Sarah, 19 from UK

Supported by our LEA project

When I was 15 I had to leave home as things were very difficult. I used to sneak into my friends’ houses and stay the night but eventually I had nowhere to go.

I made some new friends who let me say with them. I started drinking and taking drugs with them. I was sleeping with one of them who I thought was my boyfriend. He used to beat me up every time we had sex. One day he told me that if I didn’t have sex with his friends then I would have to leave. I was really frightened and he said if I tried to leave he would hurt me, so I did what he told me to do.

One day when he was drunk I escaped and begged one of my friends to let me stay for a while, I stayed with her for nearly a year but I didn’t feel confident enough to go out and find a job. I didn’t even know where to start so I started working in prostitution from my friend’s room.

I had a regular punter, Dave, who came to see me almost every other day. One day he didn’t pay and said he wanted me to be his girlfriend. When I told him I wasn’t attracted to him he started to shout and swear at me. I told him I would call the police if he didn’t leave. He said he was going to kill me. I managed to run from him and call for help through a window but he forced the door open and punched me in the face. When Dave heard the police sirens he had his hands around my throat and I thought I was going to die. He jumped out the window and ran. When I told the police what had happened they said that he was known to them.

I was too scared to stay in the house and decided to pay for a hotel but the money I had soon ran out and so I went back into prostitution.

When the hotel found out what I was doing they kicked me out. I wanted to get out of my situation so I searched the internet and I found out about Eaves. I called them and said I was running out of money and needed to find a safe place to live and that I wanted to stop working in prostitution.

Eaves found me a space in a refuge and helped me register with a GP. They worked with me while I decided what I wanted to do with my life – they let me see that I could escape from prostitution. Eaves also helped me apply to an entrepreneurship programme so I could learn about starting my own business. I am now on an advanced course to become a beauty therapist. I am determined to take Dave to court and Eaves have been supporting me with my court case.

I don’t know what I would have done without Eaves, or how I would have ever got out of prostitution.

*Names are not real to ensure anonymity

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