Response to Kate Iselin about legal pimp Milan Stamenkovic

Geneviève Gilbert is the Director of Pink Cross Foundation Australia, a registered charity supporting people involved in the adult entertainment industry. Pink Cross Foundation Australia’s mission is to connect with, support and educate those affected by commercial sexual exploitation.

Geneviève Gilbert is an artist, activist and founder of Pink Cross Australia. Born in Québec, Canada, she has a Bachelor of Visual Arts, a Masters of Communication (Interactive Media) and a Graduate Diploma in Multimedia.

While undertaking her Masters, Geneviève entered prostitution to pay off her student debts. It was this experience – and the violence and trauma she suffered throughout it – that led her to create Pink Cross Foundation Australia. Read her full story here.

Guided by Christian egalitarian principles and a feminist theory framework, Pink Cross connects with, supports and informs people affected by commercial sexual exploitation, providing service referrals and non-judgmental, compassionate care.

Geneviève believes that both parties in the prostitution cycle must be educated on its harm, in order to abolish the system. Thus, the organisation also supports and informs people who view pornography or purchase sexual access to a person’s body on the disadvantage, violence and exploitation behind the glamour.

I love and respect everyone in the adult entertainment industry. Men, women and those in between are worthy of protection, support, to voice their opinion and to be treated with dignity. I love ‘sex workers’. The survivors who already exited, those who believe this ‘job’ is necessary for their survival, and all those who promote prostitution as sexual expression and a choice. I love you all, because I was also worthy of love when I held these beliefs, during my first two years into prostitution.

There are many hard facts I discovered after exiting Australia’s sex industry, and in the next 1000 words you will read my response to Kate Iselin’s piece Liberal Party endorses ‘Nordic model’, published in the Saturday Paper on May 19, 2018.

Kate writes that Milan Stamenkovic is the owner of a legal, Victorian brothel, The Boardroom and that it is a very nicely kept place. She is right. It is a flashy place. I know, because I used to ‘work’ there. I was a ‘service provider’ at The Boardroom in South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia for seven years, from 2002 to 2009.

When the Victorian Liberal Party state council recently moved to endorse the “Nordic model” of anti-prostitution legislation, as a way to combat illegal brothels operating in Victoria, Milan was one of the first people I thought of who would feel uneasy about such legislation passing.

I was Jane, Paris, Marina, then Trinity. These used to be my ‘working’ names whilst I engaged in prostitution at Milan’s legal brothel.

I know Milan and Milan knows me. So does his parlour’s manager, Nick. Nick welcomed me back with open arms in 2007 when I got ripped off by a Hong Kong-born client of mine hanging out at the Boardroom on late nights.

Women in the sex industry meet all types of punters, and we know very little about their mental health or their past or present lives. Some are managers of renowned businesses or charities. Some are on parole for rape or murder convictions. Some have HIV/AIDS. With the superficial visual health check we do at each client’s session (we call it a ‘booking’), you can never tell.

But Milan and his staff are immune from these occupational health and safety hazards. Condoms slipping by mistake, and forcing you to take the morning after pill, being forcefully pinned down by intoxicated men who are physically unbalanced and unstable, men who bring alcohol or drugs in the rooms and encourage you to join them: all these are common. And you know it too well, guys.

Sanitary conditions are good, because you force us to clean up after ourselves. This way no room is left smelly, unkept or unattractive. Legally, as a service provider, there is nothing in Victoria’s Prostitution Control Act that obliges us to clean rooms. But if we want to keep ‘working’ at your five star brothel, we have no choice. Every girl does it, mostly whilst her client is getting dressed in the room, after we both have had a shower. We make the bed, wipe down the shower so the floor isn’t wet for the next booking, we put all condoms in a baby nappy bag and we spray the room with air freshener. Sex buyer and exploited woman take a shot of mouthwash, tighten their belt and bra straps, and off we go, out of the room when the buzzer rings from the receptionist’s software reminder, pressing the intercom to say’, ‘thank you’ in her very business-like, clinical tone of voice that the 30 minute a reservation is over. I have then made $110 (prices current as of 2018, it was less than that at the time) for full intercourse with a total stranger who just walked into that building of yours. I could make more if I would get a tip from the guy, if he wanted to touch my genitals or kiss me on the lips. Sometimes without tongue, that is for the girl to decide. As you know, I would charge for kissing, and for him going down on me. I would ask the men to pay in advance before the booking started $30 to $90 to do any of those.

