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Prostitution and sex work: nature and prevalence in England and Wales



This research, commissioned by the Home Office and the Office of the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, explores the current nature and prevalence of prostitution and sex work in England and Wales. We take into account that contemporary prostitution and sex work may be complex, operate in a variety of contexts, with multiple realities experienced by those involved.

The work has included a systematic literature search and review of existing literature; online survey (June-December 2018, receiving 1,180 completed responses, of which 529 (45%) were from individuals currently or formerly involved in prostitution and/or sex work); questionnaires via frontline NGOs to individuals involved in prostitution and sex work whom the online survey was unlikely to reach; and other written and in-person consultation with individuals currently/formerly involved in prostitution and sex work, non-governmental organisations, police, health workers, academics and government departments.

The outputs are 1) a typology, which is a combination of a description of the different settings and services, and a discussion of the cross-cutting themes that respondents have raised, for example, around use of technology; how payment works; managing safety etc.; and 2) a prevalence data overview, data quality assessment tool, and suggestions for how prevalence work could be further developed in the future. The remit of the research does not include recommendations on law or policy.

We expect to submit our final version of the report to the Home Office in June 2019.

Thank you for your interest in our work. Should you have any queries or comments, please contact Dr Natasha Mulvihill ( or Dr Andrea Matolcsi ( The lead applicant Professor Marianne Hester can be contacted on

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