Although inundated with numerous arseholes, every now and again along comes an arsehole who distinguishes himself to such a level that he actually raises the bar for arseholes everywhere. It’s a tough gig indeed, but someone’s got to do it, and when it’s done to heights of this magnificently impressive magnitude it does not deserve to go unnoticed. Step forth Floyed Thursby – new-crowned King of the Arseholes.

In the series of messages below, you will see how self-confessed sex addict Floyed becomes increasingly irate as he reads his way through my blog and finds his habitual paid access to females’ vagina’s challenged.

Now let’s not be too tough on poor Floyed – there is the recognition of a skill to be observed here. It is not easy to raise the bar of arseholery given the proliferation of that particular talent in this world. To you Floyed – thank you for the entertainment – and to everyone else: Welcome to THE FLOYED THURSBY DIARIES!!!

Received on April 24th, 2015:

“I think it’s ridiculous to claim all prostitutes are victims. Plenty of women would rather have sex for an hour than work 20 or 30 hours making lattes and sandwiches and change and mopping. You get a whole two free days. Or you pay for college, 8% of women born to the bottom 20% in the US end up with a degree compared to 73% of the top 20%, so some want to sacrifice to move up a class and have more income, some want time for art, some choose, yes choose, to do drugs. You will always have some women who like sex and some women are offering this to men they know and find reasonably attractive others will see anyone. Some women offer it to an ex boyfriend or boss or rich guy they know as an arrangement. Now if women are paid horribly, many will do it for little, but even in a society with no drugs, good education, universal health care, people like easy money. If it gets to a certain price, women will choose it. Women in California make 200-300 if attractive for an hour, vs. $10 at minimum wage. At 500, many more would step in. At 1000, over 25% and an economist showed at $4000, half of women would do it. If the world is starving it would be $50. So let’s be realistic. Men enjoy sex and can’t get it and everyone enjoys money. You chose to do this, and being bitter is silly. You can work minimum wage and go to night school and take 10 years to get a degree or just live at a lower income. You chose to do this. Maybe you were trafficked, if so pimps and those forcing you should go to prison, but consenting adults, women and men, should be free. Prostitution will always be with us. Women go out and have casual sex with the small number of guys who are misogynistic flashy assholes. If the rest want sex, they often have to pay or go long periods without which is unhealthy. These are the facts, and they are undisputed.”

Floyed Thursby

I will be choosing a particular favourite line from each post. The winning line here is:

“These are the facts, and they are undisputed!” (Floyed forgot to add an exclamation mark, so I helped him out with that)

Received on April 25th, 2015:

This whole thought process is an outgrowth of the religious idea of sex being an act of men victimizing women by sex, not enjoyment. Women charge for sex because they can and because it’s better than homelessness and you can make in one hour what you could make in 20, 30 or more. Men pay because only about 10% of men can consistently get one night stands and some men who have hard jobs or want to hang out with friends or have hobbies find girlfriends overly controlling and appeasing them to keep their sex life alive depresses them and makes their life less enjoyable. Sex is economic, in relationships women use it to control men. Men don’t hate wome; women consider 86% of men on dating sites “below average” and men see hot women on TV having sex all the time but in reality the average woman sleeps with 8 guys in a lifetime and they are mostly reserved for men all women want. Simply put men are told to fantasize about sex with a hot woman constantly, on TV radio, billboards books, even in public where women dress provocatively for attention, movies, the Internet, etc., but most can never enjoy that unless they pay. Men need sex, simply put. If women need it, the average woman can just go out to a bar and get sex any time, any place. If they couldn’t, some women would sometimes pay men, but they don’t have to. Some lesbians pay women because they have to. Women claimed in the ’60s they’d be like men about sex but they aren’t, they put men through a lot to get it and don’t even consider the vast majority of men at all. Eventually those men marry and get pussy whipped to the point where you don’t recognize them. Some men would rather pay 200-300 for a model than go on 3 dates with an average woman for a maybe, and believe me 3 dates is not a guarantee, more like 50/50. Women make excuses to avoid sex and don’t seek it out as an exciting thing. A high percentage of women would rather make 200-300 in an hour and study, do art or relax all day, I’ve come across lethargic prostitutes who are hot but like to sit around all day and do it with a guy all day. Sure, no one wants strange penises, but no one WANTS to make lattes, mop, make change and make sandwiches for money they can barely survive on. If you don’t want to do it, don’t, men don’t have this option, but more men become homeless and commit crimes and go to prison. If you don’t want to do it don’t, and if you’re trafficked tell the police, but don’t try to make all men feel guilty becuse YOU chose to sacrifice sex so you could live comfortably and have a lot of money. Many women want to do this and so do many men. Dating is qute frankly nearly harassment these days, and futile, and I’m a good looking guy with a good job. I get sex with 2-3 women a year by dating and they are average and I try to get in relationships and they put me through hell. I’m not going to have a horrible girlfriend for sex, if they try to control me I dump them and if I’m desperate, I spend 200-300, and I can tell you, most of these women choose to do this for the money and some enjoy it. Some are very low volume. I see a woman from the bar who does it with one guy a day after work to save money, saves 50k a year in an offshore account to one day buy a house because her main job, the money comes and goes. She enjoys it and only chooses decent guys. Your myth that no woman would do this by choice is idiotic. It shows a limited intelligence in that you are unable to imagine anyone making a different decision than you make and you speak in broad generalities.

Floyed Thursby

The diamond line:

“Women claimed in the ’60s they’d be like men about sex but they aren’t, they put men through a lot to get it and don’t even consider the vast majority of men at all.”

Received on 26th April 2015:

The argument isn’t that they are different, the argument is sex should always be available at a certain price to men in a situation where women choose to accept that price, in a free market, like in Australia and Europe and Japan, nations ahead of us in having 1/10th the crime and imprisonment rates no death penalty (except Japan) and universal healthcare, as well as better education. If a man really needs it, he can work and get it, no man should every feel it is a hopeless dream to ever have sex with an attractive woman and rape occurs when it is a mysterious unattainable experience. No one should be trafficked and no one should be forced, but the market will set a price at which society can say to a rapist you idiot, you should have just spent money if you needed that, you are guilty of a crime of violence and hate and you are going away, if you just want sex it is available. No man wants to live without sex with someone they are attracted to. Women would pay if they had to but have a lower drive, but women can go out and get it any time so they don’t understand.

Floyed Thursby

Best line:

“ man should every feel it is a hopeless dream to ever have sex with an attractive woman and rape occurs when it is a mysterious unattainable experience.”

Received on 26th April 2015:

“If you regret it, stop, don’t prevent women who would rather accept 2-400 for an hour instead of 80 for 8 hours in a cafe mopping from doing so. For some sex is no different than other things, but you fetishize it and find it traumatizing because you are biased by coming from the Judeo-Christian-Islanmic one God tradition making sex shameful. Monkeys left alone started prostitution for food. It is in our nature. If you had a bad experience, move on, no different from people who did a job for 5 years they hated then did another. You didn’t have to let men have sex with you for money. You chose to. Stop trying to shame everyone. This is why boys are doing so much worse than girls in school. When girls thrive they are heroes fighting sexism and boys are constantly told if they make jokes or hit on girls or stand up for themselves that they are bullies or perverts or violent, and lectured by females to act more like females all the while men who do so are generally treated as unworthy of sex by females who occasionally do have sex with guys who stand up to them, if they have looks or money. This whole thread is ridiculous. Stop lecturing people. Let every individual be free to make their own decisions whether or not you approve. I’ll say this, without prostitution there would be a lot more women in prison for violent offenses and a lot more homeless women and a lot fewer women graduating college or saving. If a woman is dumb enough to give the money to a pimp she should wise up, but many women spend the money on themselves and rightfully so. You are an anachronism. You are obsessed with controlling other people and this whole post is Orwellian to assume no one would rather have sex for a lot than work hard for a little, not that sex can’t be hard work, but you can choose it. I am a man and when I was in my early ’20s I was paid for sex by women 6 times, 3 women. It is rare because most women can get it on their own. 2 saw me once and 1 4 times. I don’t feel traumatized, I enjoyed some of it, and I made 1200 dollars instead of maybe 60 for the same amount of time. I have no resentment towards these women, zero. I chose it, they chose it. They were in their late ’40s and early ’50s. Your whole assumption is based on thinking sex is more than it is.”

