Up to 1500 Scottish sex workers who advertise using the internet are to be given help via an app and online support as a £1m scheme aims to reach those untouched by existing services.

Community safety charity Sacro is leading the project which aims to help vulnerable women involved in prostitution who use online services to find clients.

The scheme has been set up amid concern that digital technologies may be leaving some women at risk.

It is a response to changes which have seen a decline in street prostitution, with women who sell sex increasingly operating from private properties and advertising on websites.

With many working from their own homes, alone or in pairs, they are potentially at greater risk with the decline of brothels and saunas.

READ MORE: Sex workers aim to shape the future of Scotland's prostitution laws

The new initiative from Sacro and a network of agencies already working with women in the sex industry is backed by £1,092,194 from the UK Government's "Tampon Tax" fund, which distributes the proceeds of VAT on sanitary products to charities supporting women.

The Scotland-wide project will reach out to women online, provide basic safety information and support and signpost them to specialist one-to-one support services.

An estimated 1500 women across Scotland advertise sexual services online daily. But with most services concentrated in the major cities, there is concern that many lack access to help with sexual health, the risk of violence and other social and emotional support.

While women working traditional street prostitution hotspots such as Leith Links in Edinburgh or Glasgow Green tend to be close to drop in centres and other advice, online sex work has proliferated away from the main urban areas where resources are thin.

Aaron Slater, manager of Edinburgh's Another Way project, said: "We have been noticing a drop in physical street prostitution and there are around half the number of saunas in Eidnburgh there once were.

"A lot more womon involved in prostitution are advertising or being advertised online, not just in the 'main cities' where they are more visible but they can be in any corner of Scotland.

"We're aiming to develop an online model that offers one to one chat services online and which can signpost womon to local specialist services."

A significant amount of the grant from the Tampon Tax Fund will go towards ensuring services are available in more geographically remote areas.

He added: "No matter where she is, a woman who needs advice or help should be able to pop online and check the app for her nearest service."

As well as helping women reduce the risk of violence and providing advice about sexual health, the new project will promote the National Ugly Mug scheme, which aims to alert sex workers to clients who are known to be dangerous.

The project is looking to work with Police Scotland and NHS Scotland, and one likely model would be to have specialist workers employed to work in existing sexual health clinics, Mr Slater said.

Sacro Chief Executive, Tom Halpin said: “This is great news. Our Another Way service established our support working with women involved in prostitution for 14 years and we’ve seen how the landscape has changed with the advent of digital technologies.

"This will enable us to reach many more women; focusing on their safety and health and ensuring they can access support as and when they need it”.