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All Workers

**The purpose of these tips is to lower your risk in your workplace. As with any job, no workplace is risk-free. We know that no matter how many steps we take to protect ourselves, some people will not respect our boundaries and our bodies.
THAT IS NOT OUR FAULT.
We have the right to take steps to make our work environment safe.**

The following information has been adapted from the St. James Infirmary Occupational Health and Safety Guide

General Info
Dressing for Safety
Work Early
Know Thy Date!
Have Community
Know your Rights
Working while Using
Raise your Rates
Say ‘No’ More Often

General Info

  • Trust your intuition. If you sense something “off”, walk away!
    Know your coworkers /neighborhood.
  • Have a support system and people to talk to, if something does happen.
  • Know where you can get medical care (emergency and ongoing care).
  • Use your own equipment (condoms, lube, sex toys, domination gear,
    etc.).
  • Negotiate prices and services in advance.
  • Educate yourself on safe “dating”, domestic violence, hate crimes,
    sexual assault, and self defense.
  • Know where to get services and support in your working area.
  • Pick your own parking spots, hotels, or other work areas and become
    familiar with your surroundings.
  • Be aware of exits and avoid letting your customer block access to those exits.
  • Be aware of where your client is at all times, as much as possible.
  • Don’t blame yourself if something happens.
  • Always tell someone when you are going out to work and when you expect to be back.
  • Carry a personal alarm or a whistle, and don’t be afraid to use it. Keep it handy, somewhere you can get it quickly. The bottom of your handbag is not handy!
  • If you have one, carry a mobile phone. You can program it to dial a number at the press of one button. Make this the number of someone you trust, so you can get help quickly.
  • Alcohol and drugs can affect your awareness and your ability to recognize and act on your instinct. You are much more at risk if you are under the influence of drink or drugs.
  • Appearances can be deceptive. Don’t assume someone is OK just because they look ‘respectable’.
  • When talking to a client, keep a confident look on your face and be assertive, strong and in control.
  • Be friendly but firm when negotiating services with a client and explain your limits.
  • Tell other workers about potentially difficult or aggressive or violent clients.
  • Report all difficult clients and attacks to your local support organization. You can write on our forum or submit a bad date reporting form!
  • Memorize as much as you can about difficult or violent clients and their vehicles. Get details like:
    • Hair colour, style, length
    • Build, height, age
    • Earrings, chains, rings, watches
    • Skin tone, scarring, spots, facial hair, tattoos, piercings
    • Eye colour, glasses
    • Accent, speech impediment, expressions used
    • Aftershave, body odour
    • Physical disabilities
    • Clothing and footwear –style, brand name labels ,rips / tears, badges

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Dressing for Safety

  • Shoes should come off easily or be appropriate for running.
  • Long earrings or big hoops may get pulled accidentally or intentionally.
    Wear small earrings, clip-ons, or none at all.
  • Avoid necklaces, scarves, across-the-body shoulder bags, or anything
    else that can accidentally or intentionally be tightened around your
    throat.
  • Wigs should fit so that they can’t slip and cover the face.
  • Wear clothing that doesn’t have to be removed to fuck or can come off
    and on easily and quickly. This saves time— and if there’s a problem
    you won’t lose your clothing when you run away.
  • Clothing should be “straitjacket-proof.” A half-zipped or buttoned
    jacket can be pulled over shoulders to trap arms.
  • Wear nothing that can get caught in or on car doors, like loose
    bracelets, billowing dresses or long coats with dangling, attached
    belts.
  • Make yourself noticeable/attractive to customers, and ensure that you
    can see them as well—if you need glasses or contact lenses, wear
    them.
  • Always act calm and stay secure.
  • Negotiate with Customers before going to work
  • Have a price list and stick to it—decide in advance what you are and
    are not willing to do.
  • Have a time limit for each service—if a customer can’t come within
    a reasonable period he’s costing you money by preventing you from
    seeing other customers. His failure to get off may also make him
    agitated or violent.
  • Have an ample supply of condoms, lube, napkins, hand-sanitizers,
    wipes, and Band-Aids.
  • Be willing to turn down particular customers, particular requests, and
    payment offers that are below your standards.
  • Use some mentholated salve (the kind used for chapped lips or colds)
    inside your nostril—you’ll smell the customer less when you give head
    and you’ll not sniffle so much if you’re in withdrawals.

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Work Early

A few good reasons to get out of bed in the morning:

  • Business hours are lucrative hours. Prospective web clients who have high-paying jobs and men with expensive tastes cruise sites between
    8 AM and 10 AM on weekdays.
  • The earlier in the day, the less likely they are to be drunk or stoned; consequently they are less likely to bring problems, and there is less chance of violence. Calls at 2 AM are always trouble but 1 PM dates have to get back to work!
  • Scrambling for the money you need to make for the day is stressful. You will take bigger risks, and make bad decisions. Hit your mark and then take it easy.
  • Did you make good money for the day? Turn off your phone and go home! Take care of yourself, not 2 AM calls. If you don’t go to bed early, you can’t wake up early.
  • Work a night shift only? Focus on getting the 9-pm money, not the 2-am money.
  • Be aware of your body and health needs, and make sure you
    are getting enough sleep, enough sunshine, healthy food and water.