Floyed Thursby

Here it is:

“For some sex is no different than other things, but you fetishize it and find it traumatizing because you are biased by coming from the Judeo-Christian-Islanmic one God tradition making sex shameful.”

Received on 27th April 2015:

“So work has to be enjoyable? I have sure enjoyed thousands of hours making pizza, washing dishes, carrying things, mopping, and making sales calls. I think you choose to do work based on many factors. Enjoyment is one, pay is another, risk is another, along with doing good for others, a job being interesting, and other factors. If a job is harder, it is better paid. Police take some risk and deal with crap, so they get more than a similarly skilled job with no risk. Sex workers deal with something very personal. For one, only very attractive women have the opportunity to be well paid as sex workers, so the supply is limited. Most are sexually conventional and couldn’t comfortably make love to many men, though some sex workers just see maybe 5 a week, which at 200 per, would give you a good lifestyle through college. Many see 1 a week for a little extra, and some really go for volume, and some charge 300 or more. Some charge 400 and see one a day. That’s 100k a year with 2 days a week off.

Work isn’t defined by being enjoyable. Some jobs involve getting yelled at by the public, some involve filth. Your definitions are based on your accepting the Puritan view that sex is different than other things, that massaging a man’s back with your hands or making a car with your hands or making a sale with your mouth are acceptable, but massaging a penis with a mouth or vagina is somehow unnatural and sex should only be associated with biblical religiously acceptable love. With one night stands, some women have sex for attention, to spend time with a celebrity for a few minutes, for a trip, for a work advantage, and some are well off, plenty of 6 figure real estate saleswomen routinely will sleep with a man to get an exclusive. The thought that some would consider sex just an act which could be sold is beyond you. True, if all men decided they would only sleep with women after 3 dates or usually more, and only with 8 in a lifetime or 25 if they are hot, and 2-4 if they are below average, or 0 in some cases, it would stop. Yet if all women decided they’d never sell sex, it would too. Why do you think sex is such a big deal? It’s odd, you fetishize it. Some women wish to sell sex to earn more. Without sex, women would be homeless more and would also commit violent crimes more once desperate, or deal drugs. It’s odd that you view a transaction in which a man gives up significant cash as somehow a man exploiting or damaging or hurting a woman who chooses it.

A woman doesn’t enjoy working for $10 an hour making lattes and sandwiches and change and mopping and washing dishes. Is her boss exploiting her? Damaging her?

You have to ask why you view sex this way. For many young people sex is just a thing.”

Floyed Thursby

And the winning line is:

“Your definitions are based on your accepting the Puritan view that sex is different than other things… massaging a penis with a mouth or vagina is somehow unnatural and sex should only be associated with biblical religiously acceptable love.”

Received on 9th May 2015:

“So should it only be legal to be a prostitute if you never did it before 18? How about drinking? Most people who drink started before 18. How about illegal drugs? Your line of reasoning is so clearly a result of misandry. Consenting adults can do what they want. And customers don’t feel entitled to a woman’s body. They pay a lot of money and a woman can make far more than for doing something else. Every woman is free to do another job. If men are lazy in school and quit jobs or get into expensive drugs, they end up homeless or in prison for risky/violent offenses. Women mostly turn to prostitution because it is better than trying to mug someone or being homeless. Some women can pay for college ( is hugely popular, or, save money, or live better, or have more free time as an artist.
Your language and reasoning are ridiculous and you clearly discriminate against those who don’t share your insane misandrist views, leaving posts as “awaiting moderation” indefinitely because you are afraid to debate anyone who disagrees with you and hide behind your power as blog moderator to censor opponents and create a false impression everyone agrees with you.

No one is entitled. Men who pay adults for sex are clearly desperate because women have not taken equal responsibility for seeking out sex. Men have to hit on women to have any chance because women don’t walk up to 95% of men and offer casual sex. I’m well above average looking and it’s happened to me a few times in a lifetime, but sex is a need. I get most sex by hitting on women, putting myself out there, something women never have to do. Women never have to pay because they can get sex any time. Some have even lobbied against female viagra and more women criticize other women for being promiscuous than men do by far, wanting to use sex to control men. Female viagra or equal treatment of both sexes, i.e. not calling a woman a slut and a man a stud, and women taking equal responsibility for seeking sex would undermine women’s ability to control men and whip men in marriages and relationships. Men are lectured for calling women sluts but women do it far more, most men wish women had our open sexual attitude.

Consenting adults should be able to do what they wish. Nearly the entire first world allows this. Women will never understand what it is like to desperately want or need sex and not be able to get it and have society treat you like a failure for not getting it.

If you are an adult and choose to sell sex you are not a victim and a man who chooses to pay an adult is not a predator. It is a victimless crime or if there is a victim, she chose it. Men are often victims, charged great deals of money for an act most species exchange freely and openly due to social control and religion. In the ’70s women claimed they would start being equal in seeking men, but 86% of men are judged by women to be below average on dating sites (vs. 63% of women so judged by men), so you have a vast majority of men who have an urge for 100 sexual partners and will be lucky to have 10 in a lifetime, and entertainment showing every male as having a lot of sex or uncool, and women far more open to it than they actually are.

Stop playing victim. You should have saved your money then you’d still be collecting dividends and benefitting. You are blaming others for your own choices and assuming because you regret it, all women must think like you and must be stopped or one day they’ll regret it. A lot of women don’t share your Puritan, anti-sex, anti-casual sex/sex for pleasure, misndrist philosophy. Thankfully so.

We need some age cutoff. Yes, it’s arbitrary, most 18 year olds are pretty immature. But some nations say 16, 17, 18, or 21. If you made it 21, prices would go up but there’d be a black market and some prostitutes who wish to save a million or two to have an easier life after prostitution, who actually have the discipline to save money so they don’t have a mortgage when they’re married with kids and have a degree, would lose 3 prime earning years. It’d be like making all NBA players be 21, you lose prime years.

And remember all the suffering males go through because we don’t have Fort Knox between our legs. 9 x the prison rate, violent and risky crimes, death committing robberies, 10 x the homeless rate, and remember men are the only ones who need sex and can’t get it. Men don’t feel entitled, but men who are treated as undatable by most women need a way to have it sometimes for life to feel worth living. The market decides that but currently, prostitutes with no education in most Cities make about as much as successful lawyers, and remember over half who pass the BAR never practice law and many others aren’t successful.”

Floyed Thursby

Our Floyed really came into his own with this post. There are three remarks nominated here because I just couldn’t choose between them:

“Men who pay adults for sex are clearly desperate because women have not taken equal responsibility for seeking out sex. Men have to hit on women to have any chance because women don’t walk up to 95% of men and offer casual sex.”

