New prostitution strategy in the UK

The British government has set out a new prostitution strategy. It seems to consist of helping sex workers, for instance by allowing them to work in pairs away from the street and offering them help with any drug or alcohol problems that might have forced them into prostitution, raising awareness among johns and pursuing exploitative pimps and people traffickers.

Changes like this don’t always produce the desired effect when they’re implemented, but it looks reasonable on paper.

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57 Responses to New prostitution strategy in the UK

  1. Pingback: feminist blogs

  2. 2
    Thomas says:

    Sex work is one of those issues that often has feminist at each other’s throats, but I think we can all agree on this much: that under no circumstances should sex workers be subject to more certain or more severe punishment than their customers. Whether we’re for stopping the trade or legalizing it, I think we can all agree that the policy implemented ought not to fall most heavily on the women doing the sex work.

    (For my part, I’m a “Swedish model” proponent: prosecute johns only.)

  3. 3
    Elena says:

    I agree wholeheartedly, Thomas. Am I to understand that prostitution is legal in the UK?

  4. 4
    Lorenzo says:

    I heartily endorse the amazingly effective Sweedish solution of making selling sex legal but make purchasing it illegal. They’ve apparently had rather a lot of success with this strategy and it, as an additional bonus, doesn’t punish the sex-workers.

  5. 5
    Ed says:

    I truly don’t understand why you would make it illegal to buy something it is legal to sell. I am for making it completely legal and licensed with mandatory std testing. I hadn’t heard of the swedish model previously but it seems odd to me, would you support similar legislation for drugs for instance, or stolen cars…just punish the consumers?

    As for where the blame should fall, I have a sneaking suspicion that sex workers service more than one john, that they sell sex more often than the average john buys it. Perhaps if you look at number of instances then it is more reasonable that they do take the brunt of the punishment. If someone buys one joint, is he as guilty as the pusher who sold 300?

    I, by the way, feel pot and prostitution are victimless crimes and should be legalized. I understand it is now popular to see prostitutes as the victims of their own crime but I simply don’t see it. I think some protitution situations, like taking the passport from a foreign worker and not returning it while forcing them into sex work, is a victim crime…but that is not the norm for prostitution nor is the prostitution the actual victim crime.

  6. 6
    Richard says:

    Ed, you ask a reasonable question, but I think, first, that you overlook some important differences between the selling of sex and, say, the selling of drugs and, second, that your generalization about what the norm is when it comes to prostitution, especially when you consider prostitution worldwide, is way off.

    When a woman or man chooses to sell sex, what he or she is selling, her or his body, has not been stolen or produced illegally, as is the case with illegal drugs and any kind of stolen property. In other words, that it should be illegal to sell something that is illegally made or illegally bought makes sense, but unless you outlaw sex, or unless you want to try to define a prostitute’s body as somehow illegal in and of itself, there is nothing about what a prostitute sells that breaks the law. On the other hand, buying a prostitute’s services, except perhaps–and this is a big perhaps–in the case of very high class and very expensive prostitutes, is intimately connected to all sorts of criminal activity, whether its through organized crime, the activities of an individual pimp, worldwide trafficking in women and children, etc. The man–and since it is overwhelmingly men that we are talking here, I am going to talk only about men–who buys a prostitute’s services, in other words, is most probably contributing to the perpetuation of illegal activity, and so why shouldn’t he be penalized for that?

    More to the point, prostition is a victimless crime, it seems to me, only if you look at it as an instance of an individual man buying sex from an individual woman. If you look at prostitution systemically, however, not merely as a single transaction between a man and a woman, but as a social institution that functions socially, culturally and politically to subjugate millions of women and girls, and often boys as well, worldwide, once, in other words, you look at the context in which prostitution occcurs worldwide and at prostitution as itself a context and not merely as an act, it is very difficult to see it as victimless even if you think, as I do, that there is nothing inherently wrong with selling sex. To put it another way, once you look at prostitution in the way I have just described, you begin to realize that the selling of sex is just one part of what prostitution as an institution is all about.

  7. 7
    Siobhan says:

    There was a case here in Ontario recently of a woman who was kidnapped and raped by a couple for several days. At one point they drove her to a strip joint in another town and forced her tos strip “for her freedom”.

    The strip joint called the cops. Because there was a woman there who was obviously under duress. The kidnapper/rapists were picked up by the police the next day.

    The difference between being a female who is kidnapped in Canada and being a female who is kidnapped in any other given country may or not be a large one, but the salient feature that stuck out in my mind about this case was; running a strip joint is a legal occupation and the owners felt absolutely no compunction about calling the cops when they thought something weird was going on in their bar.

    I can only dream of the day when running a whorehouse is such a normal thing that they feel free to do the exact same thing if they think one of their sex workers is there against her/his will.

    Siobhan

  8. 8
    cicely says:

    Sex work is one of those issues that often has feminist at each other’s throats, but I think we can all agree on this much: that under no circumstances should sex workers be subject to more certain or more severe punishment than their customers. Whether we’re for stopping the trade or legalizing it, I think we can all agree that the policy implemented ought not to fall most heavily on the women doing the sex work.

    (For my part, I’m a “Swedish model” proponent: prosecute johns only.)

    Also agreeing with you, Thomas. To go furthur , I was wondering about this scenario. Say a client had to sign some kind of receipt on which appears a written confirmation from a government health or other authority that the sex worker is a legitimate and registered professional, with health cover, and other rights accorded to workers in general. Only in the absence of a copy of said receipt would the client be open to prosecution, and that would be for the exploitation of an unprotected worker who may also possibly be doing sex work against her will.

    This neccesitates that prostitution be a legal profession or occupation. Are there problems I haven’t seen, for the sex workers, with this?

    As an aside, I would have no sympathy for the clients problem of where to store the receipts.

  9. 9
    Lorenzo says:

    For those interested int he Sweedish policy, the article I read about it is here.

  10. 10
    RonF says:

    Sorry, but the Swedish model sounds bogus to me. If a transaction is illegal, then both people involved should be considered as having committed an illegal act and both should be prosecuted.

    Saying that what a prostitute sells is not illegal misdirects the focus. The issue is not whether what’s being sold is illegal; it’s the sale, the transaction that’s illegal. What the Swedish model says is that buying sex should be illegal but that selling it shouldn’t be. That makes no sense to me.

    Unless what’s being done here is to say, “both are illegal, but we’re only going to arrest the buyers”, which seems both inequitable and inefficient. It also can lead to all kinds of corruption. I personally am all for busting both the johns and the whores.

