I am in my early thirties.
I was inside the sex industry in Scotland for around seven years.
I first became involved in street prostitution when I was 18.
I exited the sex industry over two and a half years ago and I have no plans to return.
I am really enjoying spending more time with my daughter, I have a new home and enjoy spending time chilling there.
I love reading and researching new information and I am now at college. When I finish I want to have a career supporting other women affected by the sex industry.
When I was wee I wanted to be a vet but I think loads of wee girls want to be that! I loved animals. I still do.
When I was about 18 my heroin habit was really bad, and by that time I had been kicked out the house.
My family weren't talking to me, so I'd actually been going into the city centre to score drugs. When I was in there, I'd seen different girls involved in prostitution, they had money and that's really how I get involved. It's very hard to put myself back in that place. I feel sad for that time…
It's a very lonely place, street prostitution, very lonely and very isolated. I mean you feel kinda on the outside of society because people obviously are seeing you on the street and people know what you're there for. It's just not nice... not very nice.
I was out there probably on and off for about seven years at different times. It was so hard to actually break away from it because it's a means to an end and you just have to do it to get that money for drugs. That's the only way you know how to get money.
It wasnae easy to be involved in it. You have to disconnect yourself really from reality to be able to do it. You just have to kind of put your mind into a different place and obviously that goes on to affect you later on. You don't have a lot of self-worth in yourself. You don't value yourself. You don't value your opinion. You don't respect yourself. You think very low of yourself. It takes an awful lot away from you as a person to do it.
It's like kinda groundhog day. It's the same thing day in and day out, just doing the same thing. Every time you go and do that it's taking a bit of you away... every single time you're doing it.
You kinda pull back and you don't really want to be about people cos you're so ashamed. You're ashamed of what you're doing. I think it's just very hard to go through it.
Out on the street, you're out there yourself. I mean some girls do interact with each other but most don't. You're there do your own thing and then go away. There wasnae any support from anybody at all. I was literally on my own. I never had my own tenancy or anything like that so I was just going with somebody for somewhere to stay. I came into contact with this service that was providing free condoms, you could see a doctor or a nurse, get something to eat. You could get support as well but you had to be willing to take the support for yourself first. There was people who used to go in the street and give you sandwiches and things like that and a hot drink. That was it.
I had a boyfriend. He was using drugs as well. I would go out and he would be with me and he would stand and wait at a bus stop. Every time I came back from a punter, I would go and give him the money. It wasnae like a so-called pimp really but now when I look back... really in a way I was using him for somewhere to live but as well he was using me for his drug habit to be fed.
I was mainly out on the street. I have got experience of working indoors and it was a man who was driving about and he was telling me "You could go and work in a brothel." I'd actually went to the brothel but I didn't like it because you had to spend more time with whoever the punter was whereas out in the street it was very fast. In the brothel it was more intimate so I just... I didnae want to do that. I didnae like it.
I knew it was illegal to be out there but at the time you don't really care, you're thinking about drugs. I was convicted of soliciting on a number of occasions. The money I got to pay the fine was from prostitution, I would be back on the streets that day. Straight after court.
A fine's not gonna stop you from doing it. That was my only income: prostitution. I had to do it. At the time it didn't really mean anything to me, but obviously the repercussions of it now is affecting me, because I'm trying to move on with my life. If I want to get a job in the future, anything, it will be there.
I used to see the police when I was out on the streets. You were aware of them driving by, walking on foot, you would see them. I would really deliberately try and avoid them. I would turn the other way, walk around the building, and just really try to avoid them as much as possible. They didn't treat you bad, you know what I mean? But it was very business-like… you were just going to jail. There wasn't any getting to know you, talking to you, it was just – you were just going to jail and that was it. You wouldn't tell then something's happened to you, when you were soliciting yourself in the first place. You didn't want to be jailed.
I saw lots crimes being committed on other girls that was out on the street. It was quite a regular thing really. There's quite a lot of violence: girls being beaten up, girls being robbed, girls that had just been raped. I mean it really was a regular occurrence.
A few things did happen to me, but there was one…
I was out, and a young boy approached me, he was maybe 19, 20. He never had a car, so we went to a place that he had picked. This place, you wouldn't have known it was there, you would just walk by it. We went in and he was acting very nervous. I was feeling that he was wasting my time. As I went to leave, he offered me money for my bra. Now I know that might seem quite strange but it's not an uncommon thing to happen. I gave him my bra, and he gave me the money. From that second he just turned on me, putting the bra around my neck and really viciously beating me and strangling me.
I was fighting for my life with him. I really was fighting for my life. This was actually during the day, at lunchtime during the day in a residential area. There was a young couple walking by with a pram, they had obviously heard the commotion in the bushes and came to see. I managed to get away from him, I got up and ran away from him. I had the bra tight around my neck. It was so tight I couldn't actually remove it. I had to cut it off my neck when I managed to get home.
