Page last updated at 23:04 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 00:04 UK

Sex seminar aiming to help women

A prostitute tolerance zone in Aberdeen was scrapped

A "pioneering" seminar aimed at allowing women to get out of the sex industry is taking place in Aberdeen.

Grampian Police and other organisations are taking part in the event which will focus on their exploitation.

The Violence Against Women Fund event is said to be the first of its kind in the north east of Scotland.

Luan Grugeon, a member of the Aberdeen-based Sex Industry Forum, said: "Women involved in street prostitution are extremely vulnerable."

'Difficulties faced'

She added: "Services need to develop new ways of working in order to attract and retain women in order to support them to adopt healthier, safer and more fulfilling lives.

"The response to this event has been overwhelming and we have a really wide range of organisations signed up to attend.

"We hope this will enable a range of services involved in this area to work more closely together to help women involved in street prostitution address their problems."

Insp John Soutar, of Grampian Police, said: "The police have to strike a balance between enforcement and understanding the requirements of a victim-based approach which will hopefully, in the long term, see women exit this lifestyle.

"From a policing perspective, I welcome the opportunity this brings to discuss the difficulties women engaged in this type of activity face."

In November, BBC Scotland reported claims prostitution in Aberdeen had spread into the city centre since a tolerance zone was abandoned because of a change in the law.

The introduction of kerb crawling laws meant police were unable to continue the managed area, carried out on streets around the harbour.

Convictions for soliciting in the city centre tripled in the six months after the tolerance zone was scrapped.

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