Intended for healthcare professionals


Sex workers to pay the price

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 26 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:190
  1. Petra Boynton, non-clinical lecturer in healthcare research (,
  2. Linda Cusick, reader in substance use (
  1. University College London
  2. Institute for Applied Social and Health Research, University of Paisley

    UK plans to cut street prostitution will threaten sex workers' health

    In 2004 the UK Home Office published a consultation paper on sex work, after a review of the Sex Offences Act (2003). The paper, Paying the Price,1 was criticised by specialist services for giving less priority to the health of sex workers than before and for focusing too much on issues of criminal justice, and by health researchers for its unethical use of questionnaires and interviews. The resulting Home Office strategy2 published last week aims to challenge the view that street prostitution is inevitable; achieve an overall reduction in street prostitution; improve the safety and quality of life of communities affected by prostitution, including those directly involved in street sex markets; and reduce all forms of commercial sexual exploitation.

    The strategy looks to the controversial Swedish model that criminalises men who pay for sex, and uses police photographs of sex acts and possession of …

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