‘We were like the girls from ‘Annie’; a slew of misfits, orphans and outcasts, with nowhere else to go, waiting for someone to save us. ‘R’, well he was too like a character from the beloved musical, he was like some fucked up ‘Miss Hannigan’ – Lauryn, 2017.
So, you already know how fond I was of Hungarian Susie, the kindest ‘take no shit’ woman in the industry, whom I met during my time at Flat 16 when working for ‘R’. Ive also briefly introduced you to ‘Brandy’ who, as mentioned, I had little love for. She was the first girl I ever met in the apartment, and was just next door at the moment he sexually assaulted me during my ‘interview’. Brandy was tall, thin and always on edge, which in turn made me on edge, and thats not cool because I’m a bloody anxious mess on my good days! She never wanted conversation, wasn’t interested in anything other than smoking, shagging and doing speed. In hindsight, she was a sad girl, who probably needed some love and kindness directed her way but she had demeanour that said “I’m not here to make friends so don’t fucking speak to me”. She got what she wanted because from the first meeting I barely spoke to her, unless it was to give her a booking and in all honesty, she didn’t get many. She would have been pretty, had she not abused her body and let her body be abused in ways which made her appear harsh and cold, she looked like the kind of girl who fucked them like a robotic doll then told them to get the fuck out (not that I’d blame her if she did). She put up no façade, she was a ‘wham bam, thank you Mam” kind of woman.
One of the main reasons I ended up disliking Brandy was because she was the only girl in the lounge alone with my handbag for all of 2 minutes, I came back from the toilet to find her gone and £750 missing out my purse, I never saw either again. The rage I felt towards her the moment I found out she had done a runner with my hard earned cash was overwhelming, I am naturally passive and HATE confrontation, in fact Ima pussy bitch and always admired those who know how to handle themselves, but I’d have definitely knocked the girl out if I had caught her. Brandy didn’t care, she was scum in my eyes and she didn’t give a shit about what I’d done for that money (I will talk about that in a later post), at the time I took it personally and now I realise that an addict will steal from their own bloody Grandma, so why the fuck would she consider me?! My entire life I have always been told when upset to ‘harden up girl, the world is not nice and you have to face that’, true but I don’t have to accept it. I later learned Brandy’s own boyfriend was abusive, had got her on the drugs and ruled her life, he’d send her out to ‘work’ then once she’d earned enough she’d piss of back to the Wirral and spend nights in seedy boozers in Birkenhead, feeding the pairs drug habit. Tragic.
Two girls started at around the same time as I did; Serena and Emily, so naturally we stuck together, I felt a sense of duty to look after them as they were both only 18 (later I learned during the police investigation they were not 18 when starting). Baby faced petite, pretty girls from Manchester, I had wondered how the hell they had ended up in a place such as this, I mean I knew why I had, but these were girls who still had families who wondered where they were? Like why, what drove them to debase themselves this way?
Emily looked about 16 and had a chubby but pretty face, she was very flighty and often seemed agitated, I definitely think now looking back that she had a cocaine habit, as she was always gurning and always had residue of white powder dried round her lips. Emily was always on the phone to ‘R’ and seemed like his favourite girl, I asked her how she had got the job and whether she came into the job wanting to work as a call girl, she seemed very distressed when I would ask her so I didn’t press her. Emily was also a nightmare and I soon quickly realised she was just a wayward teen, her mum totally oblivious to her daughters behaviour and whereabouts; the perfect type of girl ‘R’ could groom. I remember Emily having a rich client who had come to Liverpool for the Labour party convention, he’d asked me on the phone when making the booking to order him 5 grams of cocaine as well as asking for ‘the youngest girl you have and she has to be ok with abusing me’. I felt disgusted and shocked and thought in my head ‘mate I’ll abuse you for free, you fucking scum bag’, after his booking with Emily, she came out high as hell and clutching wads of cash laughing and looking like that crazed ‘Annabelle’ doll, boasting she’d robbed him and he better not say anything as she took a picture of him on her phone…Christ. Emily was troubled and she was trouble. She made me feel uneasy, let’s face it ALL of us were troubled, even No Shit Susie, but there were different types of troubled and I think she was often psychotic, highly intelligent I’d say, but clearly being abused by ‘R’ in other ways I didn’t see at the beginning. She would, like most girls, come and earn some cash and then disappear, only reappearing when she was skint again; this was a cycle for most apart from me, Susie and Ashleigh.
Serena was our designate “English Rose”. Beautiful, intelligent, porcelain skin with the most fabulous figure (she walked around in next to nothing most of the time). She was the same age as Emily, but she had a nice energy, she was sweet and I liked her a lot. I still do. Serena was a terrible escort, she would moan, refuse bookings if she wasn’t in the mood and often got bawled at by ‘R’ down the phone. Looking back, I can see why, ‘R’ would often pick her out and take her for a “meeting” the minute she arrived. No guesses to what went on there. Serena had been estranged from her Mum since she was 16. She found herself in a position of working two jobs and no way to study. She wanted money to escape her miserable life with her mum so would eventually and reluctantly do jobs. She came back every weekend from March-December, until the day I sent her away and told her to never come back. Serena’s mum was psychotic, so no wonder she’d been vulnerable and perfect prey for ‘R’, he was so good at getting these vulnerable girls because he’s an evil predator and I just couldn’t see it clearly in the beginning, I thought it, of course but told myself I was being dramatic, that this was probably normal and my sheltered childhood in Norfolk riding ponies and spending my summers hanging out at the beach with friends, was so far removed from the concrete jungles of Manchester, that I was probably thinking he was much worse than he really was, because like everyone had always told me, I needed to harden the hell up. This was how the sex working world worked, right?
