Shetland’s first “escort” service has begun operating from a residential address in central Lerwick.
“Magnificent Shetland Escort” is listed in a well known online directory, with a mobile phone number and address provided.
The service appears to be connected to an agency based in Aberdeen, called Honey Worldwide or Honey Touring Scotland. It advertises just one escort, said to be in her late thirties and of Brazilian origin.
It seems likely that the arrival of such a service in the town is related to the increased workforce now present at the Total gas plant development.
Prostitution is not against the law in Scotland, though loitering or soliciting for sex in public is considered antisocial behaviour and can result in ASBOs being taken out against offenders. But a degree of tolerance is common in most parts of the country.
Calls to recognise women as victims of prostitution are growing, however, and could ultimately result in the buying of sex being made illegal. Karen McKelvie of Shetland Women’s Aid said this week that, in the view of the organisation, “escort agencies are a form of commercial sexual exploitation, alongside pole/lap dancing, stripping, prostitution, pornography, brothels and internet sex forums.
“Commercial sexual exploitation supports a culture that views women as objects who are more a sum of body parts than a whole being, and eroticises men’s violence and their perceived right to buy whatever acts they have sexualised.
“Although the scale of this industry in the UK is unparalleled in human history, so far, Shetland has had no visible signs of commercial sexual exploitation taking place.
“Shetland Women’s Aid believes that the prevalence and acceptability of violence against women is inextricably linked with commercial sexual exploitation and we struggle to see how equality could ever be an integral feature of Shetland society while predominantly one gender will be exploited for sexual gratification.”