The impact of laws and policing on sex workers’ lives

Epidemiological Survey

Component B: Cohort study

What we want to find out

Following the qualitative study, we will carry out a cohort study, consisting of two surveys, conducted approximately 6 months apart. These will measure how much sex work-related laws, police enforcement (and other issues e.g. housing and financial situation, migration status, work environments, being a member of a sex worker organisation, availability of outreach services) affect sex workers’ safety, health and access to services, and how this changes over time.


We will invite up to 450 sex workers to complete a questionnaire on a tablet device and, if they wish, to test for HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea. We will also ask if they would be willing to complete the questionnaire again and re-test approximately six months later. This is to see how their experiences of policing and health services change over time.


We invite sex workers of all genders, ethnicities and immigration statuses of different ages, who sell direct sexual services in any sex work sector in Hackney, Newham or Tower Hamlets. We want to capture the experiences of sex workers across different work settings.

Our research team includes researchers with experience and knowledge of sex work in the boroughs and we are working with sex worker support services (e.g. Open Doors) to help us connect with sex workers working across all sectors.

What this information will be used for

We will use this information to help us design the computer model (component C) and ultimately to advocate for evidence-based policy and practice to improve the safety, health and well-being of sex workers, in the UK and internationally.

Download the participant information sheet here: Cohort study information sheet

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