Research Into Purchasing Sex Abroad

Leicester University Research Commercial Sex Abroad

Our colleagues here at the University of Leicester are conducting research into purchasing commercial sex whilst travelling abroad. Dr. Lahav-Raz has been in touch with the following.

Hi, my name is Dr Yeela Lahav-Raz. I’m a sociologist from the University of Leicester, UK. I’m researching sex work regulations and politics. You are being invited to participate in a research study about purchasing commercial sex while travelling abroad. The purpose of this research study is to learn and expand knowledge about Internet-based sex markets, especially in the Middle East. It will take you approximately 10-15 minutes to complete the survey. You can withdraw at any time, and you are free to omit any questions regarding the purchase of commercial sex. Your results are anonymous, and no identifying information is collected, including no IP addresses.

You can take part in the research by completing the online (anonymous) survey here:




New Publication

The research team at BtG have an inclusion in the Routledge International Handbook of SexImage result for international book of sex industry research Industry research. The chapter is entitled Technology mediated sex work: fluidity, networking & regulation in the UK.

This chapter draws on findings from the Beyond the Gaze (BtG) research project, the largest UK study to date of the working practices, safety and regulation of the online sex markets. BtG has produced some significant data sets which shed light on the characteristics and regulation of contemporary sex work, particularly for independent escorts and webcammers.

The chapter explores the changing shape of the online sex industry and looks at digital technology and its shaping of the industry. Drawing on BtG research the chapter suggests that the online world is a platform for workers to unify and manage safety, to a degree. It also look sat how policing of the online sector is in its infancy.

The chapter is another way to share some of the BtG findings and ensures that the research does not disappear into the ether, as so many research findings do. This is in addition to the more hands-on sharing that is continuing with BtG and National Ugly Mugs. More coming soon on the developments of community-impact dissemination.

Matt Valentine-Chase, BtG Webmaster and former researcher for BtG.

Beyond the Gaze – Where Do We Go From Here?

Professor Teela Sanders, Research Director at Beyond the Gaze (BtG) and Doctor Raven Bowen, CEO of National Ugly Mugs (NUM), talk about BtG, NUM, the newly formed Research and Development Team at NUM – and where we go from here….

Sex worker safety resources

The Beyond the Gaze project came to its formal end in September 2018. The work that happened during the three years of the project, largely successful because of the engagement and participation of the sex work community, does not stop there. The project activities, particularly the resources (pictured, also available in digital format) produced by sex workers on safety and privacy will be taken forward through the partnership with the National Ugly Mugs. Some of this legacy has been developed because of the importance of research to ‘make a difference’, to not sit on a shelf in a book, or not just be written up for academics to read between themselves.

Teela Sanders BtG

The Beyond the Gaze project was driven by a need to ensure that sex workers voices and experiences (online) were heard, and that those who come into contact with sex workers (practitioners/police) became a little more aware of the working practice of online sex workers in particular the rise of digitally facilitated crimes.

Dr. Raven Bowen NUM

It would be a real shame, and a waste of time and money, if the resources created did not find a home or a use with either sex workers or those practitioners working with the sex work community around safety, crime and access to justice. Therefore, we have been able to move resources away from the University of Leicester to NUM in order to carry on various elements of the impact work going forward. Central to this is the integration of sex workers into NUM through the newly formed Research and Development Team (R&D).

National Ugly Mugs R&D Team

The NUM Research and Development Team (Team R&D!) comprises of 13 industry experts, of diverse gender, cultural and sexual identities, who possess a collective 75.5 years’ experience in the field and 73.5 years’ experience in policy advocacy and rights activism in the UK and elsewhere. Currently, R&D members are revamping the NUM website and reporting forms; sharing the BtG research findings by posting tips and strategies for safer online sex work; engaging in activities related to the operations of NUM, such as participating on hiring panels and auditing our training; and consulting with our partners on various projects and research. The group meets monthly to report on activities, take on new tasks and discuss emerging issues and priorities.

We are looking forward to working with the R&D team to develop projects and new initiatives inspired by their engagement with BtG research findings and NUM!

Prof. Teela Sanders and Dr. Raven Bowen

Quick Update – Safety and Privacy for Online Sex Workers

Safety and Privacy for Sex Workers Available Now

If you are a regular to the site or you know of Beyond the Gaze’s work, you will know that we are working hard to ‘gift back’ the research, our sex worker resources and outcomes to the sex work community. We have been working closely with our partners National Ugly Mugs and their newly formed Research and Development team – NUM R&D – an expert group of industry professionals – to develop ways in which BtG’s research continues to have positive benefit for sex workers now and in the future.

