Sex Work Safety Tips
Author: Womens UN Report Network
Date: April 28, 2014
SEX WORK SAFETY TIPS
Tips and advice for women who offer sex services ….
I. General advice for safe work
Before you start …
• sign up for self-defence training/ de-escalation training (ask SOPHIE)
• programme your mobile phone so that the pre-selected number of a person you
trust is dialled when you press one button.
• work legally = be less vulnerable: carry a copy of your passport/identity
card with you. Don’t give the original to anyone!
• Do not use drugs or too much alcohol before or while you work
Intoxication may cause a relaxed situation to change drastically – even then
you should always be in control of yourself and the situation.
• If possible, work only when you feel well and strong. Otherwise situations
may arise that provoke the cliché of the prostitute as victim to become real.
Therefore you will need a financial cushion to fall back on if for some reason
you can’t work.
• Check your handbag for the following items: mobile phone with credit and
memory space, condoms, maybe a pepper spray, whistle
• Do not wear jewellery or clothes that are too loose or too tight
Choosing a client …
– Do not accept clients that are drunk, aggressive, disturbed or otherwise
impaired – listen to your instincts.
– Do not accept a date with two clients, especially if you don’t know them.
– Observe your client closely and take special notice of any unusual physical
• How to deal with risky clients (e.g., new clients):
– Never turn your back towards the client at the date
– Do not wear a scarf or necklace
– Serve the client from the top so you can’t get crushed.
• Always have you mobile phone within reach, take care to always have
sufficient credit on your SIM card.
• Be mindful of your colleagues, and they will be mindful of you.
• Be clear and firm when you negotiate:
– Say what is possible and what is not, what is a fair price for you.
– Explain your limits, learn how to offer alternatives.
• Have a fixed list of prices in your mind and stick to it.
• Do not let clients talk you into something you don’t want to do!
• Cash in advance: you should ask for the money up front.
Do not put the money in your purse where your client can see your other
• Keep your mobile phone within reach.
• Watch your personal belongings.
Never leave handbags, wallets, mobile phones, cash, … lying about unobserved.
If you go to the toilet or bathroom, always take your handbag with you.
Safer Sex know-how:
– check out clients yourself
– insist in all cases on the use of condoms!!!
– PEP (Post-Exposure Prevention) – if a condom breaks or you have other reasons
to believe that you have been infected with a disease / an infectious disease
has been transmitted to you, by all means go to a doctor immediately!
• Beware of tricksters and fake money.
In case of an attack …
• Get away, do not try to be heroic.
• Scream or use your whistle to attract the attention of others.
• Collect evidence on the client: keep a sample of his hair or a used condom so
he may be identified later.
In general …
• The use of weapons usually aggravates the situation rather than calming it down.
Legal sprays such as pepper sprays should be used with caution, because other
persons involved in the fight (for example, your colleagues), may be harmed as
• If you have been attacked you should turn to the authorities. Let a person
you trust come with you!
II. Safe work in clubs or studios
• For your protection, ensure that these infrastructure features are
– cameras installed at the entrance, employed doormen;
– unlocked emergency exit with a door that opens from inside;
– rooms and corridors that are not blocked and are easy to overlook;
– no heavy or sharp objects should be in the room, as they might be used as
weapons on you;
– alarm buttons on the doors and beds of the establishment.
• Give a person you trust the exact working hours and the address of the bar
or club, in writing (for example, via text message).
How to deal with clients …
• Receive the client in the presence of several colleagues
• Let the client go first when you make your way to the room
• Do not leave the money you have received, your valuables (mobile phones,
identity cards, handbags) or any other personal items unlocked in the common
area or in the room.
Alternative: small cases with locks (beauty cases), small safes or lockers.
Take all your belongings with you when you leave the room.
During the date …
• make sure that doors are unlocked
Locked doors to rooms are a high safety risk. Rather, the team of sex workers
should agree on opening room doors that have been closed by others only in
cases of emergency, so that locking doors becomes unnecessary.
