09 August 2016
When working to support people involved in the sex industry, initial engagement with sex workers can often be one of the biggest challenges we face. As many sex workers aren’t sure where to look for help, one of the best ways to boost awareness of our services is to go directly to them.
By under taking regular street outreach programmes in our local area, not only do we get a better idea of the conditions sex workers are operating in, we also have the chance to meet more people, hear more opinions and tailor our services accordingly.
What is outreach?
There are lots of different types of outreach programmes that can be utilised to better connect and engage with sex workers. However in general, outreach work means getting out on to the streets and speaking to sex workers wherever they happen to be. As well as working on the streets, this could mean operating within clinics, in message parlours, clubs and private flats, or working within another organisation.
These days, outreach work can also be online. ‘Netreach’ as its also known, can have a huge impact as many sex workers are more comfortable looking for advice help and support remotely.
Goals of outreach work
The main goal of outreach work is to raise the profile of our organisation and to make sex workers aware of the help and support that’s available to them.
The more they see members of our team out and about, and the more they hear about the work we do, the more likely they’ll be to trust our projects, our staff and our services.
The type of outreach work we do, and the settings in which we undertake it, vary depending on our specific goals. However, in general, we’re always looking for ways that we can connect with sex workers and give them the advice, support and assistance they need to stay safe and stay informed.
Benefits of outreach work
There are lots of benefits of well-planned outreach work. For a start, we often connect with sex workers who otherwise wouldn’t have the time, opportunity or ability to seek out our services. As well as talking to sex workers about the services we offer, we also use outreach work to promote other related services, like Ugly Mugs, and to encourage sex workers to report crimes to the police.
Over the last year, we’ve made 183 street outreach contacts. By building up a relationship with local sex workers, it’s easier for us to offer help, support and advice where needed. The information that we provide is seen as more trustworthy and women will be more likely to turn to us when they are in need.
To find out more about the work we do, or to talk to someone about the help and support that’s available to sex workers, explore our site or give us a call on 0808 800 1030.