Buddying Arrangements – For In Calls and Out Calls
- Tell someone where you are going – consider using a buddy system to keep safe on bookings. This is letting a trusted person: the ‘buddy’ (another worker, friend or partner) know where you are going to be – ‘checking in’ with them when you arrive and leave for an outcall or when the client arrives and leaves for an in call. Some people check in not just when the client arrives but also when they feel all is ok or when they have received and checked the money payment.
- Some people send a description of the client to their buddy when the client is in the shower.
- Some check in when they are leaving and clear of the building (for an outcall) and some also when they are on their way home and safe, e.g. in the car with the door locked/on the train home. It can feel empowering having this as your security procedure. Again, a similar tactic can be used for in calls.
- Have an agreed plan in place if the checking-in system is not followed.
- For longer bookings, some sex workers check in on a periodic basis agreed with the buddy.
- People use different technology for buddying: for buddying remotely, you can message your buddy via skype, text, messaging apps or a phone depending what has been agreed with your buddy. Some sex workers may choose to use emergency devices like Suresafe fobs to send a message to a buddy discretely.
- Some people are using ‘covert’ technology alongside more traditional buddying systems, often through smart phones or key rings and disguised devices. GPS trackers and apps can be used to allow a buddy or group to see your real time location should it be needed. For those sharing a building, buddies often have keys, fobs, etc. to get into the apartment if needed.
- Do let your client know that you have a security system. Some sex workers let clients know or see that they are ‘checking in’ with a security buddy, so the client is aware the sex worker has back up and is being monitored by a buddy. You can tell them it is standard practice to check-in on arrival and leaving an appointment, mention your driver and/or security guard in your advertising – reassuring your clients/prospective clients that this is standard practice and their details still remain confidential. Similar procedures for in calls can be shared with the client.
- Some sex workers have a security partner in the next room. It is worth noting some sex workers feel that some clients may feel uneasy about this for perfectly innocent reasons, for example worrying about discretion, being concerned or afraid of coercive third parties, being robbed or simply shyness, so having a buddy in the hotel suite/apartment with you may not be ideal or an option for you. It’s for you to think through the pros and cons.
- Some workers’ buddies maintain a mutually informed list of blocked numbers/dodgy clients.
- For sex workers who do not have ‘real life’ buddies, and including situations where friends, partner or family don’t know about their work, online forums and ‘private groups’ of sex workers allow workers to make connections with one another and team up when working similar hours and in similar locations, and check in/out with each other. For example, SAAFE http://www.saafe.info/main/index.php offers a ‘buddy link up’.
Mobile Phone Safety Tips
- Check your mobile phone is fully charged before starting work – take your charger or portable extra power supply – there are compact and cheaply-priced ones available.
- If possible have a second backup phone in a place you but not customers are aware of.
- Program your phone so it has the police emergency number 999 on a speed dial. Remember it is free to dial 999. 101 is the non-emergency number and it is not free.
- Install an app that will dial 999 in response to voice recognition. It is possible to use voice recognition apps to dial either a buddy or even the police e.g. ‘GPS bodyguard’ works even on the lock screen and from a reasonable distance.
- Use SOS Apps that can automatically send SOS SMS messages with GPS coordinates in case of emergency to your private emergency contacts or to a service – which can be the police. You program in the emergency contacts you want. ‘GPS bodyguard’ is an example of such an app for Android phones which is free https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.gpsbodyguard&hl=en_GB There are similar apps for Iphone IOS devices https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/send-help-sos-panic-button/id517707164?mt=8 https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sos-mobile/id1100252092?mt=8
- Some workers use phone apps that can direct dial 999 or their check-in buddy’s number. Some apps can send a ‘call for help’ text.
- Keep an eye on your customer’s mobile phone, to check they are not using it to film, photograph or record you without your consent.
Apps and Emergency Help Messages
- There are phone apps which can be used for emergency help messages – these can send an automated text for example: ‘I need help’ or ‘SOS’. This is sent with your location via GPS (some in Google Maps). This is sent if you press a certain button on your phone or say a command. It is sent to all the numbers you set as emergency contacts. Some voice-activated personal assistants can be used in the same way.