A good reception

The group young LGBTQ individuals who have sex for compensation has many different needs and experiences. It's very different working with 15-year olds than with 25-year olds, among other things because different legislations apply depending on if the person is under or over 18. The work will also differ depending on what area you're working in. The items that are listed here should therefore be seen as an inspiration and support for further discussion within the staff. The majority of the items are relevant for all young people with experience of sex for compensation regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression, and not only for LGBTQ individuals.

  • Ask the same questions to all young people – regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
     
  • Dare to ask about experiences of sex for compensation and think about wording the question in an inclusive way. Young people rarely define themselves as "sex workers", "escorts" or "prostitutes". Terms such as "prostitution" rarely feel relatable. Many young people don't define it as "selling sex" either. To be able to gather all young people's experiences it is therefore important what questions are asked. "Have you had sex in exchange for money, drugs, clothes, a place to sleep or something like that?" is a more inclusive question than "Do you sell sex?". The word prostitute should generally be avoided, as it's often perceived as stigmatizing.
     
  • Think through what questions/measures you want to follow up on when you meet a person who's had sex for compensation. 
     
  • Reflect on your own ideas about sex for compensation and how they affect you. What words do you use? What do they convey? Be aware of how norms and ideas regarding gender, sexual orientation and sex for compensation can affect the way you address someone, but also what young people themselves choose to disclose.
     
  • Always use the name and the pronoun the person prefers. Usual pronouns are she, he, singular they or ze.
     
  • Use "gender" as an open question in surveys or offer at least three different alternatives: girl, boy, other/neither (preferably with an option to write freely). If there's space for five alternatives, add unsure/don't know and do not want to state.
     
  • Clearly show, both with words and body language, that you are not judging.
     
  • Keep your own feelings to yourself during the meeting – but do discuss with a colleague afterwards.
     
  • Discuss with the young person what is written in journals and notes. Tell them who has access to these.
     
  • Have faith in the person's own ability to act but keep in mind preconditions such as age, disabilities and ability to act.
     
  • Young LGBTQ individuals who have sex for compensation is a diverse group where different people have different needs and preconditions. It's important to be perceptive in the interaction since both experiences and needs vary. Listen to the person's experience, wishes and thoughts about needs.
     
  • Inform about what the law says and the person's rights based on age and situation.
     
  • If you feel uncomfortable talking about sex, practice to feel more comfortable. Have basic knowledge on safer sex.
     
  • Have knowledge about what the routines are within your organisation and if they are different depending on the person's age, citizenship or life situation in general.
     
  • Refer when needed. Make sure that those you refer to have LGBTQ competency.
     
  • If young trans individuals are to be referred to a gender divided organisation, the person's gender identity, not the legal gender, should always determine. The exception is if the person themself has different wishes.
     
  • If you're the one who's to map out what measures need to be taken it's good to explore the reasons for having sex for compensation. Is it a need of living space, money, excitement, relief from anxiety or to fund an addiction? Depending on the reason different measures and support can be needed. Remember: for a lot of young people it's different circumstances that work together.
     
  • Remember! The legislation differs depending on the person's age and therefore organisations need to have different routines depending on if the persons are of age or not. There are also differences between sex for compensation and trafficking for sexual purposes. People who have sex for compensation are never doing anything illegal; it's the one who gives the compensation (buys sexual favours) or who makes money from someone else having sex (procuring) or doing human trafficking that is committing a criminal act.  
     
  • Everyone who is made aware that a person under 18 has problems are recomended report this to the social services. Most organisations that meet children and young people have a duty to report to the social services if they suspect that a person under 18 is having problems. At all workplaces where the staff has a duty to report there should be routines for how such a report should be made.