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Registered in Ireland: Six years later, aged 39, she left the sex industry so psychologically damaged that her therapist had a third chair in the counselling room.
I had a constant sensation of skin-crawling, and violent nightmares. Former prostitute, Rachel Moran, whose book, Paid For— My Journey Through Prostitution, exposes the violence and exploitation of prostitution, says the majority of prostitutes disassociate from the emotional and physical nightmare that is daily life.
Mia, who went into prostitution after developing an addiction to cocaine and heroin, disassociated for the first time following a gang rape in a Dublin hotel. Everything was okay at the beginning, but then they started taking alcohol and cocaine. The two women were subjected to a vicious sexual attack. Mia was injured, stinking of urine and covered in bruises. Injuries from assaults, and anal and vaginal fissures from rough sex several times a day, are common among prostitutes, while unsafe sex can result in sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhoea, says Sarah Benson, chief executive of Ruhama, an organisation which supports women affected by prostitution and trafficking.
Although Mia entered prostitution to feed a drug habit, many non-users become addicted to drugs to block out the horror of life in the sex industry. The reasons why people go into prostitution, say Reynolds and Moran, have nothing to do with free choice, nor because the sex industry promises a rewarding career.
The money may seem good but, says Reynolds, you must pay the pimp — and, it appears, most prostitutes working in Ireland have pimps — plus, you have all the stresses of the work. On the subject of earnings, Moran is blunt. Justine went into prostitution for financial reasons. While she initially had a good lifestyle, she says, she was homeless and living in a van by the time she left in Sexual bullying is routine.