Voice of Survivors of Prostitution
This page contains links to survivor organisation and blogs written by women who are survivors of prostitution.
It also contains testimonies written by women with experiences of prostitution, including women who were victims of sex trafficking.
SPACE was formed in Dublin, Ireland, in the Spring of 2012 by five Irish women, all of them prostitution survivors. The group has expanded internationally and now includes women from all over the world.
EVE (formerly Exploited Voices now Educating) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization composed of former sex-industry women dedicated to naming prostitution violence against women and seeing its abolition through political action, advocacy, and awareness raising that focuses on ending the demand for paid sexual access to women and children's bodies.
1. The Prostitution Experience - The commercialisation of sexual abuse
This blog is written by Rachel Moran who until recently was known as FreeIrishWoman. Rachel was involved in prostitution from the age of 15 until she was 22. Now as a survivor of prostitution, she writes a very powerful blog to highlight the nature of prostitution. Rachel is also the author of the book 'Paid For - My Journey Through Prostitution' which was published in April 2013.
This blog is a composite of writings and referrals to blog posts written by survivors of prostitution/trafficking. It’s a place to find the writings of members of Survivors Connect, the International Online Leaderless Network of Trafficking/Prostitution Survivors
Irish bloggers on this site:
Other bloggers include:
TESTIMONIES FROM WOMEN WHO ACCESSED RUHAMA'S SERVICE:
Sandy (RTE Interview)
Lisa is an Irish woman who was involved in off street prostitution (escort agencies) for over 10 years.
Here is the message Lisa wanted to post on Ruhama's website to tell other women involved in prostitution that there is help available to them, if they need it.
Here's my story or should I say my journey..... I've been working in prostitution for years, when people found out and when it suited them they used it to break me down.
I got tired of being used and to being sold like a tissue; - used, then throw away. I believed Ruhama was for foreign girls but I wanted out and I was willing to try anything....so I rang straight away and was greeted with kindness, understanding and offered so much help. My head spun with excitement, my God, I was so wrong.
I wandered in like a stray dog, I felt so low, only then to see I have a future there in education and advice. Ruhama have it all, its up to you to ask.
I am in my 40's but I feel now I am 20 with a whole life of opportunities ahead me. If I can do it, so can you, no money is worth what prostitution takes, every thing in life has a cost, sell your body and your soul goes. To educate yourself and soul sours with pride. You can work, hold your head up.
Its not too late, Ruhama is there for you as much as foreign girls.
Call them, burn your leather and lace, start to live again - feels great girls !
This is my story, its about Ruhama who gave me my life back. They were there for me 24 hours if I needed them. The helped me at the time when I was at my lowest; - I was suicidal and wanted out of this life.
You hear of people all around the world who have been abused. I am an Irish woman who had been abused all my life. You just put up with it, no one cared, you were a nobody. You learned the hard way; - trust no one and keep quiet, take the beating and rapes. That's the way it was, no one could help me anyway. I'm scared for the rest of my life, its hard to for me to be still.
Ruhama cared for me in a way I still cant believe how lucky I was to meet them. They showed me kindness and respect. They are good and genuine and unbelievable people. I'm an old woman, I just started to live my life.
Now the fear and hate is slowly leaving me. And its all down to Ruhama. I want to say THANK YOU, you are rare. This world needs more people like you.
[Jenet is an Irish woman who was in street based prostitution; Ruhama supported her in exiting prostitution and making a new life for herself]
I first came in contact with Ruhama through the Womens Health Project, when I was having a check up.
I was young, naive and had trusted the wrong people, leading me into a life of prostitution for their own personal gain.
The staff at Ruhama have been amazing over the years; there was always a sense of being listened to, without the fear of judgement, which is so prevalent in society, and particularly so in the rural Irish community which I come from. As well as offering a listening ear, and lunch on several occasions, one staff member also helped me re-write my CV, and even suitable clothing, to help me on my way to more fulfilling employment.
Whilst I'm not completely where I want to be in my life, I can say that it would have taken me longer to make the progress I have made without Ruhama. My inner life is so much better, and the depression is gone.
I will be eternally grateful for the support Ruhama has given me, through non-judgemental empathy and practical guidance.
