I am in my early twenties.
I have been inside the sex industry in Scotland for four years. I started when I was 19.
I have been involved in indoors prostitution through brothels and saunas.
I am in the process of exiting and hope to be fully exited in the near future.
I enjoy cooking and spending time with my family and son.
I hope to work supporting women who are experiencing difficulties or involved in the sex industry.
When I was younger, I did have dreams. I started off wanting to be a horse riding instructor and then a vet and it never happened. I always loved animals. I still do.
As a teenager I was pretty wild. Didn't have any boundaries and I did whatever I wanted. I got into trouble. School was quite difficult for me, I got bullied a lot. So… because of that I kinda, didn't really try. No-one tried to stop the bullying so you just have to deal with it yourself. It just made me not really care and I learned to put up like a barrier. So I'll always have a smile on my face but, might not actually mean that. That barrier never really stops. Well, very rarely.
I met a girl that did it, prostitution. I didn't start then though. Things happened in my past and at that time… I didn't, well, I couldn't go to work. I had no money so someone I knew took me to a place where I could make money and it kinda started from there. I needed money to give to my mum for my wee one and prostitution was the easiest option.
The way it was described to me it was easy, easy money… yeah. It'd be easy. And it wasn't. I wasn't prepared, I had no idea what I was walking into.
The money might be easy but it goes very easy as well. The more money that comes into your hand, the quicker you spend it. I went into to it to get money and at one stage I had some savings but they don't last. The money doesn't last. You can make the money but once you're not new anymore, the money is harder to come by.
Oh when you're new, it's basically like you're fresh meat. It's something new for a customer to try and once they've tried you, you're not new anymore. And if you're not good enough, customers won't come back.
I started in a flat with one other girl working. They set you up with an adultwork profile and punters picked you when they came there. I didn't write it though – the other girl did. My profile had my pictures, when I was available, your prices and usually a contact number. It was always the same price for everyone. There was a group phone shared between us, that's how the customers got in touch. There was no screening as such, obviously if they have been before and seen another girl then you knew who they were. If it was an Adult Work message that came through, it means that they have a profile so you can go on that but you might not know a big deal about who's going come to the flat.
I got paid upfront. I wouldn't provide the service and not get paid for it because a lot come and they won't have any money. So you're working for an hour and you're having nothing at the end of it. It's kinda pointless. All the girls who used the flat had to pay a share of the rent and you would pay another small cut out of your money, divvy up expenses.
You're all there to make money. That is it. If you make a friend, that's a plus side. But you're not there to make friends. You just go, do your job and you leave. That's it. You get to work with some of them, if say, a customer wants two girls, you would get to meet whoever else they picked but what I would say in that business, there are no friends in it.
I was carrying a heavy load but I made that choice. I had no support around. I told no-one, no family and no friends. My family would be distraught, so disappointed. No way I told them. Even now I still wouldn't tell.
It's basically like living two lives. You have your work life and your family, friends, partners think you do something else. You have to keep up this fake act. Something could have happened at work and they would have no idea why you were so upset. They wouldn't understand and you can't come out and tell them. No. You just wouldn't.
There was times that you want to like, just scream and tell them. Then maybe they would understand why you are, like, you are. But then at the same time, it's not worth it. It's hard to keep them separate but you must.
At the start when I first started in the flat, I was not comfortable with the job. In the slightest. So I really struggled with that. But, you get used to it and it's just keeping going. If you need the money, you need it, so that kept you having to go through it. That was the only reason for that job. I don't see why you would put yourself through that if it wasn't for the money. There's no way.
I took a break from it and got another job but then I lost it and I was taken to a sauna.
I didn't have an interview, you're just asked what you want to be called, asked your age, have you done it before. That sort of thing. They never gave me information about health, looking after yourself. It's more the girls that you meet there because you're sitting with them all day, you get to know them so. It was very different to being in a flat – the money's a lot less and you're sitting with these girls for five days a week, twelve hours a day. You get to know them and you're in a confined space so it is different.