“And remember all the suffering males go through because we don’t have Fort Knox between our legs.”

“Your line of reasoning is so clearly a result of misandry.”

Received on 21st May 2015:

“What is going unsaid is this is a blog based on the simple idea of men bad, women good. Maybe men who let themselves be controlled by women and are momogamous and drop everything when she’s in a bad mood asking for advice she won’t follow, but for the most part any man who stands up for himself, particularly a white man, is bad.

It may not go up, as this board is very censored, sometimes I have a post which claims to be awaiting moderation for months then disappears. However this is the truth if you have the nerve to let me speak.

These women are extremely irresponsible with their money. Any woman with discipline, business sense and savvy could save a million within 5 years if she ran an hour a day and any woman willing to just be with one guy a day she chooses can at the very least pay for a full college education.

However many women end up with a client like this because they get a good client and then turn him down a second time, someone who is clean, well paying and respectful of them as human beings. Many act very rude towards men who have just given them $200 who then won’t repeat with them. I always pay $200 but often get one who is very bad at it and doesn’t try and then I don’t repeat with them. When I’ve found one who is good, I see the same one for a year or two twice a month and we get comfortable.

Many waste money on drugs, don’t take good clients because they don’t feel like it and blow money on stupid things, then they have to take a bad date. They bring it on themselves.”

Floyed Thursby

Here it is – dripping with Floyedesque entitlement:

“Many act very rude towards men who have just given them $200 who then won’t repeat with them.”

Received on 22nd May 2015:

“In America anyone can start at a Community College and transfer to a 4 year college with decent grades, even just passing. Prostitution provides many a chance to get college degree and that doubles your income. At least it ends in one generation and your kids have a college educated parent. Being lazy keeps you poor. It’s a chance for those who really want it to avoid truly debasing minimum wage work and while this may be tough work, it gives them freedom and an education. You can be enslaved, and you can be a lazy prostitute, but if you see a few guys a week even you can pay for a degree if you run an hour a day and stay hot. Men have less chance which is why far fewer poor men are going to college.”

Floyed Thursby

Top marks for fantasy: (Floyed’s very partial to the oul bit of fantasy)

“Prostitution provides many a chance to get college degree and that doubles your income.”

Received on 23rd May 2015:

“Why does moderation take so long?

Here’s the thing. I’m nearly 45. I’m a lifelong sex addict who loves sex more than anything. In addition to paying probably 100 women, I’ve had sex with 49 women without paying. It’s getting harder but I will probably surpass 50, a feat that fewer than 1 in 20 American men achieve. I will not talk about the paid as I know you all assume the worst, but when you talk about enjoyment, here is my response.

I’ve had a few women at the right time and place jump into bed with me or waited several dates like 3-4 before trying a move because I hate being rejected so I wait for it to be nearly risk free, though you’d be surprised it’s never a sure thing even on a 3d or 4th date when they seem to like you. Some women love to reject guys and tell a story more than they love actual sex.

Sex is a naturally enjoyable act we are programmed to enjoy.

Now many times a woman makes you really talk her into it but finally agrees. All kinds of issues come up. Are you clean (no diseases), do you love me (I don’t believe in love and never lie about this), will you respect me (of course I judge no one based on sexuality and admire sex workers who actually save instead of end up broke for irresponsible reasons), are you good at it (very), etc. They put you through an hour or more of uncomfortable conversation and say they don’t always like one night stands, etc.

I am very hard working as a lover and dedicated. I am very good at oral and last a long time. I give a full body massage and over half an hour minimum of oral. I also do whatever they want how they want and explain this beforehand. They always end up enjoying it and having orgasms. They always call me again and want to get together even though it’s purely casual. They never ever complain.

So once you have sex, you enjoy it. I’m not talking about rape, no one would enjoy that. I’m talking about consensual sex.

The pay rate for prostitution is so high now many only see a client a day and would pick up a guy in a bar every day. It’s so common in the Bay Area it’s made it drastically harder for men to get a free one night stand as many women have the same amount of sex but charge for it. On the low end, you could sleep with 3 guys a week and charge 200, get regulars, and not be put out. You could hold a normal job and in 15 years make 450k, which if you can live off your main job, allows you to save and it would compound to 650-700k if put into stocks. You can pay off a college loan which drags on for life for many men, and chaste women, even into social security. You can buy a house which is almost impossible for many with a big down payment so your mortgage is smaller in a better neighborhood. That’s low end, most who do low volume can charge 250-400 and tips exist. Some could see 5 a week. Some go all out and see 30-40, but their rate goes down and their skill declines. But many have very low volume and are having the sex they would for free for money. Some are very picky on looks even when charging. Some pay for college this way.

So to say no women enjoy it you have to be all women. Many women enjoy it. Just because you take money, which is smart in my view, it doesn’t mean the ability to orgasm or neurons in your clitoris shut down.”

Floyed Thursby

And here is where Floyed finally reveals the source of his angst with us sex trade surviving bloggers:

“I’m a lifelong sex addict who loves sex more than anything.”

Before impressing us all with the sheer “feat” of his sexual prowess:

“In addition to paying probably 100 women, I’ve had sex with 49 women without paying. It’s getting harder but I will probably surpass 50, a feat that fewer than 1 in 20 American men achieve.”

Before wrapping up by giving us women a biology lesson about our own bodies:

“Just because you take money, which is smart in my view, it doesn’t mean the ability to orgasm or neurons in your clitoris shut down.”

You see, Floyed, that is exactly the problem. Your having used our social vulnerabilities to buy access to our bodies doesn’t make our physical responses shut down. The intimate parts of our bodies, which you are paying to lick, suck, finger and fuck are just as sensitive as they ever were, and so because it is not possible to completely shut down the experiences of the body, we numb them with drugs and alcohol, and we dissociate ourselves psychologically, so that the traumatic experience of physical violation is not felt fully with the emotions or processed by the mind.

This, of course, leads to lifelong problems, for those of us lucky enough to have lives, because not all of us do Floyed. But then the astronomical suicide and drug overdose rates in prostitution really don’t matter, do they? I mean, at the end of the day, what on this planet could be more important than the rights of some men to pay to blow their load?

Rachel Moran

Why Jim the johns Article Made My Skin Crawl

I hardly think I would be educating people if I opened this post with the point that addiction is destructive. This we know. It’s commonly accepted that addiction to certain substances and behaviours have destructive consequences for the addict and those they come in contact with. Because of the dehumanised status of women in general and prostituted women in particular, this knowledge is overridden when it comes to men addicted to sex and the damage they do to the prostituted women they use to satiate their addictive impulse, as was evidenced in the recent Time article by Jim Norton, self-confessed sex addict and purchaser of women’s bodies.

Most men who prostitute women are not sex-addicts, but they certainly share Norton’s dehumanising views. As someone who had her body used by men like Norton for seven years spanning my adolescence and early adulthood, I can say quite a staggering amount of delusion and denial presents in the thoughts and attitudes of the average ‘john’; and it is matched only by the casual misogyny that allows them to use the bodies of women and girls like commodities in the first place. This is exemplified numerous times in Norton’s short article, for example in his assertion that where prostitution is legalised the rape of the non-prostituted female population drops. Apart from the fact that this is unproven, even if it were true, it would mean only that prostituted women and girls are used as the human shields of men’s sexual violence. Anyone who suggests that a class of females should exist to absorb male sexual aggression is, by definition, expressing a misogynistic view. Where is the call for men to stop fucking raping women? And WHY are we content to live in a world where, instead, one class of women are singled out to be raped?

