Police and the law


As a sex worker, dealing with the police and the law may well be part of the job. Whether you have been arrested, questioned, want to report a crime or just want to know your rights, find out how we can help.

What are my rights?

First and foremost, you are a person before you’re a sex worker and that means you have the same rights as anyone who is not a sex worker. You have the right not to be abused, controlled or forced into anything against your will and you have the right to report a crime.

How well this is recognised by other support organisations may vary depending on how knowledgeable they are about sex work or the other issues you face - for example how and where you are working, whether you have registered your services and your immigration status. That is why we would advise you to work legitimately. We understand that this is sometimes difficult, as working together is not legal although it may be safer.

However if you are working in a busy flat, you are more likely to draw attention to yourself and could draw unwanted attention from your neighbours and the police. We also understand that the laws around sex work may appear to be quite complicated and you may be unaware of what your rights are. However we believe that knowledge is power. For further confidential information on this topic please contact one of the SWISH team who will be able to offer advice relevant to your own particular circumstances.

What if I want to report a crime but I don’t trust the police?

Depending on the nature of the crime, you have a few different options.
If you have experienced sexual violence we can refer you directly to a Sexual Offences Investigation Team (SOIT). SOIT officers are specially trained to work with people and sex workers who have experienced the trauma of sexual violence. We can meet them with you in an informal way to discuss your options. This is a confidential meeting and does not mean you have to press charges against the perpetrator. If you decide to press charges, we will help and support you through the whole process.
If you don’t want the police involved but you want to help protect other sex workers, sign up to the Ugly Mugs scheme.

Last review: 25/09/2014

Next review: 25/09/2017