The UK Sex Industry

UK Sex Industry

The UK Sex Industry consists of businesses which either directly or indirectly provide sex-related products and services or adult entertainment. The sex industry provides adult sex-related products and services such as escorts, prostitution, adult movie theaters, pornography, sex shops, strip clubs, sex-oriented men's magazines, sex movies, sex channels for television and pre-paid sex movies for on demand.

The sex industry employs hundreds of people each day. These range from the sex worker, also called adult service provider (ASP) or adult sex provider, who provides sexual services, to a multitude of support personnel. Sex workers can be prostitutes, call girl, pornographic film actors, pornographic models, sex show performers, erotic dancers, striptease dancers, telephone sex operators, cybersex operators, or amateur porn stars for online sex sesions and videos.

In addition, like any other industry, there are people who work in or service the sex industry as managers, film crews, photographers, those working in development and maintenance of websites, processing orders, producing and selling DVDs and other sex articles, printing magazines and books, etc.

Prostitution in the UK

In the United Kingdom, prostitution itself (the exchange of sexual services for money) is not a crime, but a number of related activities, including soliciting in a public place, kerb crawling, owning or managing a brothel, pimping and pandering, are crimes.

In England and Wales and in Northern Ireland it is an offence to pay for sex with a prostitute who has been “subjected to force” and this is a strict liability offence (clients can be prosecuted even if they didn’t know the prostitute was forced). It is illegal to buy sex from a person younger than 18, although the age of consent for non-commercial sex is 16.

The total number of prostitutes is not known and is difficult to assess, but authorities and NGOs estimate that approximately 100,000 persons in the country are engaged in prostitution. The personal circumstances of prostitutes are not clear and are, as elsewhere, the subject of political controversy.

The sex trade takes different forms, such as prostitution practiced in massage parlors, saunas, private flats, street prostitution and escort prostitution. The enforcement of the anti-prostitution laws is very lax.

According to a 2009 study by TAMPEP, of all prostitutes in the UK, 41% were foreigners - however in London this percentage was 80%. The total number of migrant prostitutes was significantly lower than in other Western countries (such as Spain and Italy where the percentage of all migrant prostitutes was 90%). The migrant prostitutes came from: Central Europe 43%, Baltic 10%, Eastern Europe 7%, Balkan 4%, other EU countries 16%, Latin America 10%, Asia, 7%, Africa 2%, North America 1%. 35 different countries of origin were identified.

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