Hear a new podcast which lifts the lid on the reality of prostitution in Scotland.
A woman has spoken out about the reality of selling sex in Edinburgh saunas as the End Prostitution Now (EPN) campaign launches a new podcast series.
‘Cassie’, 32, from Edinburgh, started in the sex industry when she was 17. In a series of five-minute podcasts, she reveals her insider experience.
She reveals: “The shifts in the sauna were horrendous, literally you'd start at 10 in the morning till 11 in the evening.
“The maximum I think I done was probably about 12 clients in the day… It was almost like working in a factory you know. Stuff comes down the conveyer belt, you pack it, it goes.
“It's made out as though you've got choice but actually, you're kind of, not forced but, yeah, you do feel obliged to have to do any client that comes in.”
Cassie speaks to Linda Thompson from the Women’s Support Project in a series of three stark podcasts, which TFN will be publishing weekly..
She explains what it was like for her as a woman inside the sex industry in Edinburgh, from saunas to brothels to escorting.
Cassie paints a disturbing picture of the lack of control, the lack of power and the lack of choice facing many women.
She said: “Any pimp's exploiting. They're making money. They don't care about the girls that are working for them. Any pimp that claims that he does is an absolute liar because no man goes into that industry having respect for women, none. They don't care. The more broken these girls are the more control they have over them, you know.”
Cassie exposes the risks of physical and financial exploitation, explaining how sauna managers keep up to 50% of money from the punters, and how pimps controlling prostitution in Edinburgh flats take at least a 30% cut.
She says: “I've seen so many girls just fall apart… like a shadow of themselves. Specially the foreign girls, a lot of them I see being used and abused. Pimps stealing their passports off them, and saying “you're not getting your passport back, you work for me”. So actually owning them. I've seen that happen so many times.
“A lot of them had to do sexual favours for the pimp. She couldn’t say no. How could she say no? She lives there, she works there. He's in control of her.”
Linda Thompson said: “In my interview with Cassie I was struck by how very strong confident and assertive a woman she was, but still the power and control lay with the managers, the pimps and the punters.
Cassie really brought it home to me how women are treated behind the closed doors of Edinburgh’s sex industry and how any vulnerability will be exploited for the benefit and profit of others”
A spokesperson from the End Prostitution Now campaign said: “EPN wants to share the often unheard voices of those in prostitution in Scotland. We hope people will listen to Cassie’s interview.”