Accessibility statement

Sex Work Research Hub 

The Sex Work Research Hub (SWRH) connects researchers and academics across a range of Universities and disciplines working on sex work, sex working and sexual exploitation.

We also connect with sex workers, sex work support projects and other stakeholders, such as lawyers, police, policy makers, educationalists, youth and community workers, to support and develop research that produces new knowledge, critiques dominant discourses on sex work, as well as delivering tangible public benefit and impact.

The sex work research hub provides a space for researchers, students, sex workers, and external partners and stakeholders concerned with the sex industry in its broadest sense, as well as exploitation, to:

  • Network & share information about sex work, research, publications, policy and related matters;
  • Promote and run seminars, lectures and affiliated events; and
  • Support and provide research and consultancy.

The SWRH supports rigorous and ethical standards in sex work research, evidence based policy/practice, collaborative and participatory action research principles which centralize and respect the lives and experiences of sex workers. 

Co-Chairs: Rosie Campbell, Teela Sanders and Nick Mai 

Board and Steering Group Members: Maggie O'Neill, Laura Connelly, Alison Jobe, Nick Mai, Jane Scoular, Rachel Stuart, Belinda Brooks-Gordon and Kate Lister. 

The SWRH currently receives no funding, this limits the activity that the hub can deliver. Currently any activities that are carried out at are done so on a voluntary basis by SWRH board members and other members of the hub who volunteer their time on specific events or initiatives.

Visit our SWRH BLOG

If you are interested in contributing, please contact Dr Kate Lister at


  • To provide a hub for sharing research and scholarship on sex work, social justice and sexual exploitation between academics, practitioners, sex workers, policy makers, advocates and the general public

  • To promote ethical and robust research on sex work

  • To identify opportunities for collaborative research across partner institutions and partner agencies

  • To provide a centre for expertise on sex work research and evaluation

  • To enable cross university networking among postgraduate and academic researchers

  • To impact on policy and practice


The Sex Work Research Hub is underpinned by the principles of:

  • Collaboration
  • Participatory Action Research – collaborating with sex workers, practitioners and grass roots organisations
  • Evidence based policy
  • High ethical standards in sex work research
  • Research & evaluation that informs policy and praxis
  • Advances in research methodology including visual, performative and filmic methods


Hub events and activities

  • Conferences and seminars bringing together academics/researchers, practitioners, policy makers and sex worker networks
  • Host the annual postgraduate research conference on sex work
  • An e-newsletter twice a year focusing on sex work and research issues
  • Carrying out research projects & evaluations
  • Responding to government policy, legislation proposals and consultations
  • Support and complement the National Ugly Mugs (UKNSWP) Specialist Collection on Sex work (based at the University of the West of Scotland)
  • Provide a source of advice and training on issues of research and evaluation for practitioners/researchers and others.

Sex Work Research Conference Annual Postgraduate Research Conference 2019 
Thursday 28th November 2019, Kingston University London

Sex Work Laura Lee Memorial Lecture 2019

Keynote speaker: Professor Nick Mai Kingston University & SWRH, Sex Work Activist (TBC), Panel of respondents (TBC): Chaired by Dr Sharron FitzGerald, Irish Sex Work Research Network

Please save the date and more information will posted in summer 2019.

Recent Conferences:

Sex Work Research Conference Annual Postgraduate Research Conference 2019
Friday 25 January 2019, University of Swansea

The 2019 SWRH Annual Postgraduate Research Conference will be hosted by The Consortium for Sexuality Studies. The morning will be dedicated to presentations by postgraduate researchers and the afternoon will focus on three workshop sessions, chaired by members of the SWRH. These workshops are; Workshop 1 Methods, ethics and risk, Workshop 2 – Getting the most out of your supervisor Workshop 3 – Building your CV and making an impact. Registration has now closed.

Responding to Sex Work in Wales: Reflections, Research and Future Directions
February 3 2017, Swansea University

Professor Debbie Jones hosted this 'Responding to Sex Work' conference which was a free event funded by the Welsh Government in collaboration with the Consortium for Sexuality Studies (CSS), College of Law and Criminology, Swansea University and the Sex Work Research Hub.

Description: Sex Work is often considered as a complex social issue which requires a holistic multi-agency response. Following on from the revised strategy launched by the National Police Chiefs Council, in relation to responses to sex work, this conference brings together speakers to reflect on national responses to sex work. Importantly, also it considers the implications of research findings across the principality and also looks to explore new forms of regulation.

Speakers included:

  • Dr Rosie Campbell OBE – Beyond the Gaze, Leicester University
  • Nici Evans – Head of Partnership for Cardiff Council
  • Alex Feis-Bryce - CEO National Ugly Mugs
  • Debbie Jones and Professor Tracey Sagar – Swansea University
  • Kim Ann Williamson – CPS, Chair of Sex Worker Safety Group for Wales
  • Dr Rhian Hills- Senior Policy Substance Misuse Officer, Welsh Government
  • Gemma Scire - CEO Basis Yorkshire

5th Annual SWRH Postgrad Sex Work Research Conference
January 20 2017 University of Leicester

Professor Teela Sanders hosted the 5th Annual Sex Work Research Hub Postgraduate Conference at the University of Leicester. 