Where else in society do people ask money in exchange of allowing others to kiss them? For touching their genital areas. Their vaginas? For using fingers or penis or objects to penetrate them vaginally, or anally? Why did Australia come to this, and the world, come to the commercialisation of physically intimate relationships?

The reason why your brothel is classified as upmarket is because there is a consensus that girls will all charge approximately the same price for those extra services. We all speak among ourselves, and if one of us charges too much or too little, then management finds it unfair for the other girls so everyone is briefed on standard ‘prices’. In other types of prostitution settings, such as the streets, negotiation is not always possible. Women get violated in those ways without payment more easily. This means they may negotiate for a blow job, but the man will force himself on the woman’s lips, or sneakily digitally penetrate her, maybe to get off more quickly. Men coming to high class brothels also try to get anything for free. Many times where the client hadn’t paid to go down on me he would throw his face between my legs, directly onto my vaginal lips, I can’t even count the times. At the end of the booking I would ask them for more money. You try not to do that in the middle of the act as to not kill the ambiance, because you want the man to ejaculate as quickly as possible, then piss off so you can see someone else and make more money.

At its core, my time at the Boardroom violated my right to safety, free from the violent coercion of the lure of money in exchange of access to my body. Legal prostitution is an oxymoron: it is the lie of institutionalised, government driven, abusive human relational practices of rape. Don’t rape. Don’t buy women for sex. Don’t ever make brothels legal; punish the men for buying sex instead so the brothels will close down and it will force us all to work even harder at getting mainstream employment. Easy money is evil money.

I walked freely into your brothel, you would say. No one trafficked me into earning money this way. But there’s the catch! It it a trap for impoverished, vulnerable women like I was. When I got out, I could not find another way to earn a living because I had nothing on my resumé to show from the years 2002 to 2009. Living the life of prostitution is like spending time inside, doing jail time.

Conditions in your brothel look like women are wealthy because they are expensively dressed and the prices for the services and times on the menu are at the top of the range compared to other venues. But there are still too many incidents of violence to actually list here: gang rape during an outcall, a client drugging me without my knowledge, girls drinking alcohol in secret on premises and so on.

I witnessed women marrying their clients but, then, as the relationship went on, the men started to abuse their money, their self-esteem and their physical safety. Many ran away to women’s refuges with their young children. Thank God for those refuges, paid for by our government and generous individuals.

I saw women trying to exit with nothing on their resumé after 18 years being prostituted, starting at 18 years’ old. They lounge around in brothels with their flash clothes, dream of their flash interior design, and their not so flash future. They don’t know what to do with they futures.

I was an actor. When having sex with multiple men, there is rarely a moment where you truly, honestly want to engage in penetrative sexual intercourse with a complete stranger. The only reason you do it is because of the lure of money. Most of us engaged in prostitution need to pay debts, or bills that keep growing. One of the entrapments of prostitution is that few of us rarely start it and exit it easily. When you never had money, or the attention of men, you suddenly have all this and cannot cope with it in an healthy manner, because prostitution is nothing but an healthy way of life, both for the men who buy and the women who fill up a financial gap in their lives.

Make the money available for what we want to do or how we want to serve our society and we’ll never get into prostitution. Our purchasing power increases at the same rate as our Post Traumatic Stress. The number of times I showered for hours after a hard day’s ‘work’ trying to remove the stench of fat men off my skin, or the breath of drunken men from my olfactive memory is impossible to count.

We sometimes create for ourselves an expensive lifestyle because we never saw so much money in our lives. But state-enabled pimps like Milan —or, to be politically correct, ‘business owners’— earn more than ten million dollars a year in upmarket brothels that prey on the vulnerabilities of men and women. People sometimes try to imagine how much money your business brings in per year. Let me help them with some calculations.

Brothels are opened from 10am to 7am the day after. Girls come in to ‘work’ in shifts. I would do a 10am-6pm shift. At 10am there would be three girls only. Then, at midday, two to five more girls would arrive, and most would finish between 6-8pm. Then, at 2pm, two to five more girls would arrive, which would bring their finish time at 8pm. At 4pm two more girls would start, then the day girls would finish at 5-6pm. Four to six girls would arrive around those times to finish their shift at midnight.

