Prostitution

Home Prostitution

Quote of the Week

The first assumption is that sex trafficking is a unique problem […] distinct to trafficking for other forms of forced labour, and therefore needs to be addressed separately. […T]he uniqueness of sex trafficking is justified through arguments that the sex industry is not a normal or legitimate industry.

The second assumption inherent within ‘the claim’ is that men’s demand for commercial sex services must be addressed in order to combat trafficking. […T]he demand for products such as footwear and orange juice is not attacked as a cause of trafficking, despite the existence of trafficking victims within the garment and agricultural industries.

The assumption that demand must be addressed in order to prevent trafficking implies a specific policy solution, but only in the context of sex trafficking. It implies that it is necessary to abolish domestic prostitution in order to address sex trafficking.

Yes, it’s a long one, but Erin O’Brien’s thesis (via Scarlet Alliance) is engrossing—and another example of someone investigating trafficking stats well before The Village Voice. It includes references to Shared Hope International, which Feminist Whore touched on in her video.

I hope many people read this, including you know who and Michelle Goldberg, who will be reassured to know that evidence suggest US decision-makers act on ideology and are not particularly concerned with statistics.  (“Research does not necessarily drive policy in the United States. [Carol Smolenski of ECPA] believes that due to a lack of research on the topic, legislators are more likely to act on the justification that ‘I’ve heard this thing happened, this is a bad thing so let’s do something about it.'”)

Exploitation

ecowhore
photo from ecowhore.com

We close today with an affecting first-person account of underage sex work. While it should go without saying that Tits and Sass doesn’t endorse underage work, the solution is not continued criminalization and hysteria based on unsubstantiated “facts,” it’s better alternatives, a safety net, and decriminalization. Many thanks to Ecowhore for graciously allowing us to repost this November 17, 2010 entry from her blog.—ed.

Exploitation. They say half of underage girls on their own turn to sex work within 24 hours of hitting the streets. I know when I was a kid I turned to it right away every time I ran away or my dad kicked me out. Big eyes, tits hanging out, thumb out, I’d wait for any man to pick me up and give me money or a place to stay.

They say it’s a bad thing. They say there are pimps and traffickers who will lock those poor innocent children in apartments and make them fuck for up to twelve hours a day. I try to imagine this. When I was a kid no pimps ever approached me, but my step-grandmother-in-law used to warn me about them. Just handle your own business, she would say, don’t let any guy start protecting you, taking your money, next thing you know… She was 60 and fat with eighties hair and sparkly spandex clothes. She’d been a hooker during the pipeline days, when things were really rough, until she’d married my mom’s husband’s father 30 years ago.

In Defense of Backpage

History is repeating itself, and I doubt a single sex worker is surprised. It was common knowledge that Backpage would become the next political target after it absorbed the tremendous spillover of adult advertisers when Craigslist shut down its “adult services” section. Now, given The Village Voice’s willingness to take the fight to those who want it, the Advertising Service Provider vs. Abolitionist battle has a good chance of replaying in the near future.

Virtually all of the defenses for Craigslist apply to Backpage, too—most relevantly the fact that shutting down the service won’t end trafficking or pimping, but it will most definitely make it harder to find and prosecute those who do. It will also put consenting sex workers in danger in the process. But don’t tell that to the Kutcherites advocating an irrational and worthless scorched earth policy when it comes to escort ads: ban them all regardless of the repercussions for consensual sex workers, and then pretend the trafficking problem is solved. If you don’t believe me, check out the way in which these deeply concerned citizens handle the opinion of an actual sex worker.

If You Can’t Accept Facts, You Can’t Be An Ally

A lot of sex workers and sex worker activists had trouble enjoying their July 4th weekend thanks to Ashton Kutcher, who has been waging war against The Village Voice for airing its concerns about his anti-trafficking efforts and misinformation campaign. On almost every non-sex worker helmed website that covered this story, comments consisted of the claims that 1) misinformation is unimportant, irrelevant, or even justified if it’s for a good cause and 2) anyone who criticizes misinformation in the name of a good cause is necessarily against the good cause. In this specific case, that means critics of Kutcher’s bad stats are in favor of child prostitution. (Fun sarcastic commenter’s summation of this position can be found here.) Some have made the similar assertion that Kutcher’s careless campaigning is a good thing because it’s “gotten people talking” about the issue, as if any incidental end justifