The Sexual Exploitation Research Programme (SERP) was established in 2017 under the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice at University College Dublin.




SERP conducts independent feminist research on all forms of commercial sexual exploitation that creates useful knowledge for law and policy makers, practitioners, survivors, supporters and activists.




SERP aims to strengthen the evidence base on current and emerging issues of sexual exploitation in Ireland, and beyond. Our work is designed to enhance understanding of the commercial sex trade, its impact on women and girls who are sexually exploited, on communities and on society at large.




In addition to strong links with international partners and allies, SERP also works collaboratively with support services for victims and survivors of prostitution and sex trafficking on the ground, seeking to bridge the gap between academia and frontline practice in generating new knowledge, insights and solutions on these issues.




SERP also provides learning opportunities, training, evaluation and bespoke consultancy services on the theme of commercial sexual exploitation and related issues. We are always seeking new ways to communicate and share our work and its findings and implications.




SERP is overseen by Associate Professor Ursula Barry who acts as the Principal Investigator with overall responsibility for the management and financial accountability of research projects, alongside Dr Maureen Lyons (Research Manager) and our highly-experienced SERP team, including Dr Monica O’Connor (Senior Researcher) and Ruth Breslin (Researcher).  SERP is underpinned by the principles of gender equality, social justice and human rights. The team is committed to rigorous, ethical, collaborative and participatory research practice.


  For enquiries about SERP’s work please contact:







The Sexual Exploitation Research Project (SERP)

Office A009, Ground Floor, Hanna-Sheehy Skeffington Building

School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice

University College Dublin

Belfield, Dublin 4