From my observations over seven years, if 2 to 12 girls per day earnt $75 to $135 per booking for the room fee (as per prices listed in 2018) and 2 to 10 bookings per girl, per day. At minimum, on day shift, if only two girls ‘work’ until 6 pm (I rarely saw this happening in seven years), they would each make at least two bookings at $135 per booking for the (1 hour) room fees for you, so this means $270 x 2 girls = $540 per day. This is for the day shift only, from 10am to 6pm. Night shift could earn you a minimum of the same amount, which totals $1080 per day.

You are opened 7 days a week, so this totals $7560 per week. This is a gross yearly income of $393 120, which is as much as a senior plastic surgeon can earn, with seven years of studies under his belt. (

Now, how about when you have 12 girls on day shift and they all have 12 bookings (they have intercourse with 12 men) each until 6pm at $135 per (1 hour) room booking. $1620 per girl x 12 girls = $19,440 on the day shift.

On night shifts, I saw the number of girls rise to up to 20. They would make 12 bookings each at $135 per (1 hour) room fee = $1620 per girl x 20 girls = $32400 on the night shift.

Day shift $19440 + night shift $32400 = $51840 per day. If you close up shop for Christmas and New Year —so only two full days—, we could calculate your operations to run for 363 days a year. On average, then, your brothel, incorporated in 1996, brings you between $1080 and $51840 per day, or between $393 120 and $18 817 920 gross per year (2018).

I paid to get your financial figures on the ASICS website. How much tax do you actually pay on your declared income? Milan, I saw a lot of cash flowing through your business. I saw you with bills amounting to thousands. Who truly overseas all cash transactions in your business? Most men don’t pay by credit card. They are covering their tracks. So how do you prove that so many bookings are done, or so much money has come in? Everyone knows, especially in the hospitality industry, that cash is hidden. Then you declare as little as possible to dodge the taxman.

Buyers lose when they pay for sexual access to women’s bodies, too. I personally had a regular client who must have given me 25 thousand of his income per year, for years in a row. I was offering him the special service’ he was after, so he booked me weekly. This ‘special’ trick was anal sex, even if not so especially easy or pleasant to perform. He gave me extra $100 each time (benchmark must be close to $200 in 2018), on top of the normal booking price, to put up with this act, which I did only in his case). Some other regular clients appropriated some part of their diversified investments to arrive at the brothel with hard cash in hand.

I felt like a schoolgirl. Men well passed their sixties tanked on viagra, erections abound. The money they throw at women to keep us enslaved is sickening.

I call on you, Milan, to give back to the community some of the income you made from people in the adult entertainment industry who actually needed your support. You saw them struggle over the years. You witnessed their descents into drugs, their dramas with their busy or lonely lives, their abusive boyfriends or other violent ‘sex workers’, highly traumatised girlfriends, their relentless alcoholism and drug addiction. You have seen some with extreme mental health issues, both men and women, coming into your brothel on a weekly basis, at night time and during the day time. You have seen the worst of the worse: guns, threats, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, girls stealing from one another, from men, you’ve seen the booze girls are offered on outcalls, you’ve coordinated boat trips as escort bookings for your wealthy clients, you’ve provided your best girls for international, famous, visiting punters. You’ve done business with the la crème de la crème of wealthy tourists and sent your youngest, party-type and glittering girls to bucks nights where they got raped one after the other.

You don’t know this but I got raped by boys during an outcall with Kate Iselin, once. We expected to have sex with two chosen guys —those who had made the booking—but there were 20 there. We only got paid $450 for the two hours but I was penetrated by all twenty of them. Who supervises those outcalls? No one. Who reports rape in prostitution? No one. I would not be the only one this has happened to.

The incident happened during an extra shift I did one Friday night. I was a day girl, and often also ‘worked’ on weekends as no one wanted to do the weekend day shifts. I then had no ‘competition’ and could see six clients in an 8-hour shift. Mainstream jobs earn women with a high school degree possibly $150 per day. I was earning more than $1000 per day. Not that I saw my fellow ‘sex workers’ as a threat; the facts are that when your friend gets booked and you aren’t, then you just look for ways to attract another man, luring them into buying the fantasy that you create yourself to be, the persona, the ‘face’ you put on. We often joked that we were putting a cake on our face. A mask. Colours. Everything to hide from our true selves. Wigs, too, are common. So much porn-influenced make-up, it often wrecks our skin. Scars on my face? There are, and they have been caused not only by too much cheap makeup but also by semen, which you ask men to pay extra for if they want to experience the fantasy of ejaculating on your face.