As to the contemptible excuse of ‘choice’, the reality, which most johns studiously deny and ignore (though they know it as well as anyone) is that women and girls do not choose to have the penises of men shoved into the orifices of our bodies eight, ten, twelve times a day because we ‘want’ to, or because we ‘choose’ it; we reluctantly submit to commercial sexual violation for two reasons: because men like Jim Norton exist to create the demand for the commodification of our bodies in the first place, and because the circumstances of our lives have left us with no other viable choice.

Reading Norton’s article made my skin crawl, because it brought me straight back to the days when my own body was used as a sperm receptacle by a relentless conveyor belt of grown men in more socially privileged positions. The casual contempt for women oozing from his article left me with the flesh-creeping, puke-inducing, soul-sickening memory of being ritualistically used by men who did not view me as a human being, and so, as a consequence, did not view their actions as a human rights abuse; but rather some kind of benign caressing, like a slave owner who decides to massage his slave rather than whip her, and tells himself there is nothing wrong in what he does since he is not breaking her skin, just breaking her spirit; and the absence of the whip, in his pathologically selfish and delusional mind, allows him to erase his own malignant role in the master/slave dynamic.

His attitudes reinforced something I first learned as a fifteen-year-old homeless prostituted girl, and it’s this: There are men on this earth who do not give a damn about anything or anyone if recognising its value means getting in the way of their God-almighty orgasms. That is the simple and inhuman truth, and it is exactly why we need legislation to impose upon them the equal worth of female humanity that they will never come to on their own.

Rachel Moran

An Open Letter to the ‘Good’ Punter

If you like sex, this is not a letter to you. If you like women, this is not a letter to you. If you’ve somehow put these things together and decided they give you the right to buy what you like, this is a letter to you.

If you’re a misogynistic bastard who gets off on hurting women, this is not a letter to you. Apart from the fact that nothing here would get through, I wouldn’t waste my fucking writing skills on you.

If you’re a man who buys sex and thinks you’re engaged in a mutually beneficial transaction that’s causing no harm, I’m talking to you.

I met many of you. So many. Too many. And I always wondered about you. I wondered, how could you justify this to yourself? How could you tell yourself – and believe it – that I was happy to have strangers’ fingers, penises and tongues shoved into the most private parts of me? How did you convince yourself that I’d be happy about something you’d never, in your wildest nightmares, wish on your own daughter? I wondered, most of all, how could you look at me and not see me?

Let me tell you who you are: you are the ‘good’ punter. You’re the man who has a laugh with the woman you’re buying. You’re the man who strokes her hair. You ask her how her day’s been. How she’s feeling. Why she’s doing this. Did you ever think to ask that of yourself?

You are the ‘good’ punter. If you see a bruise on her you’ll ask if she’s okay. Is anybody treating her violently? Yes. Many men are. Go in the bathroom. You’ll find one above the sink.

The truth, that you’re so desperate to flee from, is that you are just like a gentle rapist. Your attitude and demeanour does not mitigate what you do. The damage you’re causing is incalculable, but you tell yourself you’re doing no harm here, and you use the smiles of the women you buy as some kind of currency; they allow you to buy your own bullshit. I would know; I doled out that currency many times, and we both were that, we both doled out currency in different ways, you and me.

You came along because you wanted to spend what you had to spend, your load, which also meant your money; and you looked at me and you touched me and you fucked me and then you held me. That was always the worst part. I want you to know that. That was always the worst part.

I didn’t want to be held by you. I didn’t want to be cuddled. I didn’t want you close to me, never mind inside me. Your arms around me made me want to puke more than your penis ever did. I shut out that part; it was too horrible. Every moment with you was a lie, and I hated every second of it. And you bought that lie; believe me it was a lie you bought. I know, because I sold it.

In Costa Rica they say: ‘Who is more at fault, the one who sins for the pay or the one who pays for the sin?’ Those words were taken from a book about men like you. Victor Malarek’s ‘The Johns’. Can you see the truth in them?

You can, but you don’t want to acknowledge them. You don’t want to face up to that. It doesn’t fit with your view of what you do. It doesn’t fit with your view of who you are. But I know who you are.

I can see you now. You are the ‘good’ punter. You’ve got your fists shoved in your ears. You are the ‘good’ punter. And you don’t want to hear.


Accepting Money

Oftentimes it is small incidents that call us back, and it is strange how things that would appear of zero relevence to an observer can be those that draw us back so forcibly as to cause tension, anxiety, and sometimes reactions that are simply emotionally violent.

Had there been a fly on the wall of my hotel room this afternoon (assuming it was a thinking fly, that could observe, process and reason) it would have heard a tremble in my voice, a hesitation, something that maybe sounded like confusion, and it most likely would have put that down to social awkwardness, and thought no more, and moved on.

I heard all those things in my own voice, but I know, as the speaker, that there was something up with where those words were coming from. They were coming from a place of deep discomfort. I was sincerely awkward, not quite embarrassed but getting there; I was mildly panicked, in the sense of trying to squirm away from the situation I was in.

I was accepting money.

How is it that I can loan money, or gift money, without a thought, but it is always, to some degree or other, a traumatising experience to accept it? The situation was this: I had been invited to speak at a conference in New York, and my understanding was that my travel expenses would be met. I took this to mean my flights and accommodation, but this morning, on my leaving, the woman who co-ordinated the event called my hotel room and wanted to know how much I had spent on food and transportation. How much had my taxi’s cost? How much had I spent on meals? I felt something rise up in me that could be best described as defensiveness. It didn’t matter, I told her. It wasn’t much. Forget about it.

I honestly didn’t know how much I’d spent on those things, and I still don’t know. I’d been in and out of several cabs and restaurants and I had never thought to keep receipts. I would have needed to eat anywhere, I reasoned to myself, as the woman tried to reimburse me. There was a need to push this money away, a sense of ‘please leave me alone’, and it was far from the first time that had happened.

When I put the phone down I began to question myself. Why had that been difficult for me? Why had it been so awkward any of the many other times it had happened? What was it about accepting money that made living in my very skin so squeamishly uncomfortable for me?

Bingo. There it was. Yes – I get it now.

Jesus… sometimes the answer is so obvious it makes the question ridiculous.


Jim Wrong

(Caution – do not eat whilst reading)

There was a lot wrong about Jim Wrong. That’s where he got his name. Of course prostitution is populated by odious characters, but Jim stood head and shoulders above them all. I first met him in a Limerick apartment sometime around 1996. Some of us met him in more recent years. He’s been imposing himself on the women of prostitution for a long time, mores’ the pity… for us.

There was something fucked up about Jim.

It wasn’t just that Jim didn’t wash, although that was true. And it wasn’t just that he didn’t change his clothes – ever – although that was true also. It was more that he didn’t see anything wrong with these things, and instead seemed to delight in his freedom from socially imposed norms, like washing.

Jim was like a dirty oul cowboy that had just come in off the range. He was like a cowpat with shoes and a halo of bluebottle flies, and a big cheesy grin – and a penis.

We might have called him cheddar man, and surely would have, if the first thing we’d seen of his had been his penis instead of his face.

If Jim didn’t get his way he didn’t voice is disappointment verbally, but anally. He was like a human slurry van, slushing his discontent on the floor, on the sink, up the walls. His scalded ring was relentless, as were his scabby scaly filth-embedded hands.

