The Struggle of Britain's Sex Workers: Living in Danger Amidst the Cost of Living Crisis

Admin | 2023. April 23. - 02:32

The high cost of living in the United Kingdom is taking its toll on sex workers, putting them in a dangerous and uncertain situation. The profession is already stigmatized, but the current crisis has made it even more difficult for those who work in the industry. Many sex workers, predominantly women, are struggling to make ends meet and provide for themselves and their families.

Jack Parker, a 24-year-old sex worker in London, shares that he has seen his clients reduce the frequency of their appointments due to the crisis. He explains that he has had to adjust his rates and increase his hours to make up for the loss in income. "Everyone feels the cost of living crisis," explains Bianca Blake, spokesperson for the English Prostitutes (ECP). "This means that there are fewer customers, and if there are fewer customers, you have to work harder to try to earn as much as before."

Julia, a 21-year-old student from London, who makes live love photos and videos on the British website Onlyfans, shares that she has also been affected by the crisis. She admits that she is afraid that someone will publicly release photos where she will be clearly identified, which could affect her options for finding work after her studies. Julia explains that she started to give in to the requests of several clients to show her face, something she had previously carefully declined with pictures "from the back or face." "Even though I knew it was a bad idea, it was either this or the other split stay," she moans.

The crisis has led to an increase in people entering or returning to sex work. In London, 30% of sex workers in a survey conducted by the National Ugly Mugs (UN) organization collectively say that they have started because of the increase in prices. "Prostitution is increasing because poverty is increasing," summarizes the ECP collective, which provides a helpline for professionals in the region. The number of calls increased by 30% in 2022.

Despite the rise in demand for their services, sex workers are facing dangerous and uncertain conditions. Parker shares that he has reluctantly made appointments with several "at-risk" clients who use the app because of injuries or violent behavior from other professionals. He explains that he was attacked by customers who grabbed him and tried to choke him. His financial situation led him to work in London, although sex work is not legal in the UK. In exchange for a significant percentage, establishments that offer sex work provide a safer environment but also impose a large number of clients and a hectic pace of work. Transgender youth are exposed to numerous violent and transphobic behaviors there. "I needed so much money that I couldn't leave," Parker explains.

In late 2022, British labor unions launched the "Hookers Against Hardship" campaign, calling on the government to "combat the poverty, homelessness, and debt that drive so many people, especially mothers, into prostitution." Audrey C., who initiated the online petition promoted in the campaign and has more than 25,000 signatures, describes the "pressure" she feels seeing that clients have turned away from normality and provide services that before "could only eat and not offer to save the ceiling." The petition also highlights the dangers of violence that sex workers face.

The UK government should take immediate action to address the crisis that is affecting sex workers. The government should provide support to these individuals, such as access to affordable housing, healthcare, and education, among others. The government should also work to combat the stigma associated with sex work, as well as the violence and discrimination that these workers face.

In conclusion, the cost of living crisis in the UK is taking a toll on sex workers.