SWRH Symposium on Sex Work, Decriminalization & Social Justice
14 September 2016

This 2nd Annual Hub Symposium was a great success! Head of Department Ellen Annandale graciously opened for us, welcoming academics from across the world.

We thank the Department of Sociology for the funding that made the event possible.

We thank our Keynote Speaker Associate Professor Gillian Abel Head of Department Population Health, Otago University
and Presenters from across the UK: Professor Teela Sanders, Matt-at-Lotus, Rosie Campbell, Dr Kate Brown, Debbie Jones, Jenny Pearl, Cari Mitchell, Stewart Cunningham, Alex Feis-Bryce and Professor Nicola Mai. 

Please view our Storify for an interactive summary of the event.


SWRH Briefings

'The SWRH aims produces a series of short briefings over-viewing research literature on a number of topics related to sex work. These briefings are intended to be short, summary overviews of research in particular areas of sex work research which are accessible to the general public, policy makers and practitioners.


Sex Work Research Hub Board Members (2018/2019)

Dr Rosie Campbell OBE


Rosie is based in the School for Business and Society at the University of York where she is a White Rose Postdoctoral Research fellow writing a book on sex work and hate crime and doing impact work. She has been involved in sex work research, support service delivery and policy development for over two decades. She has been involved in both major national studies on sex work (for example she was for three years a Research and Netreach Officer on Beyond the Gaze, the largest study of the safety, working conditions and regulation of online sex work) and local studies.

Her research interests include; the safety of sex workers and policy/legislative impact on safety/working conditions, hate crime and violence against sex workers, community responses to sex work, policing of and multi agency responses to sex work, the impact of digital and online technologies on sex work and models of support services for sex workers. She has published widely on sex work selected eg s Campbell et al (2018) ‘Risking safety and rights: online sex work, crimes and ‘blended safety repertories. British Journal of Sociology. Co-author with Teela Sanders et al (2017) ‘Online Sex work’, Palgrave. Living and Working in Areas of Street Sex Work: From Conflict to Coexistence, Policy Press, Bristol, with Jane  Pitcher, Jane Scoular, Maggie O’Neill and Phil Hubbard, (2006) co-editor of “Sex Work Now” (2006) with Professor Maggie O’Neill. (2009) “Wild Guesses and Conflated Meanings? Estimating the Size of the Sex Worker Population in Britain”, Critical Social Policy, Vol 29 (4) 703-719, with Dr Linda Cusick, Hilary Kinnell &  Dr Belinda Brooks Gordon. (2007) "Designing Out Vulnerability, Building in Respect: violence, safety and sex work policy“ British Journal of Sociology, Vol 58, Issue 1, pp 1-18, with Dr Teela Sanders. (2001) "Challenging The Kerb Crawler Rehabilitation Programme”, Feminist Review, Vol. 67. with Meryl Stoor. She worked with others to found of UK Network of Sex Work Projects and National Ugly Mugs, the later of which she still supports as a board member.

She obtained her PhD from Durham University, School of Applied Social Sciences her thesis examined Merseyside’s approach to treating crimes against sex workers as hate crime. Based on that research is the book chapter ‘Not Getting Away With It: Linking Sex Work and Hate Crime in Merseyside’ was published in Chakroborti, N and Garland, J (eds) (2014) Responding to Hate Crime: The Case for Connecting Policy and Research, The Policy Press, Bristol.

She has worked with sex work projects throughout the UK through her work with UK Network of Sex Work Projects (UKNSWP) of which she was a founder member and Chair, the organisation renamed National Ugly Mugs (UKNSWP) and is currently Chair of NUM. She has carried out frontline outreach for two decades and has been involved in establishing, developing and managing a number of sex work support projects. She was CEO of Basis Yorkshire (Leeds) 2013-2016 (where she remains a volunteer) and Co-ordinator of Armistead Street and Portside in Liverpool (Merseyside) when the approach of treating crimes against sex workers as hate crime was introduced. She was awarded an OBE July 2014

Rosie's profile

Rosie Campbell received OBE

Teela Sanders


Teela Sanders in a Professor of Criminology in the Department of Criminology, University of Leicester. Her research focus is on the intersections between gender, regulation and the sex industry, with a focus on exploring hidden economies. Currently working on the largest project on the internet, digital technologies and the sex industry funded by the ESRC (, her work sits at the cutting edge of sex work studies. Her monographs include Sex Work: A Risky Business (2005) and Paying for Pleasure: Men who Buy Sex (2008). Prostitution: Sex Work, Policy and Politics (Sage, 2009) is co-written with Jane Pitcher and Maggie O’Neill. With Kate Hardy, Sanders has recently completed a large scale project funded by the ESRC on the UK striptease industry. This project investigated working conditions of dancers and will be detailed in the book, Flexible Workers: Labour, Regulation and Mobility in Lap Dancing (Routledge, 2014).

An ESRC Follow on Award enabled work with Rosie Campbell to directly influence Sex Entertainment Venue policies across the UK, and the production of an online and Iphone App resource for dancers containing safety, self employment rights and tax awareness information. Her latest book (co-authored with Kate Hardy) Flexible Workers: Labour, Regulation and the Political Economy of the Stripping Industry in the UK (Routledge 2014). 

