Nearly 1,000 UK sex workers raped or attacked in last two years
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Health, Legal
Nearly 1,000 UK sex workers raped or attacked in last two yearsImage: Housing via Shutterstock
There have been 922 serious crimes reported against sex workers in the UK in the past two years, a project has revealed.
Figures from the 'Ugly Mugs' scheme, a database of dangerous clients that use sex workers, show that 25% of the crimes were rapes, 39% were sexual assaults and 44% were violent attacks.
The scheme, which has been running for the last two years, has now secured £85,000 funding from the UK's police forces to keep it in operation. The scheme costs £120,000 a year to run.
Conservative London Assembly member Andrew Boff, a national champion of the Ugly Mugs scheme, said: “This city is becoming safer for Londoners yet my research suggests that sex workers see it as increasingly dangerous.
"Bad experiences with the police mean most sex workers do not report crimes and this has encouraged criminals to intentionally target them.
"Amazingly in just two years, the Ugly Mugs scheme has tackled this problem head on – it has saved lives and several dangerous criminals have already been convicted and imprisoned. It’s good news for the project that it has secured £85,000 in police funding. This funding is a good call; we are all safer as a result.”
Initially funded by the Home Office, the Ugly Mugs project collects information on violent and potentially dangerous clients, and circulates it to sex workers on an online database.
Sex workers can anonymously report rapists and robbers by phone or online, helping police to build intelligence and identify serial offenders.
London-based escort Elizabeth said: “I saw first-hand the way police behave on a raid. They took all the money they could find [during the raid]… and treated us like we were filth making comments like (after finding alcohol) 'does it help you get through the night?' And these are the people we are supposed to report crimes to?”
Alex Bryce, manager of the Ugly Mugs scheme, said: “Sex workers have the right to police protection and this sends the message that, as far as the Met police is concerned, there is no grade of victim and crimes against sex workers will be taken seriously. I would like to thank our champions in London, particularly Andrew Boff, a determined and committed advocate for evidence based policing and the rights and safety of sex workers.”