Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution is the emotionally gripping memoir of sex trade survivor and anti-trafficking activist Rachel Moran.
In it, she details the psychological costs she paid after being sold for sex on the streets of Ireland, night after night, from ages 15 to 22. Her story is a difficult one, recounting the chain of events that led to her becoming a homeless sex-trafficking victim at a time when her peers were just starting secondary school. She painfully, yet eloquently, describes the lengths to which she was forced to go in order to survive—not only the violence of the street, but also the loss of her innocence, self-worth, and connection to society.
Readers get an unflinching look at what the illegal sex industry is really like for prostituted people, including the emotional manipulation, commodification, and violence many people in the sex trade are subject to on a daily basis.
“Throughout Paid For, prostitutes are not the economically savvy or sexually enlightened free agents we may imagine them to be. They are not the corporation. They are the product endlessly objectified, sold, and consumed.” – The New Republic
Equal parts memoir and political analysis, this book was called “the best work by anyone on prostitution ever” by Harvard University Professor and noted feminist scholar Catharine MacKinnon. In addition to telling her personal story, Moran breaks down the prevailing myths about prostitution, exposing it as the deeply damaging industry that it is—for everyone involved.
Paid For was first published in Ireland, where Moran has strongly advocated for the “Nordic Model,” which increases the penalties for those who buy sex while decriminalizing those forced to sell it—an approach proven to reduce sex trafficking. Thanks to Moran and many allies, Northern Ireland has adopted this policy.
“Paid For should be required reading for courses on human rights, in police training and law schools, and sex education courses.”
Originally released overseas, Paid For: My Journey through Prostitution is now available in the United States from W.W. Norton & Co. To support the new edition, Moran will travel to a handful of cities for book readings, speaking events, media appearances, and meetings with allies who want to join her in ending the many harms of prostitution.
Rachel Moran speaking events
Thursday, September 24, 5:30 PM, Washington DC: Alex Gallery, 2016 R Street NW DC, 20008. (Dupont Circle.) Suggested donation price $10, all proceeded to benefit Survivors of Prostitution Calling for Enlightenment. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, September 25, 7:30 PM, Cincinnati, OH: Keynote at Historians Against Slavery Conference. Registration for the conference is free and is available online.
Monday, September 28, 7:00 PM, Seattle, Washington: Pigott Auditorium, Seattle University, Su Campus Walk, Seattle, WA, 98122. Tickets are available online.