SEX workers claim the Scottish Government is “condemning us to poverty” as a result of a lack of support during the coronavirus pandemic.

They hit out as a charity claimed sex workers had been “left to fall through the cracks” by the Government – resulting in some having “no choice” but to deal with “dangerous” clients.

Dr Anastacia Ryan, the founder of the charity Umbrella Lane, said that MSPs should be “leading calls for the Government to provide emergency financial assistance to allow sex workers to adhere to the public health measures”.

Umbrella Lane co-ordinator Prerna Menon said: “Our project is inundated with cries for help from sex workers, fearing for their health but feeling forced to continue selling sexual services to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.”

They spoke out as one sex worker told how prior to Covid-19 they were “already in challenging situations due to facing continued stigma over our work choices”.

They added: “Being ordered not to work during a pandemic without help or financial support from the Government is condemning us to poverty, a further lack of choice, and guaranteed desperate situations which pose a greater risk to our safety and wellbeing.”

Meanwhile, a male sex worker in Edinburgh said: “The Government calls for isolation but how can I isolate when I have to pay my bills? When I have my tuition fees to pay for.

“Others have access to Universal Credit or furlough but as a migrant student sex worker I don’t have that option.”

He told ministers: “Please support organisations that will help us follow the regulations without starving or losing our homes. We need concrete help right now, not empty words.”

The comments come after a Scottish Government consultation on whether the current approach to dealing with prostitution is sufficient to prevent violence against women and girls.