These #MeToo stories were sent through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for those who have been impacted by the sex trade to tell their stories anonymously and in their own words.
It’s ringing. The train is coming. The time is set for another collision. Turning from indifference to paralyzing anxiety, I can feel the neurons firing – “GET UP!”
But I can’t, a war is ranging inside, head and body, the body refuses. My body, like a child, needs incentives. “The sooner you get up and do it the sooner it will end, I promise”.
I’m up, fully aware that I don’t have a choice anyway. The preparation storm begins with my gratitude for keeping my mind clear for just a few more minutes. I’m changing the room from white to red, changing my body, my dress, my makeup, my hair, my name. No looking in the mirror, it isn’t you anyway. Turning up the music to overpower the voices in my head.
I wait. Anxiously. Praying for him to come, praying for him to go.
A faceless, nameless, terrifying man. He could be anyone really.
The drawer is full. The clock speaks. Profiling, question, intake, silence.
I’m trying to hear the music but I can’t. His hands are on me, my skin is screaming at him. Every touch burns.
His lips touch, and ask, and demand, and smile. It’s not a happy smile, it’s a smile of contentment, an “I own you” smile.
I’m not here. I can’t be here.
He holds my hair and I wake up. With him in my mouth. I run, I’m lost again, soon he’ll be inside me, for years and years and years.
I shut my eyes but I’m still here. He holds me so tightly, I can feel the bruising on my arms and chest emerge. How can a person be this strong?
Make it end, make it end, make it end, please.
I scratch his back, ever so lightly, my one rebellion, my scream.
We turn. More freedom, I’m well aware that my back is a lot less telling than my face. His hands don’t crush me anymore but he gives me no relief, can’t disappear now, the pain keeps me here.
“Stay silent, silent, silent, silent”.
I’m silent. As silent as one can be while being hit by a train. The pain is almost unbearable.
I talk to myself, having conversations, making errands, lying to myself, dreaming. Silent.
He’s done. Is he done? He’s done.
I count my blessings. Change into my plastic smile. Racing him out. He can’t leave quickly enough. He’s out.
Still not breathing. Waiting for him not to come back. He’s really gone. The water washes my memories. You’re clean now.
The young man
I began working as a prostitute when I was 18 and still do it today. I was let go from my job and signed on to benefits but because I was under 21 I was only given the minimum of £252 a month to live on. After debts etc. I would have around £100 to last me for the month so selling the one thing I had to men was my only option until I found a job.
It makes me feel sick that I have to sell my body in order to survive but knowing that my story could help someone else who is going down the same path makes it a little easier.
I can still feel their hands on me, every day when I shower I feel them looking at me.
As a man I don’t know what else I can do in a society that makes men feel silly or weak for speaking out when they need help. There are many young men like me who need support but don’t get any and turn to things like prostitution or crime to get by.
I was studying for a university course when I started, but wasn’t eligible for a student loan because I was a distant learner. So even when I try and achieve my dreams it’s taken away. I just needed help and wasn’t given any.
I read Jo’s story on your website and the whole time I read it, I thought, this is me. So, I guess I’ll share my story as well.
The first time I sold sex I was 14. It wasn’t intentional. I was dating an older man and he gave me $100 after oral sex. Maybe that’s where it all started, I don’t know.
When I was 17, I was put in a youth shelter because I had gotten into trouble and was homeless. One month after my 18th birthday I was picked up by a pimp and forced to sell sex. I’m 35 now. I’m still in the business.
I hate it. But I don’t know how to get out.
I’ve gotten to the point where I hate seeing clients but I need the money to survive. My life is so fucked up right now but I am such a great actress that all of my clients think I have my shit together and am seeing them because I want to.
Like seriously? Why would I want to lose a small part of me every time I see them? Why would I want to be their sex slave for an hour for a couple of hundred dollars?
I guess it’s probably starting to show. Reviews left of my ‘services’ say it seems like I’m just doing it for the money. I have always just done it for the money but now I am tired and I don’t care.
I fought almost to death to get away from my pimp and I thought that when I did, I could leave this life.
But I got away and I’m still stuck in it. I’m so traumatized by men that I make it a point to have as little contact as I can with them outside of the business. Because after all of my years in it, I know that everyone buys sex. The men that people think are the nicest, are the men that are the meanest behind closed doors.
I got involved in the ‘sex work is work’ movement a couple of years ago. Tried to tell myself that it was just a choice and most women that do this are happy… but that’s a lie. Most of us want out, but we’re trapped in it for so many different reasons.
I reached out for help a couple of years ago when I was sitting in front of a hotel waiting to go see a client. But they didn’t have the space/funds to help me, because it was needed more for kids/teens who were being forced. And because I didn’t have a pimp at the time or a drug addiction.
I understand it, I do. But it’s still hard. And it’s never going to be as easy as just going to get another job. Because sex work messes you up.
But, I’ll make it through. Always have.
Like most young children forced into sex trafficking, relatives and friends were either direct or indirect traffickers when I was a pre-schooler. My mom went through illness and to cope, she relied on friends and neighbours to watch my brother and me.
One close family friend, not only raped me, but sold tickets to his friends.
He was an upright, professional, elder in his church. So no one suspected anything.
After three years of almost daily rapes, I was left with permanent physical injuries, including the inability to have children.
My brother has been a life long drug addict. Though we were young children, the middle aged men who raped us called us “whores,” “dirty,” “slaves,” and required us to perform all the sexual acts that men ask of older – though typically prostitutes are teens – prostitutes.
Men who buy children, teens and women do not see us as human beings.
I think for me, the greatest lifelong challenge after being trafficked as a child has been the anger I feel at the way both prostitution and pornography, while actually part of worldwide systems of exploitation, are not acknowledged as the violence they truly are.
The other difficult thing has been knowing how incredibly evil men can be in their sex lives, both in the hatred they feel about sexuality, and about the hatred they feel towards children and women as objects of their sexuality. If it were not for feminists, and movements like the one for the Nordic Model and campaigns against male violence, I’m not sure I would have survived.
Share your story
If you’ve been in the sex trade, or have been affected by it in other less direct ways, and would like to share your story anonymously, please see our Share Your Story page.