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One sex worker 'attacked every day'

More than one sex worker is raped or attacked every day in the UK, fresh figures have revealed.

There have been 922 reported crimes against prostitutes in the UK in the past two years, according to information received by the so-called Ugly Mugs scheme.

A quarter of those reported were rapes, while 39% were sexual assaults and 44% were violent attacks.

London has the highest number of reported incidents totalling more than two a week at 210. The North West region received 176 reports and the West Midlands 164.

The Ugly Mugs project collects information on violent and potentially dangerous clients, and circulates it to sex workers on an online database.

Sex workers can anonymously report rapists and robbers by phone or online, helping police to build intelligence and identify serial offenders.

Conservative London Assembly Member Andrew Boff, an advocate for the scheme who obtained the figures, said: "This city is becoming safer for Londoners yet my research suggests that sex workers see it as increasingly dangerous.

"Bad experiences with the police mean most sex workers do not report crimes and this has encouraged criminals to intentionally target them.

"Amazingly in just two years, the Ugly Mugs scheme has tackled this problem head on - it has saved lives and several dangerous criminals have already been convicted and imprisoned."

The Ugly Mugs scheme, which has been running for two years, has now secured £85,000 funding from UK police forces - £20,000 of which has come from the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and the Met, following campaigning by Mr Boff. The scheme costs £120,000 a year to run.

Alex Bryce, manager of the National Ugly Mugs scheme, said: "Sex workers have the right to police protection and this sends the message that, as far as the Met police is concerned, there is no grade of victim and crimes against sex workers will be taken seriously."


From Belfast Telegraph