‘Cleaning up Camden’: Exploring the Sanitization of Sex Work in Kings Cross

Authors: Lucy Neville*, University of Leicester
Topics: Sexuality, Urban Geography
Keywords: Sex work, ASBO, gentrification, sanitization, criminalization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Borgne Room, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Introduced in the UK in 1998 as part of the Crime and Disorder Act, anti-social behaviour orders [ASBOs] have been used in various locations around the UK to police street-based sex work [SBSW]. In this paper we look at how ASBOs were used regularly in an area of north London as part of a targeted policing strategy that focused on the removal of SBSW. We argue that ASBOs and other punitive measures have been used as a way of sanitizing the area, removing ‘undesirable’ Others that might impinge on the aestheticized areas of consumption that regeneration seeks to create. Drawing on empirical data collected during 2010-2012, we argue that SBSW-ers in this area experienced a range of negative impacts as a result of this policing strategy, putting their health and safety at risk. Against a local backdrop of reduced funding to support women’s services in the third and public sectors, a lack of appropriate drug and mental health services, cuts to housing provision, and reduced social work and social care services, this paper will provide an overview of the ways in which service providers, key stakeholders, and SBSW-ers have been negatively impacted by the use of these punitive measures. We argue that despite suggestions from local government that ASBOs simply seek to assist and support sex workers, these approaches do little to reduce SBSW or help women working in prostitution.

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