Introducing: National Ugly Mugs
National Ugly Mugs is one of the charities we donate to at Hella Heels UK. We have recently interviewed them to let our customers know about their work..in their own words.
Who are National Ugly Mugs (NUM)?
National Ugly Mugs is the largest sex worker serving violence prevention and victims support service in the UK whose mission is to end all forms of violence against sex workers and to eliminate the conditions that lead to survival sex work. We serve sex workers of all genders, backgrounds and modes of work. We offer a digital reporting and alerting mechanism to warn sex workers about dangerous individuals who may target them; online screening tools; and individualised support for those who experience harm from a specialist team of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA) and other experts. We value those with lived experience in sex industries and work with them to conduct research, develop education packages to professionals, and participate in policy advocacy to change the conditions that lead to survival sex, gain rights and recognition, and improve the safety of UK-based sex workers.
What are the central issues you are trying to combat?
At NUM, our core mission is to end all forms of violence against sex workers, and eliminate the conditions that lead to survival sex. This is not limited to individual harms - though those are very much in the scope of what we do also - but also encompasses structural violence. We want to break down the barriers which prevent sex workers from being fully-included, equal citizens, including the intersectional issues faced by groups overrepresented in sex work, including disability, race, migration status, gender identity and those in poverty. We believe that sex workers have the same right to be safe, to access justice, to obtain resources and to receive respect as all other members of society, and we both attempt to close the gaps where these currently do exist, while also trying to prevent the gaps from existing in the first place.
Where do you see solution approaches?
- £10 pays for 150 SMS messages to be sent to warn sex workers of potentially dangerous individuals, helping them to keep themselves safe.
- £25 allows sex worker knowledge to be supported and rewarded by compensating someone for a research interview, or for conducting one.
- £60 funds a session with a sex worker-friendly therapist, reducing the financial barriers to affirming mental health support.