• Mon, Dec 16 - 4:40 pm ET

Harlotry: The Time I Accidentally Got Trafficked, Pt. 1

Human trafficking Harlotry story

So, I accidentally managed to get slightly trafficked last week. I say slightly because I wasn’t TRAFFICKED trafficked–I got out with life, limb, self-respect, and virtue (or whatever shreds of virtue I have left) intact–but my experience definitely verged in the direction of a cautionary tale for all young ladies of the evening.

It all started when, annoyed with the hassle of independence, I decided a paycation in Florida wouldn’t be a bad idea. My friend Severine, who’d also recently quit Dolorous Delights, had gotten in touch with a gentleman who claimed to be a producer of fetish videos down there, and we figured we could have some fun in the sun and make some money while we were at it. What could go wrong?

Eric, the supposed video producer, had us sign a few contracts, then pitched us a couple of video ideas, it was mostly classic corporal stuff and seemed relatively easy, fun, and profitable. I told him I’d head down there for a few days, see how it went, and maybe stay as long as a week if I liked the way his operation was run. When he agreed to reimburse me for my ticket, I decided to go for it, and booked a flight to America’s Penis: the land of alligators and face eaters. I would fly into Miami in two days time.

I was excited! I was going to be a real porn star, but without the publicity; Eric claimed he only made videos for private collectors.

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  • Lindsey Conklin

    Oh no, this is awful! (although it’s nice you had a friend with you!)

  • CCH

    um… what? how was your only choice to get in the van? get away from that guy (or don’t find him in the first place), get a cheap motel, call your friend and tell her where it is, and wait until your flight home.

    • Andrea

      I’m guessing money? I dunno.
      This whole piece just terrified me even though I knew the author was (obviously) fine now and nothing bad happened. Reason No. 2482564521 I could never be a sex worker.

    • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cate

      It was more of a “my friend was like, an hour’s drive away” kind of thing. Neither of us drive, so it would have been really, really difficult for her to get out to where I was (the Miami airport) and I figured it would be way better for us to be together than separate.

    • CCH

      she must be a good friend. there are few, if any, people in my life that i can think of that i would put myself in that kind of dangerous uncertainty for. if it had been me, i think i would’ve told her to hightail it out and beg a ride at the gas station to meet me. even that seems safer.

    • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cate

      She’s one of my two best friends, and pretty much like a sister to me. There is NO WAY I was going to leave her all alone in some hellish part of Florida that had been reclaimed from the Everglades.

    • anna

      Oh man that’s such a tough situation. I don’t think I could leave anyone I knew, much less loved alone in it, but all my self preservation instincts are on edge reading this

  • Casual observer

    I’m glad to hear that you’re okay. Like many others who read this regularly, I really look forward to your posts and would hate to see anything bad happen to you.

    Also, I’m sorry in advance for sounding paternalistic, but I’m wondering what you were thinking by even considering this trip in the first place? This guy’s promise that he made videos only for select customers should have been a dead giveaway. There is no such thing as “limited distribution” in the internet age.

    On another note, I really appreciate the “Venus in Furs” reference.

    • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cate

      Ha! As I was discussing with Severine in the aftermath, the problem with us is that we are slightly too punk rock and adventure seeking for our own good. We both have a tendency to rush into things without really thinking about anything beyond what a great story it can be, regardless if the outcome. Maybe this is a failing of nonfiction writers?

      As to her name, it’s actually a Belle du Jour reference. Severine is the female protagonist, Catherine Deneuve’s character. The character(s) in both the song and the novel Venus in Furs are male, though I’m sure the decision to name Catherine Deneuve’s sexually submissive character “Severine” is its own reference to the classis novel.

    • Casual observer

      Good point about Severine being a dude in “Venus in Furs.” I’ve seen Belle du Jour, and I never noticed that the character’s name was Severine. I’ve been schooled!

      I’d suggest that the next time a prospective client offers to reimburse you for your flight that you actually make him pay in advance.

      You are right though, about rushing headlong into adventures. You get better stories that way.

  • Wally

    What a scary experience. I don’t think I could ever make it as a sex worker. lol

  • Alicia

    I CAN’T WAIT FOR PART 2!!! I seriously think you are not only a talented writer, but a great role model. You completely opened up my eyes to how untrue stereotypes can be. Having only heard horrible stories about sex workers, I had no clue that it could not only be a choice, but something that makes one happy.

    You are empowering for women everywhere! I frequently tell people to check out your blog, because your perspective is just so fresh and brilliant. You make no apologies for what you do, and that is we all can learn and grow from. Thank you for having a voice and sharing it.

    BTW I’m glad you’re ok!!!

  • Naomi Thraves

    Yeah, I’m not getting this. You repeatedly emphasize in your articles that you’re a responsible and professional sex worker but seem to have NO regard for your own safety. I’m glad you’re okay but genuinely concerned for your safety because experienced sex workers would have just turned their backs and gone home. Why do you do this to yourself?

  • K

    Not to be nit picky, but it really gets under my skin when people refer to escaping rape as “keeping their virtue” or “protecting their dignity” as if people who are raped lose those things. After being raped it’s like being punched in the stomach when people phrase stuff that way…

    That being said I’m happy you’re safe, trafficking is such a real problem here. It can happen to anyone and I’m happy you shared your story for that reason. It’s not just immigrants or girls who have run away, it can happen to anyone. The film Eden is an interesting look into sex trafficking written by a korean american girl who was trafficked by her boyfriend. It’s not just sex workers, anyone can be trafficked and it’s important to raise awareness so people know what to look for and how to keep themselves safe.