Teela's profile

Nick (Nicola) Mai


Nicola Mai is a sociologist, an ethnographer and a filmmaker working as Professor of Sociology and Migration Studies at Kingston University. His academic writing and films focus on the experiences and perspectives of migrants working in the globalised sex industry in order to live their lives. In 2016 he was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant (Sexual Humanitarianism: Migration, Sex Work and Trafficking - 2016-2020) to study impact of anti-trafficking legislation and initiatives on the governance of migration and on the sex industry in the global North by analysing migrant's own understandings and experiences of agency and exploitation in Australia, France, New Zealand and the US.

Between 2007 and 2009 he was the Principal Investigator of a two-year 'Migrant Workers in the UK Sex Industry' ESRC project which produced 100 qualitative interviews with women, men and transgender people and found that only a minority felt that they were trafficked. Nick also delivered several research projects and evaluations on the nexus between migration and the exploitation of vulnerable migrant groups for international organisations and local authorities including the IOM, Save the Children and the London Borough of Haringey. In 2014 and 2015 Nick was based at the Mediterranean Laboratory of Sociology - LAMES (MMSH/Aix -Marseille University) in order to direct the ‘Emborders’ project, comparing the impact of humanitarian interventions targeting migrant sex workers and sexual minority asylum seekers in the UK (London) and France (Marseille/Paris) through ethnographic research and experimental filmmaking. 

Nick's profile

Maggie O’Neill

 Pic 2

Maggie is Professor in Sociology at the University of Cork and has a long history of conducting participatory research on sex work and sex working with sex workers, sex work support organisations and communities; especially feminist, creative/visual research and the production of praxis - knowledge which addresses and intervenes in public policy. A sociologist/criminologist, she co-founded the Sex Work Research Hub with Rosie Campbell and is a member of the Irish Sex Work Research network.

Her research activity has been instrumental in moving forward debates, dialogue and scholarship in three substantive areas: sex work, the commercial sex industry and sexual exploitation (since 1990); forced migration and the asylum-migration nexus (since 1999); innovative participatory, biographical, performative and visual methodologies (since 1990). Publications include: Prostitution and Feminism: towards a politics of feeling (Polity 2001); Sex Work Now edited with Rosie Campbell (Willan 2006); Prostitution; a Reader edited with Roger Matthews and published by Ashgate; Prostitution: Sex Work, Policy and Politics (Sage, 2009, 2018) is co-written with Teela Sanders and Jane Pitcher; Pitcher, Campbell, Hubbard, O'Neill and Scoular (2006) Living and working in areas of street sex work: from conflict to coexistence was published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation who funded this five city research; and a pioneering participatory research project with Rosie Campbell in Walsall Working Together to Create Change in 2000.

Her most recent publication is with Mary Laing (2018) Rights, Recognition and Resistance: analysing legal challenges, sex workers rights and citizenship in Sharon Fitzgerald and Kathryn McGarry [Eds] 'Realising Justice for Sex Workers: An Agenda for ChangeRowman and Littlefield as part of the series Global Political Economies of Gender and Sexuality.

Belinda Brooks-Gordon


My main research interests address psychological, legal and social policy questions on gender, rights, sexuality and the law.

It has become increasingly difficult for policy makers and regulators to untangle the complex and inter-related nature of the sex industry and sexual offences. In addition, outcome measures of current interventions do little to improve our understanding of the process by which the subjects in this industry understand and interpret the sexual and social practices in which they are involved. One strand of my research addresses the socio-cultural, psychological, philosophical and human rights issues which surround sexual and gendered behaviour. The majority of this work has been funded by the ESRC (although early work was funded by the Wingate Fellowship and the Ian Karten Educational Trust) and carried out with co-operation of the Metropolitan Police Clubs and Vice Unit.

A second strand of my research involves the investigation into a series of psychological interventions for offenders. I have completed four systematic reviews of psychological interventions for adults and juveniles convicted of sexual offences. These reviews were funded by the Department of Health R&D in Forensic Mental Health and carried out with Charlotte Bilby. We analysed a range of quantitative and qualitative studies as well as compiling a database of the research in this area. One of the major challenges for future behavioural intervention trials is to speed up the evolution of the interventions. In this regard I designed and validated evidence-based methods of assessment to measure and evaluate the work of clinicians engaged in the psychotherapeutic treatment of offenders. Additionally, the ATSO annual residential study school and conference 2001 enabled clinicians to engage with the work of international experts in the field.

Belinda's profile

Laura Connelly

Laura is a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Salford. She completed her PhD at the University of Leeds, which explored the governance of sex trafficking in England and Wales. It focused in particular upon how the strategic priorities and organisational politics of the voluntary sector and the police are negotiated and structured through service delivery. She has also conducted research in partnership with National Ugly Mugs, exploring the nature and extent of violence against sex workers in the UK and published on the topics of the ‘Rescue Industry’ and international sex work policy and practice. She is a feminist and committed to social justice. Broadly, her current research interests include: migration, policing, victimology, critical approaches to ‘modern slavery’, as well as the sex industry more broadly. 

Alison Jobe

Dr Alison Jobe is a lecturer in Criminology at Durham University. Prior to this, Alison worked in the third sector for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and has also worked as a research consultant for other third sector organisations including the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva and the Medical Foundation for Care of Victims of Torture in the UK.

