Sex work is a high-risk industry and keeping yourself safe is imperative. Keep reading to hear about a few dangerous situations you may find yourself in & tips on staying safe, in addition to how I kept my self safe.
A Perilous Profession
Technology has changed the working landscape for sex workers everywhere. It reduces street-level prostitution, grants access to a larger client pool, and allows us to keep ourselves a bit safer. Between being able to share information and to do thorough prescreens, there’s no doubt the internet has been pivotal in provider safety. Still, compared to other “risky” occupations, the sad reality is that the sex industry likely remains the most at risk work group for violent crime.
We have a legal system that stigmatizes, marginalizes and pushes us into the shadows. This treatment has made us vulnerable, as we continue to fight for basic rights. So, how do we stay safe when we don’t have the same access to resources? What can a sex worker do to keep stay safe? Here are some general things that I learned during my time as an escort. Keep in mind, I was independent. You may not have to worry about some of these things.
*Note* Some of the things I did were/are illegal. I am not suggesting or condoning doing anything illegal. Check the laws where you live and always use your best judgement.
#1. Staying Safe Basics
- Never assume anything about anyone. Looks can be deceiving.
- Always remain confident and assertive. Appear in charge of of any situation.
- Don’t ever be afraid to say no.
#2. Be Responsible for Your Own Safety
- It’s important that you make your safety your number #1 priority at all times.
#3. Trust Your Gut, Be Aware of Your Surroundings, Keep the Upper Hand
- “I wish I hadn’t listened to my instinct”, said no one ever.
- If at any point you get a weird vibe or feel like something just isn’t right, move on or get away.
- Avoid personal residences with brand-new clients for outcalls. Too many unknown variables.
- Remain confident, in control the best you can & keep the upper hand. Be assertive in your words & actions.
- In any situation, new or otherwise, make sure you are aware of your locations and of all your surroundings.
- Ask for I.D. Yes, you’re going to get a lot of pushback on this step. Let the client know that you do not want the information for nefarious intentions, but for your safety only. If they will not abide, move on.
- References. You aren’t the first provider for this client. Ask for at least 2 or 3 references from other providers they have seen.
- Do the leg work! Google your potential clients name. Confirm where they work. Make contact with the references. Check out your local “Bad Date List”. Don’t just think that because they provided that information that they potentially aren’t going to be a bad date.
Have a Safe Buddy
- Have someone you can give pertinent information to. Make sure they know where you will be, what time you are you be there, with whom you will be with, and for how long you’re expecting to be.
- Make contact with your safe buddy right before and immediately after your encounter.
- Have an emergency plan set in place in the event you do not make contact within the time frame you said you were going to.
- Keep the amount of stuff you bring with you to a minimum.
- Wear simple clothing and avoid too much or complicated jewellery, fewer and/or less complicated items means fewer things you need to keep track of, less items to grab in case you have to make a hasty get away, and easier redressing.
- Refrain from wearing expensive jewellery all together. Don’t bring anything you don’t want or can’t afford to lose/have stolen.
- Avoid wearing clothing or accessories that could potentially be used to hurt you, i.e. scarves, boas, belts, thick chains.
- Take self-defence training. Check out this link for self defence tips and tricks. Look into self-defence or martial arts classes offered in your area
- Buy a personal safety alarm. You can purchase ones that are programmed to call the police, or any number you chose.
- Consider carrying a “weapon”, like bear or pepper spray. These items are legal to carry in Canada, as long as they are intended for self protection )but mace is prohibited). Check your local laws. I used to carry a knife with me. However, this is illegal and I’m not suggesting you do this.
Driver or Bodyguard
- If you’re working as an independent, consider bringing someone who is going to be in close proximity of you while you are working. Someone that will be able to intervene in the event that something goes wrong. Make sure it is someone that you trust.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Do not get drunk or high before or during work. You need to stay in control and being intoxicated is a recipe for a bad ending.
- If your client offers you a drink, opt for unopened bottles or make your drinks yourself, if possible. If the drink is made for you, watch every step in the prep and make sure the client would happily drink the same thing. Never leave your drink unattended and don’t finish a drink if it tastes funny.
Survey Your Location
- Always meet your client at a location, whether you drive yourself or get a ride. You don’t want to get stranded or be at someone else’s mercy when you want or have to leave.
- Avoid going to places you are unfamiliar with and make sure you know more than one way to get home.
- If you are going somewhere that isn’t familiar, know the exact location. Watch for landmarks on your way in the event you have to tell someone where you are and you forget or failed to get the info.
- Make sure you take note of things in the room, including items that could potentially be used as weapons against you or that you could use to protect yourself. Be aware of all viable exits.
- Keep everything you brought close together and as close to your person as possible, in case you have to make a quick getaway.
If you start to feel the energy in the room changing, or sense that things are about to go south, remember: REMAIN CALM. Try to stay as calm & collected as possible.
- If you are an intended target for robbery, give them what they ask for. You shouldn’t have all that much on you anyways. Ask yourself if being grievously hurt or killed is worth whatever material items or cash you’re going to lose. I’m telling you now: It is not.
- Try to remain confident, calm, and collected. Don’t let fear, anger, anxiety, or panic take over. Human beings tend to make errors in judgement when they let emotion take over.
- Speak in a low and quiet tone. Don’t raise your voice or yell. Don’t use aggravating language but positive words instead to try to de-ecalate or talk your way out of the situation.
- As hard as it sounds, try to appear empathetic and understanding of the client, no matter what his issue is.
- Make sure you let that client know that people do know where you are, who he is, and that they are expecting you back at a certain time.
- Keep formulating a safe escape plan in the back of your head. Keep an eye out for an opening to make your getaway.
- Sometimes, local support projects run workshops on de-escalation techniques, teaching you how to calm a person down, how to talk them out of attacking you, and how to get away from an attacker. This is definitely worth looking into.
I did All I Could…
Sometimes, you can do everything right but the potential for assault is always going to be present. In my next post, I will discuss what to do in case of an assault, where to go for help, and ways to cope with the emotional fall-out.
So, what precautions do you have in place to keep yourself safe? Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t feel safe? What did you do to get out of it? Let me know in the comments.
Peace, Love, & a Hard Cock
Further resources for provider safety:
REAL (Resources Education Advocacy for Local Sex Work)