Meet the desperate single mum who was so terrified of mounting debt that she turned to prostitution.
22-year-old Nicole Parke borrowed a total of £500 from two companies in May last year after being made redundant from her full-time job as a hairdresser.
Unable to find work, the mum of two needed the quick cash to pay for food and bills.
But with her credit cards at maximum, a large overdraft and increasing interest on her loans, Nicole, from Hackney in east London, hit rock bottom.
By the end of May the debt on the payday loans had risen to £1,175 and had taken the total she owed to her creditors to £20,000.
With bailiffs knocking on her door, escorting seemed the only way to make money quick enough to control her mounting debt.
She signed up to an online escorting agency and within a week she was entertaining her first client.
She says: “I never imagined my life would end up the way it did.
“I’ve always been independent so having to turn to payday loans to be able to feed my family and pay the rent was terrifying.
“I thought it would solve my problems but it just made things worse.
“With £5,000 nursery fees, £5,000 on my credit cards, my overdraft, rent arrears, utility arrears, council tax and two payday loans, I ended up £20,000 in debt. Escorting was a last resort, the only way I could get paid fast enough to stop the interest from mounting.”
Nicole created a profile on the escorting site using the name Tami.
She says: “When I called the agency I was shaking but I thought if I didn’t go ahead with it I might end up homeless.
“While it was a relief to know I’d finally have some money coming in, the overriding feeling was fear.
“I met my first client at a hotel. I wore my tightest dress, a push-up bra, stockings, high heels and had my bag packed with condoms.
“I’d started pulling out my hair with the anxiety of my mounting debt and this just made it worse. I wondered if the man would kill me or beat me up.”
Despite her fears, Nicole went ahead with the arranged meeting in June 2012, a month after taking out her first payday loan.
She explains: “As he opened the door, my client smiled and looked me up and down and I knew he was interested in one thing only.
“I let him undress me and we slept together. It was horrible but luckily he didn’t last long.
“He didn’t talk afterwards, he just thrust £100 at me, opened the door and I left. I was relieved I hadn’t got hurt and having £100 meant I had enough money to keep us going for another week and pay off some of the interest.”
After that first appointment Nicole was seeing clients three to four nights a week and earning around £1,800 a month.
It was enough to begin to pay off her debts, bills and feed her family.
She says: “I told friends I was doing various jobs, never the truth, and they’d babysit my kids. At the end of my first month I was close to quitting as I’d almost paid off all my interest and thought I’d be OK.
“But when one of my kids asked if he could go to playschool, I went out escorting that night so I’d have the money for it.”
She eventually made enough to clear the debt of the payday loans.
In September 2012, Nicole saw her last client and has since begun looking for hairdressing work.
She says: “I’ve been looking for another job ever since. Although I just manage to pay the bills with my Jobseeker’s Allowance, I’m never going back to escorting.
“I live in a hostel with my children now but I’ve not given up hope of building a better future.
“We might not be rich but we’re healthy and we’re getting by.”
Source: UK Sun