A trans woman has opened up about life working as a prostitute in Malta in the 1990s, revealing that even magistrates used to seek her services.
“I had all types of clients, from criminals and shoemakers to magistrates and doctors. Sex sells,” Raquel Richards said in an interview with ONE TV’s new show Stat ta’ Fatt.
Richards was refreshingly frank about her experience as a prostitute, stating that the money was extremely attractive but that she eventually started feeling dirty.
“At the start, I honestly felt on top of the world,” she said. “I was making easy money and living a materialistically good and lazy life and the money kept coming in. I used to make up to 300-400 liri Maltin (€699-€932) a night, go out drinking at Paceville, wake up late, go shopping and only go to work the next day if I felt like. I was my own boss and it felt good.”
However, there was much darker side to the job. Richards recounted how she once visited a client’s house to find seven men waiting for her. They each took turns having sex with her, holding a knife to her throat as they did so, an experience she describes as surreal.
“You are putting yourself in unbelievably risky situations. Prostitutes agree to do something for a certain amount of money but clients sometimes ignore that agreement and keep on going. I view that as rape but society doesn’t believe so because they say that the prostitute chose to get paid for sex.”
“Many prostitutes get used and raped but cannot speak up because the mentality is so close-minded that if a prostitute reports a client for rape, she’ll be asked how she could have got raped when she had agreed to sell her body?”
However, Richards said the good money makes it difficult for prostitutes to quit the profession.
“Imagine going from an income of €200 an hour to an income of €5 an hour. Once you’re hooked, you’re hooked and it’s not easy to go back. It’s an addiction.”
Moreover, she said working in prostitution had long-term psychological effects on her.
“After an amount of time, you feel so used that you resort to either alcohol or drugs,” she said. “I don’t believe any prostitute doesn’t resort to a substance in the long-term. You need to feel numb to keep doing that job.”
It also strained her personal romantic relationships, with lovers unable to look past the fact that she had sex with other people for a living.
“You will be labelled, and no one would take me seriously in a relationship,” she said. “Once you enter that job, people will look down on you, even long after you’ve left it. You keep feeling dirty and those who deny that’s the case only do so out of pride.
Stat ta’ Fatt, presented by Paula Cauchi, airs every Tuesday at 9pm on ONE.