I am in my early thirties.
I was inside the sex industry in Scotland at two different times of my life, when I was 15 and in my early twenties. I was involved mainly in street prostitution.
I am now fully exited and has been outside of the sex industry for almost two years. I have no plans to return.
I am doing well in recovery and enjoying family life and our own house. I would really like to work with women in prostitution or with addiction issues.
When I was growing up I wanted to be a princess. Just the big dresses, the bonnie house, the castle. Just every’hing. The dream.
I come from a big family – lots of kids. Growing up, it was great, there was always someone there. We would sit on each others' beds and I remember watching my big sisters, "Oh I want to come in your room and watch youse doing your make up.” Oh God, my mum's house – it's still hectic. You should see it on a Sunday and at Christmas! I've got a great family, lots of support.
I was always outgoing, confident... bit of a tomboy. I loved school. Really loved it. It drew me in as soon as I went to it. I liked getting up in the morning, having a shower, putting my make up on, going to meet my pals, walk up to school wi' all my pals. I loved history. Just going into the back into the olden days and writing, I love writing as well.
I left school in third year. That was the time I started mixing in wi' the wrong crowd. Started taking drugs. Started drinking, stealing cars just oot of control. I suppose I was mature for my age and it was always all older people I went aboot wi'.
My folks, they were up the wall. Up the wall. But wi' my mum and dad, they never ever fell oot wi' us for any length of time. They would fire abuse for aboot a week but to this day I've still got my mum and dad by my side.
I started off taking DFs, started smoking my weed and it went fae weed to vallies then heroin. The hard stuff really kicked in when I was 15. That's when I had to shoplift to get money. That's when I also started prostituting.
I was sitting skint, rattling. I was like, "No, I canny rattle.” I had heard being on the street was easy money. I was sitting wi' my pals and we got dressed and went doon the road. My friend knew. She'd been down before.
I had never really thought about prostitution before then. I was blind to prostitution I never really planned on doing it then. That first night? Oh it was scary. Getting in a car and no kenning if you're going to get oot of it. I didnae like thinking aboot that time. I cannae really think about it. No. I cannae.
I went back doon the road in my twenties.
When I went down, I was totally shocked at the amount of women I know that do that. Kids, bairns, kids, like people in their thirties and people in their fifties. I was totally shocked at the ages. Like you've got bairns at fourteen fifteen doin' it. Well I had actually went up to them and I says, "Look, youse are better going hame you're, yous are too young, if the police come youse will get lifted. Go home or your mum and dad will find oot." They just kept walking. They didnae listen to nobody at aw and now they're going into their twenties and I ken them and they're still doin' it. If I had money I would be taking them home in a taxi the night.
Doon there – It's just one big long road that goes on for miles, and they, the women, just walk up and down or they'll stand on the corner. That's the known area – if you want prostitution, that's where you would go.
I was never lifted by the police. Just moved on. They were like, "If we catch you oot again we'll be doin' ya." The police were, they were alright they were. They were like, "Look, come on you ken, you could hurt, you could get hurt here." They helped us, "Just take, or get somebody to take the regi if yous are doin' it. We dunnae want youse doin' it but we canny get it stopped. It's rife."
Oh, ten to fifteen women might be out a night. It's mental. The women they're all "Oh you're stealing my patch." and "This is my patch." and "I come here every night."
You're just like fighting over a bit of ground. They would look out for you though, take a regi number, the kind of car, what he looks like – what time you went away – just every'hing. Like you always make a meeting place. So somebody knows that you're back again?
When I first started, I didnae really cope 'cos I was still like scared. No-one ever gave us no safety tips. Well, a couple of wee tips. One girl that I know says to like carry tweezers or even a wee pair of like a nail file with scissors. That was my safety. I'd bring my condoms obviously, something to protect yourself. A rape alarm. I wasn't prepared for that life, not at all. If anything did happen, I didnae have any'hing to protect myself wi'. I had a nail file. That was it.
Every night as soon as it got dark I'd be out. You're just thinking all the way until you get there, you're like, "What am I doin'? What am I doin'? I canny believe I'm about to do this for a daft twenty pound." I felt disgusted in a way in myself.
