLines. Ritchie has been in jail in Ohio since l986 when he was convicted of killing a child in an arson
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