By Courtney Cameron
If someone was to tell a young, naïve girl she could have anything she wanted, whether it be a designer handbag or the most expensive bottle of perfume, would she take up the offer?
Thinking there was no catch, yes she would. But little would she know that along with her plush new items there would be a price to pay, a price that would involve her being left mentally scared for the rest of her life.
Thousands of vulnerable young women across Scotland are the victims of sexual exploitation without even realising it.
Professional bodies and charities have recognised exploitation as a major child protection issue and believe in depth measures are needed in order to tackle the problem.
In most circumstances it is a hidden matter; many people do not realise it is happening. Some women’s charities have gone so far as to say many girls do not even realise they are subjects of it themselves.
The Scottish Government have recently taken action and published their most recent plans to deal with the situation and realise it is an ongoing problem across the country that must be dealt with.
Aileen Campbell, Minister for Children and Young people said: “Anyone who thinks our nation is immune from this appalling crime is simply wrong.
“It is a problem we face and a problem we must face up to.”
A recent survey by Comic Relief showed that 75% of young women working in prostitution started before the age of 18 as they were victims of child trafficking and were taken advantage of.
Social workers have described the situation as a vicious cycle; once entered it is difficult to escape. Not just because of the state of mind the young girl is left with, but with the standard of lifestyle.
Being sexually taken advantage of can take place in a range of different circumstances, whether it is grooming, commercial exploitation or ‘low level’ prostitution.
Karen Wylie, a family support worker for Signpost Recovery drug and alcohol addictions agency said:
“In most of the cases I have dealt with, young woman don’t actually realise they are being sexually exploited.
“They are vulnerable girls that have such low self esteem they will do anything to get their drug fix.
“They not only have to pay their drug dealers money but perform sexual acts. It’s a form of low level prostitution without them evening realising it.”
Full story in The City News.