Yup, that’s sometimes very true. A few years back, when I could no longer work with DV victims, I started trying to help addicts and sex workers in Footscray, Melbourne, Australia. They basically seemed to like me because a) I reassured them I wasn’t from any religiously affiliated body, b) I didn’t moralize, c) I would buy them coffee while we talked, d) I didn’t talk much, I listened, e) I would act as ‘lookout’ when they were on a job, recording car numbers, addresses, putting them in a position where they could tell a customer I was their lookout and would call the cops if they weren’t back after a certain amount of time, f) I was a member of ASP — the Australian Sex Party — and our founding intent was to fight for full legalisation of sex work, g) I treated them as full-value humans. Some of my friends are prostitutes, although I don’t actively work with them much anymore.
BUT, along with those who liked their work, there were more who were forced into it by the need to get money to buy drugs, fleeing DV and struggling to pay the rent, victims of appalling abuse, victims of exploitation, trans-sexuals who couldn’t get work, etc and all too often more than one of these causes.
Incidentally, we do not support the Scandinavian Model, which places the legal penalty on the customer rather than the provider, it still drives the business underground.
Heather, you may wonder how that fits with a full-scale depressive breakdown. I was given a lot of probably good advice, much of which I ignored, but one thing I did, I kept busy. I got out of bed when I didn’t want to. I felt better when I was out and interacting with these marginalised people. I think they kept me sane.