Sex worker is an umbrella term used to describe any person who exchanges labor of a sexual nature for compensation, in the form of money or gifts. Sex workers may be male, female, or transgender; they can be of any sexuality. It was first used by sex worker activist Carol Leigh in 1978 in an attempt to unite sex workers of all types and genders and highlight their work. The term has now gained widespread acceptance amongst academic publications, labor groups, and governmental and intergovernmental bodies.
Prostitutes, pornographic actors and models, phone sex operators, and sexual surrogates are all classed as sex workers. The term does not describe people who make money from the sexual labor of others such as pornographic directors, website owners, and strip club owners.
A sex worker is also sometimes called a Sex Professional.