The first time I had ever met/seen a working girl was during my final year of university. We’d just moved in to a block of student flats that was situated in the Red Light Districts of Huddersfield, we were unknowing to this when we first moved, however did not feel affected or offended by this. If we were to see the girls on the street we would just say ‘hi’ and get on with our day, I found no disturbances, or irritancy towards this. I just knew these ladies were doing their jobs, and that’s that. My knowledge on the sex industry was very, very limited, with only news and media references to go from, however I felt our experiences seemed different to what was being presented in the news. My main observations during this time, was the wariness of other friends or students throughout the time we lived there. I feel that the news and media feeds many people with falseness. In fact, we probably had more issues with our neighbours, than we did what was happening on the streets.
One year later I began my Master’s degree at the same University, but different block of flats, however the area was instilled in my mind, especially with the added knowledge that there had been brutal murders, and violence that occurred round in the district. I kept revisiting areas, investigating and observing. Then I found that The Yorkshire Ripper, a well-known serial killer, had also at one point murdered a vulnerable woman, round the corner to where we lived. It made me scared, not of the women, but for these women, because of the chance that violence like this could reoccur. It made me investigate in to the aspects of safety measures and support groups that were available for the workers. And my research began at this point.
As soon as I began researching in to the industry I found out that many workers take up multiple pseudonyms to avoid discrimination or abuse. This was something I wanted to investigate, and after looking at multiple bodies of work, I realised there was a gap in the market for research that examined sex workers many identities, but also that allowed the project to be collaborative, and hopefully a contribution to the industry.
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