EU Migrant Sex Work in the UK Post-Referendum

The English Collective of Prostitutes

NSWP member organisation the English Collective of Prostitutes and Dr Laura Connelly from the University of Salford have published new research that looks at EU Migrant Sex Work in the UK Post-Referendum.  

The research, conducted in 2019, shows that violence, xenophobia and threats of deportation against migrant sex workers from the European Union have risen since the EU Referendum.

Key findings from the research include:

  • 78% of EU migrant sex workers reported that their ability to earn income through sex work has decreased since the Referendum.
  • 68% of respondents noted at least one way in which they have changed their working practices post-Referendum. Key changes include: where they work (39%), the hours they work (24%), and the ‘type’ of client accepted (24%). On the latter point, some reported having to accept clients that they would have previously rejected on safety grounds.
  • EU migrant sex workers also reported having to make changes to their working practices due to a perceived increased risk of deportation. Some reported having been raided and arrested, whilst others have been threatened with closure orders. This is particularly concerning post-Referendum because even those granted Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme can be deported if they are convicted of committing a criminal offence.
  • The majority of respondents (63%) perceive that clients’ attitudes towards migrant sex workers have worsened since the Referendum.
  • The majority of respondents (63%) also perceive that the general public’s attitudes towards migrant sex workers have worsened post-Referendum.
  • 68% of respondents are worried about the levels of violence they experience as EU migrant sex workers.
  • 68% of respondents said that their concerns about experiencing violence have increased since the Referendum.
  • Reflecting on actual levels of violence against migrant sex workers post-Referendum, 44% of respondents noted an increase.

Although the findings of the research pertain to EU migrant sex workers’ experiences specifically, the report notes that non-EU migrant sex workers share many of these experiences.

You can download a summary of the report in English and Romanian above or visit the English Collective of Prostitute's website to read the full report.