A key aim of the UKNSWP is to enable networking between sex work support projects and other partners agencies and to share good practice about providing quality support services for sex workers. We do this via a range of networking activities such as home nation and regional forums.
Member organisations are diverse and include; those that are located and managed within the national health service, local authority projects, third sector/voluntary organisations, sex worker led organisations and agencies with a faith based ethos and or/harm reduction and human rights. Some member organisations have sexual health and HIV prevention as a major focus for their work, others have a drugs, sex worker rights, or wider health remit. Protection from violence, promoting safety, housing support, education, alternative lifestyle choices, exiting and the sexual exploitation of young people are also addressed. Member organisations may be projects specifically for sex workers, or may address sex work issues within other agendas, such as youth work, drugs, sexual health, health promotion, or work with gay lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Individual members include academics and others with expertise in the area of sex work.
Between them, member organisations have direct contact with thousands of sex workers across the United Kingdom, and several have been active in this field for over ten years. UKNSWP therefore represents a huge body of expertise in the field of sex work, primarily informed by the practical experience of its members, who are in daily contact with sex workers of all descriptions and in all parts of the country. UKNSWP has particular specialist expertise and knowledge about good practice for support service provision for sex workers.
UKNSWP is the only organisation in the UK to represent sex work projects. There are national networks specialising in HIV, sexual health, drugs, domestic violence and gender issues, but UKNSWP is the only national organisation focussing on sex work. As an independent body, UKNSWP is able to raise policy issues in the public arena, both locally and nationally, when individual projects may be unable to do so due to local sensitivities. Until now, public debate on sex work in the UK has rarely benefited from the expertise of those that have the most direct knowledge of how policy impacts on the lives of sex workers – those in sex work projects. In speaking up from this perspective, UKNSWP aims to support sex workers and projects that work with them and, through this, improve public policy in this difficult area. Already, the UKNSWP has contributed to national policy discussions relevant to sex work, including:
Specialist Library and Resource Collection at University of West of Scotland
Big Lottery Funding & contributions from members has enabled UKNSWP to build up a collection of materials on sex work. These are comprised of books, journal articles, research reports, project reports, leaflets and other materials: basically, any materials that relate to sex work. The main aim has been to provide a place where such a collection can be bought together and kept securely whilst ensuring that members of the UKNSWP can access all the materials in the collection. This collection is the first of its kind in the UK.
All the materials are now housed in the specialist collections library within The Robertson Trust Library and Learning Resource Centre, Paisley Campus at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS). A Specialist Collections Librarian, is responsible for managing the collection. The collection was launched on 21st October 2008.
The UKNSWP Special Collection holds a large collection of; reports, books and research articles concerning many aspects of sex work in the UK, as well as some information about sex work in other countries. It also holds information about the UKNSWP itself & sex work project materials such as; service leaflets, posters, and special promotions.
This comprehensive resource can be accessed by academic and other researchers, as well as by projects, police, media, local government, lawyers, refugee organisations, drug agencies, charities, students and staff registered with UWS. Anyone wishing to borrow from the collection and not a UKNSWP member must apply for permission in advance. Reference access to the collection is permitted to any bona fide student or researcher.
UKNSWP makes current reports, newsletters and articles available on it’s Resources Page of the UKNSWP website. So keep an eye out for new publications.
In June 2008 UKNSWP completed a program of Big Lottery Funded activities. This included the production of 3 resources for sex workers;
5 sets of good practice guidance for projects providing support services for sex workers have also been published by UKNSWP as part of the Big Lottery activity. These cover the following topics;
All these resources can be downloaded from the Resources section of this website.
UKNSWP keeps a database of agencies and projects across the UK that provides health, safety, and other services to sex workers. At present there are over 100 agencies on this database.
As part of a wider program of Big Lottery Funded activity UKNSWP has produced a “Directory of Services for Sex Workers in the UK” this can be downloaded from the “Resources” section of this website. If you are a sex work support project or a sex worker and would like hard copies of the pocket size booklet please contact firstname.lastname@example.org