    Consider; I can make 200 gallons of wine or beer a year for my own use. I can give it away to whoever I want (if they are of legal age). However, I can’t sell a drop of it unless I go though all kinds of licensing, regulation, taxing, etc. That beer or wine is all gerfectly legal, and I can provide it to people legally. But a financial transaction with it is illegal; it’s the transaction, not the substance or service, that’s illegal. It’s the same here. Fornication isn’t illegal (I don’t think …). Prostitution is.

  11. 11
    Nick Kiddle says:

    Am I to understand that prostitution is legal in the UK?

    Sort of. It’s not illegal to have sex for money in your own home, but it is illegal to walk the streets looking for johns. And if a woman works as a prostitute and her husband has no other income, he can be charged with “living off immoral earnings”.

    (I’m not an expert, and UK law changes frequently, so anyone better-informed than me please feel free to correct me.)

  12. 12
    Polymath says:

    distinguishing between the legality or illegality of buying or selling sex seems to me beside the point. laws are put into place because the people who make the laws want to control the some activity. and sensibly designed laws should serve the purpose of that control. so the question becomes, to what extent ought prostitution be controlled? and what are the best laws to those ends?

    i think it is hypocritical to say that professional athletes can (for money, and solely for the entertainment of others) perform physical acts that often leave them with permanent injury and/or no skills beyond their useful professional life, and then turn around and say that a sex worker can’t do the same thing. that only makes sense if you believe that sex is inherently something to be controlled.

    and professional athletes have (because they can, because it’s legal) unions and associations that work to protect them from injury and exploitation. sex workers ought to have the same privilege.

    but…since society doesn’t seem to agree for the most part, we have to ask what’s the best way to protect sex workers from harm (by pimps and johns). i doubt it’s to arrest them. this “swedish model” (sounds vaguely sex-workerish in its own right) makes more sense to me because it allows the prostitute more control (they can call the cops on a violent john without fear of being put in jail themselves, for instance). but it’s practical considerations like this that we ought to be considering, not theoretical arguments about the (il)legality of any particular financial transaction.

  13. 13
    nik says:

    Nick’s got the UK position absolutely right. Selling sex is legal. Buying sex is legal. But most the stuff around it is illegal on the basis that it harms others – stuff like soliciting, kerb crawling, running a brothel, pimping, and so on.

    The reason why this is the case will be interesting to the sort of people who hang out on this blog. The legal philosophy behind the law is that:

    “The law’s function is to preserve public order and decency, to protect the citizen from what is offensive or injurious, and to provide sufficient safeguards against exploitation and corruption of others … It is not, in our view, the function of the law to intervene in the private life of citizens, or to seek to enforce any particular pattern of behaviour.”

    That’s from the 1957 Wolfenden Report, and was a very radical idea in its day. The idea is that it’s none of the laws business what people do in private, their conduct can only be regulated on the basis that it harms others. The upshot of this was that the report recomended that – as well as that prostitution should be legal – homosexuality should be decriminalised, which happened ten years later.

    I like the idea that what you do in private is none of the laws business, morals shouldn’t be force onto people. That’s why I’m sceptical about the Swedish Solution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfenden_report

  14. 14
    Thomas says:

    nik, that didn’t stop them from outlawing some private consensual BDSM. As I understand it, the Law Lords split strictly on age lines.

  15. 15
    hf says:

    More to the point, prostition is a victimless crime, it seems to me, only if you look at it as an instance of an individual man buying sex from an individual woman. If you look at prostitution systemically, however, not merely as a single transaction between a man and a woman, but as a social institution that functions socially, culturally and politically to subjugate millions of women and girls, and often boys as well, worldwide, once, in other words, you look at the context in which prostitution occcurs worldwide and at prostitution as itself a context and not merely as an act, it is very difficult to see it as victimless even if you think, as I do, that there is nothing inherently wrong with selling sex.

    Quite so. But every arrest involves “an individual man buying sex from an individual woman,” ignoring for the moment the possibility of different combinations. So I tend to favor methods of changing the system other than prohibition.

    Doesn’t legal tradition distinguish between illegal contracts and contracts that the courts just won’t enforce? In other words, can’t we refuse to create a legal entitlement to sex, without necessarily having to punish those who pay for it? If the woman changes her mind after a man pays her, this would still allow us to prosecute him for rape. (Assuming we can get the justice system to take notice. And if we can’t, why would you trust it with the power to hurt sex workers?)

  16. 16
    Violet Socks says:

    Sorry, but the Swedish model sounds bogus to me. If a transaction is illegal, then both people involved should be considered as having committed an illegal act and both should be prosecuted.

    I think you’re focusing on the odd-sounding “selling is legal, but buying is illegal,” without realizing what the Swedes were trying to do. The purpose of the Swedish law is to outlaw prostitution without persecuting prostitutes.

    The Swedes want prostitution to be illegal. But it is a fact that in every country where prostitution is illegal, the women in the trade suffer immensely. They are often destitute, underage, addicted to drugs, at the mercy of violent johns — and because their work is illegal, they have no protection of the law.

    So, the Swedes decided to try to outlaw prostitution without criminalizing the women. Hence the “buying is illegal, but selling is legal” strategy.

  17. 17
    Richard says:

    Okay, so here’s a question that occurs to me as I read through these comments, though I also want to acknowledge, RonF, that I think you may be right in your response to my point about the different legal statuses of what a prostitute sells and what a john buys, but anyway, here’s my question: I seem to hear, beneath the texts, as it were, a general assumption that there is a difference in kind rather than degree between and among, say, the women who walk the street across the river from me in Manhattan giving cheap blowjobs to men in their cars, the higher priced and relatively independent women who have chosen prostitution as a career, the women who hook because they need money for their next fix, the women in Eastern Europe who are forced into prostitution, the barely adolescent girls in Asia who are sold into prostitution by their families because the families need the money to feed their other children, (and I should include the fewer in number, but still there, boys and men who also fit these descriptions) and so on. If I am right, then I am curious to hear how people make the distinctions. Why are all of these examples of prostitution not points on a single continuum? And if I am wrong, if people believe that we are talking about a single continuum, then I am wondering why we seem to be talking only about, say, the woman or women–or man or men–who might want to set up their own shop in my neighborhood and sell sex the way, to use RonF’s example, a liquor store sells liquor? Why are we not also talking about all of the other instances of prostitution that do not so easily fit that description?

  18. 18
    Spicy says:

    I think some protitution situations, like taking the passport from a foreign worker and not returning it while forcing them into sex work, is a victim crime…but that is not the norm for prostitution

    Depends on how you define ‘norm’.