I would be there for 12 hour shifts and wait for customers to come in.
Sometimes they will have pre-booked to spend time with a girl. Other times they'll come sit, talk to us and then choose. It's like your stomach is doing somersaults. You're nervous because, if he does pick you then obviously you have to do your job but then if he doesn't pick you then like, why didn't he pick me? What's wrong with me? There's a lot of doubts then.
It's a bit like almost a double-edged sword. You kinda need somebody to pick you but at the same time you don't want them to. You don't want them to pick you.
On a shift, it could be anything up to ten customers depending on how busy it was.
They usually would pay after. That was the rules. They would pay you directly when you finished doing your job with them. I would then pay the sauna my desk fee – which is your rent for the room. There were days I wouldn't see anybody.
I moved from the first sauna. I wasn't making money as I used to. There was certain rules that I didn't like. I don't want to talk about that though. The new place was better. It was a lot nicer, a lot cleaner, you had more choices. More control over what I offered. Yeah, better.
That's when I first met some of the services. The nurses from the clinic used to come in and see us. Make sure everyone's okay. It was nice, reassuring that there was someone that actually cared about the girls. You see, a lot of people don't care. People can pretend to care about you but when they're not getting money from you, they don't like you that much. The nurses, they talked to us. If we needed anything to talk about or we could obviously go to the clinic to talk to them. They let us know there was somewhere we could go to. To just think that somebody actually like believed in you – that you were better than that. You didn't have to do that with your life– that sort of thing. It was nice. But at the same time you didn't have that same belief in yourself.
I think people probably would have said that I was quite confident, outgoing, I didn't really care what people thought but… at the same time you still… sort of judge yourself.
The good thing about that work is the money obviously and some of the girls that you meet, like they're all normal people. The majority of them have kids. They're there for the same reason as you are. Very rarely you will make a connection with a girl and you're actually friends with her outside, but it does happen and some of the girls I've met, like I'm still really close to them.
If someone came to me who was thinking of starting, I would probably tell her not to but if she was dead set on it, to have her boundaries. Don't let anyone push you, don't let anyone tell you what you have to do because you're the one that's doing it, not them.
It's all competition though, non-stop competition. I wouldn't say you 'win.' None of the women really wins. It's up to the customer. It's whoever they choose. So it's down to them.
There are bad things about the job. Some of the customers, some of the things that you have to do. The lack of money some days. Yeah. The feeling it gives you after is not nice. I go home, just scrape the make-up off, go for a shower. You still don't feel clean though… you just try and get back to normal. It was hard to go back to the other me – the real me.
Only certain people have found out what I do and yeah they do judge. They look at it as, “Oh my God, you've gone and done that” but they don't really know the reasons behind it. Like I may have gone and done that but at least I'm not sitting, expecting someone else to pay for my child or pay for me.
I don't want to depend on other people. I will never rely on anyone else. I won't give them that chance to let me down. I like to have control over what I'm doing and I don't want to have to wait for someone else to pay for something for me. If I wanna go out and do something, I'll go do it. That's my control. It's hard to keep that control in work sometimes though. Certain customers will push and push and push but what I learned from right back at the start is you have your boundaries and that is it. You don't let them push that far. But it is difficult. When you're in a room with someone and they're going and going and going and they just want more from you which you can't give.
The nice customers, they're just normal. They don't ask for much. They more want that companionship, they want to talk or they actually treat you like a human being.
The not-so-nice-ones, they think that they own you for that short space of time, they think that they're in control. They think that they can do whatever they want and that's okay cos they're paying you. When actually it's not.
