This information was gathered from our survey of 300 prostituted women through our social network outreach program. Every couple days over the month of August, we are adding a new stat from our findings to help you better understand the women we are working with. Read the whole series right here on the Free Our Girls blog.
In this observational study of social media accounts, Free Our Girls found that half of all pages observed contained photos of alcohol usage, half contained photos of marijuana and marijuana-related products. Additionally, 13% of the social media profiles showed drug usage, most often “lean” (codeine cough syrup mixed with soda) and pills (prescriptions such as Xanas, and “party” drugs such as MDMA and “molly”).
What can this tell us about women involved in the adult industry? Simply that alcohol and marijuana usage are both widely accepted within this culture, and are used both in the home and in social and work environments. With only a few minutes of research, one can find references to any of the above drugs int he lyrics common within the pimp and rap culture of our society. Substance use did not appear to affect any particular group (age, race, location, or currently having a pimp) within our observational study, they were used equally among these segments.
While much substance use tends to occur due to the fact that it is so widely accepted within the culture, many times women find themselves completely dependent upon one of these substances over time. Alcohol can serve to embolden a nervous or fearful woman who is sent out onto the streets every night to engage in conversation and intimate acts with strange men. Pills and marijuana are used to lessen anxiety and help with sleep, both commonly reported health issues amongst women in commercial sex work. Harder drugs, while not featured typically on social media profiles, are absolutely used, whether it is to experiment, to be able to stay up for longer hours, or even to lose weight. No matter the substance, many women find a sense of momentary escape from the emotional, physical and psychological pain they experience at the hands of their exploiter and the men who purchase their bodies.