Violence against any woman is a crime and is unacceptable. Your safety is always the most important thing.
We are here to help you stay safe and know what your rights are. Below, we provide some tips you may find useful but we are aware that not everyone will be able to use all of these tips, all of the time. There may also be strategies here you are already aware of and if so, great, but perhaps there may also be something here you hadn’t thought of before.
This list has been put together with input from women involved in selling sex and is always being updated. If you have any tips that are not mentioned that you would like to share with women, you can get in touch via our Women’s Forum.
Before – Be prepared
Trust your gut. You are the expert in your own lived experience. If you feel uncertain about a punter prior to meeting them, always go with this gut feeling - you have the right to cancel the arrangement if you are in a position to do so
- Be clear about what you are and are not willing to offer by providing a description on your online profiles alongside prices if you are able to
- If you have access to the punter’s phone number or email address, keep a note of this. You can screen this information through National Ugly Mugs (NUM) – a service which provides up to date information on abusive or violent punters
- You can connect with others locally through online forums such as SAAFE
- If doing an outcall, let a trusted person know where you are going and when they should expect you to be back. If you know what your punter looks like, give your trusted person a description. When arriving at the location, pay attention to how many cars are parked outside and whether there are lights on in nearby properties
- If receiving an incall, let a trusted person know when your punter is due to arrive and when they are scheduled to leave. If you know what your punter looks like, give your trusted person a description. If a punter brings someone else with them, do not allow them into your house, flat, or hotel room
- If you’re operating from your own home consider additional home security options such as a spy hole in your door, secure buzzing system and a door chain
- If doing an outcall in an unfamiliar area, search the address using Google Maps to give you an idea of what’s there. Pinpoint key landmarks such as pubs and shops. Avoid meeting in isolated areas if possible
- Wherever you are, try and map out a safe exit route in your head. Be aware of the main entrances and exits as well as nearby safe places
- Consider what you’re wearing in terms of practicality. Is there anything that could pose a risk (e.g. scarves, necklaces, hoop earrings)?
- Keep your phone charged, topped up and in a handy, safe place
- Carry a personal attack alarm and keep it within easy reach (i.e. not at the bottom of your bag). Some Rape Crisis Centres provide these free of charge - check with your local Rape Crisis Centre through the Support page
- Ensure you have enough condoms, lube, and wipes. You can pick these up free of charge from your local sexual health clinic. Ensure that any sex toys that will be used are clean and show no signs of wear and tear. Use a fresh condom on each sex toy for each punter
During - Be Aware
Just because someone is paying for sex does not mean they have the right to do whatever they want. You can withdraw your consent at any time. If the punter does not comply, this is a crime and you have the right to report this to the Police if you feel comfortable doing so. See After - Be Reflective for how to go about doing this with or without support
Remember, trust your gut. If you get a bad feeling about a punter after meeting up with them, cancel the arrangement if you are in a position to do so
Be aware of your surroundings. Try and keep the punter where you can see them as much as possible. Try not to let them lock the door and, if working out of your own home, do not leave your house/flat keys in reach of them. Try not to let them get between you and your safe exit routes
Be mindful when accepting a drink from a punter in order to protect yourself from spiking. Ensure that the drink is sealed and that the seal has not been tampered with. If possible, serve yourself
- Consider whether the punter is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and how this could impact on your safety
- Keep your phone and personal attack alarm out of the punter’s reach, but still in an easy-to-access place in case you need them
- If a punter attempts to push your boundaries, remind them about what you do and do not offer. It is your right to change your mind and withdraw consent at any time
- During sex, regularly check that the condom is still in place and in tact. Ensure that the punter does not remove the condom without your knowledge or consent
After - Be Reflective
- If something is sitting with you after seeing a punter, no matter how big or small, you can speak to us. Our online live chat service is available from 11am-1pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Our Click support workers are here to listen and talk through how you are feeling as well as sign-post you to relevant services.
- You can access telephone support from Rape Crisis Scotland on 08088 01 03 02 or search Support to find your local Rape Crisis Centre
- Remember, you have the right to report any crimes committed against you. A punter may have gone against your consent, threatened you, or may be harassing you online. Whatever the crime, there are services that are equipped to help and support you through every stage of the reporting process
- Reporting can be carried out confidentially and anonymously through services like National Ugly Mugs (NUM)
- You can also report any incidents to the Police on 101 if it is not an emergency and on 999 if it is an emergency. We understand that reporting incidents to the Police may make you feel anxious. There are many support services designed to work with you every step of the way through the reporting process. You can find local services in our Support section or speak to a Click support worker through live chat for help and advice. Some police stations also have specific staff trained in supporting women involved in the sex industry
- If you are worried about pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted infection, you can get tested at your local sexual health centre. If you do not have symptoms of an STI but would like to have peace of mind, you can also get self-test kits for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea through NHS Sandyford clinics which can be sent out to you in the post