Sex work in the news

Thanks to the public’s fascination with the industry, sex work is often in the news both in the UK and around the world. So far in 2016, sex work and sex workers have make headlines for a number of reasons. We’re taking a quick look at some of the most important stories to help keep you up-to-date with what’s going on in the industry.

Sex workers’ opera

One of the keys to getting sex workers the help and support that they need is breaking down the stigma and stereotypes associated with the industry. One initiative working hard to help more and more people understand the complex issues associated with sex work is the Sex Workers’ Opera.

Featuring a cast and crew made up largely of sex workers, the piece is being performed at London’s Pleasance Theatre and is set to take the city by storm. Part of a new writing programme by the Royal Opera House, the piece has been in development since 2013, with director Alex Etchart collaborating with sex workers throughout the opera’s production.

John Whittingdale

Sex workers were also in the news this year thanks to culture secretary John Whittingdale’s much publicised relationship with a dominatrix. Whittingdale claimed that he didn’t know the woman, with whom he had a six-month relationship, worked in a brothel.

The story many not have been as controversial had Whittingdale not been involved in creating new press regulations at the time. These new rules meant that the press were less likely to report on stories like his relationship with a sex worker, something that may have meant he wasn’t completely impartial when making the new guidelines.


Amnesty International has recently called for the formal decriminalisation of adult sex work. The call came after research showed that criminalisation interferes with sex workers’ human rights, with studies carried out in countries around the world.

Though some individuals and organisations have rejected the call, others believe decriminalisation is the only way to make sex work safer and more secure for the people who work in the industry.

If you work in the sex industry and want to find out what help and support is available to you, or if you just want to find out more about the issue, have a look around our website or give one of the friendly members of our team a call on 0808 800 1030, our free, confidential support line.