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For three months, Ava met with clients she contacted through the popular dating and escort website, Seeking Arrangements, to go on dates and sometimes have sex before collecting payment for her services.
“I paid for a year and a half of tuition,” she explained of her stint in the industry.
When a sex worker who works from home is discovered, Brenna explained, the association with criminal activity or the fear of receiving a rent cheque funded by sex trade income often prompts landlords to evict the worker.
Even though legislation makes it illegal to deny a person tenancy based on their job, Durling explained that the legal grey area associated with the criminalization of sex work clients would make the case non-viable.
Over time, Brenna found that the stress of regularly facing the stigma of sex work really took its toll on her mental health.
This is despite the fact that students gaining an income from sex work is neither new nor uncommon.
Ava said at the time she didn’t want to go through the hassle of finding another client who would accept her terms — so she quit.
Part of her reason for speaking out is that she feels it is important to tell people about her experience in order to dispel the overwhelmingly positive or negative views of sex work that many people hold.
“If I was to coach somebody else on how to get into the industry, I’d [tell them] ‘make strict rules for yourself, don’t break them, they’re for your safety,’” she said.
“I definitely met two of my clients for the first time in their car, and they were strangers — which is dangerous.”However, Ava still found balancing her work with her professional and personal life to be her greatest challenge.Though Ava admits that what she was doing was sometimes dangerous, she took precautions by notifying her sisters of her visits with her clients and telling them where she planned to be.