Stuff co.nz 26 August 2016Family First Comment: The sad reality of prostitution – irrespective of the age….“Lauren agreed to having sex for money – she wanted to get her mum out of financial trouble. But now, aged 23, she realises she was a vulnerable child and she is still paying the price and trying to make sense of the memories. Looking back she can see she was being groomed, heavily influenced by adults she trusted. And the world of prostitution was glorified.”Lauren Darlington looked every bit the sweet 16-year-old with a mouth full of braces when her mum forged her birth certificate so she could work as a prostitute. Seven years later she is real, raw about her demons, blogging to touch others.“I wasn’t eating well or sleeping and I was using drugs the clients would give me at work to keep me awake,” Lauren said of her time as an escort in Sydney, Australia.“Mum got half of what I made for ‘driving me around’.”Lauren agreed to having sex for money – she wanted to get her mum out of financial trouble. But now, aged 23, she realises she was a vulnerable child and she is still paying the price and trying to make sense of the memories.Looking back she can see she was being groomed, heavily influenced by adults she trusted. And the world of prostitution was glorified.“Mum’s friend spoke about how easy it was to sleep with guys for money. She saw them as bags and jewellery and new clothes. She had me around male friends older than me and was saying how beautiful I was and encouraged me to be with her friend, an older male.“Looking back she was grooming me to be a prostitute. She took me shopping, did my makeup, it was like a never-ending sleep-over,” Lauren said. “I became suspicious when I found business cards for an escort agency. She lied and said she cleaned banks of a night. But earned A$600 a night?”At the time Lauren and her mum were on welfare. Money was tight.“They did a lot of drugs around me and one day on the way to her drug dealer’s place it came up that she was a prostitute. Mum blurted out she had been one before so could never again and the talk of the money and how ‘easy’ it was. I offered to do it for us. And that’s something I have always said and held guilt around. It was my choice.”With a history of self harm and a fragile mindset, being plunged into the seedy adult world was damaging.“I was hit, degraded, the mind games … I was 16 and looked it and covered in fresh scars. But I turned off. The Valium mum would give me and lack of sleep helped.”READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/83588868/australian-woman-rebuilds-her-life-after-mother-forced-her-to-work-as-a-prostituteKeep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.