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


  • Funder: Home Office and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales
  • Lead Applicant: Professor Marianne Hester
  • Co-Researchers: Dr Natasha Mulvihill, Dr Andrea Matolcsi, Dr Alba Lanau, Dr Geetanjali Gangoli
  • Research Centre: Centre for Gender and Violence Research


This Home Office funded research will explore the current nature and prevalence of prostitution and sex work in England and Wales.  We will take into account that contemporary prostitution may be complex, operate in a variety of contexts, with multiple realities experienced by those involved. The work includes a systematic review of the literature and consultation with individuals currently/formerly involved in prostitution and sex work; non-governmental organisations; police; health workers; academics and government departments.  The planned outputs are a typology to capture different forms, experiences and settings or contexts for the practice of prostitution and sex work, a data overview and development of robust tools to populate the typology with estimates of prevalence.

How you can help

We are seeking input from people currently or formerly involved in prostitution and sex work, academics, NGOs/charities, criminal justice and health practitioners, police and others. In the first instance we are asking for people to complete a survery about their opinions and experiences. These responses will then inform the crucial early stage of our work. We would be grateful if you could fill in the survey by close of Monday 16 July 2018.
Complete the survey.
Survey FAQs - 6 July update (PDF, 114kB)

Thank you to everyone who has responded so far.  The survey opened at 9pm on Tuesday 26 June.  As at 1.30pm on Friday 6 July, we have had 408 responses.

  • 46% from individuals currently or formerly involved in prostitution and/or sex work

  • 19% stating no affiliation

  • 12% from NGOs

  • 10% identifying as ‘other’

  • 6% from the higher education/academic sector

  • 5% from police

  • 1% from the statutory health sector

  • 1% from the statutory criminal justice sector

We will analyse the survey data collected from the close of 16 July 2018 and use it to inform the first stages of our work. The survey will remain open until 31 December 2018 to allow for ongoing engagement.

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