• Go to the bathroom together with the client, never leave him unobserved.
• Never argue with dissatisfied clients by yourself, open the door of the room
and call in a colleague for a joint de-escalation talk.
What to do if you are on duty by yourself
In principle it is not advisable to work in an establishment by yourself.
Should you decide to do so, close the doors to all other rooms and say that
your colleague(s) will be busy for another 30 minutes, so there is no choice
other than the lady present.
Cooperation with club or studio owners
• Payments to the club owner should not exceed 30–40% of the earnings of a sex
• If a room fee has been fixed, it should include all side costs such as
sheets, toiletries etc.
• Keep in mind that a fixed rent should be affordable even if business is
• An agreement on rent or use regulating the rights and duties of both parties
should be presented and signed.
• Reputable owners or managers of a club/studio meet sex workers with respect,
there are no assaults or offensiveness, neither verbally no physically! It is
totally unacceptable that bosses should ‘test’ a new sex worker – whether they
pay her or not.
III. Working safely on the streets
• Memorise details about the client’s car (model, colour, registration
number if possible). You might want to ask a colleague or other person you
trust to write down the registration number.
• Make sure you stand in a well-lit place, where you can see clearly and others
can see you.
• Try to settle the price, type of sex service and location while you are still
outside the car.
• Do not get into the car if you feel there is something strange about the
client. Trust your instincts!
• We recommend that you carry the following items (in your handbag): mobile
phone with credit and memory space, condoms, whistle, a small LED flashlight
• Make sure there is only one person in the car before you get in.
• Keep your money in several separate places.
Your appearance – safe clothing…
• Do not wear heavy necklaces or scarves etc. to make sure that you won’t get
• No dangling earrings, only clips.
No handbags with long shoulder-straps.
Pin up your hair or tie it back.
• Wear your jacket unbuttoned or wholly buttoned. A half-buttoned jacket may be
pulled down over your shoulders so that you can’t move your arms!
• Wear comfortable shoes and only skirts that you can run in.
What to do in the car …
• When you get in, close and open the door once to see how it works. Find out
whether the car has central locking.
• Do not let the client decide where to go – you decide!
• Stay near your working area with the punter.
• Watch him closely, especially his hands.
• Avoid postures that are inconvenient for you: for example, between the knees
of the punter during a blow-job. Try to stay on top of him!
• Make sure that your handbag and mobile phone are within reach.
• If you are nervous or scared, try not to let it show. Act with
self-confidence! Then the punter will have less power over you.
IV. Safety tips for escorts
• Work for legal, reliable agencies
Legal agencies will not hesitate to call the police should any problems of
criminal relevance arise with the client. DO NOT TRY to solve the problem ON
YOUR OWN or with the help of some thugs, because if you commit or encourage
criminal acts in the process, the law will no longer be on your side.
• Avoid agencies that do not encourage you to get away from unacceptable
• Programme your mobile phone so you can speed dial the phone number of the
Check the webpage of your mobile phone producer for instructions.
• right before the date
– ask for the customer’s data on the phone and check them
– call back the customer
• during the date:
-make sure that doors stay unlocked
-memorise how to get to the front door
-check if there are other persons present. Immediately ask the client about
them. If he gives unclear explanations, leave right away.
-call the cover person or driver in the presence of the customer before you
start and after you have finished
-the driver should wait at the door until you call
-only accept pre-packaged, sealed food or drinks that are opened in your
-go to the bathroom together with the client, never leave him unobserved.
• Keep a small LED flashlight in your handbag that you take to the bathroom
with you. The light switch of most bathrooms is outside the door, where you
have no control over it. Take care that the key is always on your side of the
• Never turn off your mobile phone or turn it to silent mode, and never
activate the key lock.
• Rather call than send text messages, as only from your words and your
voice combined the person of your trust will be able to tell whether you are
• Fix a code word with the person you trust. That way you can alert her/him
secretly, without provoking the client any further.
We would like to thank sexworker.at –
many of the above tips come from the active users of that webpage!