Sex Trade Myths & Facts
- Myth: If a Sex Trade Worker really wanted to exit the sex trade, s/he would just quit.
Fact: Quitting, far too often does not appear an option due to social stigma, economic reasons, being controlled by another person, homelessness or addictions issues.
- Myth: Sex Trade Workers sell their bodies because they like sex.
Fact: Most Sex Trade Workers do not enjoy their work, and they have a difficult time enjoying sex within a relationship as a result of their work.
- Myth: Most Sex Trade Workers practice safer sex.
Fact: Some johns prefer sex without a condom and offer extra money for this service. If it means turning a trick or not, sex trade workers will engage in unprotected sex
- Myth: Educated people do not become Sex Trade Workers.
Fact: Anyone can become a Sex Trade Worker. Some women have become sex trade workers in order to pay for post-secondary education for themselves and/or their children.
- Sex Work is a lifestyle and in most cases exiting is not simply an event. It is a process. This exiting process includes unlearning an old way of life and learning a whole new one.
- It takes an average of six attempts before a Sex Worker leaves the industry for good.
- Only 20% of all Sex Work is Street-Based. The remainder occurs through independent escort agencies and in crack houses, massage parlours, brothels, private residences, bars, and clubs.
- Many street-based Sex Workers have experienced work related assaults. Most Sex Workers do not report assaults or violence for fear of being criminalized.
- Misconceptions and Social Stigma attached to Sex Work have a huge impact on Sex Trade Workers. Many of them are disassociated from family and friends and are reluctant to ask others for support.
- Some of the Challenges facing Sex Trade Workers who want to exit include:
- Many Sex Trade Workers are homeless. The lack of safe affordable housing is a Common challenge for Sex Workers wanting to exit.
- Not all Sex Trade Workers abuse drugs or alcohol. But for those that do, the first stage of exiting entails getting into detox and/or treatment. This is often challenging due to lack of availability.
- Dealing with the emotional impact of the work
- Many street-based Sex Workers have experienced multiple work-related violence and childhood abuse. The effects of this trauma, deflated self-esteem and confidence issues often stand in the way of workers who want to exit.
- Unemployment and Financial Concerns
- For many, Sex Trade Work was their sole source of income. Upon exiting, Sex Workers find it hard to support themselves financially and have difficulty securing mainstream employment.
- After working in the sex trade for some time, the person often feels inadequate, undeserving and unqualified for any other work.
While there are some services available to assist Sex Trade Workers in their exiting process, more supports are needed to ensure a successful exit. If you are interested in learning what you can do to help, please contact Carmen at the Ask Wellness Centre 250.376.7558 ext. 233 or firstname.lastname@example.org