I want you to imagine that you’ve had a hideous day of un-enquiries. Every text you receive is a “U avail?” or “Anal included?” and you’re ready to through your phone at the wall. You’re feeling hopeless, frustrated, sunshine-deprived (because you’ve been too busy staring at your phone all day to go outside) and you’re about to lose it.
A new text comes in: “Dumb slut. I bet you have daddy issues and that’s why you’re a whore. Wouldn’t pay $2 for a face like that.”
You read the message and you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. You know it’s ridiculous, and probably penned by a dude living in his mother’s basement, but you can’t help but feel the anger rise up inside you. Who does this dude think he IS?
You’re not only anger at this dude, you’re angry at EVERY dude. Your anger has reached colossal proportions and you want to make this dude PAY. You’re sick of these imbeciles getting away with treating sex workers like crap, day-in day-out. In fact, you feel like every dude like this should be publicly shamed for their utter stupidity and NEVER have sex again.
So, you screenshot the text and open up Twitter. You hurriedly write your Tweet, fingers tapping the screen furiously: “Look at this PIG. Absolutely disgusting. BLOCK HIS NUMBER ladies – you don’t want to have a booking with someone so feral.” You attach the screenshot, with the client’s number on full display, and hit “Tweet”.
The replies start rolling in. Twitter fanboys suck up to you by saying, “That’s no way to treat a lady! Sorry you had to deal with that xox.” Other escorts come in left and right with, “Blocked! That’s horrible” and, “What a dickhead.”
You open up your conversation with the ‘client’ and quickly reply: “Have reported your number. Good luck ever getting a booking with a sex worker again.” You chuck in a middle finger emoji for good measure.
Ah, satisfaction. You feel validated and significantly less angry, now that his private information is out floating around the internet.
The only problem is that his private information is out there floating around the internet.
Now, don’t worry, I’m not about to get on my high horse about client privacy and confidentiality. Clearly “dumb slut” dude doesn’t deserve confidentiality – he gave up the right to privacy when he called you a dumb slut for no reason.
What I DO care about is your safety and security. And when you post client information publicly for the world to see… Well, to be honest, you aren’t doing yourself any favours.
Maybe you haven’t been through this exact scenario. Maybe you’ve posted a client’s email address after he sent you a rude email refusing to screen or extensively wasted your time. Or maybe you’ve posted a really dangerous client’s number, with the genuine intention of protecting your colleagues after you’ve had a traumatic experience.
I’ve seen the number-sharing scenario play out in a multitude of ways on Twitter. And, I’m sorry to say, that as a baby hooker days I posted a client’s phone number on Twitter. I was angry at the way the client had treated me and wanted to protect my peers. And I followed up the Tweet with a text to the client, triumphantly telling him I had shared his information online.
And you know what it achieved?
The moment you share a dangerous client’s information publicly, you give the power back to the client.
Because when you share this information, and then TELL the client you’ve shared it, you’re giving them a one-up. In fact, they’ll be PLEASED that you let them know. Hooray for them! Now they know they need to change their number before they move onto their next victim.
If they are a dangerous person who enjoys manipulating and assaulting sex workers, they aren’t going to stop simply because you published their number online. They are smarter than that. And every time you post their information publicly, you make it easier for them, because every sex worker has saved the client’s old number to their phone, and no one is looking out for their NEW number.
Posting client’s information online is like setting a trap, for yourself.
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t share information about dangerous clients with your peers. I’m saying you shouldn’t do it in the public arena, where every prying Sam, Dick and Harry can see.
So, what are the alternatives? What if you don’t have an already-established peer network?
When another sex worker first told me to STOP posting client information on Twitter, I felt annoyed and offended. How dare she tell me how to run my business? So, I hope this isn’t too confronting. If you do feel irritated, I hope you can take some time to reflect on how these actions can impact the greater sex work community.
We WANT you as part of our community so we can stay safer together!