‘I had no support or way out’

Stacy sent this account of her life in the sex trade, and after, through our Share Your Story page, where women can enter their experiences of the sex trade anonymously and in their own words.

I am a woman with a long history of abuse who comes from a dysfunctional family in Boston, Massachusetts. My trauma began at the age of five when I was told my father had brutally murdered my mother. I grew up between my biological foster families where drugs and alcohol were frequent. I was sexually abused by a foster brother, uncle, and cousin at the age of six. Due to early-life traumatic experiences, I believed there was no hope for the future.

At the age of fourteen, I met a man who I believed was the love of my life. That love became my pimp who convinced, then forced, me to prostitute in the streets of Downtown Boston. He went on to exploit me throughout the east coast states, including Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Virginia, Georgia, and Florida.

I prostituted for more than seven years and endured lots of physical, sexual, mental and spiritual abuse from both my pimp and the johns. I became an alcoholic and drug addict to ease the pain. Selling sex was never OK for me but I was in fear and had no support or way out. I spent many nights sleeping in the streets, local parks, dilapidated hotels and motels, and abandoned buildings until I ended up in jail. I suffered many relapses and inpatient hospital stays as well.

I woke up in jail 20 years ago and realized that I no longer wanted to live the life that I had been living. I knew I had to do something productive with my idle time for the betterment of my life, and to get away from my abuser. I entered my last detox and surrendered my will to my higher power who I choose to call God. I accepted help that was offered in local treatment centers and the fellowships of Alcohol and Narcotics Anonymous. I decided to go back to school to help me keep my mind off drugs, men, and horrible life experiences.

I began at Roxbury Community College (RCC), majoring in Social Science. I joined the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and attended the Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I was awarded the opportunity to attend a Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP) at Northeastern University. I received college credits and an achievement award for writing. I graduated Roxbury Community College, Magna Cum Laude.

I transferred to the University of Massachusetts-Boston and majored in Human Services. I joined the Golden Key International Honor Society and was invited to Washington D.C. to represent the northeast region of the United States as an honor student. I created the Women Moving Forward Group in Roxbury MA at STEPRox Recovery Center to help women combat alcohol, drug addiction, and prostitution. I graduated from UMass-Boston, Summa Cum Laude. I matriculated to Wheelock College, majored in Social Work, and received my Master of Social Work degree.

I am currently working for an organization that has a vision of a world where people’s bodies are not victimized, exploited, or bought or sold for the sexual gratification of another person. I have been able to travel internationally to observe and advocate for people that have been sexually exploited.

My life has changed in ways I never imagined. I believe it is God’s grace and mercy that pulled me out of the dark into the light. I am a woman ready to inspire and act for the betterment of humanity. I am an honest, tax paying member in society today.

I am also a wife, mother, grandmother, and woman in recovery always willing to share the hope. I am happy to say I do not live by the brainwashed idea of my abuser who said, “Once a Hoe, always a Hoe” and “You cannot turn a Hoe into a House Wife.”

I am a survivor professional who believes in the Nordic Model because I was not a volunteer of my circumstances, nor are the people I work with. We were/are victims and survivors that deserve a better chance at life, and to be loved without being bought or sold.

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.

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