Michelle Mara is a British-born survivor of the sex trade in New Zealand. She is a single mother of four who writes and speaks about her experiences in prostitution in New Zealand, including as a madam, during prohibition as well as after the trade was fully decriminalized. Michelle has been a refugee support worker for Somali women in Wellington, a foster parent for Native American (Lakota) children in South Dakota, a mental health and disability advocate, social support advisor for young families during the aftermath of 9/11 in the U.S Military, and has voluntarily housed numerous at risk teens. She advocates for the Equality/Nordic model and co-founded Wahine Toa Rising NZ, a survivor-led organization supporting sexually exploited women and girls, currently working towards establishing exit supports and services, as well as a refuge/safe house for vulnerable women wanting to exit prostitution.
I spoke with her from her home in New Zealand on March 25th, 2020.