response to the APPG Report

APPG response to the APPG Report: “Behind Closed Doors – Organised sexual exploitation in England and Wales”

Once again, the Sex Work Industry is subject to a moral crusade by politicians who see the only answer to tackling human trafficking to be the closure of online advertising sites and the implementation of a Nordic model criminalising the purchase of sexual services.  This time it’s from a group of independent MPs who are pushing their self-penned “Behind Closed Doors – Organised sexual exploitation in England and Wales” Report, as the only answer to the failure of the UK Government’s strategy to end sex-trafficking.

Be under no illusion that this is just another piece of harmless rhetoric from the anti-sex work brigade; unless the findings in the Report are strenuously challenged and discredited, more and more people will believe their findings are true and we all run the real risk of their proposals gaining credence with the Government’s lawmakers.


What is in the Report?

Published in May 2018, their inquiry focused in on the following key areas:

  • That so-called “pop-up” brothels are being used exclusively by organised crime groups to sexually exploit women in and are enabled by “prostitution procurement websites” such as and driven by a minority of UK men who pay for sex.


  • That websites such as be prevented from allowing advertising from sex-workers as organised crime groups are typically behind these adverts.


  • That the UK should adopt its own version of the “Nordic Model” whereby the purchase of sexual services will be made illegal.


The truth behind the Report

We will not take time here to list all the failings within the APPG Report but instead reference the work of Dr Kate Lister who has published an excellent response highlighting its strong anti-sex work bias, lack of understanding and its refusal to use anything other than anecdotal evidence to prove their argument.

Please take time out to read Dr Lister’s response as it explains it far more eloquently than we can.


Current UK Government thinking

The legislation is already in place to combat human trafficking and the Home Office, Law Enforcement Agencies and Anti-Slavery Units all appreciate that by forcing the Industry underground, the problem of exploitation will become decidedly worse.  Instead, the preferred option is to operate within current legislation and work alongside well-regulated and compliant platforms such as in identifying and reporting potential instances of abuse.


What is doing about it?

The authors of the Report decided it was sufficient to make assumptions about our business rather than contact us directly for our views and strategy to tackle human trafficking.  If they had done so, they would have found that operate stringent moderation policies to ensure the validity and legality of advertiser profiles, and work closely within UK Government Home Office criteria to ensure we have all the tools at our disposal to identify and report instances of suspected trafficking on the platform.  We are already at the forefront in the battle against exploitation and viewed by the Government and Law Enforcement Agencies as being very much part of the solution and not the problem.  As such, will continue to oppose any change to the legislation and work closely with our partners within the industry to ensure the voice of reason is heard.



Dr Kate Lister

Dr Kate Lister is a lecturer at Leeds Trinity University as well as a writer/blogger and curates the online research project “Whores of Yore” – a digital public engagement project that works to make research on sexuality and the history of sex work accessible to the public.  With over 200,000 followers on Twitter (@WhoresofYore), Dr Lister, who describes herself as “intellectually smutty”, is a tireless campaigner for sex worker rights and is a board member for the sex work research hub and the Vagina Museum.  In 2017, Dr Lister won the Sexual Freedom Award, Publicist of the Year and are deeply indebted to Dr Lister both for her work in defending the rights of sex workers and for giving us her permission to publish her own response to the APPG report.

Read Dr Kate Lister’s response to the Report and other articles she has authored.


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