Sex workers are adults who engage in consensual sexual services or erotic performances in exchange for money or goods, either on a regular or occasional basis. In the UK, there are approximately 105,000 sex workers, with 32,000 located in London.
Many individuals may find themselves drawn to this line of work due to external pressures or urgent needs, such as financial struggles, challenges in securing stable employment (particularly for those who are neurodiverse), or inadequate housing options.
This is often referred to as survival sex. Sex workers may work under different arrangements, including agency employment, informal management, or as freelancers. Freelancers, in particular, face the challenge of not only finding clients but also seeking support and guidance from various organisations.
Once individuals enter the profession, they encounter a multitude of problems, including:
- Stigma and societal taboo associated with their work.
- Violence and harassment from clients, the police, the general public, and landlords.
- Legal issues and complexities surrounding their work.
- Difficulties in accessing essential services, such as sexual health resources.
- Lack of support from family and friends.
These pressing concerns have created a distressing landscape marked by devastating incidents, such as serial killings, murders, heightened levels of violence and harassment, and an alarming increase in raids targeting sex workers. Additionally, access to adequate healthcare remains inconsistent and inadequate, posing significant challenges for those in need.