The Sex Worker Next Door | WBEZ
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Death, Sex & Money

The Sex Worker Next Door

I first heard from Emma—that's not her real name—after our cheating episode. She emailed me about all of the married men that she encounters through her job. "Am I facilitating cheating? I guess so," she wrote. "Can I sleep at night? Mostly." 

She wanted to share her story about what it's like to be a sex worker. So we set up an interview. She told me that for her, sex work is a job. It’s something she does to pay her bills and support her kids. She has a boyfriend, but his income can’t support her household. 

Emma does sensual massage; she doesn't do "full service," as she says. She has other boundaries too, “though there are times,” she says, “where I choose to let things happen to my body where I feel like I’m violating myself. And that’s hard.”

After I spoke with Emma that first time, she called me back, saying our interview made her realize how much she needed to get away from her job. She cancelled her appointments, and took some time off. She also asked us not to use her interview. But after a few months, she started seeing clients again—and told me that she wanted to talk. We had a follow-up conversation about why she continues this work, how much money it would take to stop, and why she decided to speak about her story. 

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