'I Was Drugged And Forced To Do Porn': Surviving The Sex Trade

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woman in captivity
A look at how human trafficking victims fare in life and love after surviving the sex trade.

She also discusses the complications that occur in regards to sexual intimacy within their relationship. "Sex is a connection between two people," she says. "For women who have been trafficked or worked in the industry, that whole concept has been changed for them. Sex is turned into something they do to serve somebody—and often in a violent manner."

I spoke with Jillian Lauren, author of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem. Her memoir is about being a personal escort in New York City, and eventually working in a harem for the Prince of Brunei. Lauren is not a trafficking victim, as all of her time in the sex industry was purely consensual. However, many of the obstacles she faced in recovering from that portion of her life are quite relevant.

Lauren was physically abused as a child and says that whenever it happened, she would allow her mind to drift off so that she could mentally escape from her body as a coping mechanism. When she started working as a personal escort, she would employ the same technique, and refers to it in her memoir as "severing the connection between the body and the soul." She admits that it is a damaging experience, and that it's taken a lot of therapy for her to learn to reverse it.

"My body is the source of my original injury," she says, "so the counseling and therapy I've done usually starts with that. I've tried acupuncture and deep-tissue muscle release. The primary emphasis is always on learning to love and honor my body."

Both Lauren and Samantha agree that their experiences have not negatively impacted their views of men.

"I wasn't trafficked," Lauren says, "I worked in the sex industry willingly, and eventually needed to tell whoever I was dating about my past. Some men saw it as an excuse to objectify me and their entire attitude toward me changed. Other guys just got really scared. On rare ocassions, I found a guy who fell outside those two responses, and that's exactly what Scott [Shriner, her husband and the bassist for the band Weezer] was. He and I were able to talk openly about my past, and that allowed us to build an honest and lasting relationship. It may be rare, but it is possible to find men like that."

Samantha agrees, and knows from her own experience that there are understanding men who can look past everything else and see into her heart. "I know it's not this way for everyone who's been trafficked," Samantha says, "especially when it comes to sexual intimacy with a guy. I've been beaten and raped, and for some women, it's very hard to move past that. For me, however, I believe there are good men and there are bad men. It's very black and white. I wouldn't want to ruin my relationship with a good man by blaming him for things that bad men have done to me. At this point, I'm able to separate the two."

*Name has been changed. If you would like to learn more about human trafficking, or to contact Treasures, Isanctuary, or Mary Jo Rapini, please visit their websites.

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