Press Release

12 February 2015



In the UK alone, 149 sex workers have been murdered since 1990. National award winning charity, National Ugly Mugs, is working relentlessly to prevent more crimes against sex workers.

You can help fight stigma and save lives by supporting the vital work of National Ugly Mugs to protect more than 20,000 sex workers from dangerous offenders by giving a donation today.

Alex Bryce, Director of services at National Ugly Mugs said: “National Ugly Mugs is saving the lives of some of the most unfairly stigmatized people in our society and bringing to justice some of the most dangerous offenders.


“Despite this, we are faced a constant battle for funding and are regularly faced with the possibility of imminent closure.  It would be a real tragedy if this pioneering, life-saving project was forced to close due to lack of funding.”


Crime Prevention Minister Lynne Featherstone said: “We funded the National Ugly Mugs pilot because we are committed to supporting innovative ways to protect those involved in prostitution, who can be at particular risk of harm from violent criminals.


“We know people involved in prostitution may hesitate to report crimes committed against them, and Ugly Mugs is an accessible and effective way to encourage them to come forward anonymously.

“I am delighted that police forces are making good use of the scheme to and I would urge chief constables to consider making small financial contributions to allow its valuable work to continue.”

The facts are:

  • 16% of sex workers have avoided a perpetrator as a result of the National Ugly Mugs scheme
  • Almost 1,500 serious incidents have been reported since the scheme set up in 2012
  • A quarter of these incidents were sexual assaults
  • At least 16 convictions due to the National Ugly Mugs scheme
  • Around 80 sex workers sign up as members and around 50 incidents are reported each month
  • 7% of sex workers say that the police are more likely to take violent crimes against sex workers more seriously as a result of National Ugly Mugs
  • 7% of sex workers are more likely to report incidents to the police as a direct result of National Ugly Mugs.

Supporting National Ugly Mugs with a regular gift is the best way to help the charity continue its vital work. Without donations this life-saving charity could close by this April. £10 per month would pay for 100 SMS alerts.


  • Donate by SMS: You can make a simple one off donation via text, to donate to NUM please text “UGLY00 £10” to 70070.
  • Visit for more information or follow us on twitter @nationaluglymug
  • #uglymugs


Notes to editor

National Ugly Mugs provides access to justice and protection for sex workers throughout the UK who are often targeted by dangerous offenders but face barriers in reporting incidents to the police.

National Ugly Mugs won multiple national awards during 2014 including the Guardian Charity of the Year Award,  Third Sector Award for "small charity, big achiever", and The Paolo Pertica International Award.


Only a small proportion of incidents perpetrated against sex workers are formally reported to the police


NUM provides third-party reporting connecting local projects, individual sex workers, escort forums and advertising sites and enables sex workers in all sex markets throughout the UK to access life-saving information.


NUM also supports victims in reporting to the police and signposts them to appropriate local services.