The impact of laws and policing on sex workers’ lives

ELP_Colour1 Research

The East London Project: A participatory mixed-method evaluation on how removing enforcement could affect sex workers’ safety, health and access to services, in East London

Complex health interventions that act on social, structural and individual-level health determinants are challenging to evaluate using traditional methods, such as randomised-controlled trials. For this project, we are combining multiple qualitative and quantitative methods and routine data to conduct an innovative, theory-driven simulated evaluation of the impact of removing police enforcement on sex workers’ safety, health and access to services. The study covers three boroughs in East London: Hackney, Newham or Tower Hamlets and comprises four linked components:

(A) Qualitative study, including in-depth interviews with sex workers, outreach workers, police and other key stakeholders, and neighbourhood walks

(B) Cohort study  (two-part survey) with sex workers, including a baseline and follow-up questionnaire (self-completed) and HIV/STI testing (anonymously linked), at two points in time

(C) Computer model to simulate how removing police enforcement could affect sex workers’ chances of (1) experiencing violence, mental health problems (e.g. depression, anxiety), sexually transmitted infections and HIV, and (2) accessing health and social care

(D) Gathering routine data on sex work-related enforcement (e.g. arrests of sex workers and clients, raids) in all 3 boroughs

To download the scientific summary of the project, please click here .

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