Sex workers offer range of services across Dundee on controversial website

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Dozens of sex workers are offering their services across the city on one of the UK’s most popular classified advertising websites.

Prostitutes in areas like Kirkton, Lochee, Stobswell and the city centre have appeared on ad site Vivastreet – with some at prices close to £1,000.

A quick search mentioning Dundee as the specific location displayed 72 workers offering a range of services including a “quickie” and “role play”.

Images of the women were clearly visible, without having to verify age or any other details.

Women claiming to be as young as 19 in Dundee were offering themselves for as little as £40 for just 15 minutes.

The Evening Telegraph contacted one sex worker who described herself as operating in the “town centre, near the Seagate Bus Station”.

Incoming visits to the undisclosed address were being asked £60 for 30 minutes with the female.

During a very brief conversation, a male telephone operator – who was allegedly representing a female sex worker – confirmed the cost for a half hour session.

He said: “On the day you call us, we can book you in.

“The prices are £60 for 30 minutes and £120 for the hour.”

He abruptly told our reporter not to call from a private number before putting the phone down.

In England, Scotland and Wales it is not illegal to offer sexual services in exchange for money.

However, criminal procedures can start against someone found to be owning or managing a brothel.

Vivastreet has defended its advertising policy.

A spokesman said: “Vivastreet is a classified advertising platform that allows users to post adverts for goods and services across a broad range of categories, and providing a safe platform for legal user-generated content is our top priority.

“We have extensive text and image filters in place to block potentially problematic material, and we also use a flagging system, under which we encourage users to report any concerns they may have about adverts on the site.

“Our services section includes categories for a wide variety of service providers, including tradesmen, translators, and IT providers.

“But as we are solely an advertising platform we have no control over the location at which these users choose to provide their services, and the same holds true for those who advertise in the escorts and massages category of the site.”

© Supplied
Angus Binnie.

The scale of prostitution comes just weeks after the conviction of two Dundee brothel owners.

In May, Angus Binnie, of Dens Road, pleaded guilty to sub-letting flats to prostitutes.

Binnie was sentenced to more than a year in jail after admitting allowing premises to be used for habitual prostitution between March 20 2017 and April 24 2018 at three addresses in Dundee.

Binnie took out the leases of the flats in Dundee’s Hilltown and Ladywell areas from a reputable letting agency in the city. He then advertised them for short term rental on various websites – and charged itinerant prostitutes massive fees of up to £600 a week to use the flats in residential blocks to ply their trades.

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When the properties were raided by police the women openly admitted to using the flats as brothels – and told cops they had been rented to them by Binnie.

Then in June Yen Huang, previously of Gellatly Street, was jailed for 26 months after admitting that between November 4 2018 and November 14 2018, at Seagate, she recruited a women and induced her to engage in prostitution; and between November 20 and December 12 2018, at Melville Street, Perth, she recruited another woman, enticed her to come to Scotland for prostitution and instructed her to carry out sexual acts and advertised her services.

She recruited and brought two women to Tayside to engage in prostitution between November and December last year.

One of the women was approached by Huang in a London casino while another was trafficked from Malaysia.

Huang used five aliases, was living in Dundee illegally and was being sought by immigration officials when she was arrested.

A police spokesman said: “If anyone has any concerns, please call 101 or contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Online prostitution in Dundee denounced by rape crisis centre project

A rape crisis centre has condemned the online prostitution which is prevalent in Dundee.

Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (WRASAC) has its own project, called Vice Versa, which “promotes the health, rights and dignity of women who are experiencing any form of commercial sexual exploitation”.

It provides emotional support, crisis interventions and practical support which helps with substance misuse, trauma, homelessness and sexual health.

And a spokeswoman for WRASAC has condemned the easy access to prostitution sites via Vivastreet.

She said: “Vice Versa is aware of Viva Street which states to be offering a number of adult services including escorts and massages in our local area, but in reality the level of exploitation, trauma and breach of one’s human rights is far worse.

“Saunas/brothels/ massage parlours/escort services/independent escorting websites all exploit vulnerable women and promote various forms of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) which are harmful to each woman involved.

“A massive proportion of women who are advertised online have been brought in to this country specifically to meet the demand of punters, with many women being trafficked and forced into this industry by traffickers with no ability to escape.

“Much like women involved in on-street prostitution, these marginalised women who are advertised online do not have a choice or a voice, and when individuals use females in this way, what they are really saying is that it’s OK to buy people and treat them like objects, because that’s what the majority of the sex trade is.

“Furthermore the risks associated with the exchange of sexual acts for money, whether it happens online or on the street, all place women in extremely dangerous, frightening and at times life threatening situations which no one should ever be placed in.

“In line with the Scottish Government WRASAC firmly believes that any form of commercial sexual exploitation is a form of violence against women and children and that this is fundamentally not acceptable.”