Sex work, like all work, is the swapping of a person’s labour (in this case, sexual services) for money or goods. People of all genders, sexualities and backgrounds work in the sex industry, and job titles can range from prostitute to porn actor, to stripper, webcam performer, escort, sugar baby, dominatrix, sex toy tester, burlesque dancer and phone sex operator.

It’s a big industry: there are currently about 10,000 people working as lap-dancers in Britain and 72,800 working as prostitutes. (That’s about the same number as all the staff working for the NHS in Wales). And it’s one almost all Brits are involved with, as either a worker or a consumer (over half of Brits watch porn, over a quarter have visited a strip club, and more than one in tenBritish men has employed a prostitute).

But why are we talking about it? (And risking some seriously quizzical looks from our boss if they catch us checking the current cost of an hour’s sex?) Well, it’s partly because where we work and what work we do is such a huge part of our economy. But it’s also because sex work in particular is often ignored in economic discussions because it’s not seen as “mainstream work” (despite the huge numbers of us participating in it) and we wanted to give it some much-deserved attention.

And a quick note before we delve in: we know that to some, sex work is a sensitive, controversial and emotional topic, while for others it’s a taboo we need to eradicate. Either way, we know that most people have very strong opinions about it. While we want to look at sex work’s impact on the economy through the same framework we’d apply to any other job (which includes encouraging a deeper analysis of context and history), we are mindful that even as we type this there are sex workers being negatively impacted by the stigma and dangers that can surround this profession.

Read the full article:

How should Economists think about Sex Work? by Economy team

Nov 27th, 2018th