We constantly receive requests from professionals like therapists, clergy, counselors, etc., on what information we can provide them in order for them to be more effective at assisting sex workers heal.
While many in sex work are there voluntarily - we can't ignore that others are in sex work against their will. Lately we've been getting a lot of questions about the connection between sex work and "white slavery" because of some new legislation being considered. We have found this book to be very informative about this subject - and that this is not just a problem in the USA.
Many have asked us why we include men in our fellowship. Not only as pimps - but also as sex workers who have a desire to quit or find healing after having done so. Our Recovery Text includes stories from men that belong to our fellowship, but some have asked us to include reading on a male prostitute/porn worker who also talks about how one can be suffering emotional pain from this industry - but not really feel they are "addicted". This is a very good first hand book from a man that explores these issues.
We also receive a lot of requests for information on HIV/AIDS and sex workers. This is recent publication on studies with sex workers.
When I came into recovery, I had a lot of issues to deal with. I was abused as a child, I had been raped more than once, held hostage more than once, exposed to violence of all kinds, subjected to emotional torture and brainwashing, sexually abused, and found that I switched between shopping addiction, eating disorders, sex work addiction, drug addiction, abusive relationships, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessional thinking - I couldn't just focus on "one" thing in particular. Many of the members who come to SWA are also suffering from complex issues that require a broader approach then simple abstinence. Because of the fear of talking about things because of being a sex worker - many have tried "self-help" on many levels. I found myself out of sex work and suffering from problems that maybe I should have sought "professional" help for - but didn't have health insurance or money to pay for this. An intern right out of college was not experienced enough to even begin to understand me - let alone help me. I personally bought this book and found it helped me a great deal. Of course, I can't "recommend" this book and it may not apply to every sex worker - but I can say that this book helped me understand a lot of what I was going through when I came into recovery. Mostly, it made me realize I was suffering from the effects of what had happened to me - and not that I was unique or alone in how I was feeling.
Many who work with helping sex workers have reported a certain segment that seem "impossible" to treat. Our experience has been that many confuse the needs of a sexworker trying to quit sex work with sex workers who are also suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. Information on this disorder is new - only really coming into light about the 1980's. For the longest time, sufferers of BPD were thought to be "incurable" and many professionals thought them hopeless and untreatable. If you feel this way about someone you are treating - it's possible that something else is going on. We've seen sex workers coming in suffering from the effects of trauma, clinical depression, manic-depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and symptoms we now identified as Borderline Personality Disorder - which once identified can be properly treated. I personally have found this book useful in helping me with the BPD's I have in my own family, and some of our members who also have suffered from this disorder. It is very difficult to quit sex work - when other mental disorders are still causing a person not to be able to have a "happy productive life" no matter what job they are in.
Many people don't seem to understand how a woman who became one of the most famous porno stars - could have been doing all of this against her will. Parents all the time don't understand why their kids insist they are fine and happy where they are at - but in reality they are trying to protect their family from harm by putting on an act. I myself have been in exactly the same situations Linda describes in her book and even know Chuck, the man she talks about in her books. If you want to know how some of the sex industry "appears" to be voluntary - when it's not - and why trying to get out of this lifestyle is not always so simple - her books will help you to understand. Yes, some people are very happy in sex work. But this doesn't deny the other elements who aren't. Take any profession - like working in a bookstore. Some there may love their job. And others may be going home to an abusive situation. If you want to understand the ones who appear to be in this business voluntarily - but who really aren't - Linda's books are excellent tools for understanding.
Linda has another book "Out of Bondage" - hit this link to reach it.
Out of Bondage
We get asked for more information on those in the sex industry against their will. Click on this link to be taken to a recent documentary on human trafficking. We are not affiliated with this organization - and are posted the link to assist you who ask us about it in obtaining more information.
University students and the media are also always asking us to provide them with more information on sex work to help them understand our unique set of problems we encounter upon quitting.
For this reason, while we don't express any opinions on outside issues, or endorse or condemn anything outside SWA, we are providing a list of materials that we feel might be informative and useful.
You wouldn't think of helping an alcoholic recover without an Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, so it would seem common sense to have our recovery text in hand.
Sex Workers Anonymous Recovery Text
Information on SWA's Founder
For SWA, our members sometimes deal with a unique set of problems when they come to us for help. Most addictions like alcoholism, drug addiction, or eating disorders - do not happen with someone pointing a gun at them to act out, or things like threatening to kill their children if they don't act out and/or return home to the abusers.
Not all sex workers obviously are working or have worked in commercial sex work against their will - but the fact remains that some have been forced physically or by emotional blackmail to work in the industry. This causes many who come to SWA for help to have problems that we still need to address besides the simple quitting of sex work in order for them to find recovery.
Many come to us suffering from extreme forms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The biggest problem is that in the treatment of PTSD - many sex workers do not feel comfortable talking about their experiences openly with anyone, let alone a professional for treatment of PTSD. We have found this book extremely useful for professionals dealing with PTSD in sex workers - and especially find it the most useful for us because the research was done on PTSD in sex workers specifically. Click on this button to reach Amazon for more information.
We have been questioned many times about why we feel that pimps can be just as "addicted" and damaged by the sex industry as females because of the common stereotype that these men are only predators - and not sometimes victims themselves. This DVD documentary shows interviews with real pimps where one man kind of sums it all up when he says that old pimps either "die young, go crazy, or kill themselves". Another talks about he can't take his mind off the guilt he feels over one of this "girls" who was murdered after he sent her out on the streets. See how Bishop Don Magic Juan tries to quit pimping so he can start a ministry - only to become sucked back into the "life" - just like any alcoholic on a relapse.
The development of relationships between hostages and their captors is a common phenomenon. The coping mechanism known as the Stockholm Syndrome and lessons police negotiators can learn from it are discussed. I have found in some cases - if you do not address this syndrome - a person will keep going back and thinking the very people who hurt them "love" them and the people rescuing them are actually trying to hurt them.
Why do they stay in an abusive situation is another question we get asked about often. Why does anyone stay in an abusive relationship? This kind of dynamic is not limited to only people in the sex industry. We have found the material in this book useful in helping professionals to understand why they stay - or is it they are just too afraid to go?