ConStellation’s “Working Conditions Special” – a resource for scenario building

1)    Dealing with police

Though we had planned to incorporate sex workers’ interactions with police in our game, this edition of ConStellation breaks down the different choices sex workers have when faced with an arrest. The decision to request a lawyer, to challenge a ticket, or to file a complaint regarding police brutality or malpractice all have their advantages and disadvantages, and might be interesting to explore in our game. They highlight how sex workers can navigate the legal system, and also the systemic challenges they face in doing so.

2)    Negotiating with a client

Again, negotiating with a client was going to play a central role in our game, as we realize this a critical issue for all sex workers. However, Stella outlines a number of factors for sex workers to consider when deciding to take on a client.  For example, the kind of car the client is driving or the environment they suggest going to can play a critical role in a sex worker’s safety. Stella also offers a number tips when assessing a client.  Most importantly, they urge sex workers to follow their instincts. They also suggest taking down the license plate of a client, having an emergency number on hand at all times, being aware of local businesses nearby, as well as carrying protective items such as whistles, hairspray, etc… Another variable mentioned that we had not considered is the time of day when a sex worker takes on a client. One sex worker in this edition points out that the later a sex worker decides to work, the more likely they are to be tired and less able to protect themselves. Furthermore, the later it is, the more likely a client is to be intoxicated.

3)    The Internet

Almost all of the sex workers who shared their stories in this edition discussed making use of the internet to publicize their services and attract customers. They also discussed the importance of online reviews of their services, which are highly popular among clients and can lead to growing or ruining a business. Though we had planned to focus our game on street prostitution (a form of sex work that is not likely to be advertised on the internet), we are still considering representing other forms of sex work. This edition of ConStellation made it clear that for sex workers who work out of their homes or through an agency, the internet is a critical tool.  This might be an interesting element to incorporate in our game.

4)    Expenses

The sex workers who shared their stories in this edition outlined the expenses involved to maintain their profession: transportation, cell phones, a nice wardrobe, beauty products, advertising, etc… As we are currently thinking that meeting financial needs be the goal in our game, it might make sense to incorporate the reality of these expenses.  Furthermore, many of the sex workers talked about competition, and the need to spend more money to make more money. For example, sex workers that are able to invest more in clothes and beauty regimes may end up being more attractive to a potential customer.

5)    Sharing tips with other sex workers

Many sex workers reported getting advice from more seasoned professionals before starting to work themselves.  We had already hoped to represent a community of sex workers as an important informational resource to the sex worker protagonist in our game, and this ConStellation issue only made it more clear how vital it is to have a network of peers when working as a sex worker.