    Research into off-street prostitution in London UK found that between 1755 and 2221 women are selling sex as escorts across London. Women from 79 different ethnic groups were identified in 164 escort agencies. Only 20% of these women were from the United Kingdom.

    Moreover, between 2972 and 5861 women are selling sex from flats, parlours and saunas across London. Ninety-three different ethnicities were mapped in the 730 flats, parlours and saunas, only 19% of women were from the United Kingdom.

    It is not possible to estimate exactly how many of these women are trafficked into prostitution, but key indicators, including interviews with women and information from sexual health outreach agencies suggests that there are more women under varying degrees of control in the sex industry than previously estimated ““ perhaps even a majority which would suggest that situations such as you describe are indeed the ‘norm’.

    The same research also identified a link via telephone numbers between 88 sites selling sex across the United Kingdom. This link implies that organised crime is able to move women around the country between flats, parlours and saunas to escape detection and ensure women are isolated.
    This has been further supported by direct testimony from trafficked women who have been able to escape and reach safety.

  19. 19
    nik says:

    Do you think Ed’s point, that in cases where people are coerced into prostitution the crime with a victim isn’t the prostitution, it’s the forced labour, has some weight?

    I admit I’m torn on the issue.

    Part of me says that morals are none of the laws business, and given that prostitution is victimless it should be legal. The other part says that since in practice prostitutes are victims of other crimes, then it should be banned on utilitarian grounds – so there is no incentive for these other crimes to take place. That’s what I think is the justification of the Swedish solution. But a ban on that basis would involve jailing people, for doing something which I don’t see is any of the laws business.

  20. 20
    hf says:

    I am wondering why we seem to be talking only about, say, the woman or women”“or man or men”“who might want to set up their own shop in my neighborhood and sell sex the way, to use RonF’s example, a liquor store sells liquor? Why are we not also talking about all of the other instances of prostitution that do not so easily fit that description?

    Well, I assumed everyone here agreed that we should fight kidnapping and child abuse. When the prostitute suffers from coercion, and any client with the ability to walk without falling would clearly have figured this out beforehand, I would probably go ahead and jail the client for complicity in a crime. Someone buying sex in Thailand, for example, might have to show proof of illiteracy to avoid the charge. The situation in the UK seems less clear, at least. Note that the original post addressed a strategy in the UK and specifically mentioned both drug addiction and trafficking.

  21. 21
    Ed says:

    I had to chuckle at Violet’s use of the word persecution vs prosecution. I know it was not a typo but it very rarely fits when you are talking about illegal activity unless the laws are later repealed and considered unjust.
    Basicly one is the other only one is considered just and the other unjust or heavy handed.

    I don’t think prostitution is the only occupation where people feel used or overworked and underappreciated and complain. Ask mine workers or fishermen if they are “persecuted”. Try and stop working in the middle of a 3 month cruise if you are a merchant marine and see how persecuted you are.

    As for men “contributing” to the illegal activity. How is a man buying sex contributing any more than the woman selling it. That seems to be playing off the stereotype that all men are abusers and don’t care about the well being of anyone but themselves.

    It sounds to me that the UK seems to have it right in theory. Selling sex is legal. Prosecute people for the illegal and harmful activities associated with it instead of the actual act.

    Unfortunately you also end up in the sticky trap of what is sexual consent. In a world where a woman can change her mind mid stroke and the man can go to jail for rape, do you want to be coupling with women who are in it JUST for the money. With the popularity of civil suits after criminal convicions I think it would be wise to avoid the entire industry, legal or not.

  22. 22
    Spicy says:

    Ask mine workers or fishermen if they are “persecuted”.

    Goodness me! I had no idea that social stigma, rape, saexual assualt, HIV infection and murder were routine occupational hazards of being a mine worker or fisherman…

    That seems to be playing off the stereotype that all men are abusers and don’t care about the well being of anyone but themselves

    “PunterNet frequently refers to men buying sex with women who are clearly unhappy, unwilling, frightened and/or in pain. Some of these women will have been trafficked.” (Source: Sex in the City)

    Even when men who use prostitutes do ostensibly ‘care’ – underneath – it’s still all about them

  23. 23
    RonF says:

    If women are being “trafficked” into prostitution (love that term), then legalize it and regulate it. But to make it illegal for the customers to engage in the transaction while making it legal for the providers to engage in the transaction is clearly discriminatory, and still provides enough illegality in the transaction to support criminal activities.

    Either prostitution is criminal or it is not. If it is, then anyone engaging in it should be prosecuted. If it is not, then no one should.

  24. 24
    RonF says:

    Can someone give me an example in American law where a transaction is illegal for one party to it but not for the other? And I’m not talking about when one party’s ignorance as to the true nature of the transaction provides a legal defense (e.g., I sell you goods that I know are stolen but that you don’t).

  25. 25
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, minimum wage laws are an example. It’s illegal for you to pay me under the minimum wage for a job, and you can be fined or even – if you continually ignore a judge’s orders to start paying the minimum – put in jail. However, I can’t be punished at all for my part in the transaction.

  26. 26
    Ampersand says:

    As for men “contributing” to the illegal activity. How is a man buying sex contributing any more than the woman selling it.

    How is an employer paying sub-minimum wage contributing any more than the person being employed? Yet only the former is punished. I can live with that.

    There are a huge number of prostitutes who are prostitutes because of desparation, or entrapment, or because they’ve become trapped on the road of least resistance, which under our current system leads to prostitution. In a very real way, many prostitutes are forced into prostitution, and so (in my view) bear less responsibility. In contrast, Johns aren’t forced by economic necessity or by the path of least resistance ot pay for sex. Therefore, it makes sense to hold Johns more responsible.

    In any case, I’m more interested in the practical than I am in the theoretical issues you’re bringing up, Ed. As a practical matter, there’s good reason to believe that targeting demand is a more effective way of reducing prostitution than targeting supply is. The prospect of punishment won’t deter many prostitutes, because they feel they have no choice; but it will deter many Johns, who will choose not to have that blow job if they face a realistic prospect of jail time.

    That seems to be playing off the stereotype that all men are abusers and don’t care about the well being of anyone but themselves.

    Only if you assume that all men hire prostitutes. I assure you, I make no such assumption.

    Unfortunately you also end up in the sticky trap of what is sexual consent. In a world where a woman can change her mind mid stroke and the man can go to jail for rape, do you want to be coupling with women who are in it JUST for the money.