His trousers stank of piss and had the sheen of trousers not washed since they were first bought in the second hand section of The Farmers Journal. Jim was some piece of work alright; Jim was a law unto Jim. I’d heard about him long before I’d met him; Jim was a legend in his lifetime. A dirty bollocks if the whorehouses of Limerick had ever seen one, and Jim could have given lessons in being a dirty bollocks. He was expert in his field – in the middle of his field, in fact, for Jim was a farming man – and no one was ever left in doubt as Jim diligently presented the evidence under his fingernails.

He had every habit a woman wouldn’t want to see in a man whose cock she had to suck, including the slobbering, slavering way he’d shove his tongue halfway out his own head before he’d use the big pink monstrosity to lick his own lips, before he’d slap them together in the manner of the appetised. “Hills have eyes shit” as one woman said to me.

Another woman, a friend of mine intimately acquainted with Jim, said he “was like an overweight Worzel Gummidge that stank of shit”.

Jim exuded a presence that radiated out from him and all around – literally. I had heard a lot of stories about Jim before I first met him; women talk, you know, and there was a lot to be said about Jim Wrong. Sometimes we’d be driving down the road, a few of us on our way to the whorehouse, and if we passed a slurry pit or were caused for any other reason to endure an offensive smell, someone would always remark “here comes Jim Wrong!” and we’d all roar laughing. So I thought I knew what to expect from Jim, before I first met him. How wrong was I? It wasn’t until I’d met our friend Jim that I realized some people are just beyond description.

Jim had a penchant for the new girls. I had been lucky enough, up till the first day I met him, never to have been in the apartment when he’d presented his stinking self. One day, my luck ran out. Ding dong went the doorbell. It was Jim Wrong, grunting and snorting, looking for the new girl.

I pressed the handle of the bedroom door, bracing myself for the sight of Jim Wrong, but the smell hit before the sight did. But one quickly followed the other – it was a classic double-whammy. It was the stench of death but yet it was living – above the shoulders sat, instead of a head, a big busted mattress. Instead of hair there sprouted coils of rusted springs and in the middle of this monstrosity sat a crooked mouth, smiling, more gums than broken teeth, twinkling with the drool oozing from the side of his warped and demented mouth, like the Colgate ad gone mad.

Jim was very pleased to see me – this was unmistakable as his horse-like truncheon busted through his piss-stained jeans. He hurried out of his decrepit clothing.

I tried to discuss the horror of the experience that followed with a woman I know, an ex prostitute herself, who was so disgusted by descriptions of Jim she said “Speak to your fucking counsellor love, I don’t want to hear it”.

We’ve heard ideas about ‘enjoyment’ being found in prostitution. Let us tell you this: any woman who can say she took pleasure out of seeing our Jim has had severe blunt force trauma to the head, most likely delivered by her respectable pimp, causing frontal lobe damage resulting in erratic eye-movement to such a point that she cannot focus on the vision in front of her, and has had so many broken noses that her nasal passage can no longer absorb such an offensive smell, and for that, all we can feel is envy for that woman.

Otherwise she is on a serious amount of medication… or ought to be…

(This was a composite experience written by women, including myself, with experience of servicing the notorious Limerick farmer Jim Wrong.)


Exclusions Apply

I haven’t written on this blog in months. I’ve been far too busy with the final edits on my book and with campaigning for the introduction of the Nordic Model in this country, and have made trips abroad, and have more to make, so I’ve been kept very busy; but I was sitting idly reading one of those few-euro-off panel of supermarket tokens that came through my door (the ones that annoyingly assume you’re going to make two trips to the same shop in the space of one week) and as I read it I noticed some tiny writing along the bottom that put me in the position of having to write this post. The words read: ‘exclusions apply’.

It’s funny how so many things can come back to prostitution, how many little reminders there are all around us that there is something very wrong with the world. I thought ‘yeah, exclusions sure do fucking apply’, and that got my mind working, and it got me remembering, and so I had to sit down and write out those remembering’s and feelings. 

When I was a little girl I got hold of a brochure somewhere for a fee paying school. I, as the child of working class parents, was ignorant that there was any such thing at the time. I was ‘between schools’ as I often was, for months at a stretch, and I was amazed at the discovery of this wonderful solution. Here was a school where you could ride horses, learn to play the piano and choose speciality subjects, rather than have everything you’d learn dictated to you by the teacher. The uniform looked like something off the covers of the Enid Blyton books I so adored. I was mesmerised and brought the brochure home to my mother to share the wonderful news. The sound that came out of her would have been a laugh but for the fact that it came out her nose. A derisory sniff, laced with contemptuous undertones – that’s what it was. I heard that noise from her several times down the years, but I would be an adult before I’d know how to describe it.

That attitude, that ‘there is no place for you here’ certainty reminds me forcefully of the total social exclusion I would experience just a few years later as a fifteen-year-old prostitute. It was the experience of existing nowhere on the social scale; too inexperienced to seek employment, too young to draw the dole, too under-qualified to advance myself within the educational system. ‘Nowhere’, I have come to find, is the loneliest word in the English language, and for me, at that time, the most appropriate. There is a common, and noble, idea enshrined in our constitution; it is that all the children of the nation must be treated equally – but the lessons of my life taught me different. They taught me that exclusions apply.

If you are poor, if you are from a background of dysfunction, or parental addiction, or childhood sexual abuse, then you are cannon fodder for the brothels and you are of ‘equal worth’ in name only; and the men who use your body will tell themselves and others that you are there because you want to be, while at the same time protecting their own daughters (some of whom are older than you are) from the same things they do to you. When it comes to the women and girls in their own lives, these exclusions are most forcibly rejected and NOT allowed to apply.

I am in a place in my life now where I am very glad, and grateful, that I have overcome the carnage of the past in a way I could not have imagined while I was living it. But I remember, and always will, the loneliness of standing on Waterloo Road in the dark and the rain, while strangers drove by and had a good gawk at the ‘whore’ standing on the corner; and I remember, with the passion of a very great sadness, sitting, some years later, in a penthouse apartment’s uppermost room, which was composed almost entirely of glass. I would sit there smoking cannabis at night, in that room that looked like it was a conservatory perched on the top of an apartment block, and I would look out at the night sky and all the stars that were in it, and I would wonder how, in all that expanse, this stylish whorehouse was the only place for me.

I know why today: it is because exclusions apply, and as long as we accept that a separate class of women and girls should exist for the purposes of sexual exploitation, they always will.


Child Prostitution, Adult Prostitution, and the Obscure In-Between

The issue of child prostitution and its supposed alter-ego, adult prostitution, are personal to me because I’ve experienced both, having been prostituted between the ages of fifteen and twenty-two.

I sometimes think of what those who knew nothing of me would have thought of me, as they caught glimpses of me, on the different stages of those seven years.  Who doubts that the majority would have looked at my young teenaged self and wondered what sort of world we lived in?  And who doubts, if they’re honest, that many would have looked at my young adult self and wondered what sort of women populated it?

This is the dichotomy of adult and child and they are viewed as very separate, very distinct, so that there is a clearly perceived line between these stages, these ages, but in fact it is not a line.  It is a bridge.  It is a bridge that spans the in-between; that gap that connects the points in the lives of so many women who were prostituted first as children then as adults.  I lived that bridge in my own prostitution life, when I was turning from a child into a woman, and I was used sexually for money on most of the days that made up my adolescence, as I was before in childhood and afterwards in early adulthood.  And here is the crux of the matter: it was all the same nightmare to me.

