Mia de Faoite is a survivor of prostitution and an activist speaking out about the abusive nature of prostitution. She is a woman of faith, a mother, a university graduate and an activist. I have heard her speak twice, once at City Hall, Dublin at a celebration to mark the passing of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 and more recently when she came to speak to us at the MECPATHS team meeting to share her story. She speaks with conviction and courage and recounts her story with such emotion that it is impossible for any audience not to be moved by and outraged at the ordeals that she has suffered.
Mia de Faoite BA Hons. (hons) LLM
Mia became addicted to heroin which led to her having to leave her job and it eventually led her into prostitution. She spoke of the fear, rape, violence, abuse and evils that she met in prostitution. Despite all this she never lost her faith in God. She said that she never questioned God’s existence or presence and that therefore in some way she was never alone out there.
Mia recalled an encounter with a Garda (Irish Police) that had given her great hope. She noted how the Gardaí had been very kind to her. One night she asked a Garda who was on night duty if he was OK because he looked exhausted. He told her that he had a new baby son who hadn’t been sleeping and he asked her if she as a mother had any advice for him. She spoke about how much hope that simple question from the Garda had given her. The dignity and respect represented in the question had made her feel human again.
Mia met a compassionate social worker who made an effort to help her and with assistance from various people and organisations including Ruhama she recovered from her addiction and found her way out of prostitution.
Mia gave us hope; her courage and her story were inspirational to us in our work to counter trafficking. She gave us a personal glimpse of the person and human story behind the facts and figures that we present to hotel staff in our efforts to raise awareness about trafficking in hotels. She also spoke to us briefly about the experiences she had with hotels whilst she was in prostitution.
When Mia spoke at City Hall she portrayed the point that bodily integrity is at the heart of human dignity and that all humans should be afforded this protection. Mia is an advocate for, and the embodiment of, human dignity for which she has fought with passion and continues to do so. It is the deep respect for the dignity of the human person that lies at the heart of Mercy. MECPATHS is working to protect this dignity through efforts to counter child trafficking.
At the MECPATHS team meeting, in addition to Mia telling us her story, she read to us a talk that she had prepared as an assignment for a college course in leadership. She shared it with us and has kindly allowed us to share it in Mercy Alive.
Mia has recently graduated with a law degree. We wish her many congratulations.
Find out more about MECPATHS at mecpaths.ie