A night with Nikki…

Smart, funny and exceptionally witty, Nikki looks much younger than her 35 years. She dreamt of being a singer and enjoys writing poetry. Born in Brazil, she settled in Manchester as a young girl when her parents came in search of the promised ‘better life’ they had heard so much about.

She is also an escort and spends her evenings having sex with men for cash.

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Far from the preconceived ‘victim’ or ‘down on her luck’ addict that springs to mind, Nikki is the epitome of class and sophistication. Long, lustrous hair swept back off her face and smooth, clear skin, she has a figure that makes women envious while bringing grown men to their knees. It’s hard to ignore the lustful glances she’s attracting as we chat over a glass of wine in a busy Manchester bar.

With so much in the news recently about the rise of girls forced into prostitution, Nikki is eager to lift the lid on the other side of this often-misunderstood profession – where, for some, selling sex is a choice and not a necessity.

“I sell sex because the money is good, the hours are flexible and to be honest, I’m really good at it. I made the choice to become an escort and I’ve never really looked back, finally I can support myself and have a pretty decent standard of living at the same time.”

Married for a number of years, Nikki says she was ‘happy with her lot’ and looking forward to possibly having children one day, until her husband had an affair, eventually leaving her for a much younger woman he had allegedly met at work.

“It knocked my confidence hard when he left because I never saw it coming. He just went to work one day and never came home.”

“I was enrolled on a book keeping course at college and wanted to become an accountant but, after he left, I just couldn’t find work and things began to fall apart. That’s when I made the decision to do what I know best. Sex was never an issue when I was married, in fact the thought of being paid for my time felt rather empowering.”

Nikki says it was incredibly easy to get into escorting, after finding an advert in the local paper; she called an agency, spoke to the madam and was invited to the ‘office’ for an interview the same day. images-4

“I was really nervous and didn’t have a clue what to wear so I went for what was, in my opinion, sexy and appropriate – an incredibly short skirt and staggeringly high heels. Arriving by taxi at the discreet address on a leafy lane in Cheshire, I quickly realised that I had got it very wrong and Pretty Woman was not actually a fair representation of my new chosen career.”

The office turned out to be a smart apartment in Hale, one of many in a private, residential block. Here Nikki met *Sue, the lady in charge and was told the ‘rates and rules’.

“Don’t dress like a hooker, don’t do anything unprotected, do not try and undercut the other girls and never give out your personal phone number.”

Nikki certainly doesn’t fit the stereotypical image you would imagine for a ‘hooker’- dressed in a blouse, fitted jeans and designer jacket she would look more at home in a boardroom than on any street corner. As she says herself,

“Most of the time you would never know I was an escort. Remember I am a normal woman too. I sit next to you on the bus, I work out next to you at the gym and I pay for my milk next to you in the supermarket.”

This raises the issue of what other people think of her career; Nikki admits that she can’t always be honest with those around her.

“I only have a handful of friends that know what I really do, my family and everyone else believes that I am a very successful accountant, they probably wouldn’t believe it anyway.”

“It can get awkward, one time my friend brought her books round to me in floods of tears, asking me to help her make sense of it all. I spent a whole morning ringing accountants, eventually paying £200 to one willing to do the work quickly so I could say I had done it for her.”

Asked if there are any plus points of her job, Nikki’s eyes sparkle as she describes a world far different from any most women could imagine.

“The gifts are brilliant, I have regular clients who spoil me all the time, I’ve had perfume, clothes, jewelry and even a couple of exotic holidays over the years.”

nikki-2“Most men I meet are like puppies, eager to please and looking for some attention – it’s easy to make them feel special and in return they treat me well. One of my favourite clients was an infamous gangster. He is in jail now and the media have portrayed him as this tough thug. This is not the man I knew. He booked me loads of times and was very charming, if a little flashy. One evening he called the agency, booked me for the whole night and we arrived at his farm house in the countryside by private helicopter to enjoy partying into the early hours.”

When I ask about the sex aspect of the deal Nikki shrugs it off as a very small, occasionally enjoyable part of her unusual job.

“Sometimes the man is unattractive or not really my type but I just block it out, concentrate on my shopping list instead. Smelly ones are dealt with by offering to shower with them and to be honest, most of the guys are alright really.”

