Julia*, 19, has been working in Malta’s sex industry for a year and half. In this line of work, she has met all kinds of men: old, young, rich, just trying to get by – you name it.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, she opened up about her life as a sex worker, highlighting both the empowerment and the struggles she faces.
Before she started escorting, she worked at a Burger King and as a waitress in three different places – which never paid tips. The pay was ‘awful’, and she experienced sexual assault in one of the restaurants.
“Escorting can be empowering,” she said. “I saved up to rent an apartment, pay for school courses and get my shit together.”
Unlike many others in the sex industry, she was never forced to do this work. “I was just inspired by high end mistresses. They seem so confident in what they do, I had to have some of that confidence!”
“But,” she adds, “I really do worry for the other girls. It would be good to see their perspectives too.”
On asking her whether she likes her work, she said: “Honestly? If you’re completely okay with seeing people in exchange for cash, it’s actually really fun. You gain confidence and you get to explore yourself and the things you’re into.”
“Of course it’s extremely fun the first few times. You’re literally just fucking for a bit and get paid more than most people in Malta.”
She charges €250 for an hour and a half, no matter whether clients want to talk, drink or have sex.
The dark side
But the longer she’s in the business, the more she’s discovering the downsides. “It’s only at a later stage that you realise the cons.”
“What really bothers me is when uneducated men want to do things without the use of condoms. Not only are they risking getting the girl pregnant, they’re risking contracting and spreading STDs.”
And though Julia enjoys her work, she recognises the issues within the industry.
“The sex industry in Malta is mostly based on girls working for pimps, or even against their will.”
Julia experienced some scary things herself as well. When she started out she used to do outcalls, meaning you go to the client’s house or location. “I’d always be a bit scared they might turn aggressive, won’t pay, or worse.”
And it doesn’t end there: she has had chlamydia, a pregnancy, and a stalker.
Comments she’s used to getting are: “aw babe, sex €50 ok? No condom”, “come on, you can trust me – I’m clean”, “if I make you come do I have to pay?” and even “maybe we can become friends”.
“I do wish that the people would be more humane. But that’s the problem with most jobs – some people will see a cleaner or a cashier and treat them like trash. With me, they treat me like an object.”
“But I understand that at the end of the day they need to relieve stress and get a happy boost. We’ve all been there, and some people want to get it hassle free by going to an escort.”
And there are problems for clients, too. You will find offers saying: “HOT BABE NEW IN MALTA COME SUCK MY PUSSY – €60 FOR AN HOUR.”
“I mean hell, that does sound like an offer! But once you meet the girl? Either they’re catfishing, or shit at the job. You get what you pay for.”
But there are also real beauties working for that cheap, which Julia can’t understand. “Maybe they’ve been stuck in sex trafficking, or maybe their pimp doesn’t allow them to earn more.”
Julia’s prices are high, but she knows what she’s doing. “I try to connect with these men. I offer them the ensuite bathroom, clean towels, different sized condoms, and toys.”
“I’ll make small arrangements, like taking the price down if they’ll see me a few times a week. The fewer men, the better. Less risk of disease, pregnancy as well as any risk of danger.”
She also doesn’t allow men that want to see her for 15 minutes, as the price is too low for all the possible risks. “I’ve learnt from mistakes, many mistakes.”
And despite the downsides of the job, it works out for Julia. “All I know is that I’m able to earn €700 to €900 in three days by seeing a couple of men and being safe.”
Then, of course, there is the stigma that comes with working as an escort. When asked how she deals with this, and whether she tells people what she does for a living, she said: “sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.”
“We’re surrounded by new, open-minded generations. My friends are the most supportive. At the end of the day, if you’re someone who sees prostitutes as whores and nothing more, I don’t want to associate with you. I’m quite open, but not open to being targeted.”
Her parents know about her work. “My biological mom isn’t too happy with it. She’s very conservative. My step dad just wants to know I’m safe. My biological dad, who is in jail, thinks I’m a whore and doesn’t want to speak to me.”
Doing what she’s doing despite her parents’ views, she says her parents weren’t really parents growing up. “Sometimes you have to do your own research.”
As for her girlfriend, she used to work with her, but realised it wasn’t her cup of tea. “I don’t think she regrets it. We made money when we needed it, and we had fun.”
In the meantime, Julia is doing an advanced diploma in applied sciences and is studying to become a PC technician. She’s planning on going to the Netherlands with her girlfriend for university once she’s done with her A levels.
“Once I finish my courses, I hope to do the work I really want to do. But till then, it’s easy money.”
Regarding speaking up in this article, she jokingly said: “Expect many middle aged women saying how sex work is not needed, even though their husbands are coming to see me on the daily.”
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