At the Booking: In Calls
- Keep an extra charged phone hidden in the space you work.
- Have a panic button fitted and/or personal safety alarm accessible in your home or place of work. (Go to personal safety alarms section)
- Some sex workers used ‘criminal identifier’ spray that is available legally on the internet.
- Have a clear plan for exit routes from your house or work space.
- Do not give the full address until the client is actually on your street. So, for example, give only the name of the street, postcode, general area or some landmark asking the client to confirm when they have arrived there.
- Only then will the worker give the full address.
- Doing in calls at home or at a rented premises used for work makes it a little easier to take a ‘sneak peak’ such as discretely looking out of the window to make sure the client is who they say they are, and is alone and not armed, etc.
- Consider installing and using CCTV at your place of work. Indeed, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner has guidance that needs to be adhered to including some relating to signage (Go to CCTV section).
- Some workers prefer the extra security of having someone else on the premises when they are with a client to deter incidents and who is on hand to react if there is need. This can be a friend, partner, receptionist or other. Check out the legal situation at Release.
- Some people have a co-worker as their security either by being physically in the next room or virtually via app or phone. Some sex workers work in pairs or small groups specifically for safety. Yet two or more people working in the same premises, even if they work on different days, means that the property can be defined as a brothel and those involved risk prosecution with ‘managing or assisting in the management of a brothel’. See Release. Police forces vary in their approach to such circumstances, as to whether they will act to close such premises or prosecute the sex workers.
- You can arrange with a co-worker to knock on your door if the booking has gone on for longer than agreed or use a code word.
- Some people ‘pretend’ another person is present, for example keeping a room closed with a radio or TV on and telling the customer that a co-worker or security is in the room next door.
- If working alone, a safe word system can be used as part of specific apps on your phone that can trigger an alert or even listen in to your conversation/session.
Privacy and Safety When You Work from Home or Rented Accommodation
- Some workers did express a concern regarding their own privacy when working from home. If you are busy and have lots of people visiting, think about how you would handle being asked about this by, for example, your neighbours.
- Some workers who worked from home also had ‘civvy jobs’ that justified people calling, such as being a therapist or a work from home accountant. You might want to think about using a cover job if you want to avoid any difficult conversations.
- Some people prefer a specific room or area which customers will access. Plan how you will manage customers in your space and what areas you will permit them to access.
- Keep personal items that may identify you or people you know away from the areas customers access.
- Keep items of value out of sight, don’t leave keys for doors and cabinets visible to customers.
Working from rented accommodation can bring its own issues. In addition to those above, some workers have advised:
- Not giving the address or even local area out in their advertising.
- Not including pictures of the premises, no matter how appealing it might look.
- Some workers we spoke to had had problems with landlords secretly filming them working.
- If renting from a landlord regularly check for holes in the ceiling, small LED lights where they shouldn’t be, checking ornaments and furnishing provided by the landlord for holes or lights, etc. It is unlikely of course that this form of surveillance will occur, but good to know just in case.
- Some workers had experienced problems with their landlords raising the rent once they discovered the tenant was a sex worker. For some the rent rise was used as a form of blackmail, threatening to expose the worker if they didn’t pay. This behaviour is often a crime – see harassment section. It is good to keep this in mind.
- Regardless of who you rent from, or even if you own your property, there could also be a legal issue if you have someone else on the premises as part of your safety procedures. This might be something to think about and of course your privacy would be particularly important in this situation.