Getting ready for work

Prepare before going out

Decide how long you are going out for.

If you can, tell someone to expect a call from you around a certain time. Agree what they should do if you do not come home, or call them by a certain time.

Wear footwear that is comfortable and allows you to run in case you need to.

If you wear trousers or jeans and need to take them off for business, always take them off fully. You can’t run with them around your knees and they will slow you down.

Avoid sharp jewellery which can damage condoms.

Bring condoms, lubricant, and a personal alarm (or a whistle to blow) in case something goes wrong and you need to get passers by attention!

Make yourself familiar with free condom outlets and opening times. See the services directory for this information.

Take your mobile phone, charged and with credit. If possible carry a second mobile phone.

The emergency services number for Gardai (Police), Fire services and Ambulance Services is 999/112

If you have a smartphone you can leave your GPS Tracker on.

If you have a trusted person you can send a map pin via WhatsApp so they know your whereabouts.

Working on the street

Know the area

especially the escape routes, Garda stations, pubs, shops and petrol stations.

Plan a number of escape routes, Garda (Police) stations, pubs, shops and petrol stations.

Know the bus routes.

Know where to get a taxi.

Avoid working in areas with no easy escape routes.

Try to work near a busy road and stay on the same side as oncoming traffic.

If a car pulls up and you think that something is not quite right, walk quickly in the opposite direction to the traffic, so they can’t follow you.

Be aware of local policing activities and also try to be respectful of residents and others living and working in the area.

Keep fellow workers informed of bad experiences and give descriptions of clients involved. Please see Ugly Mugs Section for further information and link to website and how to download the app.

Remember even a regular client can be capable of violence so stay aware at all times.

If Getting in a car

Do one or all these Things

Shout back ‘did you get that?’ and say ‘we always take car registrations for each other’ even if there is nobody there.

Take the registration yourself as you walk up to the car.

Make sure the client sees you taking down the registration. Tell them you always text the number plate to a friend.

Even better. if you actually have someone you can send it to, or save it in your draft text message file. Although, the important thing is that he thinks you have sent it on

Shout over your shoulder “back in fifteen” to make it look like someone is looking out for you.

Check the car out - have a good look in the back seat to make sure nobody else is in it. In vans, check the back of the van in case another person or people are hiding in it before you get in.

If you know someone you can work with, do, it’s safer.

You pick the spot to go to, do not go to a remote spot. Go somewhere that if you scream there is likely to be someone around to hear you.

If you’re doing business in a parked car make sure you are able to open the door to get out if you need to. Parking too close to a wall for example can prevent you getting out.

Get the money first. Or get them to show you they have it.

Try to come across as confident and assertive, even if you do not feel it. Show clients you are in control. This can put a potential attacker off as you may not seem an easy target.

Keep some money in your bag but put most of it in your sock or bra so if someone tries to rob you you can hand over the bag.

Never get into a car with someone wearing gloves. Gloves can disguise fingerprints and may be worn by someone who wishes not to be identified.

Always leave fingerprints somewhere in the car (firmly place your fingerprints under the dash in front of you for example) just in case evidence is needed later by Gardaí, should something happen.

Trust your gut instinct – if something does not feel right it is probably not.

Outcalls to a house/hotel

Outcalls

Hotels are generally safer than flats or houses as there are other people around and the hotel may have the client’s credit card details.

Tell someone the name of the hotel and the room number you are going to if you can.

Decide on the phone, before you go, with the client what the price is and what that price includes.

If you can, bring a friend. You can make it sound exciting to the client if you need to convince them i.e. someone watching or else joining in.

If you go in a taxi with a client ask the taxi driver to remember you as you get out and where he dropped you. Let the client hear this if they are with you. Make a note of the taxi’s number and if if there is a dashcam.

Working in a flat

Have a plan ready in case the client attacks you. Know the escape routes from the building.

Get the money first and stash it away, out of sight of the client

Always take a personal alarm into the room with you. Keep a phone nearby.

Never leave a key in the door as you could be locked in.

If you are not entirely comfortable with the client, do not lock the door.

Keep an eye on what the client is up to at all times.

If you feel scared, or are attacked, keep calm and get out of the room as soon as possible. Run out with no clothes on if you have to.

Be clear about what services you offer and the prices.- See negotiating and staying safe section.

The law does not allow for working in pairs or groups, (see Know Your Rights Card, in Legal Section). If working on your own anywhere, be vigilant, as violent clients are more likely to attack you if you are on your own.

When you are on your own, pretend someone is with you. You could call to someone in the kitchen as you go to the room with the client.

Keeping Safe Online

Have screening procedures in place. Periodically review your safety practices so you can adapt as any new risks emerge, or your working practices change, or new technologies develop that you can use in your safety repertoire.

There is a huge array of terms used for adult services. It may be worth looking into industry specific language before negotiating services with clients. Not being aware of some commonly used terminology could lead to you agreeing to a service that you are not comfortable with.

Online privacy

Have a work persona with separate phones, social media accounts and emails.

Don’t reveal your real name.

Think about if you want your face in your advertising images.