One of Alison’s key research interests concerns the production of stories relating to sexual trafficking. Her research considers how sexual trafficking has been constructed through the law, the media, within academic research and in interest from activist groups. Empirically, Alison’s research has explored how these discursive processes have interacted with the lives of those identified as sexual trafficking victims/survivors, alongside the impact on other groups. In this respect, Alison’s research explores the social consequences related to the telling of stories, as well as the social and cultural processes within which stories are and/or may be told.

Alison's profile

Kate Lister


I completed my BA (Hons) in English Literature at Leeds Trinity University in 2003, my MA in English Literature at the University of Leeds in 2005 and my PhD in early nineteenth-century literature, under the supervision of Professor Paul Hardwick, in February 2013. My doctoral research formed the foundation of my monograph entitled Equal at the Round Table: Women Authors and the Nineteenth-Century Arthurian Revival, which is currently under review with the University Wales Press. This research breaks new ground in the developing field of women writers and Victorian medievalism. The work on historicism, as well as literary and gender studies, to construct a critical model with which to interrogate early nineteenth-century female contributions to our modern Arthurian canon and challenge what critics imply when referring to ‘tradition’ in the humanities.

In addition to my monograph, I have published two papers based on my doctoral research; one in Victorian medical humanities with Oxford Interdisciplinary Press, and a book chapter on the femme fatale in Victorian medievalism with Cambridge Scholars. For my postdoctoral research, I have written the introduction and edited an international, interdisciplinary collection of articles on Victorian material culture with Routledge (2017), and am currently editing an interdisciplinary collection of essays on Vikings in film with Professor Paul Hardwick, for McFarland, to which I have contributed a chapter. I have published a book chapter with Routledge on Victorian media on the construction of the sex worker (2017). I have a journal article under review with Studies in Medievalism on sexual violence in Game of Thrones that was co-authored with researchers in psychology. I have formed external research collaborations with the Leeds-based charity, Basis Yorkshire (a charity that supports sex workers in the city of Leeds), and contributed an article on the history of sex work in Leeds in their Rosa funded publication Our Voices. I am formatting the work to be available as an eBook as part of the whores of yore project.

Jane Scoular


Jane Scoular is a Professor in Law at the University of Strathclyde. Her work is a primary reference in the field of the legal regulation of commercial sex and her scholarship includes original theoretical expositions in books and internationally peer-refereed journals as well as international empirical studies, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Scottish Executive and the ESRC, re a comparative project on European prostitution regimes.

She has been a Visiting Scholar at the Universities of New York and Stockholm where she researched the Swedish law relating to prostitution. She was a member of the Scottish Parliament's Expert Panel on Prostitution and continues to advise policy in this area.

Prof Scoular sits on the Management Committee and co-chairs the scientific programme on 'Prostitution Policies and Politics' in the COST Action IS1209: Comparing European Prostitution Policies. This new European research network on prostitution policies brings together scholars on prostitution from throughout Europe.

Key publications include: ‘What’s law got to do with it? How and why law matters in the regulation of sex work’ 2010 37(1) Journal of Law and Society 12-39; Regulating Sex/Work: From Crime Control to Neo-liberal Regulation Scoular & Sanders (eds) (Wiley Blackwell, 2010); (with Hubbard, P.J. and Matthews, R.) ‘Re-regulating sex work in the EU: prostitute women and the new spaces of exception’ (2008) 15:2 Gender Place Culture 137-152; (with O’Neill, M.) ‘Regulating Prostitution: social inclusion, responsibilisation and the politics of prostitution reform’ 2007 British Journal of Criminology 47(5) 764-778 and is currently completing a monograph on ‘The Subject of Prostitution: Sex/work, Law and Social Theory’ to be published by Routledge/Cavendish in 2014.

Rachel Stuart

Rachel Stuart, member of the Sex Work Research Hub

Rachel Stuart is a PhD candidate at the University of Kent and a criminology lecturer at the University of Law. Her thesis titled 'How Female Performers Experience Webcamming as a Form of Sexual Commerce', focusses on the lived experience of female webcam performers. She addressed her thesis question by interviewing 40 performers and a number of industry insiders. Thus generating a unique body of data that addresses a sector of sexual commerce that is both legal to perform and which has been somewhat resistant to research. As a consequence of this research she is has a keen interest in innovative research methods and is currently working on a number of articles that explore ethical methodologies within sex work academia.

During 2018 Rachel worked as field researcher on the ground breaking East London Project. In this role she has been instrumental in the recruitment and interviewing of street and indoor sex workers. Having been involved in researching the most criminalised form of sex work ie street work and an entirely legal form of sex work ie webcamming she is interested in linking sex work to larger debates around precarity, poverty and class.

Hub Members 

Raven Bowen


Raven became the CEO of the national sex work safety charity National Ugly Mugs in September 2018. Raven has been involved in sex worker rights advocacy, anti-oppression organizing and community development in western Canada or many years and was on the board of Scot-PEP, a Scottish sex worker support organization . Her work involves systemic advocacy, program development and building alliances across public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as developing capacity toward the social, economic and political inclusion of people who trade sex. Raven's work is aimed to support the equal and safe participation of sex workers in civil society. 

She obtained her PhD from the University of York in 2018. Her PhD study was inspired by her Masters project which examined the transition experiences off-street sex workers who problematized how the exit process has been theorized. Raven's PhD project entitled “In Plain Sight: an examination of ‘Duality’, the simultaneous involvement in sex work and square work'' further explored how people negotiate employment in both fields. While at York she provided research and administrative support to the Sex Work Research Hub. 

