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Press release issued: 30 October A large-scale report into the nature and prevalence of prostitution in England and Wales, carried out by researchers at the University of Bristol, has been published today [30 October]. The research, commissioned and published by the Home Office , is a significant step in understanding sex work, the variety of different services and for what reasons people become involved.
Between May and June , researchers from the University's School for Policy Studies heard from over individuals currently or formerly involved in prostitution or sex work, sought insights from over 90 organisations, and reviewed over 1, relevant publications produced since Their findings show a complex picture, with individuals from a variety of walks of life taking part in a range of services, from street work to webcamming, for a wide number of reasons.
Some identify selling sex as a pleasurable and lucrative career choice, or as a therapeutic vocation. But a substantial proportion of people - mainly women and trans women - are selling sex to get by financially. This is largely due to caring responsibilities, physical and mental health issues, lack of access to social security benefits and support services or workplace discrimination.
Their situation is compounded by stigma and managing safety, and many find that the longer they sell sex, the harder it can be to leave completely.
The report also highlights how the expansion of the internet has changed the sex industry, opening up new ways to advertise and find clients, provide services, manage transactions, and so on. There is a wide variety of types of sex work, ranging from traditional concepts such as brothels and street prostitution, to more modern activities such as webcamming and sugar daddy arrangements. Stigma, the private and hidden nature of the sex industry, and the transience of activities, mean estimating the number of people involved in sex work is very challenging.