I only stayed doon there just until I made enough. I always learned to keep some in for the next day, to get us up and aboot and so that would do me that night and the next morning. I've seen myself making like two hundred quid. The most I made in a night was what, two sixty. That money – it didn't stay wi' you. Nah. In one hand and into a smack dealer's hand, so they were the ones that were getting the money from it. From the punter to me to the dealer. It never stayed with me.
It wasnae that long of a period, it wasnae years and years I was doon there. I saw some women who have been there – oh years. Years. It's horrible to think that's somebody's mum, somebody's gran that's oot there at that age. It's no very good. It could get busy doon there. It's all like the same men. They're drive aroond three, four times and they'll obviously stop and pick you up.
I've been lucky. I've never came across any angry men or any men that have no paid the money. I've no came across anybody like that. They would ask your age like, and things like "How long have you been doing it for? What do you need the money for?" and just embarrassing questions like that. When they say "What do you need the money for?" it's embarrassing, you ken?
You've nae control over who you went with. As soon as you get in that car you've nae control. The control's went to them 'cos you're in their car, the doors could be locked, you're getting in the car, you dunnae ken where you're going. You could get in the car and no get oot it. You could get in the car and the guy could be sound to talk to but you never know. They're in control.
I had a couple of regulars, maybe they didnae want any of the other lassies that were oot or they just liked me. Wi' my regulars, I knew their addresses and things like that – I knew personal things aboot them. Like photographs in their hoose. I always go, "Oh who's that?" sorta so if he like went for me, to hurt me, I ken at least their wife's name or just something. I never let on anything aboot me to them though. They knew nothing about the real me. My personal life's nothing to do wi' them. I wouldnae share my personal life with them. I wouldn't let them into that. Now, if I'm in the town centre and walking aboot, I sometimes see some of them there. Ken what, I just sorta nod ma heed at them to sorta say, "Hiya" and just keep walking but after it you're like, "Oh my God, I canny believe that."
You see for them, nothing bad is gonnae happen if he doesn't do it. No bad things is going to happen to him if he doesn't go down there to pick somebody up? Nothing. They'd just have to do without it or do something else, just have to use their hands then. I would say to punters, "Look dunnae even go there. Dunnae start doin' that. Why pay for sex, why pay for it. Why do that tae the women?”
Looking back, I had to do it. I didn't have much choice. I totally disagree wi' that idea that women choose to do it 'cos you either have to do it or you dunnae have your drugs. It's no by choice like, "Oh I want to choose to go doon there just because I'm bored or like sex." I needed the money. I had to go doon the road to make money. If I had no drugs – you're rattling, you're all sore, you just canny be bothered pouring a bath, canny be bothered putting make up on. You're just in your bed sweat, pouring oot ya. Just every bit of your body's sore, your legs are throbbing, sore stomach, it's no nice. That's what made me go doon there.
I've heard lassies saying it's work but how could you call that a job? I think it's a bit pathetic to be honest calling that a job because it's not. I wouldnae say what that was, was work. Some lassies that call themselves sex workers. Er no. Who says that? I was never a sex worker, I wouldnae ever call myself that. It's no a job. It was just a way of making money but it wasne easy and it wasne a job. As soon as you get in that car it's hard.
My family found oot I was doing it. They were driving doon that road one night and saw me there. Everyone knows if you're standing out there, what you are there for. They drove past. A car door opened and my mum jumped oot she was like, "Get In this car NOW." Oh you know what, I canny even describe it, how I felt. I was so out of it, my pal was at the side of us and it was like "There's my mum. Oh my God." I just felt sick to the stomach. She was like, "In this car." "Get in this car." and I went.
She took us home. I just sat there and she asked us how long I was doin' it. She asked us a few 'hings but we didnae really speak aboot it as much as we should of.
