Recently, one of my clients came to me and said ‘I’m not going to use a condom’. When I refused him, he became very angry. But I don’t want to risk my life. I have my son to look after and for that reason I’m more careful. When I got pregnant at the age of sixteen, everyone tried to convince me to have an abortion. I insisted to have the child and face the consequences. I got married to my boyfriend, but he mistreated me and left before the baby was born.
I was always asking myself: Why do I have to go through this? I had a son, but I didn’t have a job. And my mother was trying to sell me and my sisters to men; she wanted us to have sex for money. We refused. I never do what she tells me, and always make my own choices. So, when I met a friend who introduced me to sex work when I was eighteen, I left home together with my son. Nowadays, my mother wants me to stop sex work and get married. Maybe, she never expected me to be so serious about the job. One time, she told me that she feels sorry about what she did to me, though.
I’m not the only person facing obstacles. This awareness makes me feel strong!
I had to leave school at an early age. This really depressed me. My plan is to send my son to a private school, which is quite expensive. I haven’t any savings, because there are so many things to pay for. Therefore, I’m planning to set up a ‘merry-go-round’. This is a sort of support system started by a group of friends or relatives, who all contribute money. I intend to start a merry-go-round in cooperation with other sex workers. When one week a colleague earns a lot, she gives some money to the person who made little money. The next week, this may be the other way round. This will make life easier for me. Besides doing sex work, I produce and sell soap, jointly with other sex workers. And I’m also teaching the group how to make beads from old calendars. This will be our new business. Because life is very expensive.
When I started sex work, I didn’t have much self-confidence. However, I became more self-assured when I participated in some trainings and heard the stories of other sex workers. Now, I know that I’m not the only person facing obstacles. This awareness makes me feel strong! And I have to be strong, being a peer educator. When a colleague comes to me to tell her story, I want to be able to support her. And my boldness also helps me to deal with difficult clients. Nobody can ever talk me into doing anything I don’t want!