WEIGHT: 54 kg
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Under the shade of a tree at an Istanbul cafe, Suzan, a voluptuous woman in her 50s with dyed blond hair and a warm, generous smile, describes how she went from teenage bride to full-time sex worker. As she talks, her cell phone rings nearly every 15 minutes. Customers, she explains. She was married off by her father at age 16, with only a primary-school education, and she left her alcoholic, gambling husband after having seven children with him, one of whom died in infancy.
To support the remaining six, she tried everything: selling cheap clothes in a local market, working in a factory, waitressing at a tea garden.
A chance meeting with a sex worker while waiting for a train convinced her it was time to switch careers. Unlike other jobs, however, this one put her in the cross-hairs of the law.
In the 20 years she has worked in this field, she has been fined by the police more times than she can count, and she has appeared in court more than 50 times.
Four years ago, she spent six months in prison while police investigated her possible involvement with drugs and work with underage girls. They found evidence of neither and released her without charges.