Sex Worker Safety & Health

Spotting and Avoiding Bad Management

How to avoid dodgy operations: A comprehensive guide on how to avoid bad agencies, porn companies, dungeons, brothels, strip clubs and cam sites. This resource was put together by SWOP-USA members based on our own experiences.

For People Considering Adult Film Work: Tips and Things to Consider

Thinks to think about when you’re considering adult work, as well as information about your workers’ rights and tips for staying safe & away from exploitative or illegal offers.


Screening is about asking for and getting accurate information about individuals you may meet. The more information you ask from and have about someone:

– the more likely you will be able to accurately assess whether or not they pose a threat to your well-being and safety.
– the more likely the person you meet will be who they say they are.
– the less likely the person you meet will cause harm to you. (Because if they do, you will be able to report them to law enforcement or a black-list, and they will know that negative consequences may result from invoking harm).

1.) Give access to your email address/cell-phone-record to a friend in the business so that she/he can access it in case anything happens to you.

2.) If you are working on the street, work with a buddy. Have a buddy write down and text the license plate number of the car to you, in case anything bad happens. If the client does anything bad, report the information SWOP-Orlando or SWOPUSA. Rape Victims’ Advocates can also provide confidential, non-judgmental advice on whether or not you should report the incident to law enforcement and, if so, support around your case. See Tricks of The Trade for more advice on screening clients & staying safe when finding and meeting clients outdoors.

3.) If you are working indoors, the following advice is useful:

4.) Try to get at least one (and preferably all of) the following:

  • full name & place of employment (you can also sometimes get this by searching the person’s phone number).
  • a reference from another person he has interacted with before.
  • an “Okay” from a verification or screening program.

5.) Ask for an ID when they arrive to confirm their identity.

6.) If you must meet with someone who does not give you their full name and work information, try to:

  • Google whatever information you have about them, and search that information using internet-based background check and bad date lists. (See suggestions for bad date lists below).
  • Meet them in a public place first. They may feel more comfortable giving information to you after you meet in person, and meeting in public will give you more time to assess the person as well as an out in case the person seems dangerous or unstable.
  • Spend some time talking to them on the phone to get a sense of whether or not they are aggressive, using substances, or mentally unstable.

Screening 102

 Best-Practice Guidelines on Screening for Independent, Indoor Workers in the Adult Entertainment Industry

1) Ask for a business or other published number, and check the number in (reverse phone) or Google it to verify it. Call at an agreed-upon time under an agreed-upon method – for example, “Anne calling from Dr. Levin’s office to confirm an appointment.”

(2) Some clients are high-profile, so you can verify them by Googling them or looking at a company directory. In that case, a business number isn’t necessary (although you may want to call to make certain the man who contacted you actually is the one who works there). You verify the company is legit by double-checking it at Dun & Bradstreet:

(3) Often times, people e-mail you from their company addresses, which are often the same addresses as their homepages. When a client is self-employed, and has a website, do a WHOIS search of the website URL here, which spits out the registrant info:

If it’s an international client, you can do an international WHOIS here.

If neither of the above are convenient, then:

(4) Two recent references from other independent workers, always getting a physical description from them to make sure he isn’t “borrowing” a buddy’s reference.

There are 3rd party reference and screening services too:

We HIGHLY recommend that you create an account and use this FREE bad date blacklist.  This is a Sex Worker Positive Resource that also has paid subscriptions and are very helpful.

Screening Tips for Adult Film/Porn Performers

Advice on how to distinguish between legitimate, legal adult film work and dodgy, illegal, possibly dangerous offers

Online Adult Work Communities

A list of discussion forums where you can get advice from other folks doin’ what you’re doin!

Resources: Dealing With Stolen Photos, Videos & Text

There is literally nothing more infuriating than having your web content stolen. Here are some ideas and links that might help you respond.

18 Things Every Adult Worker Should Know

Written by Mistress Matisse, these are 18 tips that holistically address well-being in the adult-biz. They apply to everyone from pro-doms to pro-subs, dancers to call girls (and boys). 

Health & Safety FAQs for Sex Workers

Oddles of wisdom on health, safety, and self-care for escorts, doms-subs, rent-boys, strippers, adult film workers and street-based sex workers.

Making Money In the Mainstream Economy

A Help­ Guide for Transitioning from the Adult Biz into Mainstream Work

The Shit We Just Shouldn’t Put Up With

So – as adult workers, we seem to get a disproportionate amount of crap about our work…and this makes it really really easy to rationalize our partners’ bad behavior. So here’s some shit we just shouldn’t put up with[!]

Tricks of the Trade

Health & safety advice primarily for street-based workers, but useful for anyone working in the adult entertainment industry


Trade Secrets

By far the most comprehensive –across the industry — knowledge, advice, and information guide – online, in 13 Chapters.

Porn 101

By the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, this is a fantastic “101” video (featuring some of your favorite porn stars) on things to consider when considering adult film work, how to get into the industry, and more.

Hook Online – Resources for Male Sex Workers

Great tips on staying safe and financially secure for male porn actors, escorts, strippers, street-workers, and other sex workers.

We Got This! Volume One: Safe Calls, Screening and Buddy Systems for Sex Workers

Awesome ‘zine on different ways people working in the adult industry stay safe!

Occupational Health & Safety Handbook (2010)

Developed by the St. James Infirmary, This handbook is a must have for sex workers and our allies in the community! The first half of the book is devoted to harm reduction, health, safety and legal rights (for every type of adult work you could imagine), and the second half has information for 720 local, national and international resources relevant to the lives of sex workers.

Support and Advice for Escorts

Omg. So we absolutely adore this UK-Based discussion forum, run by and for escorts. In their own words: “SAAFE was created by a few very ‘normal’ women who just happen to get paid to spend time with men, women and couples. is run by women with a wealth of experience to share with others. We offer unbiased advice from those doing the job already, all with your interests at heart and that includes guidance on how to get yourself out of escorting if you feel it’s not right for you. So get yourself a coffee and make yourself comfortable as you explore our different pages.

We Are Dancers (NYC) – Know Your Rights!

As dancers, many of us think we have no legal rights, whether because we work off the books or because we are afraid that people won’t take us seriously. But dancers have legal rights like other workers. Here’s what you should know!

Safety Advice for Sex Workers in the UK

While written for UK sex workers, most of this resource applies in the US as well.

Sorted Men – For Men Involved in the Sex Trade

Wonderful, in-depth resource for male sex workers.

How To Be an Ex-Porn Star: 10 Tips on Taking a Break 

By APAC VP Conner Habib, gives advice on how to take a break from adult film.