People chose though, before and after those in-between years, whether I was blameless or blameworthy.  In the interim, while I existed in the in-between, each individual who looked at me or fucked me had the privilege of making up their own mind.  Many did, and most chose the latter.

After that, when I was identifiably a woman, it was not a case of ‘most’ anymore, but ‘almost all’ – because almost all those who looked at me in my young adulthood decided that I’d chosen what was happening, and saw it as what I was doing rather than what was being done to me.

The ‘done to me’ aspect died, you see, along with my adolescence in the perspectives of other people.  The problem was it didn’t die, and I was still alive, living the ‘done to me’ reality every day.

As a fourteen-year-old girl, a full year before I ever started prostituting, I first realised that some men felt an actual entitlement to my body.  This was perfectly expressed by the extreme belligerence they’d display when I rejected their advances.  They would be so angry.  ‘How dare you?’ said their actions.  I couldn’t make any sense of that attitude.  It was literally like someone was speaking in a foreign language to me, and it was a foreign language in a sense; it was the language of sexual entitlement.  I became fluent in the language eventually, but fluent in the sense of someone speaking a language not of their origin; someone who can understand it audibly, but will never be able to write it.

At that time though, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could think it was okay to walk up to someone on the street and wrap your arms around them, or grope somebody, or growl what you’d like to do to them into their ear.  But I had all these experiences as a fourteen-year-old girl and I’d had three approaches by paedophiles as a pre-pubescent child, and still I could not fathom why and how this was supposed to be acceptable in the view of these men, why this was supposed to be okay.  I remember one man’s surprise and affront as he told me “You’re very standoffish!” after I pulled away from a physical embrace I didn’t initiate, ask for, permit or fucking want.

These experiences came thick and fast from the age of fourteen, when I began to be more noticeably developing breasts.  It is little wonder I became fluent in the language of male sexual entitlement.  Facial expressions, aggressive stances, weary sighs, protracted silences – all these too make up part of that language, all these are used to communicate the idea that you’re expected to consent  when a man decides he will have rights to your body.

So I’d had some schooling, in that sense, as to what prostitution expected of me.  What I didn’t know was how bad it was going to get.  I couldn’t have known that before I experienced it.  It was unknowable.  Well, I soon found out, and what I found out didn’t get any better on the day I turned eighteen and it didn’t get any better on the day I turned twenty-one either.

They bother me, these stupid irrelevant lines that are drawn that attempt to divide the lived reality of the prostitution experience based on whether a female is fifteen or seventeen, seventeen or nineteen, eighteen or twenty.  They are diversions to the central matter at hand; they divert from the core issue.  They disappear the fact that this is wrong, not only by degrees that deepen with the youthfulness of its target, but by its nature, so that all those who’ve been paid for sex they do not want have suffered sexual abuse.  There is a shelf-life for women in prostitution, but there is no shelf-life for the nature of prostitution.  Its abusive core does not morph into something else on a person’s eighteenth birthday.  Not that many men wait that long in the first place.

And on that note, people need to start querying what is the criterion for fuckability according to sex-buying men?  What is their divining rod for ‘of age’?  Is it a pair of breasts?  My experience of prostitution is that it is any pair of breasts, regardless that they’re still developing; and this we’ve got to see as a form of sexual selfishness that has decayed to the point where it’s putrid.  It is also a nonsense of a position, because if a pair of breasts at any stage of development signify completed womanhood then every females adulthood actually began at the onset of puberty; not began to form, but began in full. Every woman was a woman before she was a woman, by that ludicrous standard.

I am sure we will have a lot of indignation from sex buyers on this point, but as a fifteen-year-old child with developing breasts I was abused by a multitude of these men every day; men, some of whom would never have considered themselves paedophiles or predators or abusers – and I saw the same men pay to use the bodies of other adolescents with breasts, one of them just thirteen years old, so I can assure the reader that these men assured themselves wherever there was the presence of breasts there was the absence of childhood.

Added to this, men who buy sex are obsessed with the act of despoilment; they are, as a group, blatantly obsessed with the desire to fuck the youngest girl they can find.  The upshot of this of course is that there is great commercial value placed on youth in prostitution.  I have thought at length and written a little about Prostitution and the Commercial Value of Youth, and I know both that this exists as a reality in prostitution and that is speaks with great clarity to the putrid sexual selfishness I’ve just mentioned.

So adolescents are fair game in prostitution; I’ve made my point, but it’s important also to look at an uncanny resemblance here: adolescence is the physical reality, the mirror image made flesh and form, of that place where a woman is halfway between being prostituted and being trafficked. That point where women go to other countries knowing they’ll be working in the sex trade, but not knowing what that reality really means, or not knowing that they’ll be charged four and five figure sums for the privilege of their prostitutions organisation.  This is another of prostitutions in-betweens.  They exist in various forms, and very often these mid-spectrum situations are misrepresented and then misappropriated so that they can be used to gloss over the reality of the sex trade.  For example those women who are working back thousands of euros/dollars/pounds of money they supposedly ‘owe’ are not classified as trafficking victims, although that is what they are.  The sex industry calls them ‘independent escorts’ and ignores and erases the misery of their lives.

In the same way, people who live prostitution during the transition between childhood and adulthood must be mislabelled and filed away, inconvenient as they are.  They must be either a child or an adult according to the sex industry, and also, disturbingly, to some anti-trafficking groups.  Some groups decide to find a way around this by subdividing adolescence into stages where those from twelve to fourteen are deemed worthy of sympathy and attention, while fifteen to seventeen-year-olds are brushed to one side with the gut-churning excuse that they have so much more ‘personal agency’.

When, I would like to ask the senior members of these groups, did my personal agency begin?  Because by their criterion it seems to me it began at the stroke of midnight as I entered my fifteenth year, which makes me feel like a very sorry version of Cinderella; except the slipper in this fairytale was never going to fit because it had been shattered, and believe me, Prince Charming was nowhere to be seen.  I had no more personal agency at fifteen than I had the year before, in fact I had significantly less, because at fourteen I had only six months of homelessness behind me; at fifteen I had a year and a half.  In homelessness your desperation increases with time, not decreases.  If people think ‘personal agency’ always increases with the forward march of time they are lucky people who’ve never had to deal with the miserable conditions of their own lives intensifying with time, and they’re obviously so detached from that life experience they’ve never even considered it.

By drawing distinctions between trafficking and prostitution, between under and over eighteen, some well-intentioned anti-trafficking organisations acquiesce to the perpetuation of a system known to be extremely violent and damaging while continuing to stigmatise and blame most of its victims.  This stigmatisation maintains the disempowerment and marginalisation of the same population these groups want to help.  It also empowers the predators who prey on our most vulnerable, whether under or over eighteen.


The Sacred Solidarity of Survivor Voices

Someone asked me recently was I not pissed off that, after ten years of working on my memoirs, another former Irish prostitute who had just begun blogging had secured a book deal for her own book, which was to be launched before mine.  That was a fair question and I could see why it would be asked, but it was not a question that could be answered with a yes or a no.  It strongly necessitated a ‘no and here’s why’ answer, so I decided to blog about the ‘why’ part.

The book my friend was referring to is due out in the autumn of this year, about four months or so before my own and will be titled ‘Secret Diary of a Dublin Call Girl’.  It is currently being written by a young Irish woman known on the internet as DCG (Dublin Call Girl)

I first came across Dublin Call Girl’s blog in January of this year.  I came across it because, in the aftermath of completing the book, I didn’t know how to disengage from the subject.  Also, in a climate where prostitution was heating up as a political issue, I didn’t want to.