    If a woman says “stop! Get off, I want you to stop!” mid stroke and the man refuses to stop, then he’s a rapist and he deserves to go to prison. Why would you want to live in a world in which it was legal to force someone to have sex even after they’ve said “stop”?

  27. 27
    Violet Socks says:

    In a world where a woman can change her mind mid stroke and the man can go to jail for rape, do you want to be coupling with women who are in it JUST for the money.

    Okay, thanks for reminding me why I usually post only on the no-MRA threads. Jesus Christ.

  28. 28
    RonF says:

    Interesting example. Not bad. There is a difference, though. In the case of prostitution, the entire transaction, sex-for-money, is illegal. Whereas in the case of sub-minimum wage, the basic transaction, labor-for-money, is not illegal. It’s only a condition of the transaction, the amount of money, that’s illegal. So the question is what the significance of that is.

    As far as practicality goes, millenia of history shows that regardless of who you bust, whores or johns, prostitution will continue. There’s no shortage of customers and there’s no shortage of vendors. I’ll readlily agree that a fear of being busted certainly deters some prospective customers, but do you really think it doesn’t deter any prospective whores? From a practical viewpoint, when a relatively small number of sources can provide a service to a much larger group of customers, it makes a lot more sense to concentrate on cutting off the source. It’s probably not a precise analogy, but it’s at least similar to a public health problem where “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”; close the pump instead of treating hundreds or thousands for cholera, or practice “safe sex” rather than treating the complications of AIDS and working up a cure.

    Now, I don’t advise not busting customers. They’ve done something illegal, and busting them certainly both punishes the law-breakers and inhibits others from doing the same. But no matter which way you do it, busting one and not the other is in my view discriminatory. So bust them both. But not just one or the other.

  29. 29
    RonF says:

    Violet Socks, it is worthy to note that there are aspects of sex-for-money that have historically been shown to lead to customer abuse and even death. Ask any vice cop what “the Murphy game” is. A customer hires a prostitute, they get down to business, and then an accomplice of the prostitute shows up. The accomplice might just assault the customer, or might present themselves as an aggrieved lover/spouse, or might threaten to blackmail the customer by reporting the situation to the customer’s spouse. In any case, the customer at least loses money and may well lose their health or life. When I was in college in Boston in the ’70′s a Harvard kid got killed in an alley in just this fashion. We all thought that Harvard kids were supposed to be smarter than to argue with a pimp in an alley ….

    It’s also not unheardof for the prostitute themselves to simply rob the customer. When someone’s motivation for having sex boils down to money, they are often capable of doing some evil deeds.

  30. 30
    RonF says:

    Spicy writes:

    Goodness me! I had no idea that social stigma, rape, saexual assualt, HIV infection and murder were routine occupational hazards of being a mine worker or fisherman…

    No, but emphysema and lung cancer (in the case of miners), loss of limbs or sight and death are. Those two occupations are among the most hazardous in existence. And the pay isn’t nearly commensurate to the risk.

    If you made prostitution as legal as mining and fishing are, it’s not beyond belief that prostitution would then become less hazardous than mining and commercial fishing.

  31. 31
    nik says:

    I think the minimum wage example misses the target for the reasons Ed gives.

    But there are plenty of other examples where buying/selling X is illegal for one party but not the other. Regulations regarding buying/selling X only being legal if you’re licensed to do so are pretty common. Aside from that:

    * Selling but not buying is illegal for things like counterfeit goods, pirated DVDs, and so on. Situations like that are quite common.
    * Buying but not selling being illegal is much rarer, but it does apply to things like blood, organs and gametes.

    That said, I agree with Ed’s position. Prostitution doesn’t cause any direct harm and involves no malicious intent, the ban’s being advocated just because of moral disapproval. I’m not sure that’s an acceptable justification, couldn’t we ban adultery on the same basis?

  32. 32
    Richard says:

    In response to my question about which prostitutes we are talking about, hf wrote:

    Well, I assumed everyone here agreed that we should fight kidnapping and child abuse. When the prostitute suffers from coercion, and any client with the ability to walk without falling would clearly have figured this out beforehand, I would probably go ahead and jail the client for complicity in a crime. Someone buying sex in Thailand, for example, might have to show proof of illiteracy to avoid the charge. The situation in the UK seems less clear, at least. Note that the original post addressed a strategy in the UK and specifically mentioned both drug addiction and trafficking.

    And, in response to Spicy’s point about the dangers of prostitution, RonF wrote:

    No, but emphysema and lung cancer (in the case of miners), loss of limbs or sight and death are. Those two occupations are among the most hazardous in existence. And the pay isn’t nearly commensurate to the risk.

    hf’s point about the subject of the original post addressing a strategy for dealing with prostitution in the UK is apt, but I still wonder about seeing child prostitution, trafficking and the like as qualitatively different from other forms of prostitution, not so much in terms of the women involved–obviously someone who has been forced to sell sex is in a different position from one who has chosen it voluntarily–but from the point of view of where the demand comes from. The fact is that, inherent in female prostitution as it is generally practiced today, in all its forms–since it seems to be primarily female prostitution that we are talking about here–is the relationship not simply between buyer and seller and the question of whether or not the transaction is ethical, i.e., without coercion on anyone’s part and so on, but also the relationship between men and women defined by male heterosexual privilege and the demeaning objectification of women’s sexuality and bodies that male heterosexual privilege requires in order to function. This is an important difference between the miners RonF talks about and prostitutes. Miners do not become miners because there is a cultural definition of their bodies and of their persons which makes mining a profession for which they are “naturally” suited. I recognize that there all kinds of reasons that someone might not have any other choice than to become a miner, but none of them–not class, not family pressure, not economic necessity–are part of a miner’s body the way a vagina and breasts are part of a woman’s. Furthermore, and perhaps more to the point, performing the tasks that a miner performs does not demonstrate, in cultural terms, that a miner deserves to be treated in a particular way because he or she is a minor in the way that a woman who makes herself available for sex, with or without pay, but especially with pay, is generally understood to have demonstrated the essential truth of what a vagina and breasts mean in a male dominant culture: that a woman’s body is a sexual object that exists for the use of men.

