Harm Reduction for [Outdoor] Sex Workers
by Marth Arroyo and Annie Bandes
SIZE UP THE SITUATION
Listen to his voice, observe body language. Listen to
your instinct, if it doesn't feel right, there's a good
chance it isn't.
Make sure the client is alone. Getting into a car with
more than one person, increases your risks. Check behind
the back seat to make sure that no one is hiding.
Check the car. Always check door handles before you get
in to make sure they work. Make sure you know how to
unlock the door before entering car. Avoid vans.
Check address. If client says he's taking you to one
place, but pulls up at another, this may not be all he's
lying about. Unless it's a regular, avoid bridges and
USE A BUDDY SYSTEM: Have a friend or co-worker write
down the license plate number of the car before you
drive off in it. Do the same when someone else goes off
with a client.
If no one you know is around, ACT AS IF! Call to the
nearest passerby something in the vein of "See you at
such and such, at such and such time". Anything to let
client know that you will be missed and have been
witnessed leaving with them. Talking into cell phone,
even if not operating, can lend to the impression that
you are 'connected'. If working from a regular spot,
make sure someone sees you both go in, so they can make
sure you both come out.
Share information with your co-workers. If you have had
a bad experience with a client pass their details on to
co-workers. Describe the car, his rap, anything that
will help others avoid going off with him.
Share information with us at the needle exchange, so
that we can put a 'Creep Sheet' out on him, so that we
can inform others.
Consider reporting incident to the police. Some police
are sympathetic and will do all they can to help get
this person off the streets and prevent them from
harming someone else. Remember: an assault is an
assault, whether you live in the White House or you
don't even have a house.
Try to use a latex/polyurethane condom for each sexual
act, to prevent STDs and HIV. For oral sex try a
non-lubricated or flavored condom.
Vaginal/anal sex, use a lubricated condom, and as much
lube as possible, to reduce "trauma and abrasions",
which means harm to your vagina. Its especially
important to protect yourself from
secondary/re-infection with HIV if you are immune
compromised from HIV or Hepatitis C. Obviously, condoms
also prevent pregnancy!
If you are really high or really sick, you may find
yourself agreeing to do things you normally wouldn't
when you negotiate terms with a client. Try to get
straight before your date.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
Wear shoes that you can run in.
Necklaces, scarves, key chains, anything around neck is
dangerous (it can be used to strangle or drag you).
Hygiene. If at all possible, try to wash between dates.
If water is not available, non-alcohol towelettes are
Get yourself checked as often as possible (At least
every six months) If you need help accessing GYN care,
contact your local needle exchange. More and more
programs are working with working women!
Get the money first, and again listen to you heart and
Copy this, share it, spread it around. If there's
something we missed: ADD IT! Spread the love.