I was directed to a group-blog called Survivors Connect Network, and what I found there were blog-links to the writings of prostitution survivors from all over the world.  DCG’s blog was among them.

The first thing that struck me about her writing was that she used soft and evocative language; heartbreaking language, that moved me to tears more than once.  As a survivor of prostitution, that says a lot.  It says that she captured the prostitution experience in a very profound way.  The small things; they are often the things that set us survivors apart from the rest of society.  The things we think of, the things we remember, the things we struggle to forget; the things we can’t get through a single day without being assaulted by.  They were all there.

I was so glad.  My heart sung with joy to find this evidence of another Irish woman exploring her prostitution past, in the face of this psychological tsunami so few of us can push past to tell our truths.  I was so thankful that this young woman had chosen to defy the pain that assails us, and to call attention to it, and to put it before the public, at the cost of a pain that is beyond the comprehension of so many to fully understand.  I felt a deep and sincere affection for her.  I still do.

I started an email communication with Stella Marr, who is an American domestic sex-trafficking survivor and the founding member of Survivors Connect Network.  I told her that my book was completed and trying to find a home, but that I didn’t know how long that would take and because the issue of prostitution was now politically current in Ireland I felt I wanted to join the debate in the meantime.  I told her also that I intended to go public with my identity when the book came out, but that until then I’d like to keep my identity to myself.  She encouraged me to begin an anonymous blog of my own, and I thought that was a good idea, so I did.

As I did, I continued to follow the blogs of other women, paying particular attention to DCG’s, as she is a fellow Irish woman.  As her blog unfolded and her story was laid out, I came to understand something I’d like to put before the readers of this blog now.  It is that my story and hers are different in every way two women’s stories can be different, except for the most important way, which is the conclusion we both draw from them.

To being with, we are from different social classes.  She identifies as middle class whereas I am from a working class background, raised in council housing.  My family was severely impoverished and I came to prostitution through homelessness and destitution.  I can only assume, from what she writes, that DCG’s early upbringing was the opposite, and unlike me, she came to prostitution though the grooming of sexual abuse.  Many women mirror my entry point and many women mirror hers.  A lot of women, tragically, mirror both.

Our stories are also different in other ways.  I was prostituted from the age of fifteen to twenty-two, throughout most of the nineties.  She was prostituted from twenty-one to twenty-six, through the latter half of the noughties (I hate that term, but we have no other).

I worked in all areas of prostitution; the streets, brothels, massage parlours and escort agencies.  She worked privately, in escort agencies, advertising online, which was an area of prostitution only taking off the same year I left it.  I consider myself lucky to have missed that, especially for the sake of the creepy punters online ‘reviews’, where punters review every aspect of the women they have bought – pouring verbal contempt and scorn all over them.  This contempt repulses me beyond measure, and I have the deepest sort of sympathy for the innumerable women who’ve endured it.

Our prostitution histories are different also in the sense that, unlike DCG, I didn’t come to understand prostitution as something that was damaging retrospectively.  I lived every moment of it as sexually abusive right there, as it was happening.  This would obviously have made the experience of it more painful, but I strongly suspect it makes the memory of it less so.

On the subject of survivor memoirs: not in spite of how different, but rather because of how different, the memoirs of prostitution survivors compliment each other and are mutually strengthening, in a profoundly significant sense.  This is because they cause people to understand that a woman or girl can come to prostitution through a myriad of circumstances, at any time, at any age, for many reasons, or for a mish-mash of reasons.  Our different stories assert this.  They emphasise and state and declare it.  These are our truths.  They are different truths, but they all end up in the same place – that mind-shattering reality of having your heart broken and your legs open on a brothels bed.

The fact is that the blogs and books of every survivor who honestly lays down her story do not detract, but rather affirm the writings of other women.  For all these reasons and other reasons besides, it is essentially important that the stories of survivor women stand alongside each other; just as us women must do and should do.  We are all living the survival of the same pain and those of us who choose to speak out live all the same fears, are subject to all the same threats, suffer all the same traumas and are targeted at all the same points of our obvious vulnerabilities.

Our sincerest warm wishes for each other are a healing balm that should be poured liberally and continually, with love and without restraint.  So to answer the question I was asked the other day: stupid jealousies and resentments should never get a look-in here, because, besides anything else, you can’t be in competition when you’re on the same team.


Hate Mail and other Ignorant Nonsense

This is a short post to inform those who have recently begun to bombard me with hate mail and ignorance in some of its other boringly blatant forms, that their efforts are wasted.  Those posts will not be displayed here.  There are plenty enough other areas of the internet that are infected with such bile; I am hardly about to allow my own blog become one of them.

As to the lies that have been circulated about me recently, well there is not much I can do about those.  In all honesty, there’s not much I would do if I could.  They are fairly obvious, most of them.  For example I am said to be just out of prostitution, despite that anyone who bothered to read this blogs ‘About’ page would know I am out of prostitution fourteen years.  This lie was constructed in order to query what business I have not being semi-literate.  Because, you see, former prostitutes are supposed to be, apparently.  Strange that this notion was constructed by a current prostitute! 

There are many others, each one less worth repeating than the last. They all have the same aim, which is to discredit me and everything I experienced and witnessed throughout seven years that spanned prostitution’s entire social spectrum.  These are common silencing tactics from the pro-prostitution lobby; all of us survivors experience them.  Well, as I said to a good friend of mine recently – none of this BS is going to keep our arses off interviewers’ seats or our books off the shelves.  Roll on next spring when my book is published and I will be making my identity public, for the primary reason that I damn-well intend to stand over my own experiences, and I will not be silenced by anyone.


Trafficking and Prostitution – and the Differences that Don’t Exist

Trafficking and Prostitution are two areas that are very easy to separate; and they would be, as they are inhabited by two groups of women whose experience is characterised by two different kinds of coercion, two different kinds of force. 

In one group, trafficked women, we will find the young Eastern European woman who has been tricked onto an international flight under the pretence that she is to be an au pair, only to find herself gang-raped and imprisoned in a brothel.  We will find the African teenaged girl who has been kidnapped and sold within the female slave trade, sometimes with the added psychological violence of voodoo rituals to incapacitate her mentally as well as physically.  In Canada we will find young women and girls of native descent trafficked to brothels in numbers far disproportionate to the females of the white population, because their lives are deemed less valuable, because the western world has decided them to be so.

I will focus for a while on the situation here in Ireland, with which of course, being an Irish woman, I am most familiar.  Our national television broadcaster, RTE, aired the documentary ‘Profiting from Prostitution’ in the spring of this year.  It focused on what was going on in Irish brothels, along with how they are organised and run.  It also included interview evidence from numerous women; some trafficked, others having ended up in the brothels by what I call ‘the traditional route’.

Some of the video footage was truly shocking.  One Asian woman babbling, seemingly out of her mind on some substance, was not in a position to have a conversation, never mind involvement in any kind of sexual exchange.  The only thing she said that made any kind of sense was “Work here, live here. No go outside”

A young African woman described in broken English her years of sexual slavery in Ireland, beginning when she was only twenty years old: 

“I went to Waterford.  After Waterford I went to Kilkenny, then Enniscorthy, then Navan.  She (the pimp) would text me the address of the place where they would tell me to go this day.  I have to do it because, I don’t know, it’s what I have to do because I was so scared.  I don’t want her to come and kill me.  I had nobody to run to”.

