The All Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade has launched an inquiry into ‘pop-up brothels’. The phrase started to appear in the media last year. Devon and Cornwall police warned property owners to be ‘vigilant’ about their holiday houses being used by prostitutes. Sex workers were renting flats in Newquay and other seaside towns for short periods before moving on to the next place, often using Airbnb or holiday letting companies. To sex workers, this wasn’t news; if you don’t want to work outdoors, you have to be inventive.
The Sheffield Working Women’s Opportunities Project has reported a steep rise in the number of women starting or returning to sex work in the city. The English Collective of Prostitutes says the pattern repeats itself across the country. ‘Zero hours contracts, benefits sanctions and family care needs’ are among the reasons women give for turning to sex work.