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 🙂

#IDEVASW – A Summary – International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers

The Point of Counting: Mapping the Internet Based Sex Industry

Beyond the Gaze is the largest study to explore online sex work in the UK and a key focus was exploring the strategies online sex workers use to try to protect their safety and also to examine crimes experienced by workers in this sector. Very little research prior to BtG had examined crimes experienced by online sex workers and BtG has we hope made an important contribution to research in this area which can inform policy and practice. Key BtG findings relating to safety strategies and crimes against sex workers were published in November 2018 in the British Journal of Sociology Campbell, R et al ‘Risking safety and rights 2018 online sex work, crimes and blended safety repertories’ To read the article go to Rosie Campbell and Teela Sanders have written a blog post based upon this publication that originally appeared in Sociology Lens. An abstract of this will be published here on the BtG website on Monday 17th December 2018, to mark IDEVASW.

Also in recognition of IDEVASW Rosie, last year, wrote the below piece and we felt it fitting to re-post it here, with a few amendments to bring it up to date. Rosie is still very active in sex work research, writing her forthcoming book on sex work and hate crime and is now Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of York. Here is what Rosie has to say on IDEVASW:

International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers is marked every year globally on 17th December.   This day was created to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers and to remember those who have been murdered.   It was originally created by The sex workers outreach project in the US as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the “Green River Killer” in Seattle Washington. It has grown to be a global event, where sex workers, sex work support projects and their allies  come together in towns and cities around the world to remember sex workers who have experienced violence,  to highlight the need for sex worker rights to safety and protection to be respected and enshrined in laws and polices and to challenge stigma, criminalisation and laws which undermine sex worker safety and contribute to violence.

It’s a day when sex workers, sex worker rights organisations, sex work support projects and their supporters/allies come together to remember victims of violence, call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers & reinforce the message that crimes against sex workers are unacceptable and a violation of sex worker’s rights. 

Matt Valentine-Chase, a previous researcher (now webmaster) in the Beyond the Gaze team,  has produced a short slide show video to mark the day on behalf of the team, this will be live on the site on Monday 17th December 2018.

On the 17th December and the days near two it lots of events, actions and remembrances are taking place across the globe including in the United Kingdom.  National Ugly Mugs (NUM) lists some of these on their website where you can also find NUM’s 2018 IDEVASW campaign – ‘Say Their Names’ – this is a powerful and heartfelt initiative. Please visit for further information. You can also download their PDF memorial flyer by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

In solidarity with sex workers and in remembrance,

Rosie Campbell and the Beyond the Gaze Team

NUM ‘Say Their Names’ Memorial Card: International-Day-to-End-Violence-Against-Sex-Workers-Booklet