    There are, obviously, many individual men and women who do not adhere to these values and who manage to live their lives accordingly, and so my point is not to paint all men as sexual oppressors with the same wide brush, nor is my point to suggest that all women are helpless victims of the patriarchy. When you look at prostitution through this larger cultlural lens, however, it does seem to me disingenuous to suggest a qualitative difference between the child prostitute and the prostitute who chooses her profession. More to the point, I think, when you look through this larger cultural lens, it becomes more difficult to compare the selling of sex to the selling of anything else. The transaction that takes place when I buy a bottle of liquor, for example, is qualitatively different from transaction that takes place when a man buys sex because my buying a bottle of liquor does not reflect back on the person I bought it from in the same way that buying sex reflects back on the woman. Nor will legalizing prostitution change this fact. It will, no doubt, make prostution safer for women–and for male prostitutes as well–but legalizing prostitution will not change the way women are viewed in a male dominant culture. Indeed, it could end up simply legitimizing that view.

    Looked at this way, the Swedish solution begins to make more sense–though I recognize my reasoning might not have been at the center of how the Swedes arrived at it. If you recognize that prostitution is inherently not a transaction between equals, and if you recognize that this inequality is at the heart of prostution’s connection to other kinds of criminal activity, and you want therefore to eliminate prostitution, why would you punish the party to the original transaction who is in the weaker position?

  33. 33
    Q Grrl says:

    RonF writes: “If you made prostitution as legal as mining and fishing are, it’s not beyond belief that prostitution would then become less hazardous than mining and commercial fishing. ”

    I think this is a false analogy. Job hazards associated with prostitution are much more predictable than job hazards associated with mining/fishing — precisely because the “job” hazards are not limited to the work perfomed, but are conditional on the gender of the person doing the work. The general population does not face the same hazards as miners/fishermen. The general population of women, however, does face the same hazards, at approximate statistical rates, as prostitutes. If that can’t be changed, it makes not great difference if prostitution is legal or not.

  34. 34
    Nick Kiddle says:

    Richard: I’ve fixed your blockquotes and deleted the repeat posts.

  35. 35
    Richard says:

    Thanks, Nick (he says, somewhat red-cheeked).

  36. 36
    Elena says:

    “Prostitution doesn’t cause any direct harm and involves no malicious intent”

    I would argue that wanting to sexually exploit a person is indeed malicious. If the US were suddenly flooded with starving refugees willing to clean your bathroom for $1 an hour, I would call you malicious for hiring them at that wage. Similarly, no reasonable client paying he normal cost of a prostitute can be certain that the prostitute hasn’t ended up in her profession because of abuse, coercion, drug addiction or outright hunger. We all know that an average woman with any options at all isn’t going to become a prostitute, and the exceptions rather prove the rule. After all, if most prostitutes were high class call girls who could pick and choose, there would hardly be any prostitution.

    “The oldest profession” is often romanticized or dismissed as harmless, but the reason why there have always been prostitutes is because there have always been war, abuse, and slavery and addiction that provide the “workforce”.

    Morally, I firmly believe that it is indeed worse to “pay for sin than sin for pay”, because while I can think of many sad reasons to be a prostitute, I can only think of one to use one, and it’s ugly.

  37. 37
    Richard says:

    Elena wrote:

    Morally, I firmly believe that it is indeed worse to “pay for sin than sin for pay”, because while I can think of many sad reasons to be a prostitute, I can only think of one to use one, and it’s ugly.

    Well said!

  38. 38
    Tuomas says:

    There is little for me to add, all the good reasons for the Swdish model have been said already, and better than I could have said them (it is very probable that the model spreads to Finland and Norway, it has already been discussed but the House of Representatives has decided to not be hasty, as in “let’s wait and see whether Sweden gets good results or not”).

    I don’t understand this talk about miners and fishermen. This is not a zero-sum game: Not helping women does not help miners and fishermen. Helping miners and fishermen helps miners and fishermen (better safety regulations, better pay, better health benefits etc.). Unless one is a big believer in the saying “Misery loves company”, of course.

  39. 39
    Tuomas says:

    That is, to clarify (about the miners and fishermen point): Prostitution (but not pimping or human trafficking) is legal in Finland, but the current law has been ineffectual in helping to stop all the bad things that come with prostitution (and we’re talking about a country with damn low crime rates in general). Thus, I am completely unconvinced that legalizing prostitution is the magic trick to stop malice and harm associated with it.

  40. 40
    Tuomas says:

    Sorry, third post in a row:

    legalizing prostitution

    As in legal to sell and buy.

  41. 41
    cicely says:

    If the Swedish model is successul in reducing particularly the trafficking of girls and women, and spreads to other countries with the same result, it will be utterly justified. It is the demand that creates the supply of prostitutes and not the other way around.

    Many, many men care not about how the girl or woman whose body they are buying came to be ‘on the market’. The word ‘demand’ in this situation applies not only in the ‘market’ sense, but also describes, in my mind, the sense of entitlement too many men plainly feel with regard to womens bodies, regardless of a woman’s circumstances. It’s good and way, way overdue to see that sense of entitlement being challenged and the ‘fact’ of it being denied. Certainly people will start thinking more about this.

    I’ve had to think about this because I support the right of a woman to be a sex worker, and to have a safe working environment, so it seems to be a positive move in the UK. What happens to a prostitutes business if it’s illegal, as in Sweden, for a customer to purchase her services? But the biggest and most urgent question in any case is ‘what is prostitution costing in terms of the lives of girls and women (and the much smaller number of young males)?, and I feel that nothing short of tackling the problem from the demand side will change things enough, beginning with perception. I know I practically junped for joy when I first learned of the Swedish law, to hear of that particular table being turned.

    Maybe greater honesty about male sexual appetites and behaviour will be a future benefit of this approach as well. But that’s a whole other issue.

  42. 42
    RonF says:

    Furthermore, and perhaps more to the point, performing the tasks that a miner performs does not demonstrate, in cultural terms, that a miner deserves to be treated in a particular way because he or she is a minor in the way that a woman who makes herself available for sex, with or without pay, but especially with pay, is generally understood to have demonstrated the essential truth of what a vagina and breasts mean in a male dominant culture: that a woman’s body is a sexual object that exists for the use of men.

    It seems to me that performing the work of a miner or a commercial fisherman, or a migrant worker, certainly does have an effect on a person’s status in our culture. I believe that it’s quite clear that the person and their output can be used by the dominant members of the culture without regard for the effect the work has on them and the hazards that attach to the work. Consider the resistance to universal health care, and who would benefit from it vs. who would pay for it.

  43. 43
    RonF says:

    Selling but not buying is illegal for things like counterfeit goods, pirated DVDs, and so on. Situations like that are quite common.

    Nik, I believe that if the buyer is aware that what they are being sold is being illegally sold, buying the goods/services is illegal as well.

  44. 44
    RonF says:

    The general population of women, however, does face the same hazards, at approximate statistical rates, as prostitutes.