Raven's profile

Aston University

Katy Pilcher

Dr Katy Pilcher is a Lecturer in Sociology at Aston University. Her research interests centre around gender, sexualities, sex work, ageing, embodiment, and visual research methods. Katy has completed research projects relating to erotic dance, sex work, and ageing and everyday life. She has published articles in a number of journals pertaining to her erotic dance research, and her latest work includes a co-edited collection entitled 'Queer Sex Work' (Routledge, 2015, with Dr Mary Laing and Dr Nicki Smith). Katy is an executive committee member of the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association UK and Ireland.

Katy's profile

Birkbeck University of London

Tanya Serisier

Dr Tanya Serisier is a lecturer in Criminology in the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queens University Belfast. Her research focuses on the production and dissemination of cultural narratives of sexuality, sexual deviance and sexual violence, and the ways in which women are positioned within them. Her specific areas of research include women’s experiential narratives of sexual violence, negotiations of sexual consent and sexual ethics and attempts to regulate and respond to sexual violence outside the criminal justice system.

In relation to sex work specifically, she is interested in sex worker responses to violence and the threat of violence, including the development of ‘Ugly Mugs’ programmes and other industry measures. She also examines feminist cultural constructions of sex workers as either symbols of feminine victimisation or of female sexual empowerment. She is also currently working on the establishment of an all-Ireland research network around commercial sex and sexual labour.

Tayna's profile

University of Birmingham

Nicola Smith


Dr Nicola Smith is Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Birmingham. Nicola's research explores the intersections between feminist political economy and queer theory and, among other projects, she is currently completing a monograph on ‘Queer Sexual Economies’. Nicola has published widely on globalisation, social justice, feminist political economy, queer theory, and commercial sex, and recent books include Body/State (Ashgate, 2013, co-edited with Angus Cameron and Jen Dickinson) and Queer Sex Work (Routledge, 2014, co-edited with Mary Laing and Katy Pilcher).

Nicola's profile

Durham University

Laura Graham

Laura Graham is a lecturer at Durham Law School, having previously taught Criminal Law at the University of Nottingham. Laura is currently completing an ESRC 1+3 funded PhD at the University of Nottingham supervised by Professor Vanessa Munro, Mr Ralph Sandland, and Professor David Fraser. Laura’s thesis critically explores how the Human Rights Act could impact reform of the law relating to prostitution in England and Wales.

Laura's research interests broadly lie in the field of gender and criminal law, with a particular focus on the regulation of sex. Laura is convenor of Gender and Law at Durham, and is a member of the Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities

Max Morris

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), my PhD research examines the experiences of young gay and bisexual men who use social networking sites and smartphone applications (such as Grindr) to sell sex online. I am interested in how new technologies have made the sale of sex more covert, leading to what I call 'incidental sex work',and the implications this has for social policy. My research has also documented the increasingly positive experiences of sexual minorities in educational settings, changing attitudes toward sex and relationships, and the influence of social media on youth sexualities and masculinities. I have a BA in Philosophy and Politics from the University of Liverpool, an MA in Social Research Methods (Social Policy) from Durham University, and maintain an interest in public debates around feminism, secularism and social justice.

Max's profile

Mark McCormack

Dr Mark McCormack is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Applied Social Sciences and Co-Director of the Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities. His research has empirically documented the erosion of homophobia in educational and sporting settings, and examined the impact this has on the social dynamics of these settings. His research explores how decreasing homophobia has resulted in an expansion of gendered behaviours for heterosexual male youth, including emotional openness and physical intimacy. He has also discussed the changing nature of homosexually-themed language, and stressed the importance to recognise generational differences in how such language is understood; particularly for teachers and other practitioners. He also researchers the improvement in life experiences of sexual minorities, with a focus on bisexual men in British and American metropolitan cultures.

Mark's profile

University of Kent

Erin Sanders-McDonagh

Dr Erin Sanders-McDonagh is a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Kent. Erin’s research is broadly focuses on issues relating to the social, economic, and political structures that shape sex work practices. She has worked with the third sector on issues such as domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and street-based sex work. Her first monograph Women and Sex Tourism Landscapes will be published in September of 2016, and she is also working on an edited collection with Jon Mulholland and Nicola Montagna on gender and nationalism (published by Palgrave in September 2017). Erin is also working as part of a collective exploring the impacts of gentrification of Soho.

Erin's profile

Phil Hubbard

Professor Phil Hubbard has written extensively on the relations of sexuality and the city, and has particular expertise in the regulation of sex work through planning, licensing and environmental controls. This has included international comparative projects funded by the ESRC, Joseph Rowntree and British Academy: he has given expert testimony to the British All Party Parliamentary Group on prostitution, and his work has also been cited in Australian and New Zealand parliamentary reviews. His publications include 'Sex and the city: geographies of prostitution in the urban West' (1999) and 'Cities and Sexualities' (2012).

