About Us

We offer women a place to be heard and believed.

We offer open-ended and bespoke support.

We offer holistic care.

We challenge the normalisation and glamorisation of ‘sex work’.

We offer dedicated support to help women exit and find recovery from the harms caused by commercial sexual exploitation. By commercial sexual exploitation we mean any arrangement, formal or informal, where women are selling sexual access to their bodies. This includes all forms of the sex industry, both remote and in person, and other transactional arrangements, for example ‘sex for rent’.

Multiple reports have identified the need for specialist support services in this field. In many cases where women are being sexually exploited, they are already receiving support from other agencies for related areas of need – housing, sexual health, drug and alcohol services, etc – but there can be a hesitancy amongst professionals in asking about commercial sexual exploitation. Sometimes this is due to fears around being perceived as judgmental or stigmatising, especially where exploitation has been reframed as ‘sex working’.  Many women who have exited, however, say that they wished someone had asked them directly about this area of their lives and whether they wanted to break free. It would have helped them to start recognising sexual exploitation for what it was, and would have enabled them to begin to envisage a different future by making them aware of existing support services. The language of ‘sex work’ does not foster this recognition or need, tending instead to obscure or minimise harm, and making it much harder for women to find freedom.

We work with women:

We start by offering women a safe, non-judgmental place where they can share their story, be heard and understood. We then work with them to identify what support they would like to help them secure freedom and recovery. We provide different options, allowing women to determine the best path for them. Support is bespoke and open-ended, and may be practical, emotional or spiritual or any combination of the three.

We recognise that exiting is a process and not a one-time event, and that there are usually numerous barriers that women face. Whilst the material ones, such as financial pressures, may be more apparent, it is often the emotional and spiritual ones that are harder to overcome, especially where these go unacknowledged. Women often find their sense of self has become progressively fragmented through sexual exploitation, and many find themselves struggling with shame.

As a Christian organisation, we give women opportunities to engage with chaplaincy support, recognising that connecting with God’s love has been key to many women’s journey to freedom. We also partner with Christian organisations locally and nationwide that offer holistic support around drug and alcohol recovery, trauma counselling, etc.

Relume is the working name of Relume Stoke CIO, a charity registered in England and Wales (registration number 1202524)