Former sex worker and madam Linda Watson has been deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of prominent Adelaide sex worker Grace Bellavue (real name Pippa) last weekend. Linda is not alone. Sex workers have been tweeting their condolences to Grace’s family and friends, expressing their great loss. One of them said: “I hope you’ve found peace, Pippa.”
“Since 1997 I have been counselling girls and women who have been involved in the sex trade,” Linda Watson said today. “I know what they have gone through. The reality is far from the glamour of the Pretty Woman movie.”
Grace Bellavue (27) featured in a major article in The Advertiser’s SA Weekend magazine last year, promoting a bill to decriminalise the sex trade. At that time her life as an escort was described as “liberating, exhilarating and satisfying” – but those feelings may not have lasted.
Linda Watson, who runs Linda’s House of Hope in Perth, was in the sex trade for nearly 20 years. She hated what she was doing, but was afraid to admit it. She says she felt trapped.
“That is why I am now helping girls and women who feel trapped as I was,” Linda said.
“I did not know Pippa, but over the years I have known many hundreds of others in the sex trade around Australia,” Linda Watson said. “It didn’t matter whether they worked in legal or illegal brothels, on the street, or as legal escorts. They needed prescription medication or drugs in order to cope. Former Australian sex worker Simone Watson said the same in a recent interview.
“Many workers come to me too late. Funerals are the hardest part of what I do,” Linda said. “My heart goes out to Pippa’s family and friends. I pray that they may find comfort.”
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