A former prostitute has spoken against the sex trade, saying she “doesn’t understand how anyone could say prostitution isn’t dangerous”.
Wendy, not her real name, told The Scotsman newspaper that every girl she met on the streets had a “tragic” story and insisted that she never saw any of them smile.
She said she was raped by her uncle when she was fifteen and beaten by a former boyfriend, who forced her to take heroin.
Never felt safe
Wendy admits that the reason she became a prostitute was to get “money for the drugs”.
“I didn’t want to rob people, I didn’t want to shoplift. I justified it to myself by saying that at least this way I was the only one getting hurt.”
She said she was “terrified in every car” she entered and was assaulted many times.
“You didn’t know if the guy was going to strangle you,” before adding “the whole time you are screaming inside your head: ‘What are you doing? Get out. This is wrong.’”
Wendy said she is no longer using drugs and has walked away from prostitution.
She is now trying to set up a youth project to prevent other women from becoming prostitutes.
Wendy said she hopes to one day tell her son about her time as a prostitute to teach him that “it is important to treat women with respect; it’s important you don’t use people.”
Form of violence
Last month, a leading feminist warned that prostitution is not ‘sex work’ but a form of violence that views women as a commodity.
Writing in The Guardian, Julie Bindel explained that there is “no way to make it safe, and it should be possible to eradicate it”.
Bindel said decriminalising prostitution would only make it easier for people to make more money from the global sex trade.
In England and Wales, prostitution is not in itself against the law, but a number of associated activities are illegal. The Christian Institute argues that relaxing current laws would lead to greater exploitation of women and more human trafficking.