03 May 2016
In the last few years, the popularity of online dating has soared. Around seven million UK singles of all ages are now using apps like Tinder to find long term partners and short term flings.
As dating apps offer an easy and effective way to directly connect with thousands of people in the local area, sex workers have begun using apps to contact existing clients and meet new ones. Though this is generally safer than working on the street, it does come with its own dangers and sex workers using apps to find clients need to be aware of the risks they’re taking.
Apps for sex workers
Though there aren’t currently any mainstream apps for sex workers to use to find clients, a number of companies claim to be developing products that offer sex workers an effective and safe way to find new clients.
In August, a company in Berlin launched a city wide app called Ohlala that allowed women to go on paid dates with men they met on the site. Nick named ‘Uber for Escorts’, the app has attracted attention from around the world and the developers are already planning to launch in cities throughout Germany.
The risks of dating apps
Sex workers have been using the internet to find new clients for years and the risks of using dating apps to connect with potential customers are broadly the same as those of use a website.
When talking to customers online, sex workers need to ensure they don’t give out any personal information. The informality of dating apps can make it easy to forget that you’re talking to a client, however it’s crucial you don’t send any information you may regret sharing later.
It’s also important to make it clear you’re offering a paid service as many people using dating apps may not expect professionals to use online dating.
When meeting clients you connect with online for the first time, you need to take a range of precautions to ensure you stay safe. It’s pretty much impossible to tell whether or not the person you’re talking to is telling the truth about their age, looks and intentions. Before you go to meet a new client, or have them come to you, tell someone you trust where you’re going, when you expect to be back and as much as you know about the person you’re meeting.
If possible, meet them in a place you’re familiar with and always walk away if the situation doesn’t feel right.
To talk to someone about the help and support that’s available to sex workers, give Doorway a call on 0808 800 1030.