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Sex Workes Rapist Database
The Home Office is to launch a pioneering scheme on Thursday to alert sex workers about people with a history of violence, including rape. The scheme, which is being launched in Manchester, will encourage sex workers to co-ordinate with police on a national scale. It also has the wider intent of taking murderers, rapists and other violent criminals off the streets.

It will enable intelligence about people with a history of violence to be fed into a national intelligence database. Sex workers will be alerted by text, email or phone app about people who have carried out attacks. Online escort agencies, street sex workers and those working in brothels will all be able to access the warnings.

The National Ugly Mugs pilot scheme is based on an Australian system in which sex workers alerted each other to violent customers. Similar schemes have been operating informally in areas of the UK but this is the first time that information will be collated nationally.

Some violent offenders move from one area to another to commit offences and it is hoped that the improved intelligence sharing will prevent serial attackers from committing repeated offences. The Association of Chief Police Officers is backing the scheme.

If sex workers do not want to report crimes directly to the police, they can go through local sex work projects, which can pass intelligence to the police anonymously. The scheme will be managed by the UK Network of Sex Work Projects, an umbrella organisation of campaigners and academics.

One Manchester-based street sex worker, Naomi, welcomed the initiative: "I have been working on the streets for 17 years" she said. "I have experienced lots of attacks, rapes and attempted kidnap. It's good to know that someone cares about what happens to us, and that sex workers will be better protected."

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