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.
Sex work, stigma and whorephobia
Like everyone, sex workers sometimes need medical or mental health support. But shame and stigma seriously affect attitudes and access.
Selling sex and sacrificing safety
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.
Sex work and critical campaigners
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.
Surviving sex work on the streets
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.