Week-ends meant drug-affected clients, to me. They had partied all night and were making their way home to sleep but ‘hey, may as well stop at the brothel which opens at 10am and get a shag, I didn’t score tonight!’

So they continued doing drugs in the rooms. C’mon, Milan, you know they do that. You know ALL of our stories. You got to know us girls very well because you were there quite a lot during the first few years of the business operating with a brothel license. As an ex security person, I have no doubt you had streams of videos from the brothel at your house.

Some of your girls did drugs with the men, even though no drugs are allowed on premises. How can you tell if a man brings drugs in? How can you control what goes on in a private room? You know what happens; you know everything. You know that one day I was attacked by an ageing, short Sri Lankan who did not understand what consent meant. I could not even negotiate services with him because his English was so poor. I ran out of the room and told reception. Reception walked up and spoke to the man. The man left the room, smiling. He did not pay to touch my vagina or kiss me and was forcing himself on me. He was so disgusting. I didn’t report him; I wanted to continue working and make money. Such is the life of the prostituted woman, we have no time to waste to report men.

Despite all this, the other day one of your girls, Kate Iselin, wrote an article against the Liberal party law proposal to enact a Nordic Model style of legislation. I sense that you are afraid of losing your millions. Enabling the prostitution of women, in many countries, is a crime. It may take you years to recover from the joy you took at doing this to women over the last twenty years because of your love of money. You must be so desensitised and removed from normal, healthy emotions in relation to healthy sexuality. I, myself, already, after just two years in the industry, was dissociating so much that I could not develop healthy boundaries with any men I dated. I often ended up in abusive relationships. Prostitution is incompatible with human dignity and human rights. Universal Human rights cannot be achieved unless this common understanding is respected and upheld.

– ”Prostitution is indeed incompatible with articles 3 and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) which states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” and “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

– The United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949) of 2 December 1949 adopted by its General Assembly states says in its preamble that “Prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person”.

– The United Nations 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) asks states to “take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women” (1).

At least the owner of the Daily Planet brothel has closed down his repressive business in early 2018. According to a news article he turned the business into something ‘to give back to the community’: he opened a ‘paying’ rehabilitation centre.

At least if I could have planned to transition out with the help of the pro sex work staff that you allowed to visit your brothel, it would have saved me a couple of years of struggles out of my life. But they had little government funding to pay a social worker. They didn’t even have accredited counsellors. To obtain the support I needed to recover emotionally and financially from almost a decade spend in your sperm factory, I stopped going to my weekly shift in late 2009 and saw my bills pile up. Thankfully, there was Christians Against Poverty, a charity who took over my debts (for free) and helped me recover from my nightmare.

I am not an object to be disposed of, paid for by men who can do what they want with me. I have dignity. I have hope in a great future for myself. I am more than my looks, and my vagina. I have brains. I am clever. I can do what I want. But like many, I did not have many choices, despite having degrees. So your legal brothel gave me this false hope that this was going to be a good choice to make. I lost my sanity and I exited with more debts than when I entered. This is common in prostitution. And so is childhood trauma and sexual abuse, which are the training ground for a little girl to contemplate the idea of selling sex for money.

No man sexually abused me in my childhood but I was exposed to pornography and my biological father abandoned my siblings and I and never paid child support to my mother. I was angry at men. To compensate I tried to suck as much money from them as possible if they wanted a piece of me. So many of us truly hate men. Only supernatural forces allow us to one day forgive those who hurt us and find peace in our hearts. I forgive you, Milan. I expect nothing in return.

I have deep respect for people in the sex industry. They do what they can, with what they have. You had the chance to start this business and saw a gap in the market. Good on you! It’s the Labor Party 1980s government’s fault, not yours. Let’s get real, though. You know what really goes on behind the scenes. It is not a pretty picture. The Pretty Woman myth is laughable.

Milan, aren’t you and your staff on the Advisory committee to the Sex Industry for Consumers Affairs Victoria, working within the framework of the legislation? Why aren’t state government funding exit programs? Who is wiping their hands off clean from the Sex Work Act 1994’s recommendations for exit programs? Wasn’t there anyone who could speak on behalf of gullible young women like I was and see that we do not all want to stay in this industry forever? I wanted to pay off my University debts and that’s it. No one helped me to navigate pathways to transition out, and it was difficult. Luckily I saw a gap in the market for prostitution exit services, a bit like the entrepreneurial spirit you exercised years ago, Milan! You must know what I mean when I write that I saw a gap. You opened your brothel and marketed it as five stars and made sure you won all these Adult industry Awards to display on your premises. We know you are working closely with William Albon , the president of the Adult Entertainment Industry Association.

