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Protecting sex workers in North Yorkshire

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North Yorkshire Police has adopted crimes against sex workers into its official policy for tackling and dealing with hate crime.

Hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on five protected characteristics; Disability, Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Transgender.

North Yorkshire Police also adopted Misogyny under its hate crime policy in 2017.

In 2006, police in Merseyside recognised sex workers were a vulnerable group of people they wanted to protect and they declared crimes against sex workers to be hate crimes. This is known as the ‘Merseyside model’.

North Yorkshire Police is now following the Merseyside model to protect sex workers and encourage them to report anything that can be classed as a hate crime or hate incident. An investigation into the incident will determine whether a crime has been committed and will establish whether there is enough evidence to bring a prosecution.

Inspector Ed Rogerson, North Yorkshire Police, said: “It’s clear that some sex workers are targeted because of their sex working and these offences should be treated as hate crimes. Hate crime can take various forms, including physical attacks, threat of attack, online harassment and verbal abuse or insults.

“Sex work is legal between consenting adults, but as a force we understand that a lot of sex workers are wary of the police and, for a range of reasons, are often anxious about reporting to the police should they be victims of crime. They may be worried that they will be judged, not taken seriously, arrested, face an outcome that causes disruption to their working and that they may be identified publicly.

“I want to reassure sex workers that this is not the case in North Yorkshire, and that we strongly believe they deserve and will receive the same level of respect and protection as everyone in our communities.”

North Yorkshire Police fully supports the work of National Ugly Mugs (NUM), a national charity which aims to end violence against sex workers. NUM takes reports from sex workers, support projects and police and produces warnings to alert sex workers to potentially dangerous individuals and provides support to sex workers to enhance their safety and wellbeing. More information and contact details can be found at https://uglymugs.org

Victims of hate crime can also find more information and advice on the True Vision website at http://www.report-it.org.uk/home

Last modified: October 18, 2019