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Who we are

The North East Sex Work Forum is a registered charity made up of a group of people/agencies who develop and deliver services for individuals across the North East involved in all aspects of the adult entertainment/sex industry recognising that the spectrum of experience can be vast with varying levels of need, vulnerability and harm. The group agrees to have no pre-judgement on any individual’s lifestyle, recognising autonomy and labour rights within the sex industry.

Chief Executive Officer:

Gaynor Trueman BSc (Hons), MA

NESWF Chief Executive Officer Independent Research Consultant


Co-founder of the North East Sex Work Forum with over a decade of working alongside people involved in the sex industry frontline as a project lead; service development/frontline delivery as the first sex work ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor) in the North East; involved in and contributed to various research projects such as ‘Peer Talk: Hidden Stories; ‘Beyond the Gaze: The working practices, regulation and safety of Internet- based sex work in the UK’; ‘The Lives and Needs of Women Working within the Online Sex Industry across Teesside’; ‘Could a ‘zoning’ approach to street sex work within Stockton-on-Tees offer a progressive solution for a safer and more cohesive community?’
Committed to developing harm reduction policies which would allow people involved in the sex industry to work safe and without stigma or judgement. Supports de-criminalisation of sex work.


Professor Maggie O'Neil

Professor in Sociology/Criminology, born in Consett, a 30 year career in conducting and supporting participatory action research with sex workers and communities in North East, UK, Spain, Ireland and Canada.
Co-founder of NESWF and co-founder of SWRH (Sex Work Research Hub) and board member of ISWRN (Irish Sex Work Research Network).
Former Principal of Ustinov College Durham University.
Committed to improving research, development, policy and practice in the North East and the lives of sex workers and their families/communities. Supports de criminalisation of sex work.

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Laura Mcintyre


Laura McIntyre is a leader in the voluntary sector, in her role as Head of Services for Women and Children for Changing Lives, a national charity with roots in the North East. Laura has set up and developed a range of innovative services for women across the North and Midlands, including developing peer research methodology which have contributed to policy recommendations and policy change at a local and national level. She has set up women’s centres, both building-based and virtually, and has developed trauma-responsive models of care for Changing Lives. Laura is a Winston Churchill Fellow of 2011, and has specialist expertise supporting women who sell and exchange sex, and women who are targeted and groomed for sexual exploitation


Sarah McManus


Sarah has worked for over 27 years in senior positions within social housing and the charitable sector across the North East and Yorkshire. She was the CEO for almost seven years of an outreach and prevention charity in Teesside that specialised in working with on street sex workers and women and girls who had been sexually exploited. She currently works as the Director of Operations for a research and engagement charity dedicated to developing expert and public understanding of sentencing in England and Wales. She is a passionate ambassador for social change and access to justice for some of the most marginalised and discriminated women, families and young people in the region. 

Working Group Members:

A Way Out

Address: A Way Out, The Gate,
1-2 Castlegate Quay,  Stockton on Tees,
TS18 1BZ

Phone: 01642 655071

The Liberty project within A Way Out delivers a harm reduction service to adult women involved in street sex work across Cleveland with a concentration of services within Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough. This includes outreach, engagement and recovery services to provide advocacy with health inequalities, sexual health, substance misuse, homelessness, social isolation, trauma therapy, counselling, employment pathways and crime reporting/support. 
The project also supports women in Middlesbrough Police Custody on a weekly basis and works closely with Probation providing an established referral pathway to support female offenders who have been sexually exploited or have sex worked. A Way Out also delivers training packages to stakeholders/partners across the region. 

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Changing Lives GAP & MAP

Changing Lives GAP & MAP supports men and women exchanging and selling sex in different environments across the Northumbria area. Support is based on an assertive outreach model which means people can be met in different spaces (coffee shops, in door premises, home visits etc.); peer led drop-in support and specialist group work interventions is also available.
The services offered include sexual health screening and support, advocacy with crime reporting in partnership with local specialised officers and NUM; self-defence; emotional support & therapeutic workshops; support with homelessness, addiction and employment. All support is tailored to the individual and is needs led. Opportunities are also provided for people to design and lead on projects and develop peer led research.

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HMP Low Newton - Pathway 9

Low Newton prison serves the courts in the catchment area from the Scottish Borders to North Yorkshire across to North Cumbria. All remand and sentenced women aged 18 and over can serve out their sentence at Low Newton.
The focus of the regime is to encourage women to plan for a positive future by taking control of their day to day lives and provides opportunities to learn and develop skills needed for a successful future. There is a comprehensive education and training service, a shop where recycled clothes are available.
Offender pathway 9 is specifically for women who have been involved in sex work. Low Newton now has a fully operational ABE suit which can be used by police to conduct and record interviews. It is the first in the country to be located inside a prison.

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