Open letter to all the sex buyers everywhere

‘Jo’ sent us this powerful and moving open letter to all the sex buyers everywhere through our Share Your Story page.

“Behind your backs we share a very different reality. We are tired of the emotional labour you put us through, not only the fact that you feel entitled to our bodies, but also that you feel entitled to our souls too. We talk about how much easier a client is when he is fast, less demanding. I’m saying ”we” because I’m talking about the majority of prostitutes I talk with, as well as my own experience in the sex trade.”
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‘I am a prostitute. I have been a prostitute since I was underage. I’m in my mid-30s now’

‘Jo’ sent us this #MeToo account of her experiences of the sex trade through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.

“I would just sit on my bed afterwards, looking at the money, focusing on it, counting my savings every day to keep myself motivated, and counting how much more I would have to save to retire. To never return, to leave and to forget all that had happened in prostitution. Ever. To erase every single detail of my past.” Read More

‘I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone seeking a short fix. The damage it has done to me is irreparable.’

These #MeToo accounts of women’s experiences of the sex trade came in through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.

“I made money from it, but felt like I had been all used up doing something that completely went against my core values. That experience induced trauma and I ended up going through even worse trauma in the years following that. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone seeking a short fix. The damage it has done to me is irreparable.” Read More

‘Men circling the streets, looking at the women like meat and yelling at them like dogs’

In this article women who have not been in the sex trade themselves share how it has nevertheless affected their lives in various ways. We received these #MeToo accounts through our Share Your Story page. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.

“It always made me sick to my stomach, the way that one human buys another. To use her as his toilet and dump her back in the street after – only for another man to pick her up.” Read More

Porn is Videoed Prostitution and Fully Decriminalised. That Doesn’t Make it Safe.

By Scarlett X

As a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation, both within prostitution and the porn industry, I find the claim that decriminalisation of third parties such as pimps to be necessary to ‘keep all women safe’ absolutely ludicrous.

This is why. Read More

‘The psychological damage & impact on my self esteem was devastating’

We received these #MeToo stories of the sex trade through our Share Your Story feature. This provides a space for women to tell their stories in their own words.

“They’ve even managed to get me to think that because I found prostitution and pornography traumatic that I was just one of the ones who ‘weren’t cut out for it,’ or was lacking in character and resilience somehow. I hate this so much.” Read More

‘I have A LOT of anger towards men’

Here are some more #MeToo stories that survivors of the sex trade have sent through our Share Your Story page. Thank you to every one who shared these powerful words.

“It hurts me when I read on twitter about how happy [prostitution] is and about choice and it’s empowering. Those people have never been in this situation. It is insulting to reality of so so many women worldwide who are in this not through choice and who don’t have much of a voice.” Read More

‘I survived but only just & sometimes I wish I hadn’t’

Here are some more #MeToo stories that survivors of the sex trade have sent us on social media or through our Share Your Story page. Thank you to every one of you who shared these powerful words.

“I was beaten, set on fire, cut, bitten, choked, robbed and raped, sometimes by men who were high up in the police or were judges, doctors, politicians.” Read More

Is ‘sex work’ real work? ‘If work is being slapped/beaten/told you’re a worthless whore… Then yes it’s work’

Is ‘sex work’ real work? “If ‘real work’ is having a 70 year-old drunk man bargaining with your ‘price’ because you won’t continue without a condom… that man getting aggressive and asking for his money back… if work is being forced to give up 50-100% of your income to a pimp… if work is being forced to have sex with men on the run from the police for domestic abuse… if work is being filmed without your consent… if work is being slapped/beaten/told you are a worthless whore… Then yes it’s work.” Read More

‘The sex industry preys upon poor, abused and mentally ill women’

“The issue is so much bigger than just the sex industry. I was treated like a sexual object and commodity from an incredibly young age and still am. I can’t walk down the street without being catcalled or harassed. It really hurts to know these men are so willing to use my body but have absolutely no concern for me as a person or my wellbeing. Things have to change.” Read More

Women of colour against the sex trade

We report on the recent ‘Women of Colour Against the Sex Trade’ conference in London, UK, that was hosted by Space International and heard first-hand from black and ethnic minority survivors of the sex industry.

“In Dr Vednita Carter’s Black Minnesota neighbourhood, white middle class men cruise the streets in luxury cars, looking for Black girls and young women to pay to use and abuse sexually. This echoes back to the white man’s white god-given right to unlimited sexual access to Black women and girls during the long centuries of slavery.” Read More

‘I feel like I am being gaslit by society’

Two more #MeToo stories we’ve received through our Share Your Story page, where women can enter their experiences of the sex trade anonymously. We do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed, but each story is important, moving and powerful, and reveals yet again the awful truth about prostitution – that it is neither easy money, nor a route out of poverty for disadvantaged women. Read More

‘In every possible way, it felt like rape’

This is a new selection of #MeToo stories we’ve received through our Share Your Story page, where women can enter their experiences of the sex trade anonymously. Each story is important, moving and powerful, and reveals yet again the awful truth about prostitution – that it has no place in a society that aspires to equality between women and men, and fundamental human rights for all. Read More

