Policing the Sex Industry: Protection, Paternalism and Politics, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Policing the Sex Industry

Protection, Paternalism and Politics, 1st Edition

Edited by Teela Sanders, Mary Laing


178 pages

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The exponential growth of sexual commerce, migration and movement of people into the sex industry, as well as localised concerns about transactional sex, are key areas of interest across the urban west. Given the complex regulatory frameworks under-which the sex industry manifests, the role of the police is significant.

Policing the Sex Industry draws on the research and expertise of academics and practitioners, presenting advanced scholarship across a range of countries and spaces. Unpicking the relationship between police practice and commercial sex whilst speaking to the current policy agendas, Policing the Sex Industry explores key issues including: trafficking, decriminalisation, localised impacts of punitive policing approaches, uneven policing approaches, hate-crime approaches and the impact of policing on trans sex workers.

A dynamic and incisive contribution to existing research, Policing the Sex Industry will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as researchers at all levels, interested in fields including Criminology, Sociology, Gender Politics and Women’s Studies


Drawing on a wealth of international experience, this collection provides fascinating and important insight into contemporary debates about policing and sex work. Covering, as it does, issues such as hate crime, migration, police integrity, vigilantism, and morality, the book makes a significant contribution to much wider debates within criminology and sociology. Students, academics, policy-makers and concerned citizens will find much insight in this impressive book.

Mike Rowe, Professor of Criminology, Northumbria University, UK

Prostitution continues to attract varied policy responses, from prohibitionism to decriminalisation. Focusing on the pivotal role of the police, this book provides an authoritative international overview of the enforcement of these policies and demonstrates the importance of policing in shaping the well-being of sex workers, their clients and the communities in which they work. Recognising the complexity and increasing plurality of police practices, this collection offers real insight into the models of policing which effectively protect sex workers whilst penalising those who seek to exploit or harm them. An important and timely collection that demands to be read by all those involved in the formulation and evaluation of prostitution policy.

Phil Hubbard, Professor of Urban Studies, Kings College London, UK

Sanders and Laing have assembled an absorbing collection that serves as an important intervention in the sex-work debate. United by a rigorous yet passionate approach to the subject of sex work, these chapters are as lucid as they are thought-provoking. A must read for anyone interested in the sex work debate.

Chris Ashford, Professor of Law and Society, Director of Research and Innovations and Law, Northumbria University, UK

The growing demand for high quality research on sex work is well served by this unrivalled collection of chapters on policing. It is an impressive and coherent collection which gives great insight into the complex world of contemporary policing. By reaching across the globe, the editors have produced an articulate cross-cultural compendium of modern policing as applied to sexual labour. It is both highly theorised and at the same time highly readable so that scholars, not just of sexuality, but also of community policing and personal safety will find this far-reaching collection invaluable.

Belinda Brooks-Gordon, Reader in Psychology,University of London, UK

Table of Contents


List of contributors

Introduction: Policing the Sex Industry: Tackling Exploitation, Facilitating Safety? Professor Teela Sanders (University of Leicester) and Dr Mary Laing (University of Northumbria)

Part 1: Protection through Policing: Plurality and Pragmatism

Chapter 1 Policing sex work in the UK: a patchwork approach. Alex Feis-Bryce (CEO National Ugly Mugs)

Chapter 2: Trans sex workers in the UK: security, services and safety Dr. Mary Laing, (Northumbria University); Del Campbell (National Ugly Mugs); Dr Matthew Jones (Northumbria University) Angelika Strohmayer (Open Lab, Newcastle University)

Chapter 3: Beyond hate: policing sex work, protection and hate crime Dr Rosie Campbell OBE (University of Leicester)

Chapter 4: Decriminalisation, policing and sex work in New Zealand Dr Lynzi Armstrong (University of Victoria Wellington, New Zealand)

Chapter 5: ‘Not in our name’: Findings from Wales Supporting the Decriminalisation of Sex Work Professor Tracey Sagar and Debbie Jones (University of Swansea)

Part 2 Policing Operations, Enforcement and Austerity

Chapter 6: Policing a Crime, Producing a Victim: An Ethnography of Raids in Sex Trafficking Operations Dr Julia Leser (University of Leipzig, Germany)

Chapter 7: Trafficking, Pimping, Sex Work, and the Police: Perceptions of Street Prostitutes in Las Vegas Dr Andrew L. Spivak (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

Chapter 8: The condom as evidence and the condom as a crowbar Dr Synnøve Jahnsen, (Uni Rokkan Centre, Norway).

Chapter 9: ‘Cleaning up Camden’: Street-based sex work and the use of ASBOs in the Age of Austerity Dr. Lucy Neville (Middlesex University) and Dr Erin Sanders-McDonagh (University of Kent)

About the Editors

Teela Sanders is Professor of Criminology at the University of Leicester, UK.

Mary Laing is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Northumbria University, UK.

About the Series

Interdisciplinary Studies in Sex for Sale

Interdisciplinary Studies in Sex for Sale is a new and exciting series emphasising innovative work on the complexities of sex for sale, its practices, the policies designed to regulate it and their effects. It covers both recent and historical developments with an aim to explore multidisciplinary and international perspectives, expand theoretical approaches, and analyse matters which are the subject of controversy and debate in this field.

We welcome submissions of single and co-authored books, as well as edited collections that address sex for sale, its practices and regulation, including those with a focus on: comparative analysis; multi-scalar approaches; methodological perspectives; cultural and economic contexts; and the policies concerned with the regulation of sex for sale.

This series emerges from, and intends to expand the work of the European Concerted Research COST Action IS1209 ‘Comparing European Prostitution Policies: Understanding Scales and Cultures of Governance (ProsPol)’, a European network funded under Horizon 2020 (www.prospol.eu).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General