Asked how the clients treated her, she responded:

“The first man that came, I was crying to the man.  The man called the woman that I refuse him sleeping with me.  Anything could happen to me, so I don’t have any choice.  Whenever they come, I always tell them my situation, crying to some of them, but some of them, I don’t cry to them.  Some of them, the way they treated me, violence, calling me names, ‘bitch’ ‘whore’, you know, things like that”.

“When I look at myself in the mirror in the morning I cry.  I don’t even eat.  I was thinking ‘what kind of a life is this?’  Men coming in, going out, coming in, going out.  So I said, this is not the kind of life I want for myself, you know?  I don’t even know what is going to happen to me.  I don’t know where to go; it was what I had to do because I had nobody to run to”.

The words of that African girl haunt me for two reasons.  Firstly, because I feel such compassion for her.  Secondly, because I so identify with her, because the truth was, neither did I.  I will include some text here from a blog I wrote this spring, which best explains the constraints of my own choices:

‘Many people think of choice as I might have done, had I never worked as a prostitute.  For many, choice is something perceived akin to standing in front of a deli-counter.  Choose this, choose that, pick out your preferred option.  The men who choose which woman they’d like to fuck as they stare at those lined up for their consumption understand choice in just this way.  Their concept of choice is rooted in the privilege of a genuine alternative.  Their concept of choice itself is limited.

‘Choice does not always present as balanced; it does not always offer a different-but-equal alternative.  When I think of my choices they were simply these: have men on and inside you, or continue to suffer homelessness and hunger.  Take your pick.  Make your ‘choice’.

‘People will never understand the concept of choice as it operates in prostitution until they understand the concept of constraint so active within it.  As long as the constrained nature of this choice is ignored it will be impossible to understand the pitiful role of ‘choice’ for women within prostitution.

‘I’m going to reveal something very personal now, and I’m going to do that simply to illustrate how warped the concept of choice was in my circumstances.  I had a conversation recently with my sixty-something relative who is currently spending a few months visiting Ireland, after having lived forty years in America.  She reiterated something I’d heard many years ago in our family.  It was a conversation my paternal grandmother had with the psychiatrist treating my parents in the local mental hospital.  My grandmother (and this was before I was ever born) had made an appointment with the doctor, very upset as she was that my manic-depressive father and his schizophrenic girlfriend had just announced their intention to marry.

‘She wanted to know what could be done.  How could this marriage be stopped?  How could these two very unwell people be allowed to go ahead and marry?  The doctor told her that mental illness could not be used as a reason to curtail a persons civil liberties and that was his view of the matter.  But what, my grandmother wanted to know, would happen to any children born into that union?

‘I wish I could go back in time and give my grandmother a hug for having the compassion and the foresight to think of where that situation would leave us.  She was right to worry.  It left us in state care, one after the other.  And as a young teenager it left me homeless, hungry, and prostituted, in that order.

‘The constraints of my own choices began even before I did.  And if we were to shift this situation into the deli-counter analogy, there is no young girl standing there deliberating on what choice to make.

‘There is only a young girl standing waiting for what’s already been selected and pre-wrapped for her, and she can take it or leave it.  Those are her options.  That is her ‘choice’.’

People will say (and rightly say) that the trafficked child or woman and the destitute child or woman constitute two different situations.  Yes, they do – but what is so often ignored is that they also constitute two different situations that culminate in exactly the same place; with both sets of women lying with their legs open on a brothel’s bed.  In both situations, choice has been severely constrained.  In both situations, the fear of one outcome leads to another.  In both situations ‘choices’ have been made that lead to women’s bodies being sexually accessed against their will, which is lived as sexual molestation, in both cases.

In the case of the trafficked woman, she can ‘choose’ to keep kicking and screaming and ignoring the threats against herself and her family.  Nobody sees this as a choice that she might be maligned for not making.  In the case of the woman who is either in destitution or in fear of destitution, she can keep kicking and screaming mentally, and ignoring the reality of the economic threat against herself and her family, but people do see this as a choice that she is maligned for not making.  The bald-faced reality however is that both women are caught in two different versions of the same bind, and both women pay the same price for it.  The difference is that the latter group of women pay an additional price – it is the price of a socially-assigned culpability.

I will return now to the situation in Ireland.

Irelands best known online escort agency ‘Escort Ireland’ was proven in the documentary I’ve mentioned to have advertised women trafficked internationally by one notorious criminal gang, who were busted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in an operation codenamed ‘Apsis’.  The operation would have been better named ‘abscess’, in my opinion.  This situation would be better expressed by the likening to a pustule or a boil. 

The documentary tracked the movements of prostituted women nationally through the Escort Ireland website and in doing so revealed a disturbing pattern of constant motion from city to city and town to town, where these women, advertised as ‘independent escorts’, were shown to be anything but independent and in fact were being prostituted under the direction and control of international pimping gangs. 

The women documented were very racially and ethnically diverse.  They had been trafficked from South America, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.  This left the viewer with one incontrovertible fact: the women whose bodies feed this trade are black women from Africa, brown women from South America, lighter-toned women from Asia and white women from several countries in Eastern Europe.  What links all these women from various ethnicities and nations?  Well, it’s the fact that they’re women, of course, which means that what we’re seeing here is gender-based slavery.  We are so used to thinking of slavery as being something that is imposed by one race upon another that we are now witnessing slavery being imposed by one gender upon another – without the capacity for recognising it for what it is – without the social competence to assign it its true name.

About six weeks after the ‘Profiting from Prostitution’ documentary another Irish documentary was aired.  It was called ‘Ireland’s Vice Girls’, in an unfortunate editorial decision.  The content, however, was revealing and important.  Again, several women were interviewed, each with a different background, some having come to prostitution through trafficking, others through what’s commonly understood as ‘personal choice’.  What stayed with me after the documentary was the response of one woman, one of those who had supposedly made this ‘choice’.  Her attitude towards prostitution and the men who used her within it was starker, more marked and more undeniably fixed than anything expressed by any of the trafficked women.  She said ‘If I ever had to do one more punter, one of us would be leaving in a body bag’.

The woman who said these words spent ten years in prostitution, and I must ask, do these sound like the words of a woman who made some kind of benign and autonomous choice?  Does a woman who’d rather kill or be killed before she’d return to prostitution sound like a woman who was ever involved in it through true autonomous choice in the first place?

People view prostitution and trafficking as distinct because they want to, because they need to, or because they’ve been taught to – or perhaps a combination of all of the above.  But women like myself understand, though our personal lived experience, that these are not two different individualised experiences.  They are not distinct and separate and wholly apart at all, and the only real difference of note is that a woman prostituted through destitution or the fear of it can never say ‘I was forced’.   She can never say that because the world will never accept that, and she, consequently, must deal with a far greater weight of shame than the woman who can say she was physically forced.

I think we need to really examine, as a people, what we understand about the concepts of choice and force, and I think that until we do, we will never be able to decipher that murky hinterland with which the vast majority of prostituted women are intimately familiar; that place that bridges the gap between wanting to and having to; that place where so many women must occupy before they make a decision that is not a decision, a choice that is not a choice.  It is a place that is imbued with a certain heaviness; the weight of an oppressive and secret force.

It is currently largely unrecognised – but it needs to be recognised.  It needs to be unmasked.  It needs to be understood for what it is.  Because, as I have written in my memoir ‘It is a very human foolishness to insist on the presence of a knife or a gun or a fist in order to recognise the existence of force, when often the most compelling forces on this earth present intangibly, in coercive situations’.


(The preceding piece was originally commissioned for the website and was first published there on 31st May 2012)