Most of the girls who work for you —euphemistically, those who ‘sub-contract’ rooms in your brothel—have no formal qualifications or degrees. Those like Iselin talk about completing law or medical degrees are a very few minor exceptions. They do so because Australia doesn’t provide them with the proper grants and scholarships. It surely wouldn’t be the case for your grown up son, wouldn’t it? How about your new partner, which you met around 2004? I know her. I met her, as you can imagine. You won’t lack money to pay for the school fees of your brood, will you?

Sometimes, I am so jealous of wealthy people, especially those who do not apply corporate responsibility to their operations. One other thing that struck me was that you did not recycle plastic and metal within your premises. For all the seven years I spent at the Boardroom, you could not even make the effort to ask your staff to bring two bins out, one for general rubbish (and semen-overflowing condoms), one for recycling.

Having a huge university debt when I finished my first post-graduate degree was my reality. Instead of resorting to prostitution, women should have had numerous opportunities to enhance their training, obtain sought-after degrees, and flourish in an equal, non gender biased, non-discriminatory workplace. A workplace that offers flexible hours of work when we return to the workforce after having babies. The same reasons why women like to do shifts in your brothel because somehow, on their good days, your staff allow them to leave early to pick up their children from school.

Prostitution is gender-based violence against my class as a woman. It violated my right to have a safe life and to grow in my area of expertise, ‘climbing the ladder’, as we say. How else can we grow professionally in prostitution other than buying a $10,000 brothel licence and run your own exploitative sperm factory yourself? Continuing to dissociate from the torture that we now inflict on younger women? It certainly wouldn’t help us fulfill our dreams to switch from being a floor girl (prostituting) to working at reception. Who dreams of being an assistant-pimp?

There were NO warnings on the harm of prostitution before or on my first shift at this brothel when I entered this ‘legal’ hellhole. No matter how ‘classy’ you made your brothel to be, Milan, women like myself were subjected to so much abuse on a daily basis. Do you understand that paying for sex is coercion? Do you realise that the transaction is paid rape?

Upon exiting your fake paradise I started to question what prostitution had been for me. I had no idea that trafficking for sexual servitude existed, so close to me. That legal brothels are enabling the violent trafficking of homeless, vulnerable 13 year olds wards-of-the-state by young criminals. Are you proud of being a deception role model?

Young men see you Milan as a THE rich business man and they try to do the same with their younger peers as you do with the women involved in your business. This is human sexual trafficking and it is abhorrent. By keeping your business opened, did you know that you encourage HST?

I work for Pink Cross Foundation Australia. We are contacted by dozens of women nationwide, and men, often internationally, looking to break free from the lifestyle that our porn culture sets trends for, shattering their lives apart.

Corporate responsibility from brothels —would the law allow them to keep their licences valid—MUST include compulsory support for women who wish to undertake work with a social worker to reduce the number of hours they ‘work’ in this industry. There must be clear pathways to exit. There was none for me!

Prostitution is not a job and will never be. Men flaunt their money at women—most of the time— to get an orgasm, and sometimes because they simply want some company, some ‘entertainment’. Our Australian government has followed the Royal Commission into family violence and funded groups to help prevent this national tragedy, where 2 women per week are killed by an intimate partner. One way to stop the violence and coercion of using money to obtain sexual access to a woman’s body is to stop the demand. Statistics show that male privilege and watching pornography are indicative of a future use of hard core, more violent, gonzo porn which also can lead to the crime of child sexual abuse.

Australia has in the mid nineties enacted the Prostitution Control Act, a law written with the best intentions for its citizens: some say it was to decrease the number of men raping women; some others thought that women were going to be safer, by allowing the sexual transaction to happen behind closed, controlled environments, behind the doors of licensed brothels. But it has failed, according to Mary Sullivan’s meticulously researched assessment published in 2007.

