The Hazards of Adult Entertainment Jobs in the UK

Adult entertainment jobs comprise a wide range of activities relating to the exchange of money for the provision of a sexual service. Indirect sex job refers to services such as stripping, lap dancing, lingerie modeling and virtual sex services which are done over the internet or mobile device. Genital contact is less common in this type of sex job. Direct sex jobs refer to services such as escort service, brothels or street prostitution. This typically involves genital contact in exchange of sex for a fee. The exact number of adult entertainment workers in the UK is unknown since sex work is mostly hidden and the population is transient.

The hazards of adult entertainment jobs in the UK are primarily attributed to the working conditions and the way workers are treated by society. Workers will continue to face multiple hazards as long as their occupation continues to be seen as problem with policies rather than welfare issue. Decriminalization would pave the way for licensing and better sexual health management.

Different types of adult entertainment jobs are associated with different levels of health hazards. Indirect sex jobs such as stripping and non-contact sex jobs are associated with lower health problems. Direct sex job workers like escorts,  indoor and outdoor sex services are at higher risk from sexually transmitted infection. The prevalence of STI is primarily attributed to unsafe sex.

Physical, sexual and verbal violence are common hazard for many adult entertainment workers. Violence is a prominent feature in their lives; physical violence is the greatest threat facing sex workers. Most workers experienced some form of violence, whether physical, sexual or emotional. Most street workers are more likely to report violence such as beatings, stabbing, robbery and rape. The effects of physical violence often lead to poor physical health and poor mental health due to trauma. In most extreme cases, violence against sex workers leads to death.

Drug and alcohol addiction can cause serious health hazard to sex workers. Some adult entertainment workers enter the trade to fund drug addictions and even continue drug use whilst pregnant. Alcohol use among sex workers is used for self-medication or coping mechanism to mask the negative feelings associated with their jobs. The most prominent health concern for drug addict sex workers are communicable diseases such as HIV and other blood borne viruses. Common health complaints by addicts include abscesses resulting from injections and intravenous drug, poor dental care and premature death through overdose.

Adult entertainment workers are identified with potential patterns of mental health issues. High levels of violence cause anxiety, stress and post-traumatic stress disorder. Psychosis and schizophrenia are also identified. A study shows that the effect of single year of sex work is likely to have the same impact on mental health as an entire life of experiences before involvement in sex job.

Sex trafficking is another hazard for adult entertainment workers. Sex trafficking is the most severe form of sex work. It is a violation of human rights and the worst form of slavery. UK is one of many destinations for trafficked people. Migrants often fall victim to this kind of exploitation due to lack of social networks and lack of knowledge about their rights and protection in the UK. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women which are most vulnerable. Threats of violence against victims and their families are commonly used to control them.

Many sex workers have experienced increasing levels of violence and complained of harassment by the police. The relationship between the police and sex workers are often problematic due to lack of trust and understanding on both sides. The behavior of the police and the criminal justice system discourage sex workers from reporting violence and other crimes. Adult entertainment workers feel they cannot safely report crimes associated to sex job as they fear being treated like criminals and not as a victim.