Symposium on ‘The regulation of sex work, politics and activism’

Wednesday 15th June 2016, 11am to 6:30pm at the River Room at the Strand Campus, King’s College London

Dr Prabha Kotiswaran and Eva Klambauer from King’s College London and the Sex Work Research Hub are inviting you to join us for a symposium on the regulation of sex work, sex work politics and activism. This event will be a great opportunity for the members of the sex work research hub to get together to network and plan joint initiatives.

Comparative approaches to law reform, the consequences of different regulatory approaches on sex workers’ well-being, and the legal consciousness of sex workers and the sex workers’ movements will be explored. The symposium will bring together scholars from across the UK and internationally with policy-makers and sex workers’ rights and feminist advocates to share research findings and engage in an evidence-based discussion of law reform.


The deadline for registration is the 15th of May 2016. The event is free, but please register via Eventbrite ( and email about dietary requirements before the 15th of May 2016.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Prabha Kotiswaran, Reader in Law & Social Justice at King’s College London
  • Samantha Majic, Assistant Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Gregor Gall, Professor at the University of Bradford
  • Maggie O’Neill, Professor at the University of York
  • Marisa Fassi, Doctoral Researcher at the University of Milan
  • Jane Scoular, Professor at Strathclyde University
  • Phil Hubbard, Professor at the University of Kent
  • Teela Sanders, Professor at the University of Leeds
  • Camille Melissa, commercial photographer and sex worker
  • Georgina Perry, Manager of the NHS project Open Doors
  • Penny Crofts, Professor at the University of Technology Sydney
  • Katie Cruz, Lecturer in Law and Social Justice, University of Leeds
  • Jay Levy, Independent Researcher
  • Luca Stevenson, member of the Sex Worker Open University and ICRSE Coordinator
  • Laura Watson, English Collective of Prostitutes
  • Andrew Boff, Member of the London Assembly

Teela Sanders: Beyond Regulation & Policing?: Sex Work in the Digital Age

Sex work provides momentum for the continuing sexual revolution as commercial sex activities move to online spaces and digital technologies. As part of a broader shift in the way that love, sex and relationships are played out through cyber life, this paper offers a fresh analysis of sex work in the digital age.

Showcasing a current project Beyond the Gaze which examines the working practices of internet based sex workers, this paper looks at the how regulation and policing are trailing behind, struggling to understand, adapt and account for the move to online sex work. The paper examines how sex work is organised, shaped, and presented in online spaces, exposing where there are concerns around crimes and safety for sex workers, yet at the time strong evidence of self regulation outside state control.

Symposium on the Legal Regulation and Policing of Commercial Sex

March 3rd – 4th, 2016, Queen’s University Belfast

Teela Sanders will be presenting her paper Webcams, Fantasy Chat and Escorting: Sexual Commerce in the Digital Age at this symposium organised by the Commercial Sex Research Network Ireland (CSRNI), an interdisciplinary network for researchers critically engaged in the area of commercial sex and sex work in Ireland.


The majority of commercial sex in the Western world is either mediated or performed through the Internet and digital technologies. This paper is an exploratory discussion of the nature and characteristics of this shift, pulling out some of the broader questions around how sexual commerce has adapted and responded to the digital age. Exploring concepts such as ‘digital labour’ with empirical findings from a Wellcome Trust project with Internet Based Sex Workers, this paper will set the scene for where sociological inquiry needs to focus its attentions. Finally, the paper will flesh out a current project in situ Beyond the Gaze: Working Practice, Safety and Regulation on Internet base Sex work

About the Symposium

Funded by the Irish Research Council under the New Foundations scheme, the CSRNI is being developed in a three-way partnership between the University of Limerick, NUI Galway and the Schools’ of Law and Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s University, Belfast. The aims of the network are to provide a much-needed space for interdisciplinary collaboration and dissemination of research activities nationally and internationally. This event is also sponsored by the British Society of Criminology (Northern Ireland) Regional Group.

While the emphasis of the symposium is on developments that are occurring in Ireland (North and South) issues around commercial sex in other jurisdictions including Britain and Sweden / Norway will also be considered. Topics to be discussed include: the role of the digital economy in the buying and selling of sexual services; the policing of commercial sex; legislative changes and the criminalisation of demand; and feminist responses to commercial sex. The aim of the symposium is to share analyses of the prevalence and regulation of commercial sex in Ireland, and to draw upon best practice lessons from other jurisdictions. The symposium will bring together academics, NGOs and those involved in commercial sex in Ireland.

There is no fee for this conference. However, places are limited and are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. To reserve a place please RSVP to Dr Tanya Serisier as soon as possible ( There will be no media presence at this event so sex workers are more than welcome to attend.