Look at ways to accept payment and which options might compromise your privacy

Communicate prices, services you do and don’t provide as part of boundary setting & safety messaging in your profile/wider marketing.

Online advertising

Think about the key points you want to communicate in your advertising which get across messages about your boundaries and expectations from customers.

Being clear about boundaries is seen by many sex workers as key. In the first instance those boundaries will properly be communicated through your online profile or website.

Be clear about the services you will and will not offer, your prices and where you prefer to work (in calls, out calls, hotel, etc.)

Make sure you see the advertisement and check it is correct, especially the description of what services you provide.

Look at ways to accept payment and which options might compromise your privacy

Communicate prices, services you do and don’t provide as part of boundary setting & safety messaging in your profile/wider marketing.

Setting your terms & conditions

Fees.

Services and condom use.

Confidentiality policy.

Screening policy (without giving too much away).

Deposit policy (if you charge deposits). This is also an ideal place to give yourself an opportunity to limit service should you need to (say, for health reasons)

Say: I reserve the right to refuse or amend service. Some crime takes the form of harassing or abusive texts, so you could lay your boundaries out here to by saying something like: Please don’t use overly sexual or abusive language when contacting me. This is a professional service and I expect to be treated as a professional.

Using such wording can be useful down the line to refer back to if a person starts to be abusive or to harass you.

Taking calls

Decide what you will and won’t discuss on the phone and stick to it.

Decide the hours when you will have your phone on and be firm in sticking to them.

Some sex workers found the more time wasting or troublesome clients tended to call late night/early morning hours, including drunk or ‘partying’ clients. This might be something for you to consider.

A lot of experienced workers choose to disengage from annoying, needy or demanding texts and emails and they also save the number as ‘ignore’ or ‘problem client’ or something else to warn them not to pick up the phone or respond to texts.

You could also simply tell a troublesome enquirer/client that you are fully booked. This prevents unnecessary exchanges.

If they persist, some workers use simple but firm words like: ‘I’m sorry I don’t think I’m the worker for you, I wish you well’. It’s all about gentle but clear and neutral wording that hopefully will diffuse a situation before it happens.

Social media and safety

Some workers have said that potentially troublesome clients had seen their posts on social media and sent them abusive texts, so try to keep your posts light and/or work specific.

Be mindful what information you share. Most sex workers have completely separate social media accounts (for those who have them) for work and personal, with different personas. See Protecting your privacy section for further details. Remember to double check which account you logged into when liking other people’s posts/events

Pre-booking screening

Check potential clients phone number, email, website username and car registration through uglymugs.ie

Avoid making a booking without having spoken to the customer over the phone.

Consider not making a booking if a withheld number is used.

Don't accept bookings from people you have blocked.

If you choose to have just email or text contact it is always useful to run a number check for both in calls and out calls.

Consider not giving your full address until the client is on your street.

Take time to consider before making an outcall booking just by text or email.

Googling clients to find out more about them including using professional networking sites and searching social media.

Check the IP address of whoever is contacting you. Be aware people can try and find your IP address. It is best to know what info they can get about you so you can decide if you want to prevent this by employing methods which hide your IP.

Some sex workers charge deposits and see this as helpful in reducing the risk of Time wasting or potentially difficult bookings.

Negotiating

Be clear on your menu or price list (what you do and how much you do it for) at all times, that way you cannot be easily convinced to do something you do not wish to do.

Be friendly but firm when negotiating your services with a client, explain your limits and be firm about what you will and will not do.

Tell them that you don’t under any circumstances do oral, vaginal or anal sex without a condom, this includes when using dildos or any sex toys.

Beware of the ‘wrong hole’ trick. Some customers may say they ‘slipped’, ‘got carried away’ or ‘didn’t realise’ in order to push your boundaries but always stay within your safe limits.

Remember; removing a condom or deliberately damaging it during sex, without explicitly asking permission from you, is a crime. Some people call this practice ‘stealthing’.

Don’t be angry at yourself if you don’t follow your safer practice routine, but get yourself checked and look again at your staying safe practices.

Know your limits - Don’t work if you are under the influence of drink or drugs. You are much more likely to get ripped off or attacked. Use just enough so you are not ‘sick’ but not so much you are under the influence.

Don’t let the client know if you are using drugs as they could use it against you. They may offer you drugs, rather than cash or less cash than you should make for a job.

If you are offered a drink by a client ask for an unopened can or bottle or serve yourself. If you're offered food don’t accept it unless it is in a sealed wrapper or you have seen it prepared from start to finish. Make sure the client is happy to drink or eat the same food you are being offered.

Avoid accepting drugs from or taking drugs with clients; you can never be sure what they are or what they have been cut with, or their strength. If you decide to accept or feel pressured to, please see the Safer Alcohol and Drug Section.

Please see Sexual Health Section for further information around safer sex practices

What to do if something goes wrong

If you are followed

Cross the road, maybe twice to be sure they are not following you.

Head for the nearest pub, garda station, petrol station or shop as quickly as you can. Go the most public route to the most public place.