I reported it to the police, I phoned 101 and just remained anonymous. I wasn't reporting it for myself. I actually reported it because I was scared for other woman. I felt that he knew what he was doing, and he was very, very violent. The young couple that seen what happened, seen me fleeing the scene, and were very, very concerned. They called 999. The police found me. They came out to see me and they were very nice about it, very understanding about it.
I had other attacks too. There's quite a lot of violence, because I think men think they're buying your silence. The way prostitution is in society, men know that the women are not going to go to the police, so they can turn very violent very easily on you. There was a time that I was raped and I was beaten pretty badly and I literally went and washed my face and went back to work again because I never had enough money to leave for my drugs.
There's no really a typical punter, you know what I mean? It spans from young boys right up to old men. It doesnae matter if you're poor, working class or rich. It's from all spectrums from everywhere. It's your father to your brother to your husband.
Your average money would be about £20-25, usually for oral sex. They would pick you up, you would go somewhere that you were probably familiar with and where you wouldnae get caught by the police.
Not that you felt safe! You just didn't get caught by the police.
You also got men who are coming out of pubs and whatnot and you would go to alleys or the river, places like that. A lot of them when you get in the car they'll no want to discuss it there but discuss it when you're away from the city centre. They'd usually take you to industrial estates late on at night, that was the most popular. Quite isolated roads, empty car parks... that was the most common places you would go. You would go there, do what you had to do and then hopefully you would get a run back.
You've no got transport to go back so you have to kinda accept whatever money they're actually gonna give you. Once you accept that money you're really theirs to do whatever they like with you. You're kind of caught because you can't just leave. Even though you've done it, you still have to please them to actually get back to where they picked you up from. Sometimes you wouldnae get a run back and they would ask you to leave or start trying to fight with you. Then you had to walk back.
I never had any regulars because I couldnae put my whole soul into it. I couldnae do it.
The punters, they don't see the women as people. I think if you were kinda cut off from your waist I don't think it wouldnae really make a different. You're a thing. You're no a human being.
It's so sad because with girls out on the street, the younger you look the better... it is so sad but that is what men are wanting. They're wanting younger girls and because of drugs and what's being fed to them, the punters have got it on a plate. I think they're abusers. Narcissistic... I just don't really think too highly of them at all.
I think you go into it quite naive and you soon learn not to let your guard down and to expect the unexpected. I don't think there's really a time that you feel 100% safe.
Never 100% safe with somebody that you don't know. It's through different things that happen you kinda get that resilience in you, to expect the unexpected. You really have to build up a front to be able to show you can handle yourself, even if you cannae. You still have to show that you can and if that doesnae really go with your makeup, you'll be targeted. There's people out there who prey on you. You can never trust anybody in that situation, just can't trust anybody.
I mean it wasnae unusual to be somewhere and you see a girl that's getting out a car that's just been raped or beaten, robbed. Out on the street you see that happening as well. It was quite a regular thing that happened. When I look back it is a terrible situation but it's something you just canny get involved in, because you're bringing yourself in to be a target as well. You kinda lost your human compassion for people, you just have to kind of cut yourself off and protect yourself really.
People used to stop in cars shouting things, throw things at you. They used to think it was funny. You wish that the ground could open up and swallow you. You don't want to but you become quite hardened to it, always ready to jump into something, ready to fight, ready to argue.
You're always just waiting for something to kick off or something to happen. If you're going somewhere, you kid on you're on a mobile phone to somebody else. Wave to somebody that you don't even know when you're in a car or when you're leaving, shout a male name so that they think there's a male waiting for you.
Quite a lot of the time I did take a knife with me, or a biro pen, that was good as well. I was very very skinny, very emaciated. I couldnae stand up to a man so I used to carry a pen with me. I ended up getting the pen took off me by a punter and he stabbed me. You soon quickly learn that you've no really got any means of protection.
You have to just take the abuse. That's the only way to deal with it, is just to take the abuse.
A number of times I've been attacked by men and also sexual attacks as well. I just never ever reported them. I just felt that, for starters I wouldn't be believed, because I was soliciting myself and also because I was a drug addict. Reporting it is not something that really comes into your mind, you just want to forget about it and you can't be dwelling on anything… you don't want to spend any more time on it, because you have to put it behind you and forget about it. You just have to get on with things but know in future it's going to come back to haunt you.
Girls aren't out there because they like sex. They're not out there because they're nymphomaniacs. They're out there because they're in a situation they have to be there, nobody's there by choice. I've never met a girl that's there by choice, who really wants to be there, really wants to be doing that. There's usually a lot behind why that person's there. This person hasnae came from a brilliant house, has loads of money and decides to come down there and stand to sell theirself. I mean you're selling your body to somebody to do what they like with it.
