Prostitution and Sex Work

There are many different reasons that people work in the sex industry. The information on this page is about the help and support you can get is you are working in the sex industry if you are concerned about your safety and well-being

Prostitution, which is also called sex work, is the exchange of sexual services for money. Prostitution itself is not a crime but the following activities are crimes in the UK:

  • Soliciting in a public place
  • Kerb crawling
  • Owning or managing a brothel
  • Pimping
  • Procuring (this includes trafficking a prostitute, operating a prostitution business and transporting a prostitute to a location of their arrangement)

In addition, it is illegal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to:

  • Pay for sex with a prostitute who has been subjected to force. Clients can be prosecuted even if they didn’t know the prostitute was forced.

If you are working in the sex industry it may seem really scary to contact services, or to report violence or abuse. Whatever the circumstances, help and support are available and violence and abuse are never acceptable.

If this is happening to you, there are things you can do to help keep yourself safe. Click here to find out how.

The National Ugly Mugs scheme is a national scheme run by the UK Network of Sex Work Projects. If you work in the sex industry you can join the National Ugly Mugs Scheme. As a member of National Ugly Mugs, You can receive regular text or email alerts and report directly to National Ugly Mugs either on line via their web site or by phone


The Police

You can report a crime in the following ways:

Specialist Services

Brighton Oasis Project delivers a Sex Worker’s Outreach Project (SWOP). SWOP is a discreet and confidential service for women working in the sex industry. You can access our service if you live or work in Brighton & Hove. To contact SWOP call or text 01273 675526 or 07801 376158.

The Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) also providers Sex Worker Outreach. To contact THT call 01273 764 200.

The Saturn Centre, the Sussex Sexual Assault Referral Centre, offers free support and practical help to anyone in Sussex who has experienced sexual abuse. If you would like to speak to someone the Saturn Centre is available 24/7 on 0800 033 7797.


Find out about the support available for you and your family and how to get the help you need. Contact the Early Help on 01273 292632

If are a member of the public and are concerned about a child's welfare, please contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 01273 290400


Report abuse or neglect of an adult online or by calling Access Point, the contact centre for Adult Social Care services, on 01273 295555.


The UK Network of Sex Work Projects (UKNSWP) is is a non-profit, voluntary association of agencies and individuals working with sex workers and has published lots of safety advice.

The English Collective of Prostitutes is a self-help organisation of sex workers, working both on the street and in premises, with a national network throughout the UK. They campaign for the decriminalisation of prostitution, for sex workers’ rights and safety, and for resources to enable people to get out of prostitution if they want to.