Pilot scheme to protect sex workers
A national pilot scheme to help protect sex workers from violent and abusive customers has been launched in the UK.
Sex workers in some parts of the country are already provided with pictures of so-called "ugly mugs" - men who have in the past been violent or threatening towards prostitutes.
Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone has now launched a 12-month trial to bring together the locally-run "ugly mugs" schemes under one national online network to gather and distribute information of abusive customers.
The launch coincides with International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
"The Government's ambition is to end all forms of violence against women and girls," Ms Featherstone said.
"This includes protecting those involved in prostitution, who are particularly vulnerable to violent and sexual crimes."
The Home Office is providing £108,000 towards the scheme.
Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne, the lead on prostitution for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said: "Acpo has been actively supportive of the UK Network of Sex Work Projects-led national 'Ugly Mugs' development project since its inception and welcomes the continued Home Office support for the roll-out of the scheme.
"This is a real opportunity to protect vulnerable people from violent sex attacks."