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Know Thy Date!

  • Dates are more likely to behave when you know them.
  • A license plate number, a work phone number, even seeing their driver’s
    license can keep them in line because they now realize they’re no longer
    “anonymous”.
  • Repeat dates pose almost ZERO RISK!
  • Bringing in new clients means they could be cops, stalkers, drunks, any sort of riff raff.
  • Cultivate regulars by making them feel special, whether it’s touching base via text, an extra 15 minutes of your time/services, or an occasional “free for you and only you”
    service.
  • Your “bread and butter” is what will pay the bills when the heat is up, so give them a reason to keep coming back.

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Have Community

  • We are subject to isolation, and isolation makes the job harder. Isolation can even kill.
  • Having someone to talk to about all the bizarre, funny and insane things
    of the job will make life easier.
  • You will enjoy your work more, and have someone to trust when you need to talk about the important things.
  • Try sharing your dates with another Sex Worker. The wealth shared can go
    both ways.
  • If you can’t speak out in general about your job, try to have at
    least one person you trust to talk to about your work and experiences.

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Know Your Rights

  • Most of the damage of arrest is avoidable.
  • When Sex Workers are arrested, they incriminate themselves AFTER the cuffs go on.
  • Know your rights! Three of the most important things to remember are:
    • Don’t Talk! No matter how much the police tell you it will be better
      that way, it won’t! Say: “I have the right to remain silent; I want to see
      my lawyer!” Talking will only get you into trouble. Invoking your rights
      can help.
    • Cops will lie to you. They may say anything to get you to talk. They ask
      questions to get you to mess up. They break the law in order to catch
      you. They tell you that you are going to go to jail forever to scare you.
      Don’t fall for any of it—keep your mouth shut!
    • Have an emergency plan in place! Write things down like:
      • A phone number for a lawyer
      • Things that need to be taken care of in the case of arrest like
        plants, pets, or children, and their schedules, and the person to call
        who can help take care of these things
      • Who to call
      • Who not to call (this one is important) in case of arrest
      • Who to call for bail money (just in case, but unlikely). Keep this
        information in an envelope, along with keys to your place, or money,
        and give it to someone you trust to help you out in case of arrest—
        and then memorize their phone numbers so you always have access
        to it even in a jail cell.

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Working While Using

  • If you have to use, don’t get so high or drunk that you appear intoxicated.
  • Try not to let customers know that you are actively using or they may be tempted to play money and power games.
  •  Insist on getting paid cash, not drugs. You’ll look more professional and in control.
  • Don’t get so pinned you can’t see at night. It’s hard to work safe when you’re very high on drugs so consider mild to moderate use if you have to work.
  • If you can help it, never let customers know that you’re in withdrawal.
  • Keep mouth moist by chewing gum or sucking sweets, lozenges or cough drops.
  • Drink a lot of water to prevent constipation, dry mouth and dry itchy skin.
  • Hydrate with other liquids like sports drinks and juices.
  • Urinate frequently, even if you think you don’t have to.
  • If you can’t get your shit out, get off the toilet. Straining causes hemorrhoids.
  • If you must work when you are desperate for money, do it with a regular.
  • Not thinking clearly can get you in trouble, so it’s better to know what you are getting into.
  • Do not bring drugs or paraphernalia with you on dates with new people.
  • Remember, a sex-work related charge is often a financial penalty whereas a drug charge can result in prison time.

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Raise Your Rates

  • Making more money means less work. And less work also means lower exposure to risks of the trade.
  • Raise your rates with new dates just to try it out.
  • A good policy is to keep your regulars at the same rate. This means they realize they’re getting a better deal than others, and are more likely to stay with you for that special treatment.

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Say ‘No’ More Often

  • Make room for all those fabulous new people that want to pay you hassle-free by firing the ones who give you trouble.
  • Focusing all your energy on a deadbeat wastes time that could be spent cultivating rich, generous relationships.
  • Get rid of the headaches, and open your mind to what you really want in a date.
  • Remember, telling someone they are fired can cause problems, so a creative explanation works wonders. The general run around might do the trick, but “I am in love” or “I am out of the country” works in a pinch too.
  • What do you really want in a date? Write it down. Now make it happen!
  • Bringing in new people is all about making yourself over to attract them.
  • If you don’t know what you want, you can’t bring them in by the truckload.
  • Being specific about your needs and wants, and then framing them in the way you attract business will give a whole new light to the way you work.

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More tips to share? Contact us!