Last Wednesday I went up to Arcola Theatre in E8 to run a workshop on The Buddy System, my volunteer networking and support scheme for new and experienced escorts. I was invited and was more than happy to take part. This is the second year that the London Sex Workers Open University (link on site) have run a series of workshops on all kinds of different subjects to do with the sex industry. Everything from media training, to self defence. The SWOU guidelines are: 1)recognise sex work as work, 2)oppose the criminalisation of sex work and 3)support the self-organising and self-determination of sex workers. Its a volunteer organisation that is run by sex workers and their allies for sex workers.
Some clients might not want to really think about the rights of sex workers, they may just want to enjoy their time with them. Fair enough. I’m not what you would called an out right feminist, or a woman’s libber. I don’t burn my bras, I need their support too much for my ample babies! But I am very pro active in helping women working in the industry stay safe and encourage networking within the industry. It is mostly women that contact me, but I do have a few men from time to time. I don’t know much about the male side of the sex industry apart from if your a straight man there isn’t very much work for you. I met some great people on Wednesday , a few of which are male sex workers who I can now tap into when I have guys contact me as male buddys.
On my train journey up to E8 I was a tad nervous that no one would turn up or find what I had to say of any interest. However, to my relief I had a good turn out and I explained who I was, what the Escort Buddy scheme was all abut and my vision for its future. What ensued was a great discussion from all angles of the industry about how networking can help to keep us safe. Which has given me all kinds of things to think about and plan.
I am looking forward to being involved with the SWOU and looking for new ways to help and support anyone working in the industry. My motto is that if we as sex workers are safe then our valued clients are too.
Penny x x x