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University of the West of Scotland

Special Collections

UWS Special Collections and Archives


The UK Network of Sex Work Projects (UKNSWP) is a non-profit, voluntary association of agencies and individuals working with sex workers.

The aim of the UKNSWP is:

  • To promote the health, safety, civil and human rights of sex workers, including their rights to live free from violence, intimidation, coercion or exploitation, to engage in the work as safely as possible, and to receive high quality health and other services in conditions of trust and confidentiality, without discrimination on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, culture or religion.

UKNSWP is an umbrella organisation which brings together projects who are offering some sort of frontline support services to people involved in sex work. Affiliation is voluntary and members are asked to sign up to the mission’s statement. A key aim of UKNSWP is to enable the sharing of information and good practice between sex work support projects.


UKNSWP is one of the key organisations in the UK to represent sex work projects. There are national networks specialising in HIV, sexual health, drugs, domestic violence and gender issues, but NUM is the key national organisation focusing on sex work. As an independent body,UKNSWP is able to raise policy issues in the public arena, both locally and nationally. This enables public debate on sex work in the UK to benefit from the expertise of those working in sex work projects that see the impacts policies have on the lives of sex workers. Speaking up from the perspective of sex work support projects,UKNSWP aims to support sex workers and projects that work with them and, through this, improve public policy in this difficult area. UKNSWP has contributed to a range of national policy discussions and reviews relevant to sex work, including:

  • “Empty Promises”, UK AIDS & Human Rights Project assessment of the impact of current government policy on the rights of sex workers and other vulnerable groups in the context of HIV
  • Home Office Review of Tackling Demand (2008)
  • “Paying the Price”, Home Office Consultation (2004)
  • “Being Outside”, Scottish Executive Review of Street Prostitution
  • National Rape & Sexual Abuse Action Plan (England & Wales)
  • National Sexual Health Strategies
  • Crimestoppers Initiative

Member organisations are diverse but all projects involved are committed to promoting the health, safety and welfare  of sex workers.  Projects have different  backgrounds and have a variety of approaches.  Individual members include academics and others with expertise in the area of sex work.


All projects provide general advice and support.  Some projects offer services to female and transgender sex worker others offer services to male and transgender sex worker. Projects may offer some or all of the following:

  • Outreach and harm reduction services
  • Drop-in services
  • Legal Advice
    • Some projects provide specialist advice on welfare rights, housing and the law
  • Medical/Health Services
    • Some projects offer a range of medical/health services
  • Drug Services
    • Some projects offer drug advice, needle exchange and drug treatment
  • Exit Support
    • Many projects offer support to those people who want to leave sex work