It's situations that have taken people there. It's not a choice. It's just drastic. It's such a horrible, horrible thing to be involved in. It brings you down so, so much. It's horrendous. There's no any good parts to it at all. There's really no. There's nothing positive about it at all. There's so much negative and no positive. It's degrading. There's nothing that you can gain from it. There's so much you can lose and nothing you can gain.
It's no a job like any other. The girls out there are victims and they're usually victims of a lot of stuff that you don't know about. You have to look behind that to see what's behind that. There's so much that goes with it.
So much emotional stuff, so much abuse.
There's nothing enjoyable, nothing you would get out of it that you would get out of a job... satisfaction... There's nothing like that out there. Most women that are raped once in their life it's a tragedy but girls out on the street, they can be raped a number of times.
I mean it's really soul destroying. There's so much that it takes away from you and it changes you, your personality, and your looks, your everything. You're opening yourself up to be victims. They might put a front on but they're victims. I put that mask on, I felt that I had to do it. You go into survival mode and you do what you have to do to survive.
When I was about 21, I still looked very young and one man took me out and he says "You're far too young" and actually drove me back. That was the only ever bit of kindness I was ever shown out on the streets. That was it. Nothing else ever happened that was nice or anything like that.
I would make it against the law right across the board because as I say there's no good in it. Everything is a negative. I would eradicate it.
There has been a lot of changes, years ago punters never used to get stopped by the police, it was always the girls. The punters have been getting stopped and their cars looked at. I think that is a really good thing. I know everybody wouldn't agree but if the men weren't there looking the women wouldn't be there. If you stop a man who's got a job, who's got a family, they're going to get into a lot more trouble than what the girl is gonnae. I think that's the way to target it, target it through the men.
I think those Punter John Schools would be a really good thing, a mandatory thing if you get caught. I saw a programme on it – you'd see it from their arrest right through to the end and their attitude's actually changed.
They have speakers, women who have been involved in prostitution. I think really seeing a human being instead of a sexual object and learning about the women. I think that's really the biggest benefit to it. When you take that away from the punters, they have to see the girl as a person... what she's really doing and I think it makes a big difference.
I met one police officer. She had me in the car, taking me to jail. She was different. I just feel that she treated me like a human. She spoke to me, asked me “why are you doing this? What do you think could help you?” She told me about a diversion programme running. She was going to put my name forward for it, I wasn't aware of anything like that. It was just you get jailed and you were fined before that.
So the diversion program really, really turned my life around. It was great support for that.
What I would say to the police officer that I spoke to, I would say thank you to her. Just for taking that wee bit of time to talk to me as an individual. To take a wee bit of interest in me. She actually said to me that she had faith in me, that I could overcome this. At that time it never really meant much to me, but now looking back, just they few wee kind words made such a big difference. It's made such a big difference to me.
I think the police here have a big role to play for women in prostitution. Sometimes they could be the only people you've spoke to except for punters that whole day. They need to treat the person as a human being, to see them as a victim, and not as just committing a crime. I don't think they should go in with such a hard approach, I think it has to be a more gentle approach, a more human approach. I think there'd be great benefits from that. I think the girl would be a lot more relaxed, be able to approach the police a lot more, have more faith in the police, trust. It would make you look at the police differently.
I mean you could more trust in them, be able to report things, feel more comfortable round about them and you're not running away from them. I think that you would catch a lot more criminals.
I think it's important for women to be able to report crimes, because there's people out there committing crimes and they're not being punished for it. The woman has to realise that she shouldn't be treated in that way. She should be treated as a human being, not treated as piece of meat. I feel that's the way a lot of girls are treated. Inhuman.
I think you have to remember that when you're out on the street and that you've not got anybody, if there is somebody he's usually looking for something off you. It's very hard to learn to trust people.
In the diversion program it was really getting to know your worker as well, I mean, that can take a wee bit of time. I think it made such a big difference in helping me to get out of prostitution, and helping me with my drug addiction. They're such a big, important part of what you need at that time. The program helped me so much. It gave me so much more confidence in myself… the support was really good as well. It just gave me so much confidence, positivity.
I've been out of prostitution for a couple of years now.
Well, really I feel the last year and a half I've just started my life. My life changed dramatically. It's so different, I feel so much more confident. Positive things have been happening to me. I'm looking forward to the future, getting to know myself – that's been a journey, getting to know what I like.
I want to stay on with my education and then hopefully have a career, working with women at the end of it. Something that actually I could get enjoyment and take things out of. I want my own house, to have my daughter back and really just to know myself and to be settled in my life.