Louis Theroux's New Documentary 'Selling Sex' Airs Tonight On BBC2
Sex work is entirely legal in the UK. That is, so long as employees aren't coerced or exploited. It's the activities which often go hand-in-hand with sex work - such as owning or managing a brothel, kerb crawling, pimping or soliciting in a public place - that are illegal.
And who better to explain the subject to us than TV-land's very own national treasure, Louis Theroux? You might not have immediately associated the mild-mannered presenter with sex work, but let's face it: he's an absolute boss when it comes to delving into issues surrounding this sort of subject matter.
The BAFTA award-winning filmmaker will be exploring whether sex should ever be exchanged for money in his brand-new BBC Two documentary, which airs this evening (Sunday 12 January).
Titled Louis Theroux: Selling Sex, the programme takes a deep dive into the world of online transactional sex, and sees Louis speak to the people working within it.
In Britain, trading sex is legal, on the basis that there is no exploitation, coercion or public nuisance involved.
At one time, the UK's sex trade revolved around street workers and brothels, but technology has changed that.
Today's webcams, apps and social media platforms enable sex workers to operate in a far broader variety of ways.
For sellers of sex in 2019, the digital sphere is just as important as any physical act. Whether it's sharing images and video content in an instant, or vetting potential clients, tech has made it possible to engage in sex work from the home.
This level of accessibility has drawn in new-gen sex workers who might not have considered the profession otherwise, many of whom make hundreds of pounds an hour from the comfort of their own bedrooms.
Speaking about the documentary, 49-year-old Louis said: "I'm always drawn to stories that involve ethical wrinkles - issues that are deeply felt, but are also divisive, and in which good-hearted people can come to opposite conclusions. The debate around selling sex is exactly that kind of story.
"It is one of the most straightforward, yet complex interactions that can take place between two people. On the one hand, none of the activities taking place here are illegal; everything is above board and both parties have mutually agreed on the arrangement.
"On the other, it's impossible to deny that for many - maybe most - people, there is something unsavoury in the idea of accepting money for an act that is so intimate. They have a problem with those who do it and see it as a symptom of a society that is controlled and dominated by men.
"For exactly this reason - because it is so controversial - I thought it would be revealing to speak to the women involved in the business of selling sex."
Louis Theroux: Selling Sex will air on BBC Two at 9pm on Sunday 12 January.
Featured Image Credit: BBC