We already have produced:

  • A forty four page document – ‘Safety and Privacy for Online Sex Workers’
  • Safety and privacy tip cards
  • Safety and privacy leaflet
  • Safety and privacy flyers

All of the above were written by sex workers, have been informed by the BtG research and are all available in print or digital form. BtG, NUM and NUM’s R&D team have been busy tweeting and uploading – so download our main document (PDF of Safety and Privacy for Online Sex Workers) from this page. You can also, if you prefer, read it section by section by hovering over the Resources for Sex Workers tab – you will see the title of the document in the drop down menu – see what grabs your attention and you just click to read that section here on the site.

The other resources will be available soon in a downloadable pack. Print versions are being distributed but are currently limited, we’re working on that.

The team at NUM R&D and BtG are now looking at more ways the safety and privacy info can be shared with the sex work community – and even more ways to share the research findings in an effective, creative and community-focused way.

Updates will appear here on this site, on the BtG twitter, the NUM twitter and NUM’s R&D twitter.

Teela Sanders, Lead Researcher for BtG and Raven Bowen, CEO of National Ugly Mugs, have written a post on ‘where we go from here’ to further look at what research is, why we do it and what we do with the findings. Their post is on the way!

Did I say this update would be quick? Whoops….

Until next time,

Matt and the BtG Team 🙂

East London Project Need Your Help – Research Project Call-Out

The lovely people at East London Project have been in touch to ask us to share with you their research project into laws, policing and how this affects sex workers. Please contact East London Project directly if you wish to take part or require further information.

From their researchers:

Are you a sex worker, working in London?

Would you like to take part in a research project to share your experiences about how laws and policing affect sex workers’ safety, health and access to services?

We’re a group of researchers led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, including people with experience of sex work or working with sex workers. We’re working in collaboration with Open Doors (an NHS sex worker support service) and National Ugly Mugs to find out how removing sex work-related police enforcement could affect sex workers’ safety, health and access to services.  The results will be used to fight for laws, policies and services that protect sex workers’ safety, health and rights, across London and the UK.

You can read more about the research here:

We are inviting sex workers to take a confidential online questionnaire who

  • Sell sex (in-person services) in London OR have sold sex in these areas in the past 3 months.


  • Are aged 18 years or older

We want to hear from people of all genders and nationalities, and people who’ve worked in any sector of the sex industryproviding direct sexual services (e.g. flats, saunas, agencies, outdoors, independently). We would like to talk to people who have and have not had contact with police in relation to their work.

Questionnaire available in English, Polish, Romanian and Portuguese (Brazilian).

The questionnaire is completely confidential and you do not need to give your name or contact details if you do not want to. The project has full approval from the LSHTM ethics committee and London Stanmore NHS research ethics committee.

We will give you £20 to thank you for taking part (details on website for payment methods available) and you can access free HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing (and we link you into treatment if necessary).

Want to take part? You can complete the questionnaire here if you have login details:

To get login details to enter the secure site, please contact Jocelyn Elmes or see closed sex worker forum posts:

Tel: 0207 6127824 / 07404 160920

Twitter @EastLdnProject,


DM at Saafe/UK Escorting

The questionnaire asks about your experiences with police, your safety, how your sex work is organised, contact with outreach services, your physical, mental and sexual health and housing and financial situation.

Some questions may be difficult to answer and you don’t have to answer any questions you do not want to. If you like, we can also put you in touch with organisations that provide support on safety, health and rights.

For more information about this study and the wider project, please visit our project website:

Safety and Privacy for Online Sex Workers

Beyond the Gaze have produced a downloadable document on safety and privacy for online sex workers. This extensive (but not exhaustive) document was written by sex workers and informed by the research BtG carried out during our three year study of the online sector – specifically, the working practices, regulation and safety of online sex work in the UK. Click the image for an instant download! Free for sex workers and supporters. By online we mean, sex workers who use digital technology to run their business. This could be: escorts, pro doms, performers, agency workers, cammers etc.

Safety and Privacy for Sex Workers Available Now

This document was first published late 2018, here we make it accessible in one click for 2019! We will keep you posted as we share our findings further and transition the BtG branding to a more permanent home, as our research has now come to an end. Don’t worry, we’re still here for a while yet and will make sure you know where to go to get the information you need!

