UK sex workers are selling themselves for as little as £5, for a place to stay or even just for clean clothes, a new study has shown.
The charity Changing Lives have been carrying out research into ‘survival sex work’ and how it happens in ‘hidden markets’ where there are no red light districts, The Independent reports.
The focus of their research was in the North East of England.
The charity’s director of women and criminal justice services, Laura Seebohm, told The Independent that ‘survival sex workers’ often ‘lead a really chaotic life’.
They may be homeless, in need of a place to stay, or may be dependent on drugs and alcohol.
Evidence from this research showed that several of these sex workers had been offered only £5 when punters noticed they were coming down off drugs which they were addicted to.
One of their interviewers noted that sex workers ‘feel like they have a sign on their heads’ and ‘are usually approached by the men at a vulnerable time in their life’.
The charity have been carrying out the research since 2007 and, in some instances, have even seen women selling themselves for as little as £2 or in exchange for clean clothing.
Their major concern was ‘children in the age of transition’ – this is the children aged between 16 and 18, who are too young to be in adult care, but too old to be part of children’s services.
Despite this research being carried out just in Tyne and Wear in the North East of England, Seebohm believes this is happening across the UK.
Just because there is no visible red light district doesn’t mean that people aren’t involved in selling sex, it’s just more hidden.