Dr Kate Lister invited five contributors to share their diverse, profound and often heartbreaking personal experiences of sex work, with each reflecting upon how the stigma of sex work can have a significant impact on sex workers’ mental health, on their place in society and on their physical safety. The result is a series of unique perspectives that question the political and societal reluctance to legitimise sex work and how it might better protect those who are the most vulnerable.
Unstable. Predatory. Risk takers. Dr Adrienne Macartney sheds stark light on the hostile and negative assumptions faced by trans sex workers.
In care at four, on the streets at nine, Charmaine has had a traumatic journey to reach life as it is now: no drugs, no sex work, looking after her mum, and enjoying her grandchildren. Here she writes honestly about her past.
When campaigners filmed secretly in the club where she worked, exotic dancer Ella Smith felt frightened and degraded. Here she speaks out about the attack on her livelihood.
Sex workers who report crimes against them can face a “what do you expect?” attitude. But one organisation is working to protect vulnerable people in the sex industry.
About the contributors
Dr Kate Lister
Kate Lister is the creator of the award-winning online research project Whores of Yore, which seeks to build public engagement and disseminate research on the history of sex and sexuality through social media. She also lectures at Leeds Trinity University, and is widely published on the sex trade.
Jessa Fairbrother is a visual artist using photography, performance and stitch. Her long-term investigations revolve around subjects of yearning and the porous body. Her work is held in numerous private and public collections worldwide, including Tate Britain, the V&A, the Yale Center for British Art and the Museum of Fine Art, Houston. Her work is represented by the Photographers’ Gallery, London and AnzenbergerGallery, Vienna. She is also a QEST (Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) scholar.