    You hold that sexually active people who are not prostitutes are at the same hazard for STD’s, beatings, theft, etc. as prostitutes are?

  45. 45
    Richard says:

    RonF wrote:

    It seems to me that performing the work of a miner or a commercial fisherman, or a migrant worker, certainly does have an effect on a person’s status in our culture. I believe that it’s quite clear that the person and their output can be used by the dominant members of the culture without regard for the effect the work has on them and the hazards that attach to the work. Consider the resistance to universal health care, and who would benefit from it vs. who would pay for it.

    RonF, you miss the point. My point is not that class privilege/bias does not function culturally in defining how working class people are seen and treated culturally. Of course it does. My point is that it functions differently than gender, that this difference is something that needs to be taken into account when you talk about prostitution as a profession and that to overlook this difference is disingenuously to deny the male dominant gender politics that define the soco-economic, cultural and political second-class status of women. Now, gender and class–not to mention race–do of course overlap, giving some women a more privileged status than others and some women, as long as they are in a situation where there class-based or racial or other form of privilege matters, more privilege than some men, but within their own group–however you define that group–the women of the group will always have less sexual social/cultural/political privilege than men and that lower status will be defined in large measure in terms of the women’s sexual objectification.

    Again, I should stress that I do not deny that there are individual men and women who do their best, and sometimes succeed, not to live according to these values. Nor, I suppose I should stress as well, would I deny that women make choices in the face of this objectification and that sometimes–though I would guess a better word would be “rarely”–they make these choices consciously, with a full understanding of the sexual dynamic involved, and as one choice among others they might have. The fact that this happens, however, does not change the underlying gender hierarchy that makes sexual objectification something that confronts women with such choices in the first place.

    Indeed, the way you frame your response makes my point in a small way. You write that “performing the work of a miner or a commercial fisherman, or a migrant worker, certainly does have an effect on a person’s status in our culture,” underlining the fact that it is the work these people do that defines them in a particular way. A woman does not need to become a prostitute to be defined culturally as a sexual object; that definition is already firmly in place from the moment she comes into the world. Should she grow up to be a prostitute, her choice of profession merely confirms what is already culturally “true” about her body and its uses.

    This is not the case for miners and other working class people in the sense that, should they cease to become working class, it would no longer be culturally “true” that their bodies deserve the kind of treatment you describe. I am not suggesting that it is easy for someone to switch socio-economic classes or that there aren’t social biases against, as well as institutionalized obstacles that are intended to prevent such a switch. I am merely pointing out that the switch is possible and that to deny the differences between working class status and gender, to keep referring a discussion of prostitution to the examples of working-class people without taking into account the way female prostitution is both process and product of a male dominant culture, is, first of all, implicitly and disingenuously to deny that the male dominant gender hierarchy even exists.

    This denial, I would argue, and this was the motivation for the post from which you quoted me, is what makes it possible to see child prostitutes or girls or women stolen or forced into prostitution as qualitatively different from women who choose to become prostitutes. It also makes it possible to overlook the ways in which other social circumstances–poverty, war, etc.–compel women to choose prostitution and the ways in which that choice is itself structured by the male dominant gender hierarchy in which we live.

  46. 46
    Ed says:

    Richard,

    By reading your post you seem to believe that society and men think all women deserve to be treated like prostitutes. I am not sure what society you were raised in but thoughts like that almost frighten me. Women, for the most part, are protected and cared for above and beyond males, even to the point of a man’s own death. I understand there is a criminal element that targets females, but again, I would hate to think you actually believe that men are raised to view all women as sex for sale.

    You also seem to think that gender doens’t play a role in becoming a fisherman or miner. I assure you the professions are predominately male. Probably more onesided than prostitution and females. Farmers, dockworkers, fishermen, miners, lumberjacks…they are all selling their bodies. It is not prostitution, it is not selling sex, but they are taking great risks on a daily basis to provide a service.

    As for the social stigma of prostitution. Is it because it is illegal that there is a stigma or is it illegal because of the stigma. If it were a legal profession, would it cease to be “immoral”? I can’t say for sure but I rarely hear people from mainstream society condemning each other for taking a gambling weekend in Vegas. They would probably be a bit less comfortable if they caught them playing craps in an alley.

    I never understood the “male dominated gender hierarchy” concept. We live in a society where females have more influence over the following generations than anyone else through child rearing and education system. They have the majority vote in a democracy. They spend a majority of the consumer dollars. (so i have been told, I am single and spend my own paycheck.) And again, I am not sure what society you grew up in but where I grew up there was a constant drilling of the protection of girls and women. Don’t hit girls, even if they hit you first. Save the women and children first. Get a man up here to lift that, it is too heavy for the girl/woman, so on and so forth. I think your outlook is dated.

    Last coment, I know I talk to much. Women forced into prostitution ARE different than those that choose to do it. Grown female prostitutes ARE different than child prostitutes. If you argue they are not I simply can have no respect for any of your opinions. Slavery and child abuse are completely different from a woman who wants to make a quick buck, or even a desperate drug addict. Sorry if that offends, but I wouldn’t want to live in a world where those difference were ignored.

  47. 47
    Richard says:

    Ed,

    You have misread and/or misrepresented what I wrote, and I am going to assume this is because you did not read what I wrote in comment #31. So, beginning with what you claim to be my most egregious assertion.

    1. You wrote:

    Women forced into prostitution ARE different than those that choose to do it. Grown female prostitutes ARE different than child prostitutes. If you argue they are not I simply can have no respect for any of your opinions.

    What I actually wrote in comment#31:

    I still wonder about seeing child prostitution, trafficking and the like as qualitatively different from other forms of prostitution, not so much in terms of the women involved”“obviously someone who has been forced to sell sex is in a different position from one who has chosen it voluntarily”“but from the point of view of where the demand comes from.

    You obviously do not see the question of where the demand for prostitution comes from in the same way that I do, and that’s fine, but clearly I made the same distinction you did between situations of grown women who choose prostitution and those who are coered into it. If you argue that I did not, then, to use your words, “I simply can have no respect for any of your opinions.”

    2. You wrote:

    You also seem to think that gender doens’t play a role in becoming a fisherman or miner. I assure you the professions are predominately male. Probably more onesided than prostitution and females. Farmers, dockworkers, fishermen, miners, lumberjacks…they are all selling their bodies. It is not prostitution, it is not selling sex, but they are taking great risks on a daily basis to provide a service.

