As all kinds of businesses start using online models, why should sex work be any different. Many of UK’s sex workers use AdultWork as a safe online community where they can reach clients. The site’s finances are supported by sex workers themselves. They have to pay to get their profiles displayed. It’s not really the safest thing in the world but, in relative terms, it’s definitely the safest thing available. Sex workers can lay out their rules and can get an idea of what clients are after before meeting them. However, it isn’t the only sex work related site available. For a more Tripadvisor type experience on a sex work site, you should visit UKPunting.com. Onn this popular website, sex workers don’t get a say in what’s said about them. What we have instead, are commenters (known as “punters”) that discuss the etiquette of picking up and using “service providers”, share tips and review the “prossies”. Just like how one would rate a product or service. Let’s find out more about UK Punting.
UK Punting: What You Need to Know
Does UK Punting have reviews of sex workers?
The language used by UKPunting is similar to online review websites. Just like other review websites, contributors will gripe about a disparity between the appearance on the marketing shots and that of the actual product – the woman:
“Didn’t bother me but if you require perfect teeth this is not your girl,” says one. “Her areola are extremely discoloured. Almost like vitiligo/albinism isolated to her areola! Never seen that before. Definitely was not a turn on for me,” says another. One woman is awarded a negative review on the basis that her face “has some horrible scarring and spots on it”.
Chantelle, a sex worker I speak to for this piece, tells me: “If you choose not to offer services like kissing and oral then they will slag you off until the cows come home.”
What is the impact of a bad UK Punting review?
Those bad reviews don’t just hurt sex workers’ feelings, they even hurt their pockets. “I don’t have bad feedback on UK Punting,” says Salina, another sex worker. “It’s a blessing, because people will put bad feedback up for no other reason than to spite you. I’m astonished that some girls are able to keep working considering the bad feedback they have.”
Even positive reviews on the site can have a negative impact. “There was one punter, who is relatively new to the whole escort scene, [who] got torn apart because his reviews of me were too nice,” says Clara, a sex worker: “They thought he was working with me or that I was lying and putting it up. They were like, ‘Keep it factual – we don’t need to know if she was nice or this or that.'”
Are most sex workers in the UK actually British?
A lot of recently released statistics have shown that over half of all “service providers” of this sort are not British. Unsurprisingly, a lot of UKPunting reviews talk about this:
“She’s a typical eastern european (i think bulgarian) punt…she would only let me fuck in doggy which is bound to make you cum in 3 seconds. She didn’t let me touch her nor kiss her. Terrible punt.” says one
“All you’ve heard about Romanians in the flesh,” says another: “A residential address which was little better than a squat…Greasy skin, spotty, miserable.”
UKPunting’s policy on discrimination reads “Anti-immigration and bashing of religion / culture / nationality is allowed, however extreme racial comments and racial slurs are not tolerated.”
This seems to be good on the surface, but there is more to it than meets the eye. “Complaining about the lack of ‘political correctness’, accusing the site moderation of being biased for / against something or throwing accusations of racism / xenophobia or similar will equally not be tolerated.”
It means that while a sex worker/offended poster can complain, it only has to be done in way that won’t challenge the status quo. The status quo is pro-punter/reviewer and allows them to essentially comment and post whatever they want.
How do UK Punting reviews affect sex workers?
As per a sex worker who is relatively new to the field, “If you’re not an established escort with regulars that provide 90 percent of your business then I guess their spiteful comments could put a dent in your business, but if you’re long in the tooth then it doesn’t really make any difference.”
Additionally, several sex workers have also claimed that UKPunting’s posters use the site as a price-check and go on to build up unrealistic expectations. UkPunting clients tend to “always barter about money”, “go for the cheapest they can find” and “are all tight bastards who want to do things to girls that girls aren’t comfortable doing”.
What kind of language is used on UKPunting?
Let’s just say that the language used by punters is not ideal, but it isn’t any more gross than the language used on 4Chan/8Chan/some subreddits. However, every review on UKPunting is related to a woman’s day to day life. It can even go as far as putting sex workers in danger.
Some sex workers have even been blackmailed. A victim said: “I have personally been the victim of two members of that site trying to blackmail me for a free fuck. When I tell them to do one they go on there and write shit about you.”
UKPunting also demands that “Reviews must contain either a link, contact details or address,” meaning you find examples like that of one reviewer recommending a “punt” on the basis of free parking nearby, posting her address, revealing her location and identity, and potentially putting her in serious danger.
Sex workers have also called UKPunting “demeaning to women”, that its posters will treat them “like a piece meat”, or will “abuse escorts”. One sex worker said: “The same guys also stalk you, send you horrible emails, try to threaten you and all sorts.”
A lot of punters also write reviews which put the sex worker’s consent in a questionable place. Check out this review: “She kept her legs straight so I had to work hard to enter,” writes one, continuing: “I grabbed her tits and pumped away while she looked away and closed her eyes, completely silent like a dead fish throughout. No doubt this wasn’t a great turn on and I just wanted to come and get out as quick as possible.”
Here’s another, more graphic review: “Three strokes in she said ‘have you cum’. Told her don’t be silly and carried on. 5 strokes in she says I’m too big and go slower. 1 minute later she asked if i had cum yet. Furious with her antics I go limp inside bur carry on…FUCK THIS. I wank myself to get hard put on a condom and buried her for 5 mins blocking out everything she’s saying and cum.”
While sex workers aren’t prohibited from posting on UKPunting, a lot of them have been banned after they posted while trying to defend themselves: “I was banned from the site for defending myself when I changed my prices,” says one. “I was sworn at and called names.”
Why was UKPunting founded?
Nik, who founded UKPunting in 2010 as “an alternative to existing sites” said about his vision: “All existing sites were funded by advertising from service providers, therefore they had, and still have, vested interests in portraying a favourable and often false image of the paid sex scene. Negative reports were often suppressed and people like myself who told the truth were hounded and eventually banned. A number of like minded punters suggested I start an alternative.”
Nik doesn’t own UKPunting anymore. However he did say that the site’s current developers have taken it to a place no one thought was possible. Initially, they were happy to just have 50 to 100 members. Now the site has 118,793 members.
What does the ECP say about UK Punting?
The Home Affairs Select Committee is continuing its inquiry into sex workers with a mind to assessing whether criminalisation should be pushed onto the buyer, rather than the seller. The first sitting saw no mention of sex purchase forums.
The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), which seeks to protect sex workers and their rights, spoke on the subject: “If men are threatening rape and violence they should be prosecuted. But people who use this sexism to justify criminalising men who buy sex are being disingenuous. Our campaign for decriminalisation would get the laws off our back and allow sex workers to come out of the shadows and fight back against all the stigma, discrimination, insults and stereotyping that we face.”
The ECP’s role in sex workers’ rights is critical but they must speak to their members about whether or not UK Punting is about to become a huge problem.