Safety Tips for Sex Workers

We know that most bookings go without incident, these tips are to protect against the minority of people who are a problem for sex workers!

Street Based

  • Know your beat.  Get to know escape routes, bus routes, avoid ‘sensitive locations’ such as places of worship, schools etc.
  • Always trust your instincts. If you feel uncertain, there’s a reason for that.  If it doesn't feel right, listen to your gut. 
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged and someone trusted on speed dial.
  • If possible, work with a buddy, someone who knows where you are will be expecting you back
  • Make a fake call getting into the car arranging to meet back at a certain time.  Set an alarm on your phone that sounds like a ringtone for a time you expect to be back.
  • Carry a personal alarm – The Red Project can provide you with one.
  • Sign up to National Ugly Mugs and keep up to date with alerts of any ‘dodgy punters’ in your area, we can help you do this.
  • Check out the client and the vehicle, keep enough distance to avoid being grabbed, dragged into the vehicle or assaulted – at least an arm’s length. 
  • If you are able, make the client aware that you are taking the vehicle’s registration number. Look for potential weapons lying around the vehicle. Even everyday objects can be used against you. If there are blankets etc, check under them. Ideally, walk around the car - make a full circle of it. 
  • Don’t get into a vehicle on your own if there’s more than one person in it. Check how many people are in the vehicle. Check for people hiding in the back. If it’s a van, remember that there might be others in the back and check it if possible. Think very carefully before agreeing to get in.
  • Get paid first and split your money up - bag, zip pocket, boots, jeans pocket.

Working in establishments

  • Violent clients, people posing as clients and other criminals target premises where it is known people are working alone. Working with others is safer but this does increase risk of arrest. Read more about your rights and the legality of working with others

  • Sign up to National Ugly Mugs and keep up to date with alerts of any ‘dodgy punters’ in your area, we can help you do this.

  • Always check out what support you will get from managers/receptionists if you decide to refuse a client.  Check this out before working.

  • Look for premises with operational CCTV and other security measures. If you are working in an establishment where the management pressures you to do things you don’t want to and you don’t think your safety is important to them, consider moving to another premises. 

  • Have a plan ready in case a client attacks you. Know the escape routes to a safe place in the building. Always take an alarm into the room with you and your mobile. If the establishment does not have these fitted, ask them to consider doing so or supplying workers with personal alarms. If they do not agree, you can get one from The Red Project.


  • Use NUM mobile and email checker to screen clients and ensure the client hasn’t already been reported. 

  • Have a separate work persona – separate phones, emails and social media accounts.   Don’t reveal your real name or personal details.

  • Think about whether you want your face on advertising images.

  • Ensure payment options do not compromise your privacy.

  • For In Calls do not have any personal items – photographs, letters etc. on view.

  • If working from home, think how you would answer questions from neighbours if you have lots of visitors. Some workers use a cover job like therapist or accountant.

  • Use separate images for personal profiles and avoid using faces or tattoos in online images. Crop, blur or pixelate faces in images.

  • Google yourself! This is the best way to find out if there have been any breaches of your online information.

  • Always trust your instincts. If you feel uncertain, there’s a reason for that.

  • Set clear boundaries; decide on your work hours and stick to them. Decide what you will and won’t do and stick to it.  Always agree safe words for BDSM and discuss limits.

  • Use a buddy system for in and out calls.

  • Have a fully charged phone and if possible a backup. Have a trusted contact on speed dial. 

  • Plan your exits

  • Take payment up front and split your money up.

  • Try not to use condoms that clients bring with them, keep a stock of your own condoms. The Red Project can provide free condoms and lube.

  • Unwanted contact, abusive messages, stalking and threats of ‘outing’  are the most frequently reported crimes for online sex workers.  Contact The Red Project for information and support.  

  • For more information on safety & privacy for online sex workers please visit Beyond The Gaze -

More safety advice is available from National Ugly Mugs