Britain's Migrant Sex Workers

9781908906069 April 2013 Paperback 350pp

About the Book

Ming and Beata share neither the same language nor cultural background, yet their stories are remarkably similar. Both are single mothers in their thirties and both came to Britain in search of a new life: Ming from China and Beata from Poland. Neither imagined that their journey would end in a British brothel.

In this chilling exposé, investigative journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai works undercover as a housekeeper in a brothel and unveils the terrible reality of the British sex trade. Many workers are trapped, some are controlled – the lack of freedoms this invisible strait of society suffers is both shocking and scandalous and at odds with the idea of a modern Britain in the twenty-first century.

Adapted into the Channel 4 documentary ‘Sex: My British Job’ by Nick Broomfield.

About the Author

Hsiao-Hung Pai is a Taiwanese-born writer and journalist. She has written for the Guardian and the Chinese press in Britain and abroad. She is the author of Invisible: Britain's Migrant Sex Workers, Chinese Whispers: The True Story Behind Britain's Hidden Army of Labour, shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for non-fiction, and Scattered Sand: The Story of China's Rural Migrants. Her report on the Morecambe Bay tragedy for the Guardian was adapted into Nick Broomfield’s film Ghosts. Her undercover work for Invisible also forms much of the basis for a documentary made by Broomfield for Channel 4. She lives in London.

→ Author Website


‘This is investigative journalism at its best. Fearless, rigorous and compassionate, Invisible is a shocking exposé of Britain’s shadow world of sex slaves that enthralls and shames by turn. A master storyteller, Hsiao-Hung Pai opens a door onto one of the most secretive and least understood communities in the UK. Essential reading for anyone interested in the real price of sex.’
James Brabazon, author of My Friend the Mercenary

‘A profound, disturbing and compassionate account of the tragic lives of women migrant workers who live and suffer in our midst ... Once read there is no place for denial or complacency – they can be invisible no longer’
Helen Bamber OBE

‘To navigate the sex trade of Chinese women in the UK with Invisible is to feel the desperation of thousands of women who enter sex work as the only option for survival. Hsiao-Hung Pai has done it again; she went undercover, smelled the breath of violence, cried hidden in a brothel bathroom and videotaped the underworld of pimps and madams who make their living off slaving women in need. Hsiao-Hung deflates the myth of sex work as a free choice for migrant women.’
Lydia Cacho, author of Slavery Inc.

'Hsiao-Hung Pai is an intrepid seeker of truth, fearless and unstoppable.'
Nick Broomfield

‘Drawing out her subjects’ most intimate stories, Pai delivers an engrossing and compassionate account of their lives.’
The Sunday Times