The current Victorian Sex Work Act, Section 17, highly controls the advertising for the recruitment of ‘sex work’ by service providers. Which other industry does this? All jobs are available to be advertised, anywhere, for a fee, or for free. Prostitution is not a job. No wonder it is so highly regulated. No wonder the US has passed Sesta-Fosta, a new Bill that prohibits all advertising for the offer of sexual services online. Too many underage and adult trafficking victims have died after being recruited online by rapists and pedophiles. Now all ‘prostituted women’ or ‘sex workers’ and their pimps/traffickers/brothel managers are left without the ability to advertise themselves. They are facing the reality of change in the ‘workplace’, and change never comes easy.

This is a stark realisation that one cannot earn a living this way anymore, or for the demand side, that enabling the selling of access to women’s bodies to their fellow, entitled mates isn’t the right thing to do. Consequences of the Sesta-Fosta Bill are these: online mediators of child prostitution and trafficking now face lawsuits for their involvement in facilitating harms requiring compensation against vulnerable people.

Buying sex is an act of desperation and entitlement. During my seven years offering access to my body in exchange of money, I had sexual intercourse with 600 to 1000 men per year. Instead of participating in the betterment of my adoptive country, I enabled the lying of men to their sons, wives, mothers, fathers and friends as well as their workplace. All men buying sex lie about it. Prostituted women keep their lifestyles under wraps, as we deposit money into a bank account each week under our own ABN and get loans to purchase property. Soon money runs out though, as you get older and your usual clients prefer younger looking women. Then you can’t repay the mortgage, and you lose your property. Seven years is a very good average for being burnt by the sex industry. So why didn’t I have exit services readily available when after two years I already had enough of strangers penetrating every hole of my body in exchange of survival money?

Why, Milan, do you keep profiting from this secret, underground world and continue to deny the harm of prostitution to the community?

Because prostitution affects neighbours, the mothers of the prostituted, the mother of the buyer, the children of the prostituted and the children of the buyer. It affects their cousins, grandparents, people in their neighbourhoods.

Revictimising a woman that already started her life with many disadvantages is cruel. We don’t want to make prostitution illegal as it is in many places, but we can certainly try to curb demand. Prostitution can be reduced by putting in place national laws to regulate the purchase of sexual access to someone’s body. This is why, under laws that penalise sex industry customers and profiteers (the “Nordic Model” of anti-prostitution policy making) prostitution and its harm would be reduced on the basis of exit programs being generously funded. These programs key point is that women will not be prosecuted for offering sexual access in exchange of money.

I have been there, done that, Kate. I know how it feels. I once was in the same intellectual position as you, Kate Iselin. I truly know how you feel. Milan is a gentleman. So is Nick. They are because you used or still does bring money to the business. Otherwise, I have heard from their own mouth how shunned they are by the community of fellow businessmen. Society isn’t that fond of men pimping women, letting ALL men touch their daughters or wives-in-hiding in exchange of money. I have met, Kate, as you would know, many women who work this ‘job’ without their husband’s knowledge. Or because the husband is gone.

The culture of entitlement has to stop, worldwide. Survivors of prostitution from around the world thoroughly embrace the #metoo movement because we for too long in our lives have endured the torture, abuse and ensuing trauma that this breach of our basic human rights brings about into our lives. Enough is enough. Amsterdam is closing its brothels and so are we. #Timesup, Milan. I am sure you will upcycle yourself into another high flying corporate job. You may need to check out if you would have psychopathic traits. After reading this, do you feel in denial or with a complete lack of empathy? This could be a huge problem when moving forward with your life.

When I shop at Coles South Melbourne at night, I have flashbacks of the minutes after a hard day’s ‘work’ at the brothel, when I dropped by to purchase groceries. The beaming, neon bright lights of the store burnt my eyes at 8-9pm, when I had stayed longer at the brothel after my day shift. Going to this store when tired still triggers me very negatively, to this day. All I think about is that torturous sexual abuse. I learnt that these flashbacks are called PTSD. Knowing that I can recover from that trauma is very good. I live with this trauma daily. Good self-care and time helps the healing, amongts other strategies.

The first step for positive change is to recognise how we feel and put science-informed labels to situations and to our emotions. I let you, Milan, journey through that. Feel free to call me.


Geneviève Gilbert is the founding Director of Pink Cross Foundation Australia, a charity supporting people involved in the adult entertainment industry. Pink Cross Foundation Australia’s mission is to connect with, support and educate those affected by commercial sexual exploitation. Our 24/7 emergency trafficking and prostitution hotline is ‭+61 0455 564 840‬.

[1] Fondation Scelles (2016),

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