It’s an industry where everything happens behind closed doors, but one former sex worker reveals what really happens.
Torres was 13 years old when she was introduced into the sex work industry. She hadn’t been thinking about it, so when opportunity arose, she jumped at the chance to do that kind of work herself.
As a project coordinator at the Red Umbrella Project and an advocate for sex workers right, Torres spoke to BeyondClassicallyBeautiful.com about her experience.
“Coming from my background—parents were addicted to drugs, I lived in an unstable environment—sex work was second-nature to me,” the 20-year-old revealed.
Following her mother’s death, Torres was sent into foster care at the age of 11. Although she focused hard on schoolwork, says Torres, by the time high school rolled around she was pregnant with her second child.
Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Torres maintains that resources to help minorities were hard to find, and as a mother of three, she struggled with the pain and frustration of how best to help her kids.
“At the end of the day my children are number one. If I were to choose my clients over my children there would have to be money involved,” admits Torres, who adds that her children were left in the care of her foster mother when she met her clients.
When getting ready for a sex work session, Torres explains the process. “When I had to meet multiple people in a day I made sure my hair was done, my skin was clean, and I watched my weight. There’s a lot that comes with the industry that people don’t see. It’s a hard job.”
Though many stories about sex workers seem to fall into two molds – the high-class escort providing the girlfriend experience or the poor, abused street walker- Torres doesn’t fit either of those stereotypes and that’s part of why she was open to telling her story. At 17 years old Torres graduated high school and was accepted to the College of Staten Island.
Unable to afford to keep up with the costs of raising three children, Torres dropped out of college to pursue sex work.
“When I graduated high school I didn’t have a job. I started posting on Craigslist, Backpage.com, and making ads for sex,” Torres says. When asked how much each session costs she admitted that she rarely worked for less than $200 per hour. As a safety precaution she hired a driver who knew the length of each session and when there was trouble.
Torres recalls an incident where someone attempted to traffic her, but says she recognized the danger and removed herself from the situation. “You don’t know what’s on the other side of the door. It could be a police officer, a rapist, someone trying to take advantage of you, you don’t know.”
In 2013 Torres was arrested by an undercover cop who was posing as her client. For Torres, the experience left her wanting to help others with similar struggles. “My problem wasn’t necessarily about somebody taking advantage or lack of confidence, it was more to do with the fact that there were no more options for me.”
Though the term “sex work” remains controversial, Torres says she’s left behind the industry and is living the life she wants by helping people achieve their goals and dreams.
“I want people to see that stereotypes don’t have to inhibit you from growing and being what the world doesn’t want you to be,” Torres says. “I never want to give people the idea that sex work is fun, it’s safe, it’s cool, because it’s not. At the same time if it’s your only choice I just want to help make it safer for you.”