What is this research about?

This study aims to identify and explore the challenges faced by male sex workers and their clients.  Today, sex work is involving quickly, with HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis and the internet examples of forces that have dramatically changed the male sex industry.  This research is about understanding these and other changes and, importantly, about identifying strategies for addressing them for both male sex workers and their clients.

What does this research involve?

This is an ethnographic study, which simply means spending an extended period with a group of people to better understand their lives, perspectives and needs.  As an ethnography, this study involves a series of in-depth interviews with sex workers, clients of sex workers and those involved with sex work but not as a buyer or seller (e.g., brothel managers).  Interviews are supported by field work,  during which a researcher spends time in a male brothel and other sex work spaces (including websites) to better-understand how sex work operates on a daily basis. 

Are there risks involved with this study?

There are minimal risks involved with this study.  Given that the interviews will cover potentially sensitive topics, it is possible that some participants might feel uncomfortable.  If this occurs, a list of counselling services is available to arrange a session by telephone or in-person.  Participants are also free to discontinue participation at any time. 

How will participant identities be protected?

Protecting participant identities is very important to this research and a number of steps will be taken to ensure that no information can be linked to individuals: 

  1. Participants are only ever identified in study data by a pseudonym and no details like phone numbers or email addresses are collected,
  2. All interview transcriptions are reviewed and cleaned of potentially identifying information, such as names, and digital recordings of interviews are deleted immediately after transcription,
  3. Data are stored in an encrypted format on a secure system to which only a small number of researchers have access, and
  4. Reporting of study findings are done in a way that individuals cannot be identified.   

Who is participating in this research?

This study involves male sex workers (including men with transgender experiences), the clients of male sex workers, and those who work in a male brothel but are not themselves sex workers.  Participation is limited only to people aged 18 years and older. 

How are data managed for this project?

All study data are de-identified and then uploaded in an encrypted format to a secure system to which only a small number of researchers have access.  Once the study is complete, data will be archived and stored in a secure system at the University of New South Wales for a period of seven years.    

How can I learn about the findings of this research?

The findings of this project will be posted on this website near the end of 2019.  You can also click here to enter your email address and receive a copy of the final report. 

Whom should I contact if I have further questions?

Please contact the study’s lead investigator, Dr Denton Callander (d.callander@unsw.edu.au), if you have questions about this project.

Whom do I contact if I have complaints or concerns?

If you have a complaint or concern regarding any aspect of the study or the way it is being conducted, please contact the UNSW Human Ethics Coordinator on 02 9385 6222 or humanethics@unsw.edu.au and quote [INSERT HC].

What should I do if I want to withdraw consent?

If you have participated in this study and would like your data withdrawn, please click here and enter your details.  A member of the research team will get in touch to confirm this request.