Sex trade an addiction that's hard to break
By ANDREW HANON, SUN MEDIA
So says Lauren Casey, a Victoria, B.C., researcher, advocate and former prostitute.
She says there must be specialized rehab for people addicted to a lifestyle that's built around fast, easy money, living on the edge and the heady rush of power over others.
Casey is in Edmonton talking to local cops, social workers and health-care professionals about the Sex Workers Addressing Treatment program, which she developed with B.C. social worker Barbara Smith.
"We need to focus on sex-work-specific issues," she said yesterday at a seminar at the Alberta Avenue community hall.
SWAT, she explained, is intended to explode the myths about the sex trade and help people trapped in the habit-forming cycle of prostitution. It's the first of its kind in Canada, with test programs launched at rehab centres in Kelowna and Victoria.
The program is designed to recognize "the distinct culture of sex work and the impact that it has on the people who work in the industry."
Her research found that, by far, most women go into it for the fast money, and it's that easy cash that becomes the most addictive part.
Casey also found that one of the biggest reasons people go back to the sex trade after leaving is boredom.
The struggle of living on a budget, without the adrenalin rush and excitement that goes with the business, can lead them to relapse.