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Today, Polly is finally finishing her PhD and working for a friend’s travel company. She hasn’t escorted for four years, and has written a book about her experiences – Cured Meat: Memoirs of a Psychiatric Runaway. “The book isn’t just about my sex work,” she explains. “It looks at my mental health issues, my anorexia and my drug addiction in depth too. My friends just kept saying ‘You’ve been in a mental hospital, used heroin, worked as an escort. I really think you should do a book about your life!’ So I did.”
What drives a prostitute.
In a survey of prostitution, the majority of prostitutes say their own sexuality, sexual curiosity and money are the main reasons they chose their line of work.
Half of the prostitutes in a new survey say they became prostitutes because of sexual curiosity, and 68 percent consider their line of work as part of their sexuality.
“While there’s no doubt that money is the primary reason for the women becoming prostitutes, it is very surprising that sexual motivation ranks so highly,” says Jens Kofod, who holds a PhD in anthropology and is a researcher at SFI – The Danish National Centre for Social Research.
He was responsible for the survey and the subsequent report, ‘Prostitution in Denmark’, which also reveals that Denmark has fewer prostitutes than expected and that most street prostitutes are foreigners.
Women became prostitutes for many different reasons, but they often feel stigmatised by society as needing help to stop their work (fewer than half of the prostitutes have considered stopping), instead of society respecting their choice of work.
Child abuse is often regarded as a reason for prostitution by the media, politicians and general public, who feel the prostitutes need help to stop their work.
But the survey produced no clear conclusion on this – some prostitutes were abused as children, others were not.
Four groups of prostitutes.
The SFI researchers calculate that there are a little over 3,200 prostitutes in Denmark, which is fewer than expected, for example because some prostitutes work at several clinics.
The researchers divide the prostitutes into four groups:
• Female escort prostitutes (about 900)
• Male escort prostitutes (no figure)
• Female clinic prostitutes (about 1,600)
• Street prostitutes (less than 600 foreigners, few Danes)
A majority of female escort and female clinic prostitutes gave sexual curiosity as a reason for entering prostitution; many had great interest in sex before becoming prostitutes.
Almost half of the female escorts and just over a sixth of the clinic prostitutes started their work because they saw an opportunity to make money through sex.
Street prostitutes, however, draw another picture: they are not in the business for the sex but to deal with problems such as drug abuse.
The report is based on interviews with former and active prostitutes and with experts from the authorities and NGOs associated with the sex environment.
Despite the sexual drive, the main reason for prostitution in all groups is money.
“Money is cited by 85% of the prostitutes,” says Kofod. “Some have to pay for housing, food and day care for their children, others must pay for their drug abuse, while others want an extra week’s holiday abroad.”
A typical story, according to the researcher, is that a man divorces a woman and takes all the money, and the woman then sees prostitution as the only way to earn a living.
A more nuanced picture.
“Our study shows that prostitution is a much more nuanced picture than we have previously believed,” he says.
“Firstly, we have halved the estimated number of prostitutes in Denmark. Secondly, the public debate about prostitution as poor wretches or happy hookers is distorted – most prostitutes are somewhere between these two extremes.
“The prostitutes have widely differing lifestyles and reasons for their work,” says the researcher.
The 13-Year-Old Prostitute.
Working Girl or Sex Slave?
By Jessica Lustig Published Oct 24, 2007 ShareThis.
T he low-slung black car rolled to a stop on Rockaway Boulevard. Another car was already parked there, waiting in the dark. Behind the tinted windows of the first car, Lucilia, a beautiful half–Puerto Rican, half-Dominican girl from Flatbush with long dark hair, pale skin, and wide eyes, sat with the other girls and listened carefully to her instructions. “All you got to do is go up to the car in front of us,” said Romeo, the young black man with heavy-lidded eyes at the wheel. “You charge him whatever you want to charge him, you ask if he’s police or a pimp. He’s gonna give you money, and then you’re gonna just do whatever he wants you to do real quick. It’s just a one-minute thing.” He sent her out.
She went up to the other car. The man inside drove her to one of the big parking lots nearby, close to the Belt Parkway. He paid her $500, had sex with her, and then dropped her off. “Where the money?” Romeo asked her when she climbed back inside his car. “Let me count it.” Lucilia took the cash out of her pocket and watched him flip through the bills. “Can I have my money back?” she asked. “You not getting your money back!” he said. “You making this money for me to take care of you.” And then he explained what he called “the Game,” how he would love her and be her “daddy,” how he would take care of her and buy her whatever she wanted, as long as she brought him money. “Let me tell you,” he said. “I’m a pimp, and you’re a ho.” “What do you mean I’m a ho?” she asked. She knew the word only as an insult, as in, you’re nasty. “No,” he said. “You’re a moneymaking ho.” “Is that good?” she asked. “Yeah,” he told her. “That’s good.” She was 13 years old.