A POWERFUL exhibition revealing the traumatic stories of sex workers in Scotland has opened in Ayr Town Hall.

The Inside Outside exhibition, has acted as a platform, for 16 woman who work in the industry, to voice their experiences of prostitution.

The joint event from the Encompass Network and South Ayrshire Council is taking place in the old Court House at Ayr Town Hall until Sunday.

Organised by Linda Thompson from the Women’s Support Project on behalf of the Encompass Network, the exhibition chronicles their background, hardship in sex work, and their struggles to exit.

Linda explained: “I spoke to 16 woman about their experiences. It was just me, them and a digital recorder. The longest interview was more than six hours, the shortest was just under three hours.

“These women feel vulnerable and undervalued. They gave false names to protect their identity. A woman from Ayr, who goes by the name Wendy, was bullied at school. 

“She became involved in prostitution because of her drug addiction. Wendy was incredible. 

“She wanted to take part in the project because she did not want other people to go through it, which was really comforting for all the women. 

“Ayr is not immune to the problem of prostitution.It is happening right under our nose.

“All of the women were completely unprepared for this life and have little chance to get back out again. It takes away everything. 

“This was the first chance the woman had had to talk about their lives in the sex industry. Not all of them wanted their conversations recorded but some of them did.

“After they were recorded they had the opportunity to delete their recordings which some did. We transcribed the recordings, some of which were 58,000 words long.

“All of them were in control of their story. We then asked them if they wanted to take photographs of objects to document their journey.

“These women are used to being photographed but for websites. It was really interesting for them to be behind the camera. This is about providing a safe way for their stories to be told and to speak out about the industry.”

The exhibition features podcasts from their interviews, three short films and photographs of objects to symbolise their experiences. 

The Inside Outside exhibition runs from until Sunday, April 29 between 10am – 4.30pm every day. Entry is free although limited to those over the age of 16.

Please note that some of the content in the exhibition deals with sexual violence, abuse and exploitation which some people might find upsetting.