Confusing, Dated and Ineffective? Current Sex Work Laws in England and Wales and Proposals for Reform


  • Jade Potot-Warren Northumbria University



Sex work is defined as ‘a person who on at least one occasion and whether or not compelled to do so, offers or provides sexual services to another person in return for payment or a promise of payment to A or a third person’ . Sex work law is often controversial, and must balance the interests of the workers, the clients and the public. Examination of the relevant law relating to sex work, and the history and policy considerations that influenced it are crucial to understanding the principles that underpin the current law, as well as its application and flaws. There are a variety of critiques of England and Wales’ current approach to sex work and the reforms put in place thus far, including criticism suggesting that the current law is in places confusing, dated and ineffective. I will suggest proposals for reform, aimed at clarifying and modernising UK sex work legislation. These proposals for reform will explore and compare existing alternative models that could potentially be adopted. The issues raised by legal transplants (i.e. ‘the moving of a rule or a system of law from one country to another or from one people to another’ in order for it to function as it did in the host jurisdiction ) are also a necessary consideration in the development of reform proposals.