Let’s talk about sex work

A new guide to the legal framework around sex work has been published by Release. As well as setting out the criminal offences related to sex working,

Sex workers and the law includes advice on issues such as criminal records, welfare benefits, anti social behaviour orders, dealing the police and going to court.

The guide is aimed at people engaged in sex work as well as statutory and voluntary agencies and professionals who come into contact with those in the sex industry. There are also detailed sections on safety, sex work and drugs, sex working parents and a list of useful contacts. The booklet is written by Release’s head of legal services, and DDN contributor, Kirstie Douse, with additional input from executive director Niamh Eastwood, legal researcher Jodie Cudworth and others.

Alcohol and drugs can affect people’s awareness and ability to act on their instincts, it warns, and advises sex workers that they are at much greater risk when using either. ‘If you do use when you are working, try to use an amount that keeps you stable,’ it states. ‘Use just enough so you are not withdrawing but not so much that you are “drunk”, “gouching” or “off your head”. If you are in any of these states, you may be less likely to use your safety strategies effectively, and might be targeted by some people.’

Alongside the main booklet the charity has also produced sets of ‘rights cards’ on both indoor and outdoor sex work, summarising the main offences and people’s rights when dealing with the police.

Release’s new guide aims to keep sex workers safe and informed.

Documents at www.release.org.uk