30 March 2016
Though many women who work in the sex industry go out of their way to ensure their working practises are safe and secure – and organisations across the country are working hard to ensure women are protected from harm –unfortunately, sex workers are still much more likely to suffer a violent attack than women working in other sectors.
In order to minimise the chances of an attack, and protect other women working in the industry, sex workers need to make sure they’re aware of the help that’s out there and the places they can turn to for help.
The National Ugly Mugs scheme is one of the most powerful tools sex workers have in the fight against violence. The scheme makes it easy for sex workers to report violent clients and suspicious behaviour. These reports can be made quickly and anonymously via the Ugly Mugs app or on their website.
The team at Ugly Mugs will then send out anonymous alerts to other sex workers operating in your area warning them what to look out for and who to avoid. This early warning system has been incredibly successful in reducing violent crime and in giving sex workers more control over their own safety.
Avoid drugs and alcohol
Even if you use drugs and alcohol on a regular basis, it’s important to try to avoid using them when you’re working. If you do use drugs or alcohol when you’re working, try to ensure you’re still coherent and can make logical decisions. If you’re ‘out of it’ or drunk, you could end up making poor decisions and may be more vulnerable to attack.
Getting ready for work
Before you start work, it’s important to think about how you’re going to keep yourself safe when you’re meeting clients. Always tell someone where you’ll be working and when you expect to be back.
Before you head out, always check the latest Ugly Mugs/Dodgy Punters report to see if there’s anyone you need to be aware of in your local area. Try to dress as practically as possible, wearing shoes that you can run in if needed and clothes that are warm and that won’t restrict you if you need to escape in a hurry. Avoid wearing jewellery that has monetary or sentimental value as it can be easily lost when you’re working.
If you’d like to find out more about staying safe when you’re working, or you’d like to learn about the help and support that’s available to sex workers, give Doorway Women’s Services a call on 0808 800 1030.