The Dangers Of Sex Work

Almost every major headline relating to the sex industry talks about the dangers prostitutes, escorts, and other sex workers face. We’ve gotten pretty used to seeing the same headlines popping up over and over again, but that doesn’t make the stories they are telling any less important.

Man hits woman in yellow
Domestic violence at home

We take a look at the dangers facing those in the sex industry, and what we need to do to make things a little safer for them.

Robbery

It was only last week on the Escort Ireland blog that we talked about the man who threatened to rob and rape an escort when he felt he was in need of money in the run up to Christmas. Unfortunately, the man was given a suspended sentence and spared jail.

The problem is that this isn’t the first robbery to happen to a sex worker. In fact, it seems to happen a lot.

There are a lot of crimes that are committed against sex workers, and robberies are just some of them. UglyMugs.ie had a huge 5084 incidents reported to them between September 2009 and September 2014, with 244 making up the number of reported robberies.

People decide to try and steal from sex workers because they believe they are vulnerable. The stigma in Ireland tends to be that those in the industry are all victims in need of saving, and that they do not want to be there in the first place. Because so many buy into this stigma and believe that sex workers are weak, they are making them even bigger targets.

Assaults

The amount of sex workers who have reported physical violence is shockingly high, with 426 separate incidents being reported to UglyMugs.ie. What might shock you even further is that only 3.3% of all crime incidents they recorded were also reported to the police, as the sex workers did not feel they would be supported should they do so.

It is tough to imagine, but thankfully not all assaults go unpunished. Over in the United States, a man was sentenced to 13 years in prison for attempted murder, following his attack on a prostitute.

Woman looks miserable on couch
Stressed young woman sitting on sofa

Peter Ashford, the assailant, arranged for a meeting with a female escort but decided to do things a little different. He arrived with a knife and stabbed her twice. Thankfully, the escort managed to get away from him before anything else could happen.

However, in court he admitted that he “wanted to have sex with someone who is dying or freshly killed”. He was willing to murder just so he could get his kicks… and people wonder why escorts are so careful about their own safety and privacy!

Stigma

For many sex workers, there is one huge thing they find themselves all facing each and every day of their working lives, and that is the stigma surrounding the industry. Over on Escort Scotland we talked about the councillor who shocked his colleagues by admitting he’d seen prostitutes in the past and the reactions he faced.

Before he got involved in the debate, many of the female councillors were reportedly “telling about the abuse of women, equal rights and the Swedish system”, and how the Swedish model could change the sex industry forever.

It is probably safe to say that many of those speaking out about sex work have never actually knowingly spoken to a sex worker before, and that they do not have a true idea of what the industry is really like. They gloss over the fact that most enter the industry willingly, and that they actually enjoy their work. Yes, people actually like selling sex. Who knew?

The problem is, this stigma that surrounds the sex industry and those working in it is doing more harm than good. The false ideas that people hold makes it difficult for sex workers to open up about their jobs, for fear they will be looked down upon as lesser people. They won’t be as likely to go to the police either, as they don’t feel supported. Sex worker Laura Lee addressed this issue on her blog, telling us that “because we sell sex, that somehow lowers us on the social strata”. This is not acceptable… and yet it continues to be.

The Nordic model

The Nordic model has been in place in Norway for some time now, and while many believe it is actually helping sex workers, all evidence points to the contrary. The law is thought to “decriminalise” the sex workers and instead punish the punters who see them, which they hope will eradicate the industry completely. If you get rid of the demand, the supply will soon follow… right?

Wrong. Simply typing in “The Swedish model” into any search engine will show up hundreds and even thousands of paging with statistics and arguments about why this model doesn’t work. For a start, it will stop the good clients from visiting escorts, as they don’t want to risk being caught. The bad clients who are probably already known to the police for past crimes? They won’t care, and will continue to see escorts. This puts them at further risk.

The belief that the Swedish model will somehow stop all trafficking is also false. People often use trafficking and sex work interchangeably, but they are not the same. Yes, sometimes people are trafficked in for sex, but many times they are trafficked into other jobs. Sex is a small part of it, so if they want to deal with trafficking they need to address that issue, instead of those out there who are willingly in a job they love. What happens behind closed doors between two consenting adults is no-one’s business but those adults involved.

The best way to prevent all of these dangers that sex workers face from getting worse is by fighting the stigma and accepting that sex work is real work. It is a job like any other, and by giving escorts, prostitutes, and other sex workers the rights they deserve, they will be far better protected and able to keep doing what they love. You can let us know your thoughts on this topic by visiting the Escort Norway forum, or by leaving a comment in the box below.

Lara Mills
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Lara Mills

Lara Mills is a writer who has four years of sex industry expertise behind her. Since she entered the adult industry, she has worked on the Escort Advertising forums, before moving into her current role three years ago.

Since then she has gained a fine reputation with her blogs on sex advice, sexual health and amusing news stories from around the globe. She is also a campaigner for the rights of sex workers from all over the world.

In her spare time, Lara keeps herself active by going running, and is something of a film buff. She also loves to go travelling.
Lara Mills
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