Phil's profile 

Kings College London 

Prabha Kotiswaran

Dr Prabha Kotiswaran is Senior Lecturer at the Dickson Poon School of Law at King's College London. She has a B.A. LLB degree from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore and LLM and SJD degrees from Harvard Law School. Before coming to King’s she taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London and practiced law at Debevoise and Plimpton, New York. She teaches and researches in the areas of Criminal Law, Transnational Criminal Law, Sociology of Law and Feminist Legal Theory. Recent books include Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor: Sex Work and the Law in India (Princeton, 2011, winner of the 2012 SLSA-Hart Prize for Early Career Academics) and Sex Work (Series on Issues in Contemporary Indian Feminism, Women Unlimited New Delhi 2011). She has co-edited Special Issues of the Journal of Law and Society and the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly on Economic Sociology of Law. Current book projects include an edited volume Unsettling Paradigms, Revisiting the Law on Trafficking: Palermo at 15; a co-authored book Governance Feminism: An Introduction and a co-edited volume, Governance Feminism: A Handbook. She was recently awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize.

Prabha's profile

Eva Klambauer

Eva Klambauer is a PhD student (funded by the Dickson Poon PhD scholarship) at King’s College London. Before joining King's, she completed her undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Sociology at the University of Vienna and her MPhil in Politics at the University of Cambridge. Eva is researching the interdependent relationship between the legal framework of sex work and political mobilization of sex workers in England and Wales and New South Wales in Australia under the supervision of Dr Prabha Kotiswaran and Professor David Nelken. Her wider research interests include criminology, social policy, feminist theory and social movement studies.

Eva's profile

Kingston University

Tracey Sagar


Tracey Sagar is a Professor of Criminology in the College of Law and Criminology, Swansea University. Her work focuses on the regulation of sex work in the United Kingdom (UK) and in more recent years she has worked with Debbie Jones at Swansea University and external partners to provide an evidence base to further policy development and practice at the local and national level in Wales. Collaborative research has provided important data on street based sex work and violence in the city of Cardiff, it has located the service provision needs of off street sex workers in Cardiff, and it has critically examined the perceptions of Cardiff and Swansea residents on sex work and policy development.

At the national level in Wales, as Principal Investigator on the 'Sex Work Research Wales' project (with Debbie Jones and Gibran UK) Tracey has mapped sex work across Wales, considered sex work in Wales as a policing priority and as a contested community issue, and carried out an examination of local responses to the sex markets across the 22 local authority areas of Wales. Most recently, Tracey and Debbie have collaborated with the National Union of Students in Wales, the National Health Service, Terrence Higgins Trust and the University of South Wales to carry out research and implement innovative services for student sex workers in the UK. Tracey is Principal Investigator on the 'Student Sex Work Project', academic advisor to the 'Cardiff Sex Work Forum', member of the 'Wales Strategic Sex Work Group', and co-director of the 'Consortium for Sexuality Studies: Research, Innovation and Practice' at Swansea University. 

Tracey's profile

P.G. Macioti

P.G. Macioti (PhD) is a researcher and activist in the field of citizenship, migration, language and sex work. P.G. regularly intervenes in critical academic and activist seminars and debates about sex work and  conducts independent research on stigma. Since May 2016, she is working on a comparative research on sex workers’ access to mental health services in Europe, with Giulia Garofalo Geymonat and Nick Mai. She is currently writing a critical review on mental occupational health, sex work and other "risky" professions at the Faculty of Public Health of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Starting from June 2017, PG joined the international team of Nick Mai's ERC Project SEXHUM, researching sexual humanitarianism, as Postdoctoral researcher in Sydney, Australia.

University of Central Lancashire

Emily Cooper 

Emily is a lecturer in Human Geography at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).  Her research broadly centres on how sex, space and society interact, with a particular focus on relations between indoor sex work and residential communities in recent studies.  Emily’s doctoral thesis, completed at Lancaster University (2009-2014), evaluated the impacts of massage parlours on residential communities in Blackpool (the most recent publication from this study can be found here: Emily is also interested in sex work regulation and local authority policies, and evaluating the evidence base for these strategies. She is also part of the UCLan Policing research team.

Lancaster University

Sarah Kingston

Dr Sarah Kingston is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Lancaster university. Her recent research explores the experiences and standpoint of women who buy sex (British Academy/Leverhulme funded project with Dr Natalie Hammond). This work will be published as a monograph with Routledge in 2018. Sarah’s other works include “Prostitution in the Community: Attitudes, Action and Resistance” (Routledge, 2013) and “New Sociologies of Sex Work” (Ashgate, 2010). She also has a number of articles in peer reviewed journals such as The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Policing & Society, and Sexualities. Sarah volunteers as an outreach worker for The Streetlink project, Preston, working with female street sex workers.

Leeds Beckett University

Billie Lister

Dr Billie Lister is a sociologist based at Leeds Beckett University, where she currently holds the title of Senior Lecturer in Criminology. Billie’s MSc and PhD research addressed policy in Scotland and the street based sex industry (specifically, the impact of the criminalisation of kerb crawlers in 2007). Her PhD was an ethnography of a lap-dancing bar in Edinburgh, Scotland. The thesis focuses on social, economic and cultural change and the impact this has on working conditions and finances of lap-dancers. Billie was the RA for Professor Phil Hubbard’s ESRC project looking into the impact of Sexual Entertainment Venues in communities in England and Wales. She was also involved in research for The Student Sex Work Project in Swansea and is currently supervising the Ph.D work of Gemma Ahearne who is looking at the experiences of incarcerated sex workers. 

