An account of a middle class Dublin woman's venture into sex work could act as a spur to impressionable young women to enter a trade that is dangerous and detrimental to mental health, nutters have claimed.
The book, Between the Sheets , is an account of the alleged double life of a middle-class Dublin woman who lost her job and embarked on a life in prostitution to maintain her comfortable home and family lifestyle in the face of financial
collapse . The author has adopted the pseudonym Scarlett O'Kelly .
Penguin Ireland, the publishers, claim it will be one of the most controversial books of the year and say they are satisfied that the woman's account is genuine, adding:
The book claims to be 'an illuminating and explicit account of a year spent working as an escort in middle Ireland, a gripping account of living a double life, and the high price it exacts'.
The author, Scarlett O'Kelly , said the sex industry was nothing like she expected it to be: I expected it to be seedy and awful and it wasn't. She said that during her time as an escort and prostitute, she had had sex with more than
Ellen O'Malley Dunlop of the Rape Crisis Centre said:
It is what is happening in terms of young people being sexualised before they are ready. It's unreal what is happening out there in terms of young people being inured to it.
Nusha Yonkova, Anti-Trafficking Project Co-ordinator with the Immigrant Council of Ireland, expressed serious reservations about any work that sought to portray prostitution as in any way a suitable or easy lifestyle:
The book would be read by young people who may be at an unstable point in their lives and this could act as an encouragement. It is very disappointing that Penguin has done this. I think it is purely to gain profits. It is a poor choice.
The reality is that there are almost no middle-class, middle-aged women (in prostitution). The reality is that they are predominantly migrants from Eastern and Central Europe, poor central American countries and Africa. There are some Irish
women, but the majority of them would also have addiction problems. That is the difference. They would not be people who have choices.
Former Garda Detective Superintendent PJ Browne, who led an investigation into Dublin's vice trade, said that, while he had not read the book, he was concerned about any impression that might be given that prostitution was a safe or lifestyle
choice. He said:
We found that a large number of young women working in prostitution were from very poor backgrounds and from countries where they could get no work. It is sordid and it is dangerous. I have no idea what experiences this woman had, but the vast
majority of women working in this trade in Ireland are young foreign women who are desperate for money.