Love and Best Wishes
[Michelle is Irish, who was coerced into the indoor sector of the Irish sex trade, first made contact with Ruhama in early 2002. She is now out of prostitution and in employment. She continues to recover from the experience of prostitution and admits she finds it a struggle at times not to return but her ultimate goal is to be free from prostitution.]
I came to Ireland for a better life trusting my helper. Few days later I became a prisoner, I was locked in a room, they were using me to make money. I was forced to have sex with different men which was organised by them. After sleeping with the men they paid money and my organisers would come and collect it from me.
I became useless, meaningless, helpless and hopeless. No person to speak to, my world was turned upside down, no freedom. I have to do what they say to do not what I want to do; - it was like hell. I was dying in silence.
The place was new to me I don't know what to do, I don't know police station not to talk of running away. I began to cry. I was left with one person which was my God. I was always with my bible which was my last hope. I cried and prayed to God to help me out of this problem. I was not a happy woman, I was feeling bad.
Next day the Garda came to my room and brought me to Ruhama in the middle of the night. Beginning of my joy! I was taken to a safe house where I met 2 women who worked for Ruhama. They showed me love and care in the house. I was hungry that night and they gave me food to eat. They showed me to a room. I was crying and the woman encouraged me and advised me that I will be okay.
The next day the worker took me shopping for some nice things. I then met another worker and told her my story, she gave me hope and courage.
I feel like life again, I became free. I enjoyed staying in this accommodation, I really miss them now but life has to move on. I was told that I have a new place to stay. On the day that happened to be my birthday I moved into my new apartment. Get key to the door.
Ruhama workers help me every week, they make me realise that I can make it again. They organize classes for me which bring me back to my education; - my lost glory was found!
I became positive in my life. I trust Ruhama, they gave me hope, courage, helpful, useful, reliable; - my family. They give me all that I need and I am free to go as I like. I have also learned to trust people again.
I am free like a bird with Ruhama at my side.
Thank you. God bless,
[Obioma is from Nigeria; she was trafficked into Ireland for the purpose of prostitution when she was just a young girl. She is now free from the traffickers and out of prostitution. She is recovering from the trauma and is currently a student.]
I probable would be six feet under only for Ruhama!
I was abused as a child by a family member. When I was 16 a cousin introduced me to street prostitution. I didn't know what to do but she showed me everything. I took drink to blank the men out of my head and take away the fear. I had no education, nothing behind me; no way of looking for a job. I was only street wise. I went through the war on the street, being arrested, assaulted by punters and pimps.
I first met Ruhama in 1989 when they came on the street in the van, I would sit and chat with them, they also visited me in my home. One night while on the streets, a man picked me up and drove me up the mountains. He held me captive and sexually assaulted me. I escaped and ran help. I was battered from him and I knew I couldn't go through that again. I experience a lot of violence; terrible violence while in prostitution.
I knew about Ruhama's education programmes and I started to get involved in them. I started with an English course, then I got a job as a waitress, I then went on to do a course as a chef. Later I went to a personal development course in Ruhama and that made me realise I had to give up the drink, that was one area I hadn't dealt with. The course also helped me to be able to say no to people.
Ruhama gave me confidence to be a better woman and get a better life. I remember going on Ruhama's day trips years ago, they were the start of the good life, I enjoyed meeting people at these social events. I have no fear now, I have a good life.
I got where I am today by getting my education. I worked hard to get where I am today. There was no life on the streets, that life is gone behind years ago and I have a good life now!
[Sandra is Irish. She was involved in street-prostitution since she was a teenager and she first met Ruhama through the Street Outreach service in 1989. Sandra went on to engage with Ruhama's Development programmes and soon afterwards left prostitution. Sandra is now in employment and also volunteers with a number of charity organisations. Ruhama continues to give ongoing support to Sandra.]
When I came to this country I was in hell, day and night. I cried for help because my situation was very bad. I have no family, no relative, no friends to shelter me.
Then one day, a miracle happened. What I had been waiting for; - I find shelter through people I did not know; - which was Ruhama. They help me as if they were my family. They did what my parents can not do for me. They give me a place to stay, food to eat, love and care... so many things, now I am the happiest person in the world.
I now have peace in my life because of Ruhama. In Ruhama you will find whatever you wanted and dreamt of doing in life. I am now doing a course and this is what I never thought would happen me because of how I came to this country and my situation.
