Calls to a helpline for sex workers have gone up by a third since June 

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  • The English Collective of Prostitutes wants more women to know about the potential dangers of doing sex work through sites like OnlyFans

    Prices for everyday goods like food and fuel are the highest they’ve been for 40 years. We know that things are likely to only get worse, and that women are being disproportionately affected by the cost-of-living crisis. 

    As many people look to top up their incomes with extra work, more women are doing part-time sex work to help make ends meet. In an interview with Radio 1 Newsbeat, the English Collective of Prostitutes said that calls to their helpline from women who have started doing sex work to help with costs went up by a third in June. 

    Laura Watson, a representative from the group, said that they are also hearing from more women looking to make money via OnlyFans. The platform lets content creators charge subscribers for photos, videos and live streams, taking 20% of their earnings. A lot of OnlyFans content is made by YouTubers, fitness trainers and models, but the platform has also become popular among creators of adult content. 

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    Watson said women of all ages who are “working in everyday jobs” have been asking for help on how to set themselves up on sites like OnlyFans. 

    “They need to make extra money to make ends meet with the price of everything going up,” she said. But, she warned, becoming a “top earner” takes a lot of work. 

    The English Collective of Prostitutes wants more of these women to know that they could be opening themselves up to long hours, a risk of abuse and even stalking. She warns that people are becoming even “more vulnerable” after being pushed into revealing their face, voice or another identifying feature. 

    Watson said: “We’ve had calls from women who are in this situation and are under threat of being outed, some women have even been tracked down and face violence as a result. It’s directly linked to women’s need for money because the more desperate you are, the more ready you are going to be to take these risks.”

    When Newsbeat asked OnlyFans to comment, it said “creator and fan safety are a top priority” and that it had been “repeatedly praised by creators for creating a safe space for them to share digital content with their fans”.

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