National Ugly Mugs (NUM) was founded in 2012 after 10 years of advocacy to the Home Office for a national reporting and alerting service where sex workers, front-line services and police forces could document harms experienced by sex workers. Since then, NUM has become the largest sex worker support organisation in the country, providing UK-wide victim support and crime prevention resources for people of all genders who work in sex industries. Our mandate is simply to ‘end violence against sex workers’.
We value and proudly centralise the experiences of sex workers. Our Research and Development (R&D) Team of ‘experts by experience’ contribute to operations and strategic leadership, as well as service development and delivery. As of December 2019, we have over 7500 members, with over 6100 of these identifying as sex workers, and the others comprising practitioners, frontline support services and other venues. We are united by four core values: Compassion, Contribution, Integrity and Inclusion.
Every sex worker who reports to NUM is provided with follow-up support from our case work team that includes Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) and other trained professionals who engage with sex workers to access the resources that they request for their healing and recovery from within and outside of the criminal justice system. Members also have access to NUM's email and number checking services, as well as receiving alerts regarding perpetrators in their area. Data derived from the reports that we receive shapes our services; informs our community education to police and practitioners to improve resources; and forms the basis of our systemic advocacy. Our ultimate aims are to provide quality support services and change the policies, practices and conditions that contribute to violence against sex workers.
For more information about the work that NUM does, please click here.
If you are a sex worker or part of a sex worker support organisation, please click here to sign up for NUM membership.
Interested in NUM? Sign up to our newsletter.
To donate to NUM, please click here
NUM has been working hard during the pandemic to support sex workers. In March we surveyed sex workers to find out what they most needed from NUM. Money and financial advice, health and well being support (including mental health support) and work advice were all cited. NUM secured funding, information and resources to help provide support, read more about it in our impact report. We are also providing support via a new chat service. Find out more about that here.
We also launched National Ugly Mug Meals! In our most recent survey of sex workers, loss of income was the number one impact the pandemic has had on sex workers. COVID-19 has left many struggling to buy the basics of food. We want to provide 100,000 meals to sex workers and their families. Become a NUM Chef today to help to provide meals to sex workers in need.
Mental Heath Support Services
At NUM, we recognise the barriers that sex workers may face in seeking mental health support. We understand the need for and importance of affirming, understanding and informed health care, and the possible harms that may result when sex workers are unable to access this.
Our Research and Development Team (R&D) of industry experts have partnered with a mental health therapist to produce materials specifically aimed at sex workers, tackling key issues faced by the sex work community in a supportive way. We will continue to update this page as new materials and resources are produced.
Access the page here