Eileen* was a middle aged woman with long black hair in a plait, wearing a green skirt and brown and green blouse and bright red lipstick. I met her at a centre for sex workers where they gave them support in terms of providing education and knowledge on how to be safe while engaged in their trade and a space for them to gather.
Eileen was telling me her story as to how she got involved in sex work. She had been an average citizen of Sri Lanka and was happily married with a son. One day her husband and son were involved in a car accident and both passed away.
Overcome with grief and the inability to deal with the situation, Eileen ended up on the streets of Colombo with no family and no income and found herself getting into the sex trade.
She was sobbing while she told me this and said that she has no reason to live. That she lost her husband and her son and now she has only this through which she survives.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy. A story narrated to me while I was doing research on HIV / AIDS in Sri Lanka during 2004/2005.