University of Leeds

Kate Hardy

Kate received her doctorate in October 2010 in Geography at Queen Mary, University of London where she was supervised by Professor Jane Wills and Dr Cathy McIlwaine. The thesis examined sex work and sex workers’ labour organisation in Argentina. After this, she worked as a researcher on an ESRC funded study on the regulation and integration of lap dancing into the night-time economy with Dr Teela Sanders and on an ongoing study into cosmetic surgery tourism.

Her research interests include issues surrounding trade union organizing, precarity, informal work, the body, sex work, women's movements, gender, agency and resistance.

She is interested in supervising doctoral students with interests in gender and work; black, informal and underground economies; paid and unpaid work and labour; theorising work and labour.

Kate's profile

Northumbria University

Mary Laing

Mary is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Northumbria University interested in the regulation and criminalisation of sex work and the sex industry. She is the Vice Chair and Academic representative on the Board of National Ugly Mugs. She leads on research and policy issues for NUM, and co-led the original Home Office funded evaluation of NUM. She has contributed written and in-person responses to local, national and international consultations on sex work policy and law. Most recently she submitted evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry (2016), which included survey work completed with NUM members, and was reported on in The Independent. She has publications in Sexualities, Journal of Law and Society and Geoforum. She is the co-editor of Queer Sex Work (Routledge) and Policing the Sex Industry (Routledge) and is currently undertaking collaborative participatory research with practitioners and sex workers identifying as trans and in other gender diverse ways. She loves sea swimming, cream teas and crime fiction.

Martin Zebracki

Dr Martin Zebracki is Lecturer / Assistant Professor in Critical Human Geography in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds. He employs discursive, visual and ethnographic methodologies to examine his particular research interests across public art, sexual citizenship and social inclusiveness in the empirical context of contemporary Western city spaces. Zebracki is currently involved in the collaborative network on Community, Diversity and Mobility within Sex Work in Australia, the USA, the UK and Ireland.

Martin's profile
Personal webpage:

Queens University Belfast

Graham Ellison

Graham Ellison is a Reader in Criminology, School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast and is currently Director of the Institute of Criminology & Criminal Justice in the School. He completed his primary degree in Sociology & Political Science at Queen’s and his DPhil at the University of Ulster where he undertook his doctoral research on the Royal Ulster Constabulary (the police in Northern Ireland at the time). He worked for a number of years in the Department of Criminology at Keele University before moving back to Queen’s to take up a new appointment in the School of Law.

His research interests lie primarily in the realm of policing and regulation and it was while undertaking research on community policing in Prague that he became aware of how sex work / sexual commerce could be used as a prism through which to elucidate many facets of state policing more generally. At the time the police in Prague were having particular problems with a highly active male sex worker scene both within and the immediate vicinity of Prague’s main train station. This led to among other things, violence, thefts and pickpocketing, drug abuse and homelessness all of which posed particular policing challenges. This initial interest was later developed with Professor Ron Weitzer into a larger British Academy / Leverhulme Trust research study that investigated the policing and regulation of sexual commerce in four cities where the regulatory frameworks display high levels of variation: Berlin, Manchester, Prague and Belfast. Publications and larger grant funded studies are developing from this research.

He has been a noted critic of recent legislative developments in the Northern Ireland Assembly that have seen sex-purchase legislation implemented in the jurisdiction (from 2015) following the so-called Nordic model. However, departing from the thrust of legislation as it has appeared in Norway and Sweden the legislative amendments have also broadened the scope of ‘sexual services’ to include lap-dancing and stripping which look likely to fall within the parameters of the new law. Debates as they have occurred in Northern Ireland raise a number of key issues, but one of the most fundamental ones concerns the alignment of key women’s groups with a political party of the Christian Right in championing the legislative changes, in this case the Democratic Unionist Party. These developments are somewhat unique in a Western European context and the only real parallel can be found among the Bible Belt states of the US. In current research terms he is interested in how abolitionist campaigns resonate with local political and cultural characteristics at the micro-level.

University of Western Australia

Paul Maginn

Dr Paul Maginn is an urban planner/geographer with expertise/interests in (i) the geography and regulation of the sex industry, (ii) urban politics, (iii) strategic planning and planning reform; (iv) the role of qualitative methods in urban/housing policy, (v) community participation; and (vi) race/ethnic/gender issues in public policy. He is the author/editor of 5 books, including the recently published co-edited volume, (Sub)Urban Sexscapes: Geographies and Regulation of the Sex Industry with Christine Steinmetz (Routledge, 2015) and Planning Australia: An Overview of Urban and Regional Planning with Susan Thompson (Cambridge University Press, 2012). Paul is co-author with Graham Ellison (QUB) of ‘Male Sex Work in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland’ published in the edited volume Male Sex Work and Society (Harrington Park Press, 2014).

Paul's profile

University of York

Kate Brown

Kate is a Lecturer in Social Policy and Crime at the University of York. Her research explores the governance of vulnerability and care and control processes for 'vulnerable' groups. Although mainly focussing on young people she also has a longstanding interest in sex work policy and practice. Before studying for her PhD, Kate worked in the voluntary sector for nearly ten years, including as a support worker for sex workers and sexually exploited young people. For the last ten years she has been a trustee for Basis Yorkshire (formerly Genesis Leeds), a charity which supports sex workers and sexually exploited children; she is currently Chair of Trustees. Kate was the research lead on Leeds City Council's Prostitution Strategic Partnership during the city's moved to a 'managed approach' to street sex work. 

