Noel Gomez was coerced into becoming a prostitute in Seattle when she was 16. Fifteen years, and lots of abuse later, she finally got out of "the life." Yesterday, she shared her story with us.
Across Women's Lives is taking an in-depth look at what drives the sex trafficking business in Thailand. As we process these realities across the globe, it's important to also talk about the industry right here in the US.
Yesterday, Gomez spoke with us live, and took viewers' questions. Gomez opened up about her personal experiences as an underage prostitute, how she kept her spirit through it all, and how her advocacy work today drives her to help young men and women who have been sexually exploited. As co-founder of the Organization for Prostitution Survivors in Seattle, Gomez is an advocate for abused sex workers and former sex workers, providing them with counseling, therapy, jobs and emotional support.
Check out the video above and feel free to join the ongoing conversation about sex work and sex trafficking in the US below and on social media using the hashtag #AWLNoel.
And stay tuned: We are in the setting up a second live event with a sex worker who sees sex work as just another job. We'll explore the worldwide effort to decriminalize sex work and the very real but often blurry differences between sex work and sex trafficking. Follow the #RightsNotRescue hashtag on Twitter to learn more.
Here's our short documentary series on sex trafficking and sex work in Thailand.