Trans Woman Opens Up About 'Survival Sex': '$500 Came Very Fast'

03/01/2015 09:12 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

There were few options left for Sasha Washington, a trans woman living in New York, to get the money she needed to survive. So at the age of 15, she was forced to turn to "survival sex."

Washington, who is now 28 and no longer homeless, opened up about her destitute past to HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps on Friday. She was first introduced to survival sex, in which the payment typically involves cash or shelter, by a friend. When Washington found herself without any resources in New York City, she couldn't refuse the opportunity.

"She showed me what to do, how to do it, and $500 came very fast, less than 30 minutes," Washington said.

Washington said many people think sex work is about someone standing on a corner waiting to be called upon; but she also used the internet and chat lines.

"It's just about knowing your gut and your intuition and your energy and feeling the vibe and asking questions. I'm the type of person, I asked a lot of questions before I get involved," Washington said.

She later recounted a near-death experience she had roughly three years ago when a man asked her to perform oral sex on him for $40. At the time, she was on mental health medication, she hadn't eaten all day and she thought it would be quick. He drove her to his house.

"I wound up realizing that I was giving this guy oral head for two hours and thirty minutes and he's not ejaculating yet, so I need to go," she said. "He didn't want me to go and he tried to kill me. So he left the room and went in the kitchen, came back and had the biggest knife ... and he tried to stab me in my chest. Instead of him stabbing me in my chest, he took ... [the top of] my wedding [ring] finger off."

The nightmare continued and the man gave Washington a choice: either he kill her or she let him penetrate her, which she never let clients do. She "sacrificed."

"Then I ran out. It was very risky. I could have been one of the trans girls that could have been dead and nobody would have known about it, you know?" she said.

When Washington finally escaped outside, she "kissed the ground."

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    kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop)/Flickr
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