Get in touch via twitter: BtG on twitter

The BtG Team 🙂

Change and Continuity in Targeted Violence Against Sex Workers – Rosie Campbell and Teela Sanders

BtGimage article crime against sex workers

As International Day to end Violence against sex workers is marked across the globe on 17th December  we wanted to reflect on the continued high levels of targeted violence and hate crime committed against sex workers and also some of the changing trends in crimes experienced by sex workers as sex work itself changes, as do wider crime patterns.   As Beyond the Gaze is focusing on the working conditions, safety and regulation of internet based sex work the safety and crime issues faced by people working in the online sector are very much on our minds.

Whilst it is important to stress that most commercial sex interactions go without harassment and violence research indicates that sex workers are more at risk from targeted harassment and violence than the general public and many other occupational groups – these risks varying according to sex working sectors, with many studies showing  higher levels of violence against street sex workers. A systematic review of research on the correlates of violence against sex workers globally was carried out by Dr Kathleen Deering  (University of British Columbia) and a team of researchers. This was  published in the American Journal of Public Health  in 2014 were they  reported that workplace violence over a lifetime was recorded by 45 to 75% of sex workers, with 32% to 55% experienced violence in the last year.

We have researched violence against sex workers for some years and argued in an editorial for a special edition of Criminology and Criminal Justice in 2015 that within this global context it is important to unpack the nuances about which groups of sex workers experience violence, at what level and in what forms in order to appropriately develop laws  and policies to prevent violence against sex workers .

In our research we have found that the relationship between sex work and violence is shaped by three key elements which allow for differences in the research evidence on the levels of violence between sectors and across different jurisdictions. Firstly, the environment /spaces in which sex work takes place, this acknowledges the different locational and organisational factors which shape safety across sectors.  Secondly, the relationship to the state, that is  where a particular form of sex work sits in the regulatory systems, it’s legal status, how and the extent to which it is criminalised and how those laws are enforced.  For example, in legal frameworks that criminalise sex work or have quasi criminalisation with some activities associated with sex work  criminalised, a  difficult context is created where it is hard to gain sex worker confidence and trust in the police. When the police are involved in arresting sex workers, their clients or others who work with sex workers and are also the organisation sex workers must look to for protection and to report crime it is challenging for trust in the police to be achieved.

Thirdly, stigma, social status, and the ‘othering’ of sex workers increases hostility and violence.  There is a considerable consensus in the global sex work literature that sex workers are  stigmatised and this is a central part of the ‘othering’ and objectification of sex workers which researchers have  argued contributes to social exclusion, generates hostility and contributes to the denial of full rights and a lack of protection from victimisation. Findings from research  show that adopting policing approaches which recognise  crimes against sex workers as hate crime contributes to improving criminal justice responses to crimes against sex workers, hence we support such an approach. We support an intersectional approach to hate crime which recognises the varied experiences of hate crime that  sex workers have, not only based on experiences of hostility and targeting by offenders  because of their sex working but also other aspects of social identity such as race, nationality, gender and sexual identity.  For example migrant sex workers may experience targeted crime related to their race or national identity intersected with their sex work status.

One of the reasons for 17th December is to remember those people in sex work who have been murdered.  In the UK  public imagination when sex worker murder is discussed, people tend to recall the serial murders of  street sex workers such as the five women  tragically murdered in Ipswich ten years ago, Gemma Adams, Tania Nichol, Anneli Alderton, Annette Nicholls and Paula Clennell.   Since those murders in Ipswich 42 sex workers in the UK have been murdered who  are recorded on the database maintained by National Ugly Mugs (NUM).  If  we take the period from October 2013 to the last (known) sex worker murder in the UK in February 2016  eighteen  people have been murdered. Of these  56%  worked indoor/online,  28%  worked on the  street.  (Please note for 16% how they worked was recorded as not known in the NUM  data base). Now compare this to UK sex workers murdered during 2007-2012 21 people were murdered,  71% worked on  street,  24% worked indoor/online and  5%  street and indoor, indicating an increase in the proportion of  indoor/online sex workers who were murdered.

Since 17th December 2016 the NUM database records three murders of sex workers in the UK,  Daria Pionko in Leeds, Georgina Symonds  in Newport and Jessica McGrath in Aberdeen.  Jessica and Georgina worked in escorting and Daria on the streets. So the issue of violence against sex workers and other crimes are very relevant for the online sector.  Indeed as the online sector is the largest sector of the sex industry in UK it is no surprise that those who target sex workers also target people working in this sector.

