In Copenhagen, always known for their liberal views on sexuality, a used ambulance has now been converted into a sex-mobile. Sex workers can now safely meet their clients in this ambulance. The goal behind this is to provide a place where violence and exploitation will no longer be a risk. There will be volunteers who will be stationed around the vehicle who will be prepared to step in if this take an ugly turn.
Unfortunately, people are not really feeling the vibe of this sex-mobile, now being known as a “SEXELANCE,” calling it ‘medical,’ ‘grey’ and ‘cold.’ Unappealing as that may seem, the statistics for the rates of violence against sex workers in Denmark are equally unappealing, making this sex-mobile a viable locations for hook ups.
“Sex workers in Denmark are violated or threatened 45% of the time, but at a brothel this figure is only 3%,” Michael says, using figures from the Danish National Centre for Social Research. It’s the sex workers plying their trade on the streets – who cannot afford to use an illegal brothel – that Michael aims to help. Sexelance is free to use, as while prostitution has been legal in Denmark since 1999, it is still against the law for sex workers to rent rooms or hire any help for their business.
As well as human volunteers for protection, inside there is a notice on the wall saying police will be called at the first sign of violence and another encouraging sex workers to get in contact if they are victims of human trafficking.
And there are other items to help too. Wipes for cleaning after sex, three condom options, lube, even a heater run on electricity from a generator outside. All these suggestions came straight from sex workers.
“These people are my neighbours and friends so I listen to them, they have the best ideas for what they need,” Michael says. For instance, the sex workers told him they often get sore knees.
“So we came up with this”, he says, waving a rainbow-coloured chunk of polystyrene at me.