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Safety tips

COVID-19 UPDATE

The current UK Government advice is to stay at home where possible and follow social distancing guidance, but we understand that this isn't possible for everyone right now. You can find helpful health information about COVID-19 via NHS Inform. We also provide useful tips for keeping safe when meeting clients face to face and online below.

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Violence against any woman is a crime and is unacceptable. Your safety is always the most important thing.

Whether you meet clients/punters face-to-face or online, we are here to help you stay safe and know what your rights are. You may already be using some of these tips and if so, great, but maybe there will be something here you haven’t thought of before. We understand that not everyone will be able to use all of these tips, all of the time. We’re here to help you find what works best for you.

This resource has been developed by women involved in selling or exchanging sex online and is always being updated. If you would like to provide feedback on this resource, or add your own tips and advice, 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, keep a note of this. You can screen phone numbers through third-party reporting apps like National Ugly Mugs (NUM) and Client Eye which allow you to anonymously report abusive punters and receive warnings about dangerous punters
  • You can connect with other women locally through online forums such as SAAFE for tips and support
  • 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 being picked up by a punter, consider keeping a note of their registration as well as the make and model of their car. Consider passing this on to your trusted person
  • Apps like Hollie Guard can be a useful way of sending your trusted person information about your location and safety
  • If a punter unexpectedly brings someone else with them, do not allow them into your house, flat, or hotel room. You have the right to call the police (999) if anyone forcefully enters your home 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. 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 can
  • 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 intact and that the punter has not removed the condom without your 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 Women’s Workers are here to listen and talk through how you are feeling as well as signpost you to relevant services
  • You can access telephone support from Rape Crisis Scotland on 08088 01 03 02 or search our Support Map 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 apps like National Ugly Mugs (NUM) and Client Eye. Victim Support Scotland can also provide support with third-party reporting
  • 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 Women’s 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 STIs, 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

Keeping Safe Online

Securing Your Social Media

  • Consider setting your personal Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to private
  • Be mindful when using images from your own personal social media on your camming platforms as a reverse image search on Google can lead punters to your personal accounts
  • Be mindful of what’s in the background of images on your social media as Google Lens can be used to identify locations
  • Consider using a profile picture on social media that doesn’t show your face
  • The “People You May Know” feature on Facebook makes suggestions based on phone contacts. This means if a punter has your number stored in their phone, your personal profile may show up in their suggested friends which puts your privacy at risk. Have a look to see if the mobile number you use to contact punters is linked to your personal Facebook and think about removing it
  • Consider using a nickname on your personal social media instead of your real name
  • Have a think about the passwords you use for your accounts and whether they are strong enough. You can use the site Have I Been Pwned? to check whether your accounts associated with a specific email address have been breached

Protecting Your Information and Content

  • If you webcam or use private galleries, consider creating a fake name or alias
  • Most camming platforms and private galleries offer geoblocking, meaning that you can block viewers from specific locations (e.g. your town or city) which gives you control over who can view your content
  • Consider setting up a new email address for use on camming platforms and private galleries
  • Hide your IP address by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), especially if you interact with punters over email
  • Be mindful of clicking links sent to you by punters as this could be an attempt to phish your IP address which can give out your approximate location
  • Be aware of your surroundings when camming or taking pictures. Is there anything distinctive in shot that may give information about your location?
  • If you use a wireless keyboard while camming, ensure that you do not log in to any personal accounts when the keyboard is visible on camera
  • Avoid chatting about local current events or noteworthy weather with punters as this may give away your approximate location
  • Be as vague as possible when chatting with punters and ensure you do not give away too much personal information (e.g. your real name, your real birthday, which university you attend, information about your family). If a punter continually asks for personal information, and this makes you uncomfortable, consider reporting him to the platform and blocking him if you are able to do so
  • Consider using camming platforms and private galleries with established terms of service which prohibit the transmission of images and videos to other sites. This means that if someone posts your content on another platforms, you may have some support in having it removed. Consider chatting to other women that cam or use private galleries to find out what platforms they use or would recommend
  • You may want to consider watermarking your images and videos in order to help prove that content is yours. Make sure to place watermarks on an area of the image or video that is difficult to crop out
Receiving Payment and Gifts
  • Be mindful when accepting payment through PayPal as the punter may be able to see your real name on your account. Punters can also have their payment reimbursed if they can prove that the money was paid in exchange for sexual entertainment as this is against PayPal terms of service
  • If using Amazon Wishlist to receive gifts, consider setting up a PO box as your address may be included on punter’s receipts. You can find out more about setting up a PO box here

Online Harassment and Doxxing

  • You have the right to end a session whenever you choose. If a punter becomes verbally abusive, pushes your boundaries, or you just simply aren’t comfortable anymore – end the session if you are able to do so. Most camming platforms and private galleries allow you to block, delete, and report abusive punters
  • In Scotland, if a punter relentlessly harasses you over the phone or through social media - this is a crime. If a punter repeatedly threatens to doxx you or publicly out you to your friends, family, or employer – this is a crime. If a punter repeatedly turns up uninvited at your home or place of work or follows you in public – this is a crime. Police Scotland view persistent unwanted contact and threats of publishing material without consent as Stalking Behaviours
  • Stalking is a course of conduct which causes you fear or alarm on two or more occasions. It is important to keep evidence of any threatening behaviour. You can use the FollowItApp to keep track of incidents. It is a secure way for you to build a log of evidence and it is your choice what you do with this information
  • You can report stalking and harassment to Police Scotland via 101, 999 in an emergency, in person at any police station, or online through the Stalking Form
  • If you would like support with reporting harassment or stalking to the Police, or just want to chat with someone about how things are going, you can get in touch with us via live chat or through one-to-one support

 

We want to ensure that our resources are developed by women, for women. If you would like to provide feedback on this resource, or add your own tips and advice, you can get in touch via Your Voice.

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