Kate's profile

Independent Scholars

Jane Pitcher – Strathclyde University

Jane recently completed an ESRC-funded PhD in Social Sciences at Loughborough University which explored the working experiences of sex workers in different indoor settings in Great Britain, drawing on in-depth interviews with adult female, male and transgender sex workers. She is currently working as a University Teacher in the department. She has more than 20 years' research and evaluation expertise in voluntary, academic and public sector organisations. Her research interests include intimate labour, labour market structures and gender, and policy responses to sex work. Jane has undertaken research and published on sex work and services to sex workers, criminal justice and community safety and labour market disadvantage. Recent publications include Sanders, O'Neill and Pitcher (2009) Prostitution: sex work, policy and politics (Sage) and Pitcher, Campbell, Hubbard, O'Neill and Scoular (2006) Living and working in areas of street sex work: from conflict to coexistence (Policy Press). She is co-academic representative on the Board of the UK Network of Sex Work Projects.

Rebecca Young 

Rebecca Young is a Forensic Psychologist in Training working for North East Psychological Services. Over the past 6 years she has been responsible for the development and implementation of the Sex Worker Pathway in Low Newton Prison. Part of her role has been to conduct qualitative research into the experiences of women who are in the sex industry, their pathways into sex work and the psychological effects of being involved. She has recently developed a prison policy for supporting women within the prison environment which has been disseminated across the female prison estate as evidence of best practice. Her role as a psychological consultant was recognised by NEPACS (North Eastern Prison Aftercare Society) in 2013 when she was presented with their annual award for her work in this field.

Camille Melissa

In 2005 she immigrated to the United Kingdom from Melbourne, Australia. She has been a full time Independent Sex Worker and a published Commercial Photographer in London for 10 years. Camille holds a degree in Biochemistry and Genetics from La Trobe University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Criminology from Melbourne University. In 2015 She commenced a Masters Degree (part time) in Digital Photography and Creative Media Arts, my field of study 'Whoretography' deconstructs visual complexities of sex worker online imagery and photographic narratives. Her visual activism is aimed at stopping the over-simplification of the lives of sex workers, and to challenge current imagery that encourages the sense that the only way of interpreting their lives is to see them as ripe for 'rescue.'  In the war on sex work, photography silences the intentions, actions and feelings of  sex workers  and serves to make  their lives more precarious.

 Members – Projects and Sex Worker Support Organisations 

Partner Researchers and Academics

  • Aston University
  • Birmingham University
  • Durham University
  • Kingston University
  • Kings College, London
  • Lancaster University
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • Northumbria University
  • Queens University Belfast
  • Strathclyde University
  • Swansea University 
  • University of Kent
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Western Australia
  • University of York


The Sex Work Research Hub JISC mail group has been set up as a resource to enable networking, discussion and sharing among sex work researchers. Membership of this group is for the following;

  • Academics or researchers based in a university, or equivalent research institution, actively researching sex work or with a background researching sex work.
  • Sex work support organisations involved in research
  • Sex worker rights organisations involved in research
  • Registered PhD students

NB. If you do not meet the membership criteria but have other experience relating to sex work research through, for example, advocacy, sex work, or support service provision roles which would enable you to make a contribution to the hub and scholarship, we can consider an application for membership from you. Such applications will be considered on a case by case basis. Similarly while the SWRH does not have the capacity to have membership from undergraduate students, if you are an undergraduate student who in addition has other such experience relating to sex work, an application could be considered.

Membership: international

As the Sex Work Research Hub focuses on the realities of sex workers living and working in the UK, the majority of its members are UK-based scholars. However, given the global interconnectedness and comparability of sex work experiences because of migration and other shared socio-cultural and economic processes, we welcome members from the International research community, particularly if their research also engages with the UK sex industry.

To apply for membership please complete the SWRH Membership Form

By signing up for the sex work research hub discussion group you are accepting and signing up to the following terms:

  • Commitment to ethical research and recognition that the experiences of all sex workers are diverse in terms of gender and sexualities, reasons for working, working conditions ,agency and control.
  • Commitment to respectful discussion and debate.
  • Recognition of the human rights of sex workers including the right to work safely, without discrimination, violence, coercion, intimidation or exploitation. The hub recognises the rights of sex workers to self determination, this includes the right to remain in, or to leave sex work.
  • Membership of the group will be renewed biannually.

If you do not meet these criteria but want to be involved in Sex Work Research Hub events and activities, sign up to our bi-annual e-newsletter and alerts about hub events and activities.

Please note that as the sex work research hub develops, it will produce a range of resources that will be made available to researchers, sex worker organisations and projects, practitioners and others; it will also offer multiple routes for interested groups and individuals to get involved.

Partner Academics and Researchers

  • Aston University
  • Birmingham University
  • Durham University
  • Kingston University
  • Kings College, London
  • Lancaster University
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • Northumbria University
  • Queens University Belfast
  • Strathclyde University
  • Swansea University 
  • University of Kent
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Western Australia
  • University of York


Contact details

Dr Rosie Campbell OBE

Professor Teela Sanders

Professor Nick Mai