Clarifying legal Sex Work activities in the U.K. is the ‘go-to’ online advertising platform for those wishing to offer or purchase legitimate sexual services.  As such, we are often asked by our members exactly what the legal position of those offering services is within the U.K.  This brief outline is based on current legislative guidelines and we hope it helps provide further clarification.

In simple terms, prostitution is described as the exchange of sexual services for money, and in England, Scotland and Wales it is legal although the following are classed as illegal activities:

  • Soliciting in a public place
  • Kerb-crawling and street prostitution
  • Owning or managing a Brothel
  • Pimping (controlling the activities of another person relating to that person’s prostitution for gain)
  • Paying for sex with an individual who has been “subjected to force” – note that clients can be prosecuted even if they were unaware the individual was forced
  • Paying for sex with an individual under the age of 18

However, it is not illegal to:

  • Work as a sex worker in private (either incall or outcall)
  • Sell sexual services at a Brothel provided you are not involved in the management or control of the establishment

The laws covering prostitution are the Policing and Crime Act 2009, together with the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and these two pieces of legislation have replaced most aspects of previous laws relating to prostitution.

Northern Ireland had similar laws to the rest of the U.K. but paying for sex became illegal there from 1st June 2015.

What exactly is a Brothel?

Any premises, for example, private flats, saunas and massage parlours, may be classified as a brothel if they are used by more than one man or woman for the purpose of prostitution, whether on the same day or on different days.  So, if you share premises with someone else and work on alternate days or weeks, the premises will still count as a brothel, even though there is never more than one person working at any one time.  Where rooms or flats in one building are let separately to different individuals offering sexual services, the premises (as a whole) may still count as a brothel if the individuals are effectively working together.  Evidence of shared keys, washing and toilet facilities, staircases, tenancy agreements etc., will still be relevant.

What about have taken extensive legal advice regarding our online services and are totally comfortable in the knowledge that we operate a legitimate online advertising platform for sex workers to promote and offer their services.  We are not an Agency and neither make appointments nor benefit from any financial transaction between a sex worker and client.  We simply provide the platform and are recognised as fully compliant by the U.K. Home Office and Law Enforcement Agencies.


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