Lincolnshire Police and Lincolnshire County Council have pledged support for the National Ugly Mugs (NUM) scheme - a pioneering project providing greater access to justice and protection for sex workers.
People working in the sex industry are often targeted by dangerous individuals, but are frequently reluctant to report these incidents to the police. When an individual registers with NUM, an alert can be sent out to them and others in the area to warn them of a possible threat, and potentially save a life.
Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Marc Jones, said: “This project is crucial in helping to keep everyone in our communities safe by assisting the authorities in locating and arresting sexual predators.
“It also plays an important role in keeping some of the most vulnerable members of society safe from harm.”
Amy, a sex worker from Boston, said: “I’ve been using the NUM safety numbers and number check and it has warned me about potential problem clients meaning I am able to keep myself safer. I do wish more people use it, so please girls it takes two minutes to check a number and it could save your life.”
NUM is formally supported by National Police Chiefs Council and the Home Office, and has resulted in the apprehension of a number of serial sex offenders.
Daryl Pearce, Public Protection officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “NUMs is particularly important and innovative in making sure people working in the sex industry are kept safe and supported and encouraged to report crime.
“This group of people are historically hard to reach, and this project reflects the key priorities that all organisations involved in reducing sexual violence in Lincolnshire, have agreed.”
Bill Skelly, Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable, said: “I am delighted to be able to support the work of the National Ugly Mugs charity and the efforts which they go to in order to reduce the serious harm posed to sex workers and the wider public from serial sexual predators.”
In 2014, NUM won a number of awards including the Guardian Charity Award and the Third Sector Award for “Small Charity, Big Achiever.” In 2015, they were “Highly Commended Charity of the Year” in the Charity Times Awards.
Alex Feis-Bryce, Chief Executive of NUM, said: “We are delighted that Lincolnshire Police and Lincolnshire County Council have pledged their support.
“It shows that crimes against sex workers will be taken very seriously and Lincolnshire Police will do their utmost to bring these dangerous offenders to justice.”