This has also been highlighted by findings from a survey of  240 internet based sex workers funded by the Wellcome Trust carried out by  our own Prof Teela Sanders  in partnership with National Ugly Mugs in 2015.  This found that some online sex workers reported crimes  similar to sex workers  in other sectors,  but it also flagged up a number of crimes linked to online and digital technology which had been experienced by internet based sex workers. Some headline findings and recommendations from that research are;

  • Levels of concern about crime varied: but 49% were either ‘fairly worried’ or ‘very worried’ about experiencing crime related to their sex work.
  • 47% had experienced crime in their sex work – the types of which are shown in the chart below.
  • For those working in the online sector new forms of targeted crime were evident. The most Types of crime against sex workers beyond the gazecommon crimes experienced by those people who responded to the survey (86 out of 240) were digitally facilitated which included threatening & harassing texts/calls/emails plus verbal abuse.
  • Sex workers also reported incidents of robbery, rape, physical assault and attempted abduction. Removal of condoms without sex worker consent was the most commonly report non digital crime reported
  • Half of respondents (49%) were either ‘unconfident’ or ‘very unconfident’ that the police will take crimes against them seriously
  • Safety could be improved through decriminalisation, which would allow sex workers to work together, break down stigma , allow for development of improved trust in police and improved public protection policing for sex workers. The action that could improve safety most identified by sex workers taking part was decrimalisation.

If you want to read more about the research go to a summary  or read ‘On our own terms’  published recently in Sociological Research Online

The above post is written by Rosie Campbell and Teela Sanders. For more information and to connect with Rosie and Teela, follow them on twitter:

Dr. Rosie Campbell OBE –

Professor Teela Sanders –

December 17th is #IDEVASW

#IDEVASW is: International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. Each year we gather together to remember those we have lost as a result of targeted violence and hate crime committed against sex workers (Campbell and Sanders 2018).

At Beyond the Gaze, following our three year study into the online sex industry, working practices, regulation and safety, we take this time of year particularly seriously. We will be publishing an article on the day itself, 17th December 2018, titled: Change and Continuity in Targeted Violence Against Sex Workers.

We will also be linking in with many other projects and organisations – and individuals – on the website and mainly on social media to not only promote the events happening globally, but also to offer support and solidarity to those affected by violence against sex workers and the associated social, emotional and often psychological effects.

Violence against sex workers affects individuals and communities in very different and often personal ways. We feel therefore that the overriding intention behind our posts, articles, vlogs and tweets – is for all who find these – to feel loved.

You are not alone.

With love,

The BtG Team

Campbell, R. Sanders, T. ‘Change and Continuity in Targeted Violence Against Sex Workers’ 2018 will be published here on the BtG website on: 17th December 2018.


The Laura Lee Sex Worker Human Rights Annual Lecture

Prof Maggie O’Neill, Keynote Speech at the Laura Lee Lecture

Following the Advancing a Social Justice Agenda for Sex Workers conference in Dublin on 16th November 2018, the team at the Irish Sex Work Research Network, presented the first Memorial Annual Lecture on Sex Worker Human Rights, in honour of Laura Lee, a champion supporter of the BtG project, sex worker activist and dear friend of many who attended the event. The topic for this year’s lecture was ‘Sex Work, Sexual Citizenship and Social Justice: Towards ‘a Real Politics of Justice’.

Professor Maggie O’Neill made a moving keynote speech where we all remembered Laura together, focused on her legacy and explored how we can come together to further the cause of social justice and inclusion. Dr. Rosie Campbell of BtG and the University of York, tweeted: ‘Lucky to be in to hear give the 1st sex worker human rights annual lecture focused on social justice & need for inclusive citizenship drawing on decades of participatory action research & creating knowledge…’ Matt Valentine-Chase of BtG said: ‘After a powerful conference, we now remember Laura Lee, at The Laura Lee Annual Lecture: Sex Work, Sexual Citizenship and Social Justice: towards a ‘Real Politics of Justice’.

Laura was known to be a ‘woman of power’ and after her passing, allies, friends and colleagues took to social media to say ‘Rest in Power’. The conference and the following Laura Lee Lecture oozed a sense of sadness tinged with the gift of determination Laura left us all with. The speakers and audience contributors often reflected on this gift and how they will continue this, using it as a tool for change – informing individual, organisational and societal evolution – towards social justice and personal enablement.

Laura – we salute you. Forever in our hearts, our minds – Our Power.

