Becky Adams, who describes herself as a former madam, runs a not-for-profit, telephone-based service supported by TLC, and says she receives about 12 inquiries a week from disabled and vulnerable people looking for a trusted sex worker. She plans to open the first brothel designed for disabled clients in the UK next year. She says she wants to provide an environment in which people with disabilities can explore their sexuality. “That can be sex,” she says, “but also having a cuddle. It could even be someone having an hour cross-dressing who wouldn’t normally have the privacy to. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response we’ve had.”

One of her clients, Chris Fulton, 29, who has cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, has launched a campaign calling on the government to introduce a Netherlands-style grant scheme in which citizens with disabilities receive public money to pay for sexual services up to 12 times a year. But disability charities say the issue is not a priority. Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, says: “We need to break through taboos around disability and sex. But it’s impossible to have any kind of relationship if you don’t have the support you need to get out of bed, get washed and dressed, have a proper meal and get out of the house. At the same time, many disabled people are worrying how they’ll pay the bills. Living costs are spiralling, jobs are hard to come by and the government is cutting disability living allowance and employment and support allowance.”