Council Threatens to Remove Edinburgh Sauna Licences

The Edinburgh sex industry looks set to dealt a major blow with proposals to scrap the licensing of saunas and massage parlours in Edinburgh to be considered by councillors.

A public consultation, which backed plans to remove the licenses entirely, is due to be discussed next week.

The city recently cut the number of public entertainment licenses to venues involved in the Edinburgh sex trade from 13 to six.

It followed concerns raised by the police over how some saunas operated.

Young attractive happy couple in bedroom

Under Threat

Gavin Barrie, City of Edinburgh Council’s convener of the regulatory committee, said:

“Recent checks on licensed premises have uncovered evidence that activity beyond the terms of the license is taking place in some premises.

“The proposal to be considered at next week’s committee states that the amount of evidence we have now received means it is no longer appropriate to consider saunas and massage premises for a public entertainment license.

“If the committee decides not to license these premises in future, the council will still take the safety and well being of those working in saunas and massage premises extremely seriously and our Health, Social Care and Housing Committee will scrutinise the harm reduction work under way across the various agencies working in partnership.”

Last year, the police raided a number of establishments, which led to the reduction in sauna licenses.
This is where I am a little confused. If there was a real issue with these places, wouldn’t they have been closed down last year during the raids? The fact that these places are still open implies they found very little, if indeed anything wrong at all.


An Unwarranted Attack

This seems to be an unwarranted attack on the Scottish sex industry for what I can only imagine are moralistic reasons.

Scottish health and sex workers agencies alike have admitted they are alarmed by the prospect of Edinburgh sex licenses being removed completely. They argue that it will drive the industry underground. This can only make things more unsafe, when compared to a proper establishment. Even worse, these girls could end up on the street.

Thankfully the Edinburgh escort industry isn’t being targeted as of yet. We will keep our fingers crossed no-one gets any ideas.

We really hope Edinburgh council pull back from the brink. Sex workers deserve to work in a safe environment. Demonising what they do, under the banner of ‘making them safer’ isn’t going to help.

Martin Ward
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