Last week, GMB member Irene Everett won the first ever unfair dismissal case for a sex worker, against Essex-based Datapro Service Limited.
You had to keep notes on your character, so that you didn't mess up later and make the client realise you weren't real - most clients were under the impression you were another person texting in to try and meet dates, and had no idea you were an employee, although occasionally you would be accused of this, or being a machine, and had to spend (still paid for! Things were much harder, however, if it wasn't a 'new' texter.
Not just were we pretending to be other 'real' girls, but also oftentimes someone would text in again wanting to speak to a girl they had spoken with before.
And obviously, given the nature of it, I had to act out enjoying all of this.
It's really weird, because it's hard to describe and convey just why it was so wrong - I'm sure to a lot of people it just sounds funny, and on a conscious level to me, it was.
In the end with all this factored in, I was probably only making £3-4 an hour on average, and maybe £6 an hour if I was busy.
On slow days when there weren't many clients, I could be making less than £2 an hour.
Then you'd flirt a bit for a couple more, and soon enough (in almost all cases) be having sex text.
A few people just wanted to 'chat' - although this was very much a minority.
The company got most of its clientelle from a daily advert in the Daily Sport, but traded under various different names - such as 'Local Girls 4 U'. I was pretty depressed and had been out of work for a few months, and got told about it by one of my friends.
I lacked staying power, and only stuck at it for about 3 months full time before it started giving me serious problems, and I had to give it up. Obviously, at first it sounded hilarious - I got to sit at home, pretending to be a girl, and getting guys off, and for (what looked like) not too bad money.
While at first it was a novelty, and I laughed off the concept that it was ever going to 'get to me', or that I'd ever see it as more than sad old blokes wasting their money, it actually very quickly became really dehumanising.