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Melinda McMichael, 33, was exposed to drugs during her teenage years in Chicago and became addicted soon after. She would steal and later go to prison because of the addiction. She never imagined that the promise he made would actually be a life where he would make her have sex with his friends for free, physically abuse her and keep all her money. McMichael is not alone, her story has been told thousands of times across the U.

Inthe US had about 1 million cases of prostitution, as reported by Fondation Selles. Officials say there is not enough research being done to show how many prostitutes are working in the US today.

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A study said that some prostitutes work online, which is safer than working on the streets. Britannica defines prostitution as engaging in any sexual activity with an unknown person in exchange for money or other forms of payment. Human trafficking is when a person is taken through manipulation or kidnapping for the purpose of exploitation, according to the United Nations website. The United Nations further explain that a person could be exploited through the removal of ograns, sexual exploitation, physical labor, or any type of modern- day slavery.

Sexual exploitation may be carried out in the form of prostitution, but not all prostitutes are being forced into sex work.

Some people choose to work as prostitutes. Whether a prostitute is being forced or chooses that lifestyle, it is clear that they suffer similar consequences.

Ochoa-Galindo said people who are most at-risk for sexual exploitation or abuse are: foster kids, abused kids, the LGBTQ community, disabled or mentally challenged people, and kids from unstable households. Because has become exposed to sexual activities at an early age, it le to them sexually acting out and putting themselves in unsafe situations, Ochoa- Galindo said. She also emphasized that households with no parental supervision makes it easier for people to slowly groom young girls and boys into committing acts that could become very traumatic for them.

One thing to be clear is that anyone could be abused. Like McMichael, the women interviewed for this story had their own reasons for becoming a prostitute, and the decisions were not made overnight.

Taylor Holmes, 24was 19 when she was recovering from an opioid problem. Her boyfriend at the time convinced her to go into sex work. She did it because she loved him, and she thought he loved her.

Where are the prostitutes and hookers in chicago?

Holmes was robbed by clients and punched by her boyfriend while he kept the money she earned. He not only made money off of her, he had other girls who he had individual relationships with and would pimp out, too. Nearing the end of her sex- work, her boyfriend would not allow her to see her mother unless she made a certain amount of money. I thought that this was normal. I thought that we were trying to save money to, like, have this glamorous lifestyle that he portrayed.

Picture courtesy Taylor Holmes.

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These are factors that are similar to those described by Ochoa- Galindo about who is most at-risk for becoming victims of sexual abuse or domestic violence. Ochoa- Galindo said that the healing process and reintegration to society is an important step that abused victims have to take. DCFS took away her sixth child, a son, once she gave birth in Unable to regain the custody of her five children, McMichael asked for help to stay sober in order to get her son back.

She no longer wanted to be a prostitute, but her lack of job skills made it hard.

Top 7 bars to get laid in chicago, chicago prostitution map (x

Today, she works at Haymarket Center as a recovery specialist and is a birthing and postpartum doula. Melinda McMichael centerher son, and fiance right.

Photo courtesy Melinda McMichael. Holmes, at one point, was sent to drug court after another run-in with the law, and was ultimately given two choices: go to jail or go to rehab. It was then that she realized that she was being prostituted by her own boyfriend.

She got her own apartment, her own car and graduated from the program. Holmes is now a new mom to a newborn son, and is in a healthy relationship. Prostitution has its stigmas culturally, and is a misdeameaner in the City of Chicago. Both women said that regular people in Chicago see prostitution everyday, but are either naive or choose to ignore it. You got robbed?

Former chicago sex workers recall harsh realities of profession

You were raped? You did what? You must have did that yourself.

You put yourself in that situation. They said that it is mostly women who get arrested, but it is not just the women who are taking part in prostitution. After everything they have been through, McMichael and Holmes have a positive and hopeful view of life. Both women attended the Salt and Light Coalition program and graduated together. They both work on helping other women who have gone through what they went through.

I love my role, I love my job. I learn something new every day. I want to just help the world, the environment to be better, I want women to do better. I just want everybody to do better and to know that they can.

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If you, or anyone you know, is being trafficked call the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 They offer services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have representatives that speak over languages. This content is protected under a Creative Commons Attribution 3. Unported. This site is not affiliated with the Chicago Transit Authority. Harrison South Side. Feedback: Contact the reporter via Twitter or leave a comment below. News Archive.

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