Back in 1993, Erica made the choice to become a sex worker. While this decision was made completely on their own, they found the judgement, prejudice, and discrimination towards the sex work community to be profound. This made it difficult for Erica to live a comfortable and sustainable life, especially as they were trying to raise someone who was dependent on them. “People automatically think that people in the industry are disposable.” Despite being out of the industry since 2018, they still get judged whenever for their experience as a sex worker.
Erica’s life changed when they met Shift at an organized event for sex workers at city hall back in 2009. From there, they developed a close relationship with the program, as they helped provide all types of assistance, from accessing basic necessities such as food to facilitating welfare needs. Erica explains that “Shift always has your best interests in mind…they take care of everything.”
Today, there are several systemic issues that Erica believes still impact the sex work community today. The ongoing stigma persists today, making it exceptionally difficult for sex workers to transition out of the industry. There needs to be more “awareness on the dangers of the industry” which can be addressed by having better policies and programs aimed at protecting the privacy of sex workers. Additionally, better mentorship and counseling for the sex work community would make folks feel safer, protected, and empowered to continue their work.