Sex workers often have to endure certain stigmas associated with the profession as well as violence perpetrated by clients, police and even the public, with little thought given to their personhood.
Clinical Sexologist And Couples Sex Therapist Dr Eve delves into what research says about the personal lives of those who work in the industry and Mickey - a sex worker and activist, shares her story.
Speaking of love, parenting and living outside of the profession, Mickey describes how separating her private life and profession has its difficulties.
I can't just come out and say I am a sex worker because he [a potential partner] is going to run away from me or won't treat me the same way so I have to lie and live a double life for me to save the relationship. We tend to be lonely because you don't find real love.— Mickey, Activist and sex worker
I was with this person, we were in love and I regarded him as my soulmate. I couldn't tell him what I did for a living until one of his friends saw me where I was doing sex work...I told him whatever you heard is true and I left him. My mom is not working, my dad is not working, I have sisters who go to school, I am the breadwinner.— Mickey, Activist and sex worker
Mickey says while she is formally employed, she continues to do sex work because her job does not pay enough.
She says she was not forced into the profession and refuses to be treated like a victim.
I am not a victim. It is just a profession. After I finished matric, my parents could not afford for me to go and study. I could not find a job so I decided to do sex work.— Mickey, Activist and sex worker
Describing a relationship she had with a client, Mickey details the sense of entitlement the man had, leading to emotional abuse.
This person was emotionally blackmailing. I always had to make sure I keep him happy, I thought sex is the only thing that can make him stay. That is the kind of thing we keep up with because we are begging to be loved.— Mickey, Activist and sex worker
You don't think about yourself and don't put yourself first. It is not healthy.— Mickey, Activist and sex worker
Click on the link below to hear from Dr Eve...