    I never said gender does not play a role in becoming a fisherman or a miner. What I said is that social class in those cases functions very differently from how gender functions in the case of prostitution to strucutre how those professions and the people who fill them are seen and treated culturally, socio-economically and politically. But since you bring the gendered nature of being a fisherman or a miner up–and I don’t dispute that they are gendered–I would point out to you that nothing about doing those jobs implies that the men who do them are anything other than good, decent men fulfilling their economic role of working to provide for their families. This is not true of prostitutes, for whom the practice of their profession defines them pretty irrevocably as “bad” women. As to the risks those men take and how those risks are structured and treated culturally, more below.

    3. You wrote:

    By reading your post you seem to believe that society and men think all women deserve to be treated like prostitutes.

    I never wrote that. What I actually wrote was:

    The fact is that, inherent in female prostitution as it is generally practiced today, in all its forms”“since it seems to be primarily female prostitution that we are talking about here”“is the relationship not simply between buyer and seller and the question of whether or not the transaction is ethical, i.e., without coercion on anyone’s part and so on, but also the relationship between men and women defined by male heterosexual privilege and the demeaning objectification of women’s sexuality and bodies that male heterosexual privilege requires in order to function.

    You may not agree with me that there is such a thing as a male dominant hierarchy or male heterosexual privilege, but my comments here say nothing about men or society treating all women like prostitutes. What I talked about was the sexual objectification of women and how prostitution is perhaps the most extreme form of that objectification. The way you formulated the sentence I quoted abovce, especially the phrase “think all women deserve to be treated like prostitutes” suggests that you do not see the difference between objectification and prostitution in the same way that I do. Again, that’s fine. Please, then, accept my assurances that when I say we live in a society that sexually objectifies women I do not mean that men are raised to, as you put it, “view all women as sex for sale.”

    Now, on to the other assertions in your post about female privilege, which lead me to believe you have read Warren Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power. I read this book not too long after it came out and found it a moving, forceful and at times convincing argument that men are deemed expendable in US society and that this expendability can be seen in everything from military policies and employment practices to social attitudes about how men should strive to protect women, even to the death, from all of life’s dangers and the much greater rates at which men die from male violence than women. Unfortunately, my copy of the book is in storage, and I am not in a position to dig it out, and so, to be fair to Farrell, I have to say that his argument is substantial and, at times, quite subtle, qualities hidden by my rather blithe summarizing of his position. Also, for the sake of this discussion, I will simply accept–though I really do not know for certain–that the statistics Farrell marshalls are fairly and accurately interpreted.

    Where I have a big problem with Farrell’s argument and, Ed, with what I hear to be the subtext of your criticisms of me, is with his assertion that we in fact live in a female dominated culture, where women hold far greater political and economic power than men do and where the entire society is designed for women’s comfort and pleasure. (Okay, that might be overstating it a bit, but, as I remember the book, it’s only a bit.) When I first read the book, though, despite the fact that I intuitively did not buy this overall argument, I did not have ay evidence with which to critique it. Then I read David Gilmore’s book, Manhood In The Making–again, though, a book that is in storage and that I therefore cannot quote directly. The book is a survey of cultlures in terms of their stance on manhood, and what he found was that the value of male expendability exists most strongly in those cultures where male dominant manhood is how masculinity is defined. Gilmore identifies three tenets of this masculinity: 1. To marry and produce children; 2. To provide a home and sustenance for their famlies; 3. To go to war, if necessary, and, if necessary, to give their lives to guarantee the continued existence of their societies. These tenets, Gilmore argues, can be seen as a kind of nurturing, if the thing that is being nurtured is understood to be society itself. He also goes on to talk about the ways in which this expendability is romanticized in almost every culture where it is practiced; the macho stiocism with which men are supposed to face this expendability; and the privileges that being a man in such a culture bring with it.

    Now, please note that these three tenets pretty much define the terrain of the male expendability that Warren Farrell exposes and opposes. In other words, the values that Farrell critiques in his book are values of male, not female dominance. This does not mean, of course, that there might not be instances where women benefit from these values, but the fact that women benefit from them does not mean the values are not male dominant. The argument against male expendability needs to be an argument against male dominance, a feminist argument, in other words, and not an argument against a feminist understanding of how our culture works.

    If you want to read a book that does not start out from an obviously feminist perspective in discussing male violence–not male violence against women, just simply male violence–but arrives at the conclusion that the only way to solve the problem, including the problem of male violence against men, is through feminism, try Violence, by James Gilligan. I will not try to reconstruct his argument here, because his book is also in storage, except to say that it is one of the best analyses of how deadly the price of shame is in a male dominant culture that values the kind of manhood Gilmore writes about, not only for the man who is shamed, but also for anyone who is unfortunate enough to remind him of that fact. Gilligan’s conclusion, in part, is that if you look at our society, there are two kinds of objectifications that happen: women are objectified sexually, while men are identified as objects of violence, but rather than insist that our society, therefore, is not really male dominant, he insists that it is and argues that a feminist solution is the only solution. I remember thinking that the feminism he talks about sounded a little bit too middle-class liberal for me, but I also remember being pretty wowed by the fact that he didn’t start his book from an obviously feminist perspective, but let the force of his analysis lead him there.

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  49. 48
    Ed says:

    Richard,

    I did read what you wrote previously but was commenting on your post 44. “it would no longer be culturally “true” that their bodies deserve the kind of treatment you describe. ” Now I may have read that wrong but it sounded to me like you meant that it is socially true that men treat women in such a way because it is a social “truth” that they deserve it. A fact they can not change like a miner or a fisherman.

    Now, a long quote

    “I am merely pointing out that the switch is possible and that to deny the differences between working class status and gender, to keep referring a discussion of prostitution to the examples of working-class people without taking into account the way female prostitution is both process and product of a male dominant culture, is, first of all, implicitly and disingenuously to deny that the male dominant gender hierarchy even exists.

    This denial, I would argue, and this was the motivation for the post from which you quoted me, is what makes it possible to see child prostitutes or girls or women stolen or forced into prostitution as qualitatively different from women who choose to become prostitutes.”

    If the denial is what makes it possible and you refute the denial, then do you still see a difference? Did I misread it, did you mis-state it, or did you try and dismiss the difference?

    Those were my points though I may have misread you. I haven’t read “Myth of Male Power” . I was saying simply that in a democratic society where men have less legal footing than women (such as positive discrimination, though I HATE that term) and women have superior numbers, what is your justification for calling it male dominated? Men are not dictating the lives of women in our society that I have seen.