“It turns me on to know that this man is paying me for my time, for my body – I have a high sex drive so it suits me just fine. Besides, what woman could honestly say that she wouldn’t like to be wined and dined then showered with gifts? I know a few married women who have sex with their husband whenever they want a new dress, carpet or whatever. The only difference with me is that I’m honest from the offset, they get exactly what they pay for and there is no hidden, ulterior motive.”

“I see men from all walks of life, most are married and all have their own reasons for coming to me. If I had a pound for every time I heard that classic ‘my wife doesn’t understand me’ I could retire. It makes me laugh, and a little sad really. I can’t help wonder if it was my husband saying those same pathetic, empty words to another woman all those years ago, it seems that there are far more misunderstood guys out there than happily married ones.”

The cynicism lies heavy in the air and the conversation takes a darker turn as I ask about the other side of the coin, the bad punters, as she refers to them. Looking down towards her hands it feels like Nikki is almost reliving the experience as her voice drops and the light seems to all but disappear from her eyes.

She doesn’t know much about him at all; he didn’t make much conversation. One thing Nikki does know for sure is that she was totally unprepared for what happened that night.

“He lived in a posh apartment in Chester, there was a doorman and I gave him my real name by mistake when I arrived. He was one of my first clients and I wasn’t used to using my fake name yet.”

“The instructions from the agency had made it clear that the door would be unlocked and I was to let myself in, naively I never really thought anything of it. When I arrived there was music playing really loud, the bass thumped through my body as I walked in and closed the door behind me.”

“The bedroom was in front of me and, as I walked in, I could see an envelope next to the bed with my ‘name’ on it.  A small, thin Chinese man appeared behind me wearing a bathrobe. He spoke impeccable English as he told me to turn off the already dimmed lights.”Pillow Light Room Bedroom Night Lamp Sleep

She pauses, seemingly playing the scene over again…

“It all went wrong from there really. He was really rough, pulling my hair, grabbing me and almost folding me in half, with my legs in the air. It hurt my hips so bad I had to stop myself wincing with pain. Then he wanted to change positions but I just couldn’t do it, I was in agony and feeling really scared by then. I told him I had to stop and he went ballistic, it was like he wanted to hurt me deliberately.”

I ask her why she didn’t just leave.

“I don’t know, I didn’t know what to do” she shrugs.

Leaving as soon as she could, Nikki broke down sobbing in the lift and called the agency to say she never wanted to see him again.

Since then he has been blacklisted from other agencies too, turns out she wasn’t the first woman he had done this to.

So, is this Nikki’s dream job?

“No, but I can think of worse ones” she says. “The men I see are generally good guys, it’s only now and then you get a bad one and you just have to deal with it. What other job could pay me so well for so little – I say who, I say when and I say how much, that makes me in control, doesn’t it?”

As Nikki finishes her drink and turns to leave I can’t help wonder if it really is her or actually the next punter who is in control after all.

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CREATIVE APPROACH TO TACKLING HATE CRIME

TRAFFORD Council, in conjunction with partners from the Safer Trafford Partnership, including the police and the Diverse Communities Board as well as other community and voluntary groups, are attempting to raise awareness and tackle hate crime and hate related incidents.

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Hate crime or incidents are defined as incidents or crimes that are perceived by the victim or others as being motivated by prejudice and hate.

As part of raising awareness about hate crime, the council has launched a borough wide competition to schools, colleges and youth groups.

Entrants are invited to design a poster or produce a piece of writing that does one or more of the following:

  • Raise awareness and understanding of hate crime or hate incidents.
  • Promote tolerance and cohesion.

The categories are: tackling racism; homophobia; religious discrimination; disability discrimination and transgender discrimination.

The posters and articles will be displayed and prizes will be awarded for each winning school and entry.

For more information please contact: Aman Akram:  akram@trafford.gov.uk or call on 0161 912 2602.

Alternatively you can also contact Annette Nelson. annette.nelson@trafford.gov.uk  or call on 0161 911 8678

Closing date is March 28 2014.

