New book examines the impact of prostitution
The book, 'Prostitution in the Community' is written by Dr Sarah Kingston and explores what communities really think about prostitution; analysing the nature, extent and visibility of prostitution in residential communities and business areas.
It considers how different policy approaches employed by the police and local authorities have shaped the nature of sex work in different communities and considers the legal and social context in which prostitution is situated and the community responses of those who live and work in areas of sex work. The book, published by Routledge on Thursday 3 October, also explores the techniques and strategies communities have utilised to take action against prostitution in their neighbourhoods.
As Dr Kingston explains, the text demonstrates the diversity of public attitudes, action and reaction to prostitution in the community: "I was really interested in looking at what impact prostitution had in people that live in areas of sex work, in particular street sex work and indoor markets. I wanted to take the standpoint of those people that live in those areas to see what they thought about it, whether they viewed it in a positive or negative way and the impact that it had on them in terms of their daily lives in terms of noise and nuisance or campaigning in their local area.
"The book captures these experiences and looks at people's perceptions and perspectives which were often contradictory. People's views were often informed by stigma and whilst they didn't want prostitution in the places they lived and worked, they were okay with it taking place in a big city."
When considering government policy on prostitution, Dr Kingston's research showed that the majority of people supported regulation and indeed the legalisation of the industry.
As Sarah explains: "An overwhelming majority of the people I spoke to oppose prostitution, however would support legalisation. Police officers in particular prefer prostitution to be regulated, which would allow them easier access to premises to prevent exploitation. Others I spoke to saw the benefits of a regulated industry which would take activity off the street and move it indoors as we'd have 'zones of tolerance' which currently goes against government policy. I would like to see more action in the UK on this issue with more local solutions to local problems and I urge the government to seek consultation as this research suggests that people would support a move towards regulation and legalisation."
Dr Sarah Kingston is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Course Leader of the BA (Hons) Criminology degree at Leeds Metropolitan University. Her research interests focus on the sex industry, sexuality and prostitution policy. Her PhD research explored the perceptions and impact of prostitution on residential and business communities. Her previous publications include New Sociologies of Sex Work (Ashgate, 2010) for which she was co-editor.
Sarah additionally has experience of working for the Citizens Advice service as a generalist adviser and has undertaken numerous work placements with the prison service, solicitors' practices and barristers' chambers. Dr Kingston also works as an Associate Lecturer for the Open University on a first year module, 'Introduction to the Social Science'.