Table 1

 A typology of “direct” sex work

TypeGeographic distribution
Street: Clients solicited on the street, park or other public places. Serviced in side streets, vehicles, or short stay premisesWidespread, particularly if alternative work sites are unavailable (United States, Europe, United Kingdom, Australasia) and/or there is socioeconomic breakdown (eastern Europe, parts of Africa, south and South East Asia, and Latin America)10,18
Brothel: Premises explicitly dedicated to providing sex. Better security than street. Often licensed by authoritiesPreferred where sex work is decriminalised or brothels are “tolerated.” (Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, India, Europe, Latin America)
Escort: Client contacts sex worker by phone or via hotel staff. Most covert form of sex work. Relatively expensive because of low client turnover. Service provided at client’s home or hotel roomUbiquitous. In the United States escorts and private workers contacted by phone and working from a “call book” are known as “call girls” or “call men”19,20
Private: Client contacts sex worker by phone. Similar to escorts except services provided in sex worker’s premises. A variant in London and other big cities is “flat” prostitution—high cost services in rented, serviced, inner city unitsUnited Kingdom, Europe, United States, and Australia. Sometimes doorway (see below) and street sex workers bring clients home19,21,22
Window or doorway: Brothels with sex workers on public display. Windows preferred in cold climates, doorways in warmer placesWindow prostitution almost unique to Amsterdam and Hamburg. Doorway prostitution found in less affluent areas of European cities and in African and other developing countries6,23,24
Club, pub, bar, karaoke bar, dance hall: Clients solicited in alcohol vending venues and serviced on site or elsewhereUbiquitous depending on types of male club available
Other all-male venues: Clients solicited in all-male venues such as barbershops, bathhouses, saunas, and mining camps. Serviced on site or elsewhereUbiquitous
Door knock or hotel: Unattached males are approached in their hotel rooms or boarding housesHotels worldwide and wherever large numbers of unaccompanied males reside22,25
Transport (ship, truck, train): Sex workers may board vehicles to service the crew or passengers or pick up clients at stations and terminalsUbiquitous10,26
CB radio: Sex workers drive along highways using CB radio to exchange (jargon) messages with potential truck driver clients. Serviced at truck stops or parking areasUnited States27
Other methods of solicitation: Through various media including noticeboard and newspaper advertisements, “sex worker catalogues” with mobile phone numbers, the internet via virtual brothels, etc. Services are delivered mostly in brothels and other indoor venuesUbiquitous, but internet and mobile phone services are mostly confined to large cities in developed countries—particularly the United Kingdom and Sweden where legislation limits other forms of advertising7,28