Sex Workers Claim A&E Lied About Getting Them Out of the Business

Not great.

Three women who appeared on A&E's 8 Minutes tell BuzzFeed the network never gave them the support it promised them to get out of prostitution. The reality show, which just wrapped its first season, follows pastor Kevin Brown as he attempts to convince sex workers to leave the industry. The program assures viewers that women who take Brown up on his offer will receive resources like "a safe place to sleep, medical and mental health care, education, employment, [and] legal and rehabilitation services," but the three women say producers merely paid them a small fee for their participation, and then disappeared. (One also received a phone number for a counselor.) The women also say the show made them lie about being sex-trafficked, and did not give them the option to have their faces blurred. Even before it premiered, 8 Minutes came under criticism from the sex-worker community, who called its efforts to "rescue" women exploitative. A petition to prevent the series from airing gathered 2,300 signatures.