Beyond the gaze: working practices, safety and regulation of internet-based sex workers in the UK

Professor Teela Sanders and Dr Rosie Campbell have been funded by the ESRC to investigate how digital technologies have affected the sex industry using a participatory research methods approach which locates sex workers at the centre of the work.

We have produced the largest datasets of online sex workers and their customers in Europe, if not beyond, to expand our understanding of how the sex industry has changed and now operates. We have interviewed 55 police across 16 police forces and have some clear recommendations regarding policy and practice as police and others try to react to a fast changing industry. The project has produced safety resources for the sex work community, and good practice guidelines for health practitioners based on a collective consortium of practitioners and sex workers.

This study will lead to the development of an outreach information service for sex workers via the internet and a Netreach toolkit for good practice guidance on models of internet outreach and working with internet-based sex workers.

Beyond the Gaze short film

This video showcases the stories of six current and former sex workers to highlight the working conditions of sex workers in the 21st century.