  50. 49
    Richard says:

    Ed, you wrote:

    Now I may have read that wrong but it sounded to me like you meant that it is socially true that men treat women in such a way because it is a social “truth” that they deserve it. A fact they can not change like a miner or a fisherman.

    I did not think I was making a point about how all men treat all women; I thought what I was talking about was the social truth that we live in a culture that sexually objectifies women and the way this truth shapes both male-female relationships in general and female prostitution in particular. Here is the relevant quote from my Comment #44:

    A woman does not need to become a prostitute to be defined culturally as a sexual object; that definition is already firmly in place from the moment she comes into the world. Should she grow up to be a prostitute, her choice of profession merely confirms what is already culturally “true” about her body and its uses.

    The quote from me, again from #44, that you put into your most recent comment was, in fact not about women, but about miners and fisherman, my point being that social class is (at least potentially) changeable in a way that gender is not and so once someone has left a particular social class, it would in general be inappropriate to treat that person physically or otherwise as if he or she belonged to the class he or she had left behind. Whatever else a woman may be, she is always a woman and the sexual objectification of her body that is endemic to our culture will always function to shape how she is seen, even when people work actively to oppose and undo that objectification.

    As to your longer quote, I will refer you back to the first point in my comment #46, where I think I stated pretty clearly that when I talk about coerced prostitutes and child prostitutes being essentially no different from women who knowingly choose to be prostitutes, I am talking about the nature of the demand for prostitution, not the specific crcumstances of the women involved.

    As to whether men have less legal footing in this society, and your question about my justification for calling the society male dominated, that is a much longer conversation that, frankly, given the fact that I feel like all I have been doing in these past couple of posts is repeating myself, I do not wish to have with you. If you are truly interested in hearing the arguments for why this culture is male dominated, then I suggest you read the books written by both men and women who make that argument; and I suggest also that you read the books I talked about in my previous post. You will find Farrell’s book tremendously affirming of your own ideas, but then you shouldn’t stop there; there are a lot of books on both sides of the discussion that are worth talking about. “Men and the Waters of Life” (I’m pretty sure that’s the title), by Michael Mead is a wonderful book as well, though it is from a position I don’t personally agree with. There is a large and diverse literature that exists for you to explore. Do a search on “feminism” at Amazon and you’ll find plenty to keep you busy.

    Once you’ve done some serious reading, I will be happy to continue this discussion with you.

  51. 50
    Ed says:

    Richard,

    This will be my last post on this thread, I promise. Your final post confirms, for me at least, that you do indeed feel that society and men believe women deserve to be treated as they are. You have repetedly mentioned the social truth of sexually objectifying women. I believe our viewpoints are too different to have a non-argumentative conversation. I don’t believe men OR society (not the same thing, women are part of the society we live in, not some sort of outside entity) see women as sexual objects only, and from infancy at that. I don’t think we can argue, ever, that the genders don’t somtimes find the other to be sexually desirable, but that does not mean they are not also viewed as individuals.

    The most popular and appealing quotes and ideas are not always the most truthful. I feel that parrotting others to justify our own positions usually requires us to do 2 things. First, compromise our opinions to fit the views of the people we are quoting and secondly it allows/requires us to not think for ourselves. Most MRA and Feminist author quotes I have seen are extremists who’s opinions and ideas have little to do with the real world or the general populace. I mean, would you base the opinions of the majority of the population on quotes from someone like Jerry Faldwell? Probably not, and yet most of America claims to be Christian. I will pick up a few of the titles you mentioned but doubt I will ever quote them as justifications for my arguments. Hard numbers…maybe…but one opinion never has the power to prove or disprove another.

    As to continuing our discussion. Perhaps if you ask Ampesand she will give you my email address. I have no problem with that and we could continue this where we dont have to subject the world to our argument. I am fairly certain that is where it would end up.

  52. 51
    Bruce Wagner says:

    I am going to be doing a show on this topic… Legal prostitution in the UK… with one of the foremost experts on the topic… He’s constantly being interviewed on the BBC in the UK…

    Tune in to my talk show – it’s internet based – on my website… http://brucewager.com

    Cheers,

    Bruce

  53. 52
    Bruce Wagner says:

    Oops!

    Spelled my own site wrong in that last post… Sorry…

    It is http://brucewagner.com

  54. 53
    Lynne Tansey says:

    I have been a UK sexworker/dominatrix for 30 years & am now retired. I still though am involved in writing for pro-prostitution issues internationally.
    I am a great believer in getting to the real crux of the anti`s & or social attitude towards this industry.
    Everytime sexwork or prostitution, whatever you prefer to call it, is mentioned three major issues always are brought up to the fore-front….(1) drugs/alcohol, (2) sexually transmitted diseases, & (3) Either child prostitution or the sex slave trade!
    We focus on these three or four negative elements of LIFE, looking for the answer!!
    Do you not think that it is about time the positive aspects were instead focused on, as well as the values that sexworkers like myself offer to society & what we have to learn about ourselves sexually within that context?
    Don`t forget we have hundreds of years of seeing prostitution as an anti-social activity, moralistically wrong & religiously condemned taboo!!
    ALL the efforts in the past & present have failed misrably to contain or eradicate this profession, is`nt it about time we gave the whole subject a different perspective…educating the public as to the real & positive side of prostitution, instead of being short-sighted & one-sided in our concepts?
    In doing so people then become more understanding, not just of prostitution, but themselves exually & the dynamics within…understanding then leads to a better balanced stance & viewpoint…which then allows sexworkers to BEGIN to embrace some kind of inner respect, not just for themselves but the value within society…this in turn, has a absorbsion effect that can turn so many things around, or has that possibility…this includes the clients themselves!
    It also has a better-safe-guard for under-age prostitution…abusive prostitution, as well as the sexual fear attitudes that so many prostitutes-predators have.
    As things stand now…prostitutes are made to feel less, are paraded like some victim-filled-watch-your-daughters attitude in front of media attention, are castigated as the whores of babylon, are feared/hated…..so is it not surprising that the attitde that society now offers prostitutes make them bad??? Would you feel good, given this outlook??
    Prostitutes do not give their bodies up for sale…they give their time…what is used & done within that time is for those who have that tentative contract, the sexworker & the client!! It is nobody elses business.
    As a dominatrix, rarely is sexual/physical stuff the issue…its the sexual/erotic which is the main buzz. The mind is the place where sexuality sits not the sexual orgns…they just respond to that stimuli!
    Thought though, I would just throw in this different perspective, instead of going down those same old roads again.

  55. 54
    Wendy says:

    Anything short of decriminalization is NOT enough!

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