Student Sex Work

Developing Good Practice within Higher Education: Student Sex Work, Safety and Inclusion

Funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, this project will run from January 2021 until end of 2023. Teela Sanders supported by researchers Gaynor Trueman and Jessica Hyer, will carry out a programme of outreach to Higher Education institutions, as well as relevant HE organisations with responsibility for welfare, student experience and inclusion. This page introduces you to our mission, existing resources around student sex work, toolkit for staff and students that have been created and further information about this programme. 

Background to the work here at Leicester

In November 2019, the University and Students’ Union ran a joint campaign around supporting student sex workers. The focus of this campaign was to provide information and an education for those who attended events and other sessions, and to vitally highlight support options available. The University and Student Union were keen to express their commitment at this time:

Gareth Oughton, Chief Executive of the Students' Union stated:

“The Students’ Union has been proud to lead on the Student Sex Workers’ campaign. Our community is made up a diverse range of lived experiences and no student should have to face the societal stigma that students in sex work do. As a Union, we want you to know that your Union is always here for you and will always provide a safe, non-judgemental environment.”

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Vice-Chancellor of the University stated:

“We are proud to work with the Student’s Union on the Student Sex Workers’ campaign. The University community is vibrant and diverse and it is important that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that any students who are sex workers feel supported and valued as part of the Leicester community.”

After this Teela, along with Student Union staff, initiated a working group at the University of Leicester headed up through the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion department, which is working on a University Policy on Student Sex Work inclusivity. Teela was able to consult with national stakeholders including those with lived experience, practitioners, academics and activists for comments. We also were able to engage School’s where fitness to practice was a complication, particularly where there are external professional bodies in Education, Medicine and Allied Health professions.

The UOL is the first University to have a dedicated policy for student sex workers.

Free training

We are offering a free training package (online and possibly in person later in 2021) for Universities and Colleges interested in discussing student sex work and developing activities in their own organisation.

Why not watch the launch webinar event of the policy and tool kit at Leicester which took place in December 2020 or find out more regarding the work and resources at Leicester?

Any queries or if you want more information please email Professor Teela Sanders on

Join the mailing list

If you are interesting in being part of a mailing list and meetings about student sex work then please email Teela on

Learn more