O’Shea, Danielle

Start date:
October 2020
Research Topic:
An exploration of sex work that involves defining the scope of the industry and assessing sex workers access to support
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Roxanna Fatemi-Dehaghani and Dr Rachel Swann
Supervising school:
School of Law and Politics,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

What counts as sex work has become increasingly complicated with the rise of the internet and improvements in exposure. Whether the discussion is about defining the sex or work aspect, there are clear deficiencies in both the law’s defining of sex work and in how this compares to other definitions such as those of World Health Organization. These inadequacies then lead to sex workers being unable to access support services such as welfare and health services due to these differing definitions.
To combat this, I aim to define sex work empirically through a series of semi-structured interviews with sex workers. These interviews will also discuss current guidelines around their particular industry and how readily they can currently access support. Additionally, the justifications for different organisations’ definitions will be explored alongside its impact.
This research will then produce ideas for industry-specific guidelines in addition to a new definition. This will assist current pushes for reform whether that be legal or organisational and will also provide a snapshot of the current sex work industry and how it may have evolved due to factors like COVID-19.