It was the embarrassment. For both of us. I think they're disgusted wi' us. Not one of them's said any'hing aboot it. I'm still embarrassed. Very embarrassed that I had to do that for money... makes me sick that I've even done that and my family know about it. Oh, it was horrible. Every one of them ken, they all know about it. My dad as well. It totally broke my mum's heart. Oh it broke my heart up as well, my mum knowing.
My mum... she was like, "You don't have to do that to get money. Give me your post office card and I'll budget you." and that's how it stopped. That's how my drugs and my prostitution stopped. She was gi'ing us money every day from my money, keeping me stable as opposed to having to go doon there.
I went and stayed with my big sister. She was a big influence – a scary big sister but good. She said, “This is the way things are going to be and it's that or no'hing.”
I left prostitution no better than I started. It's just left me with disgust. It just makes you feel dirty. I'm scunnered at myself that I've done it. Just it's, just dirty. I canny describe it. My partner at the time, he found out. We were together for years and it split us up.
I lost my kids through the drugs and prostitution too. They went to my mums. I had to fight to get them back. It was hard. It was really hard. I did it though. Now we are together again – oh it's great. I'm buzzing.
I've got a support worker now, she'll come out every week for me, if I need anything done or help with stuff. I get to phone her about that. She just helps us wi' everything. Sometimes she's not like a worker. I can talk to her aboot every'hing. She's trustworthy. I'm a deep person and it'll take me ages and ages and ages to open up whereas when I met my support worker, it was just like we clicked. Like we dunnae just talk about the prostitution, we'll go and have a coffee and sit on a bench and have a blether and just do things like that. If I had to design the perfect support worker, it would be her.
I think we need more police on the street. Keep lifting the women, keep lifting them – I ken it's bad to say but after a while you dunnae want your name in the paper for prostitution and you dunnae want the jail for prostitution so just to engage with them, link into things. Gi' them some kind of help. We need more safety measures oot there.
If they're lifting the girls then they should be lifting the punters as well. I dunnae think they should just be targeting the one. The man, he's just as bad as the woman. The women are getting sexual assaults or they're getting stabbed, they're getting treated wrong by the punters.
I don't 'hink they should legalise it though. No. Definitely no. I dunnae agree with it being legalised. Who wants that? Who thinks that's a good idea? Legalising it all isnae gonnae change what punters do. It's no gonnae help the women. They need more security, safety nets around the surrounding areas for the girls fae prostitution. 'Cos there's nae safety oot there whatsoever.
The women, we never really talked about getting out. It wasn't part of what we talked about. We just had to get on with it. People need to gi' them a chance, they deserve a chance. There's a flip side and they could stop it like that if they got the help. They're doon there making money for to feed their habits.
There's no right type of woman for it. There's no type that this could be good for.
There were times I thought, "I have to get out of this, I want to get out of this.” I thought aboot it a few times. When I was walking doon there I was like, "What am I doing this for? I dunnae need to do this." Ken? There was a good few times I thought aboot getting oot, but it's hard to get out. 'Cos you're used to that money. It comes to a point where you come out of it and you forget about the money.
If women want out, they need strength. A wee bit of family support. Support fae even a professional, maybe ex-working lassies, somebody's who's been there done it... and left it.
I wouldn't want any lassie I know to do it. No, definitely no. I saw those young ones doing it, real young. I would just say "Just go up the road. Try and talk to your mum. Tell her what's, what's up. Ask for help. Let people help you.” I've got nieces that age and oh no, the thought of them doing it scares me. The thought of my wee boy being a punter – oh god no. Oh no. No. See the thought of that, it makes me feel sick. He couldnae do that to anyone. It's wrong. Just plain wrong.
I done all that for aboot ten/eleven year and then it just came to a point where I woke up and I was like, "I'm sick of this life." I got put on the methadone and I've been stable for a few years now.
I love having my good wee hoose for me and my kids. I want to get clean, get a job – as a support worker or something wi' either drugs or with women who are involved in prostitution or sexual assault. Got money coming in, work for it. Do proper work for it.
I wouldane go back to that life, the drugs and prostitution. I would never want to go there again. I couldnae even imagine doing it now. That was back then. That was a chapter. That book's been shut.