Be confident in your actions; focus on heading to a safe place. Do not head home as it is safer to go to a public place than let them know where you live.

If the person leaves the place wait 20 to 30 minutes to ensure they do not return and are not waiting outside. Either wait for your friend or if it feels safe, leave at the same time as other people.

If someone becomes aggressive

If they want your money or bag, decide if it is really worth the fight and potential risk to your life to keep it.

If you can, phone someone you trust who can come and meet you there. If you do not have anyone who you can call and feel really threatened, you should contact the Gardaí.

Stay calm – try to calm the person and talk to them using open handed gestures and speaking in a low quiet tone.

Use friendly sensitive language to try and calm the situation down.

Think of how you will get out of the situation.

Do not allow fear, anger or panic to take over.

Tell them someone knows where you are, is meeting you, expecting you home soon or waiting for you and remind them that you have texted their reg number to your friend.

Pretend you are feeling sick and about to vomit and then get out, and get away.

Cry hysterically, this may also give you valuable time to get away.

Do not carry weapons which are more likely to be used against you.

Consider passing on information about the incident to Chrysalis, through the menu template or IM on this website or https://uglymugs.ie/ so they can give a description of the person to other Sex Workers.

If you are attacked or raped

If you have a personal alarm – use it, hold it close to their ear if possible or throw the cord from it so they can’t take it off you to turn it off. (Chrysalis provide these alarms)

If you are in a car, hit the horn or flash the lights to attract attention.

Do whatever you can not to be brought to another location. Stay where others are at least in earshot.

An attacker’s worst fear is getting caught, so if you are on the street drop to the ground to prevent him from carrying you away. If you are in a private location go to people.

Run out the door to a neighbour or to where there are lights and other people.

Make it as difficult as you can, the more time it takes them, the higher the risk of getting caught.

They may say “don’t scream or I will hurt you” this is exactly what will ruin their plan. Go ahead scream, create a disturbance, throw things and blow the horn. You can’t count on others coming to your aid, but you want to make them fear being caught. Make them think someone could hear you and come to help you.

Also, screaming can get your adrenalin back moving around your body – this is what can make you freeze, not letting the adrenalin flow - so scream.

At this stage you must decide yourself whether you will fight back or not. You may choose to submit if you feel it will preserve your life.

If you decide to fight back or escape

Control his hips and his hands. This may sound strange if you have not done a “Reduce the Odds” Self defence class but can be useful to know.

If you are on the ground and he is on top of you, get your feet on his hips, you can control the distance between the two of you. His hands are his weapons so keeping the distance between his hands and you is important.

Use your strongest weapons against his weakest targets. The head, abdomen, groin and knees are your primary targets.

Strong weapons you can use are kicks using your heels and strikes using the heel of your hand, hammer fists and elbows.

Self Defence and Avoidance through awareness information courtesy of Balance Ireland www.tbi.ie

Dealing with the Aftermath

After an attack

Remember, the attack is not your fault.

Find a safe place away from the attacker.

Ask a friend or project worker to stay with you.

Seriously consider reporting the incident to the Gardaí or to https://uglymugs.ie/. They are there to help you.

If you decide to go the Gardaí, preserve the evidence against the attacker. Do not wash, brush your teeth, or change your clothes.

If you do change your clothes, don’t wash the ones you were wearing when you were attacked. Put them in a plastic bag and tie it closed. This will help preserve the evidence.

If the attack happened at home, do not disturb anything as there may be important evidence there.

If you can, write down or make a voice memo, anything you can think of to remember the attack. What did they do? What did they look like? What did they say?

A person over 18 yrs can attend the SATU (Sexual Assault Treatment Unit) for a forensic examination, with storage of the evidence, without the Gardai presence, if their assault has occurred within the last 7 days. The evidence is stored for a year and if the person doesn’t make contact with the SATU or if a complaint is not made to An Garda Siochana, the evidence is destroyed.

Things may come back to you days or weeks later; you can still go to the Gardaí and tell them if you remember more.

Things may come back to you days or weeks later; you can still go to the Gardaí and tell them if you remember more.

Healing from any attack takes time; give yourself all the time you need.

Get support from your local projects such as Chrysalis, the Rape Crisis Centre or local counselling service.

Learn self defence to help prevent future attacks. This will help you feel more confident and in control.

How to support a friend who has been attacked

Listen and be there.

Encourage your friend to consider reporting the attack to the Gardai/Police.

Try to discourage your friend from taking a bath or shower if they are thinking about reporting the attack. They may be desperate to wash, so gently explain why it is important they do not.

Support your friend to get medical help.

Encourage them to write down details of the attack. If they are shaky you might be able to write things down for them.

Be patient; remember it will take your friend time to deal with the attack.

Ugly Mugs

Ugly Mugs is an app and website.

Join the sex worker forum, Ugly Mugs Ireland, where you can check warning alerts UglyMugs.ie

If you have a smartphone, you can download the app on the App Store or Google Play.

It improves the safety of workers and reduces crimes committed against them, by bringing workers together to share information with each other about potential dangers. We support rights for all workers, including the right to safety. We record human rights abuses against workers.