Male Escorting, Safety & National Ugly Mugs: Queering Policy & Practice on the Reporting of Crimes Against Sex Workers

Alex Bryce, Rosie Campbell, Jane Pitcher, Mary Laing, Adele Irving, Josh Brandon, Kerri Swindells, Sophie Safrazyan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Men who sell sex to men are largely invisible in sex work research and policy discourse (Whowell and Gaffney, 2009; Whowell, 2010). Violence against sex workers is considered to be a gendered act, with men constructed as hyper-masculine pimps, clients or traffickers. Rarely are they considered sex workers or vulnerable to crimes being committed against them (Gaffney, 2007). This chapter draws on case studies and monitoring data from the National Ugly Mugs (NUM) scheme (a national reporting mechanism for crimes committed against sex workers), in order to highlight the range of incidents that male sex workers encounter and the barriers they face to reporting crimes. It argues that positioning sex workers and their performed sexual encounters within a queer conceptual framework is necessary in the context of progressive policy and practice. Exploring the experiences of male sex workers offers a more nuanced understanding of sex workers’ experiences of work-related crimes and sex work, more broadly; laying bare the flaws in radical feminist analyses, which present the extremity of simplistic ideological theory (Weitzer, 2005). Such theories have heavily influenced policy in recent decades, drawing attention away from the lived realities of male sex workers and marginalising their experiences as victims of crime. NUM has the potential to play a critical role in making visible the experiences of male sex workers and providing important learning about their support needs in relation to work-related crimes. The linking of NUM to formal police systems is a vital step towards recognition of the rights to protection under the law and justice for all sex workers who are victims of crime.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQueer Sex Work
EditorsMary Laing, Katy Pilcher, Nicola Smith
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages256
ISBN (Print)978-0415704557
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Crime and Society
PublisherTaylor & Francis


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