The BtG team xXx

Image credit: Dr. Rosie Campbell

‘This is what the report on ‘pop-up brothels’ missed out’- Dr Kate Lister

BtG is very pleased to be able to share this blog feature by Dr Kate Lister, Leeds Beckett University @literaturepeep and the fabulous @WhoresofYore    This was originally an article published by Kate  in Inews on 23rd May 2018.

It formed  a response to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution’s report Behind Closed Doors based on their ‘Inquiry’ into ‘Pop Up Brothels.  Beyond the Gaze had been very alarmed to read the report and it’s recommendations as the ‘inquiry’ had ignored the data from BtG (the largest study of online sex work in the UK) and from sex worker organisations, ignored the thousands and thousands of independent sex workers who use online for their marketing, safety, networking with other sex workers and accessing information and support, particularly peer support.  The inquiry has demonstrated a lack of rigor in data collection and  transparency about how the evidence submitted to them has been assessed. Their calls for the criminalisation  of purchasing sexual services and the banning of online adult services advertising would be a damaging duo of law which would undermine sex worker safety, independent working, livelihoods, support networks and would not address the exploitation that some sex workers experience.  Kate covers many of the limitations and problems with the report.

‘This is what the report on ‘pop-up brothels’ missed out’- Dr Kate Lister

Read more at:

‘Monday saw the publication of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade’s report into sexual exploitation in England and Wales – titled ‘Behind Closed Doors’. If you skip to the endnotes section of this report that details ‘evidence collection’, you will see that the APPG requested and received written evidence from numerous groups, including the Sex Work Research Hub – a network of 150 researchers and academics across a range of Universities and disciplines working on sex work, and sexual exploitation. As a board member of the Sex Work Research Hub I can confirm that the hub did indeed provide detailed data on so-called ‘popup brothels’ and online sex work to the APPG, and I can also confirm that virtually all of it was ignored in the final report itself. Data on sex work was also gathered from National Ugly Mugs, the English Collective of Prostitutes, SCOT-PEP, Beyond the Gaze, and Basis Yorkshire. The vast majority of which was ignored, or buried in the reference notes, in favour of a handful of case studies, cherrypicked or anecdotal evidence, and an aggressive anti-sex work agenda.

The data contradicting their report

But why would a parliamentary group ignore data that directly contradicts the final findings of their report? Because this inquiry was never about presenting an unbiased report into modern sex work. It has always been about validating pre-existing political agendas. ‘If this were an academic research group, the demonstrable evidence of prejudice and bias within the ‘group officers’ would make it extremely unlikely to get past an initial ethics committee.’ The ‘officers’ of the self-appointed APPG include Conservative MP Fiona Bruce, who is an Evangelical Alliance council member, sits on the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, and has long campaigned to criminalise the clients of sex workers. Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire, who once argued that decriminalisation of sex work could result in women being raped and not being able to do anything about it. Lord McColl of Dulwich, whose anti-sex work agenda is well known, and who introduced a private member’s bill to prohibit the advertising of prostitution, in 2015. Labour MP Jess Phillips, who criticised Jeremy Corbyn for his views on decriminalising sex work, and called sex work ‘a known violence against women’. Labour MP Sarah Champion, an outspoken abolitionist who had to resign her position as shadow equalities minister after controversially claiming that ‘Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls’, and Labour MP Gavin Shuker, who is also Vice-Chair of the Christians in Parliament APPG, and has held the chair for the APPG into prostitution since 2014, when he published the group’s last report into sex work in Britain. They clearly have an agenda. If this were an academic research group, the demonstrable evidence of prejudice and bias within the ‘group officers’ would make it extremely unlikely to get past an initial ethics committee. Quite why the APPG felt the need to publish this inquiry when the Home Affairs Committee published a comprehensive report into UK sex work back in 2016, and recommended full decriminalisation, is unclear. It is very disappointing that the APPG did not engage with or reference the considerable peer-reviewed data submitted to them by members of the sex work research. Not to mention annoying when you consider the work involved in responding to each of their questions.

What is a pop-up brothel?

But, so that data and time is not wasted, I will share some of that research here instead. There are two main points of concern in the APPG inquiry, that are flagged up as recent developments in the sex trade: ‘popup brothels’ and websites where sex workers advertise. So, the first thing that needs addressing is what is a ‘popup brothel’? ‘The reality is that there is nothing new about a ‘popup brothel’ apart from a sensationalistic name which has garnered considerable media attention’ According to the APPG report, it is ‘a term commonly used to describe brothels which are set up for a short period of time in residential properties’. The reality is that there is nothing new about a ‘pop-up brothel’ apart from a sensationalistic name which has garnered considerable media attention. The APPG inquiry makes the assumption that all popup brothels are inherently exploitative and associated with organised crime. This is simply not true and there is little evidence to suggest otherwise. Independent sex workers regularly travel throughout the country, advertising their services online, and stay at hotels, or hire an apartment at each destination. This is known as going ‘on tour’ and is a well-established practice. To stay safe, many sex workers like to tour together or share rented premises, and under UK law any premises where more than one person is offering a sexual service is legally recognised as a ‘brothel’, albeit on the short-term (pop-up) basis.


