Paulina ECP statement for IWD 2013

My name is Paulina, I am a sex-worker.  When I first came to this country I was forced to come here, forced to be a sex-worker. I suffered violence every day and drugs and alcohol.  I was being watched 24 hours.  I was begging a police officer to come to ask me if I was OK, they never did, it never happened.

After a year I finally ran away.  I started my own life.  I started being a sex-worker, making my own money, for myself, helping my own family.  One of my little brothers is deaf and dumb and he needs a lot of money for support because in Romania the minimum wage is £100 a month.

After a while of putting myself in the hands of fate, the police raided the flat.  Being Romanian, it is very difficult. We are not allowed to stay in this country more than three months but we do have a right to be here.  They say we are gangsters and we are begging. They say sex workers do bad things and they threatened to deport me. But because of the organisation [ECP] I found a good lawyer, and I remained in this country and went on working.  They even threatened the maid, the lady who worked with us for protection. They said if we find you here again we will arrest you and the girl and put you in jail.  This happens many times, sex workers are put in jail, even if they have been beaten up and raped by the customers.  It is really bad what is happening now.

I tried many times to look for a normal job, but I don’t have the skills.  I go to school, I’m trying to improve my English, my grammar and my vocabulary.  My life is good, I gave up alcohol, I gave up drugs, I found a lovely man who cares about me.  We do have a lot of arguments because of my job, but at the end of the day, I need to have my own money in my pocket.  We survive.