Underground Voices: Stories from the Sex Trade in St. John’s
Nicole’s Story, by Kerri Cull
He was considered armed and dangerous when the police went to arrest him. That’s why Nicole had to go into hiding while she was going through the judicial process. No one knew what to do with her.
She was sent to various locations on the east coast until finally she was sent out of province for her own protection. The teenage years crawled by through a cloud of manipulation, abuse, and drugs. She went from a child to a victim to a woman – a survivor.
She left home young, and ended up at a bar on George St. She was underage. While at the bar, a beautiful, well-dressed man complimented her. Months later they were together. Happy, she thought. She got everything she wanted. She considered him as good as gold. Then his money ran out, and she had to make it up so he brought her to a house, told her to go in and do whatever was asked of her. That’s how Nicole first entered the business and she stayed there for three years. Those three years were not typical teenage years. There was exploitation, rapists, guns pointed. Fear pressed upon her, weighted and concentrated upon any innocence or naiveté she had left.
Some shunned and judged her, keeping her at arms length from their family members or conversations – a way for them to distance her from their safe, wholesome life. What odds, she had given up on people anyway. When it finally came out, and her pimp went to court, Nicole had to testify for weeks on end. She had been through quite a bit.
During those few years she feared for her life, battled drug addictions, and spiraled downward doing things she would never have done otherwise. Her humanity was sculpted by fear. Beatings, lining up his friends for her, unlocking the safety on his gun with the two-beat cluck purposefully within ear shot. Being under that control changed her for life.
Decades later, Nicole is in a better place. Nearing 40 she has undergone years of specialized therapy and finally feels like she is no longer a victim, but a survivor who can resurrect that pain and suffering to enlighten and educate the public on the reality of life on the street. The strength that enables her has been a long time coming, and the need to express herself and put her voice, her story, out there after all these years has brought much needed catharsis and true empowerment.
Kerri Cull is writing a book about the sex industry in St. John’s and she’s seeking people to tell their stories. If you are/were a sex trade worker, you will get paid for your interview. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.