Changing Lives Executive Director Laura Seebohm visited Parliament this week to provide evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee. The evidence session was part of an inquiry into the relationship between the introduction of Universal Credit and the number of people engaging in survival sex.

Along with colleagues from A WAY OUT, Basis and National Ugly Mugs, Laura provided evidence from experiences of people we support, illustrating a link between Universal Credit and survival sex.

Findings within Changing Lives show that when women find themselves in economic hardship they are forced to sell sex, and Universal Credit exacerbates this level of poverty.

Laura quoted a woman we support who stated the stark reality.”I hate sleeping on the street. I try to find a punter who will let me sleep for free sex. I hate it, but I hate sleeping on the streets more.”

Over the past ten years Changing Lives has worked with over 1,200 women and men experiencing survival sex, sex work and sexual exploitation. We run specialist services in the North East, Merseyside, Wolverhampton and Doncaster.

The Committee Chair, Frank Field MP, said “Our heads have been knocked off by your evidence” after hearing the stories of women forced in desperation to exchange sex for the means to feed, house and warm themselves and their children.

The transcript and written evidence have been published by Parliament and can be read online here.

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