Sex work, in all its forms, is generally considered to be a problematic feature of urban areas. Such perceptions include associations with dirt and disorder, questions about sexual morality and the reputation of the surrounding areas, and fears concerning trafficking and other crime. However, robust and inclusive consultations with residential communities about the real (as opposed to perceived) effects of sex work remain limited.
This talk, presented by Dr Emily Cooper of the University of Central Lancashire, will therefore shed some light on this under-researched area, discussing the findings from her doctoral research project (conducted between 2011-2013) on the effects of brothels in Blackpool on the surrounding residential communities. Drawing from observations, and interviews with local residents, police officers, Blackpool Council, and sex workers, the talk will provide an insight into how brothels in Blackpool are managed by local authorities and present their very complex role in the everyday lives of their neighbours. Contrary to the assumption that crime and disorder are the only aspects that brothels bring to residential areas, the brothels and sex workers have many roles in Blackpool’s community life. These include economic contributions, heightening feelings of safety and community spirit, social entertainment, and, quite simply, just being other ‘ordinary neighbours’.