In the Booth with Ruth – Tara Burns, Survivor of Labor Trafficking in the Sex Industry, Sex Worker and Sex Workers’ Rights Activist

Tara Burns, a sex trafficking survivor, sex worker and sex workers’ rights activist, discusses the advantages of the sex workers’ rights and anti-sex trafficking movements working together.

Ruth Jacobs

Tara Burns

Could you share how you became involved in the sex workers’ rights movement and why it’s so important to you?

There are so many moments that have added up to my becoming an activist. When I was sixteen a District Attorney declined to prosecute my father for abusing me and pimping me out because she thought a jury would not believe a teenage prostitute, even in the face of physical evidence. When I was an eighteen year old stripper I was raped and the police made fun of my dress and threatened to arrest me for making a false report. A decade ago when the Internet seemed young I discovered blogging, and sex worker bloggers like Audacia Ray helped me think critically about sex work and my life for the first time. In 2009 Carol Leigh explained the sex trafficking laws to me and I realized that a lot of…

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In the Booth with Ruth – Meg Munoz, Former Sex Worker, Trafficking Survivor, Ally and Rights Advocate

Former sex worker, trafficking survivor, ally and rights advocate, Meg Munoz, discusses the advantages of the sex worker rights and anti-human trafficking movements working together and why she advocates for decriminalisation.

Ruth Jacobs

Meg Munoz

How did you become involved in the movement against sex trafficking and sexual exploitation?

Following my time in the industry, connecting with the sex worker rights and anti-trafficking movements was just natural. I started escorting at 18, but due to drug and alcohol issues, I took a break after about 2 years. A few years later, I found myself suddenly supporting myself and going to school so I went back. The reality is, I liked what I did. I loved the economic independence and personal freedom I felt. I had nice clients and good money rolling in, but based on social stigma, a lack of real support, and my family upbringing, I felt like hiding everything was my only choice.

About 2 years back into the industry, I had a close friend turn on me. He blackmailed me, threatened me, and literally terrorized me for the next 3 years while…

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Founder of Once Upon An Eden and survivor of extreme child abuse, Michelle Carmela, gives her opinion on Facebook’s issue of child sex abuse images

Ruth Jacobs

Michelle Carmela

Michelle Carmela was born and raised in a Mafia family. She is a survivor of incest, child rape, child labour and child prostitution. For over twenty-five years, she has been sharing her story and speaking out against child abuse. She advocates for victims and advises organisations, NGOs and governments. Michelle is the founder and CEO of Once Upon An Eden.

Are there issues with child sex abuse images on Facebook?

Yes, indeed there are problems Facebook has with allowing child sex abuse images on their site. I have been using Facebook since 2008 and in the early months, I came across so many hideous sites that promoted various abuses of infants, children and teenagers. In those days, it was easier to launch campaigns against such ghastly sites and get results to have the sites taken down. Now it is not so easy. It seems the standards of Facebook have declined…

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Michelle Morgan, an artist and a survivor of prostitution, meets me to share about her art and her life after one month out of the sex trade

Ruth Jacobs

Michelle was only seventeen years old when she entered prostitution. She has been trying to break free from the life for some time and now, at twenty, after meeting other exited women, she has been out of the sex trade for one month. She shares her art, what inspires her and her plans for the future.

More about Michelle’s art and activism can be read on her blog http://michellemorganart.wordpress.com.

“In the Booth with Ruth – Michelle Morgan” Produced by Matthew Lynch (www.jlfilmandmedia.com) Music – Beautiful View by Carmen Caserta (www.carmencaserta.com) & Why Carry On by Barb Jungr and Russell Churney (www.barbjungr.com)

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Chong Kim, a survivor of sex trafficking, meets me in London to talk about Eden, the newly released film based on her life

Chong Kim, a survivor of sex trafficking and an inspirational advocate, met with me this week while she was in London for the UK release of Eden, a film based on her real life story.

Ruth Jacobs

Eden is based on the real life story of sex trafficking survivor, Chong Kim, who was abducted at 19 years of age from Dallas, Texas. I met up with Chong in London to talk about the film and her life as a survivor and advocate.

Directed by Megan Griffiths
Starring Jamie Chung, Matt O’Leary and Beau Bridges

“Nothing short of gripping” – Indiewire
“Arrestingly suspenseful” – Variety
“Powerful” – Village Voice
“Breathtaking” – Austin Chronicle
“Brave, gritty, complex and suspenseful. Jamie Chung gives the best performance of her career.” NYC Movie Guru

“In the Booth with Ruth – Chong Kim” Produced by Matthew Lynch (www.jlfilmandmedia.com)

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From the Madness and Hell of Life as a Heroin and Crack Addict with Countless Failed Overdoses, This is My Story on Getting My Life Back on Track

Tough Talk

Published in Tough Talk Magazine – May 2013

My interview in the second edition of Robin Barratt‘s Tough Talk Magazine is the most personal interview I have ever given. The interview can be read and downloaded here.

In the Booth with Ruth – Maria, Prostitution Survivor

Maria, a survivor of prostitution, who was beaten and raped while in the sex trade, bravely shares her experience proving why the Merseyside model needs to be made UK wide. She says, “I was too frightened to go to the police. The way they’d dropped me off when I was young. I had expected them to take me home, back to my mum. But they didn’t do that the first time. And there was lack of trust. You didn’t know which policemen to trust. Half the girls were being touched up by them. It was a vicious circle. There was no one to help you. It would be like you chose to do this job: get out and do it, or get a life.”

Ruth Jacobs

Maria, Prostitution Survivor

How do you feel about the police?

I’m in two minds because as far as working girls go, they have no compassion. They don’t believe them. They think the girls and women put themselves in that danger, so why should they be helped.

Have your feelings towards the police changed since exiting the sex trade?

Still the same. Nothing has changed. The system hasn’t changed and that’s from talking to other girls.

Did you ever have any dealings with the police before or after you were in the sex trade?

When I was fifteen, I went to see my friend who’d moved in with her sister. I was thrown out of the house, and found myself in Piccadilly, Manchester where I met gypsies. The police put me in this hostel. There was about one hundred and ninety women in there. I was petrified. I didn’t know what to do. I…

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