Serena was the only girl along with Penny who spoke up to the police after I went, they stood up and spoke out when the others refused and didn’t want to know. There’s a code of silence that I was naive to, I believed that bad people should be reported and never understood why people were reluctant to go to the police, when they are there to help us; I now know why the code exists, my experience taught me that largely, they are incompetent, and vulnerable women are still being failed and badly. Then they wonder why crimes are unreported? Liverpool has the third highest murder rates in the country for sex-workers, after London and Glasgow. Sadly, this stigma around sex-workers often means that authorities don’t take violence against sex workers as seriously as they would when dealing with non-sex workers who are attacked/murdered/raped. In our case I truly believe that the we were all groomed just like those in Rochdale and Rotherham.
Ashleigh, a blonde bombshell, tall, athletic, generically beautiful with a gorgeous smile and dimples like Cheryl Cole. She was as scouse as they come and had come from a very poor area of Liverpool. Ashleigh was a single mum and by god she was a good mum, he was her life. Ash’ would get loads of bookings and her family had found out about what she was doing which resulted in her dad’s girlfriend doing a brief stint at the flat! She along with Serena and Emily was one of the girls that ‘R’ abused and forced himself regularly on for his own pleasure. I liked Ash but she was unpredictable, she was only young, 19 at the time I met her, she thought she knew it all but she had no idea and she too ended up surviving on coke to get her through the dark times. Ash could easily make 1k in a couple of days and she was asked for a lot. Ash had many problems with her family, they took the piss out of her, she funded them and in a way, was like me, trying to save her family from poverty just totally different scales and circumstances. At one point, Ash had got into trouble in town and had been drunk, swilled a door man and ended up on electronic tag and no shit her bookings went through the roof! That electronic tag was a badge of honour and all the rich well to do business men flocked being turned on by a hot criminal who sells sex. Ash suffered a lot at the hands of ‘R’ and I witnessed it, he did things to her that made her spend an hour crying in the bathroom where I tried to console her whilst feeling guilty that I hadn’t entered that room and twatted him around the back of his head to get him off her. For that I can never forgive myself.
Lastly I’ll introduce you briefly to Bex the Norwegian, Penny and Lolly. Of course, there were many other girls but these girls left the greatest impressions. Penny was hilarious and kind but smoked 60 a day! She literally left the couch to shag or go and buy more fags, but she was funny and I enjoyed her company, plus she backed me up with the police. Penny, you are a fucking star and for what you did I will always love you! Penny was also like a 45-year-old in a 22 year olds body, she reminded me of Deirdre from Coronation street too, it might have been the smoking and the accent 😉
Norwegian Bex was a very odd girl but I liked her, she’d come to the UK to study and get a job however had somehow answered one of ‘R’s’ dodgy adverts for a job promising the earth and that was her doomed. Bex was filthy and I wondered if this was because she was more relaxed about sex and wondered if it was because she was ‘european’, you often hear ‘them europeans are kinky fuckers’ so I figured she fit the bill. Bex started out rather normal but filthy, then she got involved like we all did in the coke and ive never seen it ruin someone so quickly like it did her. She became a total mess and ‘R’ used her to open another ‘brothel’ in the city but promised her the apartment was hers so long as she was ok with it being used as a whore house. During the police investigation, we later found out ‘R’ had bugged ALL apartments including his manchester ones, and when Bex had told me I thought she was just paranoid; she was right. ‘R’ forged payslips and created bogus documents to get her into the apartment, it suited him too, as his name wasn’t attached to it. Bex knew I went to the police and waited to hand over crucial evidence at her apartment to the police, but they never came as they didn’t take it seriously back then. She waited only for so long til she rang me and said “I’m off now back to Norway to sort my life out”. I hope she did.
Finally, we have Lolly, who turned out to be 15. This information sent me over the edge and cemented it in my mind that I was going to report ‘R’. How the fuck and where the fuck he found these girls he groomed, I didn’t know then, I do now but after finding out her age when she accidentally slipped it out, made me physically sick. I had been unwittingly selling her over the phone and she had been super popular advertised as a ‘fresh tight teen’ urgh he made me sick he really did. I have no problem with porn or the sex industry, when women are empowered, protected and are at least 21 years old, but escorting and sex work like this gets to even the soundest mind and strongest woman. Lolly was the not the only underage girl we’d had in fact it turned out there were many and when I confronted ‘R’ about this he laughed and said ‘the younger the better, give the men what they want’. Lolly looked young and I had questioned her age prior to me finding out but I was told ‘of course she is of age’ ‘R’ made girls fake ID’s too and had presented me with a copy of her passport.
I remember ALL the girls who i met during that time but these are wjo I worked with the most or they happened to leave the impressions and I still think about them all today hoping they are happy and living well.
Stay tuned for Part 4 next week
Love Lo xx