A shocking lack of understanding

Beyond the Gaze was a three year a project (2015-2018) into internet-based sex work, that was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (their data has been almost entirely ignored by the APPG as well.) Beyond the Gaze found that many independent sex workers, both UK citizens and migrant workers, travelled for work regularly, either for day appointments across their region of residence or to other regions for work opportunities, or staying in hotels or renting a property for work. To make the assumption that anyone selling sex from a short-term rented property must be coerced reveals a shocking lack of understanding of the modern sex industry. And it’s not the only assumption the report makes. Read more I survived prostitution. This is why I want the buying of sex to be made illegal The issue of migrant sex work is returned to again and again – specifically, migrants from Romania. The report claims that 86 per cent of women working in brothels in Leicestershire in 2016 were Romanian, and that 75 per cent of women working in brothels in Northumbria between 2016-18 were Romanian. What’s more, in 2018, a ‘representative of the inquiry’ accompanied police to a brothel raid in Cambridge, where they found that the women there were (wait for it) – Romanian. They also found that none of these women actually wanted help from the police or held information about organised crime. But still – they were Romanian.

Sex workers use websites to stay safe

But being Romanian is not proof of sex trafficking. The Office for National Statistics records that there were 413,000 Romanians and Bulgarians living and working in Britain last year alone. A 2013 comprehensive study on ‘Migrant Workers in the UK Sex Industry’, carried out by Professor Nicola Mai, interviewed 100 migrant sex workers and found 13 per cent felt that they had been exploited and 6 per cent had been trafficked. A 2011 study of Eastern European women selling sex in indoor locations in London showed that 7 per cent of women interviewed had been coerced into selling sex. Of course any number of trafficking victims is too much, no matter how small a percentage it is. Those involved in coercion and abuse must be punished to the full extent of the law. But, it is simply not the case that the majority of migrant sex workers have been trafficked into the country. ‘The report demands that websites must ‘be held legally accountable for the sexual exploitation they enable and profit from.’ The next area of concern for the APPG inquiry are the websites that sex workers use to advertise their services. The report demands that websites must ‘be held legally accountable for the sexual exploitation they enable and profit from’. Quite why the findings of Beyond the Gaze were overlooked here when they have conducted the largest research project into online sex work in the UK to date is beyond me. But, perhaps it is because Beyond the Gaze found that sex workers use these websites to stay safe, independent and off the streets. But then, one of the most troubling aspects of the APPG report are the claims women working away from the street is somehow a bad thing as ‘public visibility of women in street prostitution can increase the likelihood they will come into contact with external agencies’. Far from enabling abuse, online sites allow sex workers to screen potential clients. Professor Scott Cunningham of Baylor University has been researching online sex work and the correlations with violent crime for years and published his data in 2017. He found that after Craigslist created an ‘erotic services’ section, the rate of female homicides in US fell by 17 percent. The reason was simple. Sex workers could screen their clients and share information.

The Nordic model

Predictably, the APPG calls for a criminalisation of clients, the so-called ‘Nordic Model’ that has been in effect in Northern Ireland for the last year. But, under the Nordic Model violent crime reported against sex workers in Northern Ireland has risen by 77 per cent, and similar data is now coming out of France, which adopted the Nordic model in 2016. In fact, none of the data that shows end demand tactics make working conditions more dangerous for sex workers has been included in the final report. In many places, the report is so out of touch, its laughable. But, the inquiries’ neglect to bring in the sex worker voice, print and engage with the data provided by the leading sex worker rights organisations is no laughing matter. In the entire report, only one ex-sex worker gets a voice; Mia de Faoite, a core partner in the ‘Turn Off the Red Light’ campaign which resulted in the Nordic model being introduced to Northern Ireland in 2017. No current sex worker voices are included. No voices speaking for decriminalisation are included. No data that supports decriminalisation is included. It’s not so much what goes on ‘Behind Closed Doors’ that is the issue here, but what goes on inside closed minds. More from i:

Read the original article at: