Crack cocaine and prostitution in London in the 1990s



During the past 15 years, the use of crack cocaine has increased in London and our research from 1995–96 shows that its use is widespread throughout the sex industry by prostitutes and their clients. Interviews with women who have used crack and worked in prostitution show that use of the drug presents few difficulties for many in the industry, in contrast to widely held views. However, some women found that crack use undermined their safety at work and in other relationships. They spoke of placing themselves at greater risk of ill health, loss of earnings, and violence through their drug use. Although these problems affect a minority of prostitutes, it is important to disseminate information about these effects because crack is so widely available throughout the industry.