Adult Sex Industry

All too frequently violent rapes of sex workers are unreported and unfortunately we can all recall the tragic murders of sex workers in recent times. The dangers that accompany sex workers are in plain sight and make those involved in sex work vulnerable from attack and abuse. As organisations and individuals we have a responsibility to safeguard people within our communities who are vulnerable and it is this responsibility which is driving the work within the North East area.

Introduction

In England and Wales, the sale and purchase of sexual services between consenting adults is LEGAL. It is estimated that there are between 60,000 and 80,000 sex workers in the UK, the majority women, working either on the streets, or more commonly now in a variety of indoor environments.

Key facts

  • Around 11% of British men aged 16–74 have paid for sex on at least one occasion, which equates to 2.3 million individuals.
  • The number of sex workers in the UK is estimated to be around 72,800 with about 32,000 working in London.
  • Sex workers have an average of 25 clients per week paying an average of £78 per visit.
  • In 2014–15, there were 456 prosecutions of sex workers for loitering and soliciting.
  • An estimated 152 sex workers were murdered between 1990 and 2015. 49% of sex workers (in one survey) said that they were worried about their safety.
  • There were 1,139 victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in 2014 and 248 in April to June 2015 (following implementation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015).

The latest report from the Home Affairs Committee covers key findings and legislation around prostitution, (2016-2017). To read this report please see attached link, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmhaff/26/26.pdf

GAP Group

As part of Shine we work closely with Changing lives and the police to support women in the adult sex industry. Weekly and monthly groups are ran at shine and within the community and also supported by the Shine staff, Samantha and Roya.

These groups are run in a safe and relaxed environment for women to allow them to access support. Peer support ‘drop in’ sessions have become an important element of the work we do with GAP's (Girls And Proud) overall service, and is integral in terms of the project journey. Drop-ins are a confidential, safe and friendly place where clients can attend without an appointment no matter what situation they are in and receive support. It is often a place where some of the more chaotic clients will only access or when in crisis, and have the opportunity to meet with a worker or their peers for practical and emotional support, until they are able to engage with the service consistently. 

To read further about the work undergone over the last several years in Newcastle Upon Tyne, please click here - http://www.specialcollections.uws.ac.uk/documents/peer_report_FINAL.pdf

Escort Groups

As well as supporting Changing Lives with the GAP Group, Shine work alongside them, the police and also other partner agencies to deliver group support to women working in the adult sex industry across the North East. These groups offer women the chance to talk about their sexual health needs, clients and also to give them the chance to talk about anything affecting them currently. Women in sex work often come up again judgement and harassment and we here at SHINE feel it is important to offer support to all women so that they no their rights and the law.

Whether you work for an agency or as an independent sex worker SHINE can offer support and resources to yourself, such as sexual health sessions, condoms, dams and lube and advice. Please call 0191 277 2050 to see how we can help you further.

For more advice around the legal definitions and law around sex work, please see this link: http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/prostitution_and_exploitation_of_prostitution/

National Ugly Mugs (NUM)

National Ugly Mugs (NUM) is a pioneering, national organisation which provides greater access to justice and protection for sex workers who are often targeted by dangerous individuals but are frequently reluctant to report these incidents to the police.  These offenders are often serial sexual predators who pose a huge risk to the public as a whole.

History of NUM

Ugly Mugs schemes were first introduced in Victoria, Australia in 1986 by the Prostitutes Collective, they realised that circulating descriptions of ‘ugly mugs’ could warn other sex workers about dangerous people and situations. Although schemes have been in place locally in the UK for many years, NUM is the first national scheme in the world. Funding was awarded for the scheme by the Home Office to the UK Network of Sex Work Projects (UKNSWP), for a pilot scheme to operate for 12 months from April 2012, with the scheme being live for 9 months from July 2012.

There are various reasons for ugly mugs schemes, sex workers in some sectors frequently suffer violence and other crimes committed by people presenting as clients, also sex workers are also often reluctant to make formal complaints to the police and so records do not reflect actual prevalence of how common this violence can be. However, offenders need to be identified because they may attack other sex workers, with studies showing men who murder sex workers frequently have a history of violence against sex workers and others.

Their mission:

Ending Violence Against Sex Workers

Their values:

They believe in and advocate for the human rights of sex workers including;

  • the right to self determination
  • the right to live free from violence
  • the right to live free from intimidation, coercion or exploitation
  • the right to work as safely as possible
  • the right to police protection

What they do:

  • They take reports of incidents from sex workers and produce anonymised warnings which are sent directly to sex workers and front-line support projects throughout the UK (this includes SHINE receiving reports)
  • With consent, they share anonymous intelligence to the police.
  • They support sex workers in making full reports to the police so that the perpetrators can be identified, arrested and convicted.
  • They ensure sex workers have access to professional services when they have been a victim of crime.

Their Aims:

  • To improve the safety of sex workers
  • To prevent crime
  • To bring to justice more offenders who target sex workers.
  • To support sex workers in accessing  frontline services
  • To increase the number of crimes against sex workers reported to the police
  • To enhance the levels of intelligence that exist throughout the UK about dangerous criminals

Click here to see a list of NUM champions and supporters. 

To become a member and receive alerts:

  • Go to https://uknswp.org/um/
  • Please click “Join” on the top menu. This will take you to the registration form.
  • Fill in the form and select which type of membership you require.
  • If you would like to receive alerts by SMS or e-mail please indicate this by providing your number/address in the appropriate field.
  • Once you have submitted your registration you will be sent a password.
  • Your membership will be processed manually and they will inform you when they have processed your application and you can then log in using your username and the password that was sent to you. Usernames and passwords are case sensitive.