A new photography exhibit snapped by women exploited through commercial sex work – some of whom from Dundee – has gone on display.
The Inside Outside exhibition at Dundee University’s Dalhousie building features photography and the stories of women exploited in brothels, saunas and on-street prostitution.
Organisers say it is a chance for the women, whose voices are often drowned out by those hoping to set an agenda regarding sex work in the UK, to share their experiences and have their voices heard, without a filter or prism put in front of it.
The display was officially opened at the university on Monday evening, where attendees heard from support workers from the Encompass Network and the Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership.
Linda Thompson from the Encompass Network said it was time for attitudes to change toward sex work and for a realisation to be made that sexual exploitation is violence against women in the same way domestic violence is now recognised.
She said: “This has been an incredible piece of work highlighting the reality of life inside the world of commercial sexual exploitation, a reality which many people don’t get the chance to hear about.
“The women were honest in telling their stories and we are privileged as outsiders to be allowed into their lives.
“They have been and still are incredibly brave, having experienced violence and abuse while also being one of the most creative, insightful and warm groups of women I have ever been lucky enough to work with.”
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Shona Robison MSP attended the launch, alongside Dundee University principal Professor Sir Peter Downes.
Shona Robison, alongside Sir Pete, gave introductory speeches to an assembled audience of around 100 people, whose ages ranged from children to adult.
Ms Robison said she was pleased to have been invited to the launch of the exhibit, and thanked the women involved for their bravery in giving their insight into their lives, saying their was no place in modern society for the cruel and violent world of sexual exploitation.
Sir Peter Downes asked viewers to reflect on their own responses to the images and said he was pleased the exhibition was running during the summer graduation ceremonies, as it meant more people might be able to come and experience it.
The display has been brought about through a partnership between the Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership, Dundee University and the Encompass Network.
The Inside Outside photography display will run until June 30 at Dundee University’s Dalhousie building on Old Hawkhill, and is open to the public for free.