Sex workers warn each other of aggressive clients on new platform

A new online platform for sex workers launched on Wednesday, intended to increase their safety. On Ugly Mugs NL, sex workers can anonymously warn each other about dangerous and aggressive customers, check their new customers before a meeting, and receive notifications if a dangerous customer is in the region. They can also find help filing a report with the police, NOS reports.

The free online platform is an initiative of Soa Aids Nederland and Proud, the interest group for sex workers. They developed Ugly Mugs NL on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and Security and at the request of sex workers in the Netherlands.

According to Simone Temming of Soa Aids Nederland, the platform is desperately needed. “In the Netherlands, sex work is not treated like other legal professions,” she said. “The complex and repressive legislation also makes sex workers vulnerable, so they still have to deal with violence and stigmas.”

Ugly Mugs NL is based on a similar platform in the United Kingdom. The English version has 7,000 individual members. A survey of the members showed that 90 percent feel safer because of the platform, and 40 percent have avoided a dangerous customer due to a notification on the platform.

“With many active members and the many alerts sent out, the platform is a success in England,” Temming said to the broadcaster. “Sex workers in the Netherlands asked us to set it up here as well. Dutch sex workers also want to feel safe.”

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