These powerful and moving pieces were sent to us through our Share Your Story page, which provides a space for women to tell of their experiences of the sex trade in their own words.
My single mother was in and out of bad relationships and psychiatric treatment. I had to grow up fast and learn to take care of myself and her too.
When I was 16, I met a man who seemed to love me. He pimped me and my friends. I’ve always been smart so I figured out the game and instead of giving money to him I started pimping myself, I was carrying a pager to class in Grade 10. Then I got pregnant by him and chose to have an abortion which killed me more inside. I vowed to my unborn baby this wouldn’t be in vain and I’d get my life straight.
I completed grade 12 and stopped “working”. Then I met a new man who had heard what I’d done before and told me if I wanted to achieve this and that I should just start again. He caught me crying one day after a “date” and I told him I hate it because I love him and don’t want to have sex with other men. He said he loved me too and instead I should just run it. We recruited girls and I ran it, very successfully.
I had two children with him and we got married. It never leaves my mind that he sold me when we met. That the father of my kids was my pimp first.
The day I gave birth to my daughter my mind clicked. I refused to be involved at all anymore. His abuse and control increased. I got a real job and my self-esteem and confidence increased too. As I got more independent and educated, he got more possessive and mean. I left him and moved on never looking back.
We have two kids who are wonderful and successful but have no idea. I think it would kill them if they ever find out.
For me I live with the trauma of being in the sex trade from 16-25 years old but also with the fact that I involved other women who have to live with it too. So complicated and hard to just keep to myself.
I was a mother of three and a wife and in a second it was over. We divorced and he took the kids due to my drug addiction. I was then homeless, living in a low-end hotel.
I met someone who told me to come meet his friend and get on Backpage. I didn’t know what it was but I soon found out when I met my first pimp. It was a downhill spiral from there.
Trafficked all over the United States, after nine years I was exhausted and strung out and I wanted to die. God had other plans and I found a program in Alabama named the Wellhouse. I have been here two years and completely turned my life around. There is healing and restoration for survivors.
I’ve never sold my body in exchange for nothing.
Everything I have, I worked for it, I have goals of doing things in my life.
Never used my vagina to get up one, or any hole to be direct.
But ever since I turned 18, someone (I don’t know) decided to use my pictures and send them out like I was up for sale.
I don’t really want to go outside and this PTSD/trauma, whatever is real.
Every time I hear people calling me out of my name or laughing at me it makes me feel really depressed. I don’t want to keep living like this… I would like to end my life but I’m God fearing and God did try to avoid this outcome but I was blind and stupid… I ask him every night, when is it going to be over, when can he finally take my pain away, I’m tired of crying and accepting that because of this, I can never be a potential wife.
I’m an embarrassment.
The crazy thing is it hasn’t been that long since I was 18…
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.