About this event
Why do so many women struggle to exit prostitution? What help do they need? What if they have a drug habit? What is the role of counselling and therapy? Does the predominant “condoms and coffee” model of support services inadvertently work to keep women trapped? Does investment in services to help women exit prostitution make sense?
In this webinar we will hear from two women who know more than almost anyone about these themes because they have both been there themselves and have now set up projects to help other women exit the trade.
Marie Edmonds. Marie has lived experience of addiction, selling sex, trauma and ongoing recovery. She founded the Aspirations Day Program and Carrie’s Outreach service in Southend, which provide a specialist addiction service and routes out of selling sex. We asked her to tell us a bit about herself. This is what she wrote:
“Shame dies in the light of exposure. One of the most liberating, freeing, things I have ever done is not hide from who I became, and who I am now. By doing this, we liberate others. I used to use a different name when I sold myself. I never told my buyers my real name. Today I don’t have to do this, my name’s me and I’m a survivor.
I’m a survivor of my past, by no means a victim and the healing process for myself works when I’m my most authentic, vulnerable self.
I use my pain to help others caught up in street prostitution, nothing that I suffered has been wasted, it’s all being used for good by setting up the drop-in and outreach services.
A small part of me holds on to the lost, broken, hurt women from the red-light area, but she also had skills on how to survive so I need her still sometimes, especially when on outreach.
I’m lucky enough to take outreach on to the very corner I sold myself from, and the old me thanks the new me for being there.”
Natasha Wyer. For 15 years, Natasha struggled with a crack and alcohol addiction that she funded through stripping, prostitution, drug runs and other crime. But her problems started much earlier. Issues around abandonment have been a lifelong struggle: she was rejected at birth and put up for adoption. She’s now been clean and out of prostitution for five years and is committed to helping other women who are stuck in a similar way to how she was for so long. She is setting up a residential programme called C2C to help women who have been in any form of prostitution recover and start rebuilding their lives.
Her motto is: “You are not defined by your past. You are prepared by it!”
Gemma Kelly. Gemma has a master’s degree in Human Trafficking, Migration and Organised Crime from St Mary’s University in London. She also has a Masters in Equality Studies and has worked in policy and advocacy with a focus on gender equality, human trafficking and child rights for many years, across a range of organisations from local frontline services to the international development, humanitarian and peacebuilding sectors. Gemma will chair the webinar.
The webinar will be hosted in Zoom and is expected to last about 90 minutes. We will email registered attendees shortly before the event with details of how to join. If you can’t see the email, please check your spam folders.
There will be an option to submit questions during the event, but you are welcome to email in advance any questions you would like the panel to consider. Please put ‘Webinar Question’ in the subject line and email it to [email protected]. Time constraints mean, however, that we will be limited in how many questions we can address.
This is a mixed event
This event is open to everyone. The event will include discussion of some of the worst forms of male violence. We ask everyone, but particularly men, to be mindful of this and how both speakers and members of the audience may find this triggering because it resonates with their own experiences of male violence. We ask everyone to be open and respectful.
Register for tickets here