This chapter contributes to the cultural and critical criminological literature on responses to incivilities in the urban space. Drawing on the two case studies of Catania (Italy) and Antwerp (Belgium), this study addresses the policing and social control of sex work in different city spaces: centrally located red-light districts (or RLDs), the city centre, indoor spaces and outdoor peripherical areas. Methodologically, this study relies on semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, ethnographic observations in the two RLDs of Catania and Antwerp and surrounding areas, and tourism promotion materials of the two RLDs.

Through the analysis of the findings, a clear urban geography of exclusion of sex work emerged, with patterns varying across city areas. Such a geography of exclusion is shaped by the need to make the nuisance of sex work invisible in the city centre and centrally located RLDs, and of tackling crime (sex trafficking and illegal immigration), particularly in spaces where it is less visible, such as behind closed doors and outside the city centre. The chapter concludes by suggesting the need for more criminological research on the policing of different types of perceived uncivil people across the urban space, as this may contribute to shedding light on important interlocking penalisation systems, particularly against migrants.