Sex worker warns students of the 'devastating effects' of working in the sex industry

Sex work protest

Monday, October 1, 2018

A sex worker has warned students interested in working in the sex industry of the "devastating effects" it can have on their lives and careers.

Cat Stephens from the International Union of Sex Workers, appeared on the Mike Graham show to discuss the backlash the University of Brighton has faced, after allowing a sex worker's support group to run a stall for students at its freshers' fair.

Speaking to Mike Graham and Dawn Neesom, Ms Stephens said: "When people work in the sex industry, part of it is because they do not have other options that mean they can manage their studies, manager their childcare and earn a living wage.


'Devastating effects'

"This is something that years later can cause devastating effects on your life. That's not about the reality of selling sex or contact with clients, that's social attitudes and stigma.

"Look at the case of Belle De Jour, selling sex when she was a PhD student. She took great lengths to protect her anonymity and that crumbled. She was years away from having sold sex, living an entirely private life, not involved in any work around the sex industry whatsoever when it came out in the papers.

"Even though she was in the position where she had a relatively supportive employer, she is no longer working in science."

Ms Stephens also called for the "decriminalisation" of sex work in the UK.

"New Zealand, parts of Australia, have decriminalised, and the data that we've seen from there shows that it's working really well in protecting people who sell sex. 

"We've seen cases where a woman successfully prosecuted someone who was running a brothel for sexual harassment."