A report by the University of Bristol Centre for Gender and Violence Research examines the nature and prevalence of prostitution and sex work in England and Wales today. Commissioned by the UK Home Office and Office of the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, the report was not tasked with analysing the state of policy or law, and looked only at prostitution involving adults over the age of 18.
The research process was carried out over a period of approximately 11 months, between May 2018 and June 2019, and used a mixed methods approach including:
- Identification of over 1400 items of relevant publications (academic and otherwise) post-2000.
- An online public survey, open for responses across a 6 month period, which gained qualitative responses, including a significant proportion from those recently or currently involved in prostitution or sex work.
- In-depth email questionnaire addressed to a representative sample of those who responded to the public survey as having been/presently are involved in prostitution or sex work.
- Questionnaires were sent to 76 NGOs in an effort to expand participation to those who could not participate online.
- Invitations to NGOs and Police Forces to trial data collection measuring prevalence.
- Email and face-to-face interviews with a variety of professionals across all sectors throughout the research process.
The report analyses the data collected and addresses the nature of prostitution and sex work in part 1 in relation to 6 core themes found across the sector, and 14 different settings and services that broadly make up the sector. Part 2 addresses the prevalence of prostitution and sex work in England and Wales, and in particular the difficulty with which prevalence in the UK can be assessed. The report concludes with an assessment of the strength of the data and proposed recommendations for future development. The full report can be found here.