‘At Hay, we are invited to imagine the world. We are taken there through the written and spoken words of others. Go there with them and it will open your heart and mind.’ – Mia de Faoite

‘At Hay, we are invited to imagine the world. We are taken there through the written and spoken words of others. Go there with them and it will open your heart and mind.’ – Mia de Faoite

This was my first visit to the Hay Festival and it has been a truly enlightening experience for me. At Hay, we are invited to imagine the world. We are taken there through the written and spoken words of others. Go there with them and it will open your heart and mind.

I came to Hay to speak alongside my friend Kat Banyard, whom I met while she was researching her book ‘Pimp State’. I am a survivor of prostitution and I campaign to reform prostitution laws so that those who are exploited through prostitution are no longer criminalised, but those who drive the demand – the sex buyers – are held to account.

I left prostitution in 2010. I spent nearly six years of my life on the streets and could find no justification for what I witnessed and endured: abuse, assault, and rape.

I came to Hay to try and let people into the world I experienced on the street. It is always hard for me to go back there in my mind. But as we know the world has a darker side, often hidden in plain sight, and we must go there in order for social change for the greater good to happen.

I spent an hour speaking to an audience prepared to go to my world with me – and that is all I could ask.

Many thanks to Hay – it has been a wonderful, empowering experience for me.

 

 

Mia de Faoite: https://twitter.com/miadefaoite

‘Pimp State’ by Kat Banyard: http://www.faber.co.uk/shop/non-fiction/9780571278220-pimp-state.html