A book entitled ‘Internet Sex Work’ based on some of the findings from Beyond the Gaze participatory action research project was published in November 2017. It is described by the publishers as establishing the landscape of internet-based sex work and specifically the micro-practices of sex work online, new sex markets, and how the markets are organised and operate. Also as focusing specifically on how new technologies have re-shaped and re-oriented the sex markets and debating the challenges for regulation.
The book takes readers behind the screen to uncover how digital technologies have affected the UK sex industry. We have used our BtG datasets to explore the working practices, safety and regulation of the sex industry, for sex workers primarily working in the UK. The book explores how sex workers use the internet in their everyday working lives, appropriating social media, private online spaces and marketing strategies for: marketing, manage their business, networking and support. The book overviews the digital sexual commerce landscape and looks at how online and digital technology has facilitated more mobile and fluid forms of sex work across different jobs/services within the online sector, other labour market areas and places. With workers in the sector providing different forms of direct and indirect online sex work, moving between sectors according to need, this flexibility is facilitated by the internet. ‘Internet sex work’ looks at the importance of online and digital technology for safety, examining the safety strategies utilised by workers in this sector and their experiences of crime. As the the first UK wide study to examine current policing of internet based sex work, the text illustrates how policing has responded to the emergence of the online sector . The book concludes:
Invisible Behind the Screen!
‘Current laws and continued structurally embedded stigmatisation of sex work means that many online sex workers remain invisible behind the screen, denied access to full labour rights, full citizenship and access to social justice, pushed increasingly by current laws to work behind the screen’. (Sanders, Scoular, Campbell, Pitcher, Cuningham et al. 2017)
Because of the support BtG has had we have collected lots of data, not all of this could be included in the book. Findings based on wider data will be published in a number of other formats: free briefings (look out on the website the end of January 2018 for the first of these), journal articles and blogs. For example the findings from the survey of customers of online sex workers, which is the largest survey of customers carried out in the UK to date, is not in the book but will be the focus of one of the free downloadable briefings and will be published via other mediums. We’ll also be sharing findings through selective media.
‘Internet Sex Work’ authors Sander, T., Scoular, J., Campbell, R., Pitcher, J. and Cunningham, S is available from the publishers in ebook and hardcover from: http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319656298
Available from Amazon at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Internet-Sex-Work-Beyond-Gaze/dp/3319656295
‘Internet Sex Work’ we hope makes an important empirical contribution to the academic knowledge about sex work as there is little research about online sex work despite it being the largest sector of the UK sex industry. We hope we are part of a growing number of academics adopting participatory methods to make online sex work visible in the academic research evidence base.