Poll finds UK sex workers 'find job rewarding'

The level of job satisfaction amongst sex workers in the UK is high, with the majority saying they find their job “rewarding”, a survey has revealed.

The study found that two thirds of those questioned described the work as “fun”, with 91% describing it as “flexible”.

Conducted by Leeds University in partnership with charity National Ugly Mugs - which provides access to justice and protection for sex workers throughout the UK - the research found that they used mainly positive or neutral words when asked about their work.

In the survey of 240 sex workers, 52% stated they felt able to stop sex work if they wanted to, compared to just under a quarter of respondents, 24%, who said they did not feel able to stop.

The research is the first of its kind to focus, with such a large sample, on working conditions and job satisfaction in sex work.

Alex Feis-Bryce, director of services at National Ugly Mugs, said: “Many people, particularly politicians, fall into the trap of seeing sex work as inherently bad without actually asking sex workers what their experiences are and what challenges they face. This research challenges this perspective.

“It is clear from this research that recognising sex work as work and acknowledging its diversity is crucial. Policy makers fall into the trap of assuming that they know better and introducing sweeping proposals intended to ”save“ sex workers.”

He continued that more sex workers cited stigma as a negative aspect of their work than exploitation.

Dr Teela Sanders, principal study researcher, said: “We would recommend that sex workers be allowed to legally work together, as this is the main way in which they believe their safety will be enhanced.

“Societal attitudes need to change, in order to minimise the stigma underpinning sex work and consequently reduce the harm that prejudice and judgement has on sex workers.”

She concluded that policy with decriminalisation as its focus should be recommended to improve relationships with police, and channel resources into exploitative situations.

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