London has highest number of incidents totalling more than one a week
There have been 410 reported crimes against sex workers in the UK in the past year, a quarter of those (106) were sexual assaults, 68 were reported rapes. Yet, just 28% of victims have been willing to report it formally to police.
The first year of the successful ‘Ugly Mugs’ pilot shows London having the highest number of reported incidents totalling more than one a week at 84 – 25 of those were sexual assaults and 14 were rapes.
Andrew Boff, Leader of the GLA Conservatives, author of the Silence on Violence report, and national champion of the Ugly Mugs scheme said:
“London is increasingly a safe place but it is unacceptable that sex workers see it as increasingly dangerous. Bad experiences of contact with the police have led many sex workers to not report crimes and this has encouraged criminals to intentionally target them. The Ugly Mugs pilot has given us a window into the crimes sex workers face. The data also shows that in spite of the seriousness of many of these crimes, very few go to the police. Amazingly, thanks to this scheme, several dangerous criminals have already been convicted and imprisoned for their crimes within this first year. We are all safer as a result.”
Started as a pilot scheme last July and funded by the Home Office, the ‘Ugly Mugs’ project shares information on violent and potentially dangerous clients on a database. Sex workers can anonymously report rapists and robbers by phone or online, helping police to build intelligence and identify serial offenders. Police can also circulate descriptions of dangerous offenders to workers in the industry.
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 National Ugly Mugs scheme said: “I do believe that in just one year we have seen a more positive relationship in many areas between sex workers and the police. Crucially, I really believe that this Scheme has saved lives and will continue to do so.”
- Andrew’s report “Silence On Violence” can be accessed at: http://glaconservatives.co.uk/campaigns/silence-on-violence/
- The National Ugly Mugs Scheme celebrates its first birthday this weekend (6th July)