When Sex Work and Drugs Overlap
FROM A LEGAL POINT OF VIEW…
It is illegal to …
• use with a client
• score for a client
• help them take an illegal drug (e.g. prepare drugs or inject them)
• allow them to help you take an illegal drug
You are not guilty of possession if the client takes drugs in the same room as you if you…
• you don’t own the drugs
• you have no right to use the drugs
• you didn’t realise the client had drugs on them
• the client brought the drugs for personal use only
If a client overdoses and dies in your presence…
• you could be facing a murder or manslaughter charge
• You only have to give police your name, address and proof of identity
• You need to get legal representation immediately and not answer any other questions until your lawyer is with you
• It will help your case if:
Ø you didn’t score for the client
Ø you didn’t inject them
Ø you tried to help straight away
Ø you called 000 or otherwise got medical attention
Ø you gave naloxone if you had it
FROM A SAFETY POINT OF VIEW…
· Sometimes a client will want to use drugs during a booking. Make sure you work out beforehand how you are going to respond to different situations. Will you have hard limits about not using? How will you react if a client turns up to a booking with drugs to share after you have been clear you do not use with clients? Whether you decide to use or not use with clients, having rules will keep you safe. You might consider only using with clients you know well, or snorting drugs rather than injecting them at work. Figure out your drug policy, think about how you will handle different scenarios and be up front with clients about your boundaries.
• If a client gives you drugs, be aware that you cannot be sure what you are being given. If you choose to use the drugs, try a little bit first. Fred told UN “I have been given a powder I was told was speed, but it turned out to be ketamine. The client wanted me close to unconscious, so he could have more time and control. Luckily, I had a tolerance to that drug. Also I chose to snort it instead of injecting it, so it didn’t quite play out the way the client wanted. But it could have turned out for the worst”.
• Some clients may try to give you large amounts. Split the drugs into smaller amounts and keep track of how much you have had. Gina said “I have had clients try to make me very out of it so they could do things I had already said I wouldn’t do or to try and make the booking longer. I always use a fairly small amount. I like to use drugs, but it’s not safe to be too out of it with a client. Anything can happen.”
• Never use a pre-prepared fit as you don’t know what it contains or how much drug is in the mix. You also can’t be sure the fit is sterile; it may contain a blood borne virus or bacteria or damage your veins.
• Some clients may try to get you to cross boundaries you normally wouldn’t because you are “under the influence”. Be up front about what you will and won’t do, and stick to your guns no matter how much they push – because they will. If you are feeling unsafe, leave. If you work for a parlour, let the receptionist know what is happening.
• Clients can also spike drinks. It’s an old story, but a true one. Julie said “I have totally Mickey Finned and woken up clueless, lubed up and done over by a group of people. I learned that if you don’t know someone well, be very careful and watch them like a hawk.”
• You need to have a plan for dealing with “ugly mugs” no matter where you work. Using drugs can make you vulnerable as far as involving the police to keep you safe. Some clients may even try to blackmail you.
• Remember– nothing comes for free!
• Even using your own drugs can be risky. Be careful you haven’t used too much and nod off during a job. Apart from being unprofessional, it can be dangerous.
• If there’s a chance you might inject at work, make sure you carry a stash of new sterile injecting equipment.