[Katie is African and became a victim of sex trafficking in Ireland�s indoor sex trade. She is now free from the traffickers, away from prostitution and is recovering from the trauma. She is currently a student.]
I was forced into prostitution at an early age and did not know what sex was until the clients showed me. It was terrifying but I knew I had to do sexual things or they would have killed me.
Ruhama helped me to look at what I had to do and showed me I was not to blame. They helped me to feel like a human being because I had never felt human. Since going to Ruhama I feel I am living a better life. I have found that being involved with Ruhama has helped a great deal, for example I have stopped trying to scrub my skin off to get rid of the men because I always had felt dirty. They helped me to realise that I did it to survive, because for years I couldn't get rid of the guilt.
When I got away from prostitution I thought there would be no more pain and no more sadness. But when one has worked as a prostitute, one finds that it affects your mind and how one feels for the rest of one's life. It was not something you can do for a while and then carry on as normal. It is not possible.
It was some 20 years later when I found out about Ruhama. At first I did not trust them but over time I found them to be a great help to my life and when I have a bad day they are always there to help me.
I would say to any woman considering prostitution, do not do it, because it affects your whole life and the sadness never goes away. If one feels they are being made go into prostitution by a family member or a boyfriend, go to the police, they will help you and protect you from harm. It will never be glamorous and you will never make loads of money. You will spend the rest of your life being affected by it. You will always feel dirty and unwanted and you will also not be able to trust anyone, you will always believe you're to blame. It's cold and miserable life.
[Christine is Irish and was forced into street prostitution when she was a teenager by a family member. Christine did not know Ruhama when she was involved in prostitution but went to Ruhama for help 10 years after she had left prostitution because she still suffered from its effects. Christine is in her final year of university studies and is engaged to be married.]
I was introduced to Ruhama nearly 10 years ago when I was working on the streets. I used to go into the van for a cup of tea and a chat.
I eventually went into treatment for drug abuse. Ruhama always gave me support and kept in touch with me throughout the treatment.
When I went back to education they helped me with my projects by allowing me to use their computers and giving me guidance. Ruhama also helped me with my creche fees and still do to this day. I would not be able to do anything without having the kids at creche. I've also got a lot of support over the years with counselling and outreach.
I owe a lot to the staff of Ruhama for the support and friendship I've been given over the years. I would never have the words to thank them, they are a big part in my life.
[Anne is Irish and was in street-based prostitution. She left prostitution 9 years ago, is drug free and is in part time employment. She has her own home and a family.]
My name is Sade. I am from Nigeria. I came into this country a few years ago by a man called Mr Weke who brought me from Nigeria. He promised to send me to school and help me because of the problem that I had with my father. I was happy to escape from this trouble, thinking it was all over, little did I know that it is another nightmare.
Mr. Weke put me in a room, I met 4 other ladies there. Mr. Weke raped me and slapped me that night. He brought in other men and turned me into a prostitute; - that I would never think or dream of for my life.
One of the men who came to me noticed that I was not happy, he promised to help me. He took me out of the house and to a place he said they would help me. He left me there and drove off.
I didn't know where I was and I started crying, a worker in the building came to me and asked me what happened, I told him and he took me into an office. A young man working in the office gave me a card of Ruhama; that they help women involved in prostitution. He told me that he would call Ruhama and that they would visit me. I was so scared.
I thank Almighty God that when I met Ruhama it's a different story. Just like a dream come true they show me love, support, encourage me. My key worker is now like a sister to me, that if I didn't speak with her for 1 week I wouldn't be comfortable. I don't know where to start expressing my feelings. It was a bad experience at the first place but I thank God for today.
With the love and kindness and support they show to me. I cant thank Ruhama enough; - was it the surprise birthday or the encouragement for my pregnancy of unknown father, the words of encouragement to me to keep going on in life. They put me in school. It was like a dream come true to me. They care for me and my baby, they shower me with a lot of love. My class teacher was like a mother to me. I got a lot of love from the whole staff
Thanks a lot, you are more than a family.
Happy 20th Anniversary!
[Sede was a victim of sex trafficking in Ireland's indoor sex trade, she became pregnant while enslaved in the sex trade but is now free from the traffickers, away from prostitution and is recovering from the trauma. Sede's baby was born during the year and she is adjusting to motherhood. Ruhama continues to support her and her baby.]