A New Zealand mother-of-three has shared how sex work saved her from having to depend on family benefit payments.
The woman, who would like to be known as Amber, spoke to The Press about how 15 years in the industry has offered her travel opportunities, greater flexibility with her children and a strong and positive mental health.
“I don’t have the nine to five worry of being at work and having to take time off,” she said.
Amber wanted to correct stereotypes to show how a woman can perform sex work while being genuinely happy – “not depressed, angry, suicidal or anything like that.”
Amber said that while people are curious about the sex industry the reality is far more mundane and ordinary.
"At the end of the day, you probably know a sex worker," she said.
"She could be your mother. She could be your auntie. She could be your cousin. She could be your best friend and you wouldn't know. The reason why you wouldn't know, is because the majority of the girls don't change. It's just a job to them."
Amber is not alone in her experience and her story echoes those of other women who have come forward to expose the truth behind the business with prostitutes creating the hashtag #facesofprostitution to combat stereotypes.
Amber entered the industry after she became pregnant with her first child.
Sex work offered a way to for her to provide for her family without having to depend on the public system.
Her career began in a brothel but has now moved to private sessions in motels and houses as they offer greater financial freedom and flexibility.
Amber says she has spent her career travelling throughout New Zealand to visit "hot spots" where she is able to pick up lucrative bouts of casual work.
Time away can vary, with trips extending from two to four days.
Amber recalls one instance where a 36-hour session in Hamilton allowed only five hours of sleep and two breaks.
"This job demands a lot of energy. You're not just giving your body to somebody, you're mentally engaging with someone at every single point of the session," she said.
Amber says she had grown up believing that sex workers were the lowest forms of society.
"To us, anybody who did sex work was a filthy, seedy, drug-addled, disease-ridden, gang-affiliated, degenerate of society because that's what the media told you and that's what church told you - these people needed your help, they needed to be saved and all that kind of stuff," she said.
Amber plans on leaving the business as she feels her "shelf life will expire in the next two years" but speaks of women who remain in the industry well into their fifties.
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