PODCAST: Anna talks about being groomed into prostitution and her subsequent 11 years in the sex trade

In this podcast, Trixie talks with Anna, who was groomed into prostitution as a teenager and continued in that life on the streets of Leeds for 11 years. Her story shows the insidious nature of the grooming process and the increasing violence and coercive control of her pimp, who was also her partner and the father to her kids. She talks about the punters, the women she was prostituted with, the connections with the local lap dancing club, and the long-term effects of ‘the life’ on herself and her children. Read More

Prostitution and free choice

Dana Levy is an Israeli sex industry survivor who promotes the Nordic model in Israel. She publishes articles in local newspapers in order to influence public opinion. She very kindly sent us this translation of one of her articles with a message of thanks for what she describes as our ‘amazing work.’ We send thanks for her amazing work in return. Read More

‘I was surprised at the type of men that picked me up’

Another collection of #MeToo stories of the sex trade that we’ve received through our Share Your Story feature. This provides a space for women to tell their own accounts in their own words. We do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed.

“Prostitution is insidious, it is cruel on both sides. Some argue it is the men who exploit the women, but some of the men are just as fragile. They become entangled in their own emotional pain and trauma. The whole industry is based on lies and deception (as well as the invasion of our precious sacred selves).” Read More

Survivors speak out about what prostitution is REALLY like

As a group campaigning for the Nordic Model approach to prostitution, people often berate us for not “listening to sex workers.” If we did, they say, we’d know they all want full decriminalisation of the sex trade and not the Nordic Model. But our group includes survivors of the sex trade and we know that the reality is a little more complicated. In this article we explain why we created our Share Your Story page and distill some of the themes that have emerged from the moving and heart-breaking stories we’ve received so far. Read More

No, decriminalisation of johns and pimps has not improved our safety or lives

Chelsea Geddes has had many years experience in the legal brothels in New Zealand, whose fully decriminalised approach to the sex trade is often held up as the most enlightened solution to prostitution. In this article, she begs to disagree and explains that, on the contrary, it has made punters more demanding and entitled, and has done nothing to make conditions safer for the women like herself. Read More

‘Just numb most of the time’

This is another collection of #MeToo stories of the sex trade that we’ve received through our Share Your Story page.

“That was the end of my life and the start of the trafficking for the next two years. […] Getting beaten all the time by pimp and johns. Johns were more dangerous than the pimp sometimes. Did the math and almost slept with an entire football stadium full of people. Disgusting. Made him millions and never touched a penny.” Read More

‘Most of us are brainwashed into thinking we chose it’

Here are some more of the #MeToo stories of the sex trade that we’ve received through our Share Your Story page.

“If sex work is work, then why does our value as women who may work in the flesh trade go DOWN over time? Why are there no increased rates and certain employment securities for long-term employees? Why do the owners of flesh trade establishments PREFER young, naive and inexperienced girls to work for them?” Read More

Working as a receptionist in a legal brothel proved to me that prostitution is anything but a normal job

The media glamorises prostitution and presents the illusion that it’s sexually liberating for women, and sex industry lobbyists claim that it’s just regular work. For a long time Jacqueline Gwynne accepted this without question even while working as a receptionist in a legal brothel in Melbourne. It was only two years later that she began to see the dark, seedy and dangerous truth. Here she explains what it was like so you can decide for yourself whether prostitution can ever be considered a normal job. Read More

‘It is the men who have the choice, and since money is power, the men have the power’

This is another selection of the #MeToo stories of the sex trade that we’ve received through our Share Your Story page. Profound thanks to everyone who has shared their story. Every single one is powerful, moving and courageous, and shines a much-needed light on what the sex trade is really like. Read More

‘I do not believe that by decriminalising this violent and horrific patriarchal institution that we make women safer’

Rebecca sent this #MeToo story about her journey through lap dancing and into prostitution via our Share your story page.

“You simply cannot forget years and years of swallowing down your consent, of swallowing down what is, at best, disgust, irritation and boredom during sex and, at worst, anger, humiliation and terror.” Read More

‘In a terrible and brutal way, I learned to be a sex toy for men and listen to their wills’

A few days ago we published a new Share Your Story page. We asked you to help us gather real experiences of the sex trade, to help put the record straight, to counteract the “Happy Hooker” myths and explain the truth, to say #MeToo, and #TimesUp for the sex industry. The responses have been overwhelming and heartbreaking and we want to thank everyone who has shared their story. This is a selection of the responses we’ve received so far. Read More

Hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance in Haiti and Westminster

This article, which originally appeared in the Morning Star on International Women’s Day, asks why the government can respond so quickly to the news of European men renting young women and girls for sexual use in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake but find it so hard to respond appropriately to the coercion and inequality of prostitution here in Britain. Read More

#MeToo, sexual harassment and prostitution: joining the dots and demanding change

The viral spread of the #MeToo hashtag over the last few weeks and the accompanying avalanche of women’s testimony of sexual harassment has spread to the British political establishment. In this article we draw parallels and connections between sexual harassment and assault, and prostitution, and we call for a new code of conduct for MPs and parliamentary staff that includes a prohibition against prostitution-buying as well as sexual harassment and assault, just as the UN does for its staff. Read More