Montreal, 2020:

While many are going over the New Year’s resolutions they recently made, I wake up in the middle of the afternoon, my eyes swollen with exhaustion from the night before. I worked until the wee hours of the morning. My back hurts and so do my legs. I feel drained of all my energy.

Curled up on an old mattress on the floor, I remember my night on New Year’s Eve. I go over all the night’s events in my head and I realize how sick I am of being battered through countless forms of violence, whether severe or mild, whether physical or psychological. I’m in so much pain.

This is the moment I decide to quit prostitution in 2020 and take back control of my own life.

I feel like I’m making a great decision and I’m excited to work in a different field and do something else.

– But what, exactly, are you going to do instead?

– I have no idea.

– Well what would you like to do?

– I’m not too sure what I would like to do…

– Come on! Everyone knows what they like. No need to spend hours thinking about it, knowing this is… innate! Pick a dream. Any dream.

– I don’t remember what my dreams are… I haven’t had any in years.

As I lay alone in my bed, I talk to myself out loud. This way, I feel less alone and I can really think things through. My self-esteem has been obliterated and I have no idea where to start.

It feels like I have a rock inside my skull; a rock that is giving me too much of a headache to actually think. All the lines of coke I snorted and shots of Jameson I took last night to help make myself numb have affected my ability to reason. I make myself an instant coffee in my rundown kitchen and in spite of my surroundings, I gain some confidence, thinking, “I can manage this.” I need to move out and put an end to my relationship. I live in a toxic environment.

“I don’t know how I’m going to be able to find housing.”

“I don’t have a penny to my name, my income over the last 3 years has been paid to me in cash and in any case, my pimp took most of what I made. Even if I were to manage to sign a lease, I have no credit; I don’t know how I could possibly get the furniture and necessities to live in my new home… How could I get a job? My CV is blank, I never finished high school… I don’t know where to start in order to get out of prostitution; it’s pretty much impossible…”

I begin looking for a resource that can help me out. Surely the government is able to do something for me; after all, people don’t pay the Quebec government taxes for nothing! But I can’t access health and social services because I don’t have any ID cards or a birth certificate.

I show up at the RAMQ office, but because I have no proof of address, I am sent back to my pimp. They tell me that in order to apply for a birth certificate, I need a piece of ID and I need to provide proof of residence by joining an organization that can provide such evidence or getting a family member to do so. Only then can I receive said birth certificate. The problem is that I can’t put down my actual address because that’s where my abusive pimp is and I can’t have him knowing I’m trying to run away… Right now, I don’t know how to explain all this to the woman at the service counter. I burst into tears and leave the office without saying anything more.

Find help at The Way Out

The reality of victims of sexual exploitation is often complex and it is very difficult for girls to leave the sex industry on their own. At The Way Out, we are committed to supporting you and accompanying you in all stages of your journey until you reach complete independence outside the sex industry. Whether it’s getting new pieces of ID, opening a bank account, finding a safe home, getting access to social assistance, accompanying you to employment centres and meeting the necessary requirements such as education and training in order to reach your goals, we are there to help you make sense of all the pieces of such a complicated puzzle! We are also available with a medical team if necessary. You can trust us because we are here to provide you with The Way Out!