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VIRGIN RAIL STAFF ON TRACK FOR FUNDRAISING

CAN YOU help the Virgin train staff with their latest community fundraising project?

Virgin staff based at Manchester Piccadilly are a charitable group, each year they choose a worthwhile Manchester cause that needs a little help in order to achieve something amazing.

This year it’s the Neonatal Unit at North Manchester Hospital.

The staff on the unit offer much needed support to people who are affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth, and work closely with SANDS, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

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They have two inter-connected rooms set aside for ladies who have to give birth to a baby that has already died, to give Mum and her closest relatives the privacy and attention they need at such a difficult time.

While one room is used for the actual delivery and has to remain a sterile, clinical environment, the other is for the initial couple of days following the birth, when constant medical assistance and support is often needed.

There is a double bed with homely bedding, an old TV and DVD player, hot drink making facilities and a limited selection of books and DVDs.

Staff have named it the Rainbow Room.

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The room has become very tired over the years; the magnolia walls, complete with holes, could really do with some attention while some new bedding, cushions, throws and other items  would make a massive difference.

The Virgin Piccadilly team are eager to make this happen, as well as adding a new TV/DVD player, a new colour scheme with some matching pictures, a new table and shelving unit as well as a comfy chair for Dad or other close relative to relax while Mum rests.

The list is quite long and everything needs to be wipe clean to prevent any infection – there will be some considerable cost involved.

The Virgin team are volunteering their time to go to the unit and decorate it, installing any new items they can get their hands on and are in the process of typing up a ‘Wish List’ to take round local businesses to see what people can donate. As the items are collected they will be knocked off the list, the team are hoping to add a couple of additional, low cost items to the existing remembrance garden too.

THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN…….

The Virgin team have already kicked off the collection by donating their own ‘Love to Shop‘ vouchers, awarded for ‘going above and beyond’ while at work, and are using these to buy items for the room.

They are hoping for support with an advertising kick back – When the project is complete there will be a selection of advertisement options in the newsletter which is sent out locally, with details of every business that has donated time, money or goods:) They are also hoping to get the local media involved….

While I have still got your attention I would please ask you to bear with me and take a look at this request for £200 for much needed text books, from one of the staff at the neonatal unit, Michelle:

“At our unit  we run a full day study day which is on twice a month. Its a full day of study and role play of obstetric emergencies that we come into in our working day which enables us to deal with saving a woman’s and babies life by acting correctly and everyone knowing there role in the certain emergency. We need to purchase 30 books that will be used for the staff to read up on before their study session, then they will return for the next lot of staff to use at the next session. You would be invited to come in and watch a prompt session and see what we actually do in an emergency and how the books would benefit us greatly and what an investment they will be for future teaching.’

The books would be reused and help many people, not just the parents going through the trauma of complications, but also staff – helping them to be confident in dealing with this difficult situation.

The Virgin staff have scattered collection tins around Piccadilly Station and they are hoping to raise enough money to make a real difference.

Apologies for the length of this post – there is so much information to share about this great cause and I hope I haven’t overloaded your brain….

Some statistics:

Every day, 11 babies are stillborn and six newborn babies die – that’s 6,500 baby deaths a year.

One in every 200 babies delivered in the UK is stillborn (that is, the baby has died during pregnancy or birth any time from 24 weeks of pregnancy onwards)

One-third of stillborn babies – that’s around 1,200 babies every year – die after a full-term pregnancy (37 or more weeks).

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All offers of fundraising advice, donations or suggestions would be much appreciated, contact details are below:)

Thanks.

*This blog is on behalf of a train driver I came across on Twitter – his name is John Young – @PendolinoDriver and he spends much of his time fundraising for community projects.

John has previously organisedwww.trainofhope.co.uk which raised over £40k
and www.top-to-bottom-tractor-run.co.uk  raising over £32k
and, more recently John organised the pendocycle200 where he got a team of riders to leave Piccadilly with Virgins first train then they cycled 200 miles to make it to Euston in tome for Virgins last train back to manchester. This raised over £16k

He had been approached for help by a friend who is part of the Virgin team and, not having a blog, he put a Tweet out for a hand. The rest, as they say, is history….

Contact: John Young – Train Driver     @PendolinoDriver

 

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