Those punter review sites – I hate them. They're so wrong. I wish I had never looked at them. I think it's disgusting. I saw a review of me – it wasn't pleasant reading it. It was so out there, everything was in black and white. That should never be out there for anyone to read. Like, these people that write on that are like old men and they will sit there and they'll judge the girls that they've been with but they have to remember that they were the ones that had to pay for to even touch them. But they think they're like the alphas. That they're the ones in control. When they're actually not. The sauna doesn't really get involved. You deal with it. If you're strong enough to deal with it then, you deal with it. If you're not, you're not.
The industry has changed. A couple of years ago it used to get really busy but not so much anymore. There's so many flats that are offering services for so cheap. So customers will go to them. There's a real change in the women too. There is nearly no Scottish, British at all.
Being involved has changed me. I have a harder shell, you know how to stand up for yourself more. Cos you have to. There is no sugar coating it to make it all, “Oh yeah, it was easy.” Cos it wasn't. None of it is easy.
Every day when you go in that place, it's another challenge. I would say at times I thrived, but other times you survive it. Obviously you're thriving when the day's good and you're making money when it's not, you're just there. You're getting through.
At the start I used to drink my way through it. I would drink on every shift, just to try and put it out of your head. Drugs were involved. That's how you coped.
I got to a stage where I couldn't do that anymore. But I was still choosing to do the job so I suppose that's when it affects you more. When there isn't anything to cushion that blow. When the buffer isn't there.
I suppose before I started working I was a pretty naive, I thought that life was going to be a little fairytale. Then you start working and you see different sides of people and it's not always nice sides of people and you have what you're going to do in your head, and that is it, and not to let anybody push you about.
I've worked with girls that, when I see them – how they'll come out of being with a customer. It's literally soul-destroying seeing them in that state. Those girls cannot hold their own and they're probably not right for it because they are being pushed about. It affects you seeing them, cos you want to help them but you can't. Unless they help themselves, there's no point in you continuously telling them like, to say no. When you know these girls and you see them every day and then you see them like that and… it's not easy.
I wouldn't say anyone's the right kind of person to be involved in it. I would say that you learn from being involved in it, you learn not to be naive, you learn to have a tougher skin. Rather than thinking everything's all happy and glamorous, cos it's not.
I am probably stronger than I thought I was. All the stuff I've dealt with and I'm still here. Everything that I've been through, I'm still standing.
I dont know if you can make it safer for the women. I don't think you really can. You can just make the girls aware that there is help there if they need it, there are services. There are ways out.
No one would want their child to be that. Why would you ever want your child to do that?
You have to give a little bit of your soul away for that job. And, if I ever had a daughter or even a son that wanted to do that, it wouldn't be happening. Ever.
I would never tell the police about what happened to me. Even if like you're right, they just look at you. Cos when I actually needed them, they didn't help. I was let down by them and never again would I ever talk to them.
I think it's the stigma, “Oh but you're a prostitute.” so if anything happened, you probably asked for it anyway. The stigma is a huge issue. I really don't think you can ever get rid of it. Its how people think, it's what they believe is right and…realistically this is the longest going industry in Scotland. And if it's still got that bad stigma now, it's never going to go away.
I am getting out. I am trying to get out. I want to be able to say that I exited and I managed to stay away. That's the hardest part of it. The sauna will ring and ask me to come back, to help them out. If they said, “No, you're not coming back” then I'll be like, “alright okay. Tah.” It's that pull of money, it drags you back. I feel like I have wasted those years of my life. I have had to fit a lot into it, it feels like time has been running past me.
I think we need services to help girls exit. Not having a job to go to and not having a routine and not having money, and like, that's the biggest pull to go back. It's the practical help that's really important. If a girl really wants to leave, give her something to concentrate on. Something concrete, a route out in a way.
I want to be able to say that I was just seeing my life spiral and I was like no, I don't want to always be in this position. I want to change my life and if I kept on that same road, I would still be in this job ten years down the line. Which is the last thing I want. I don't really know what I want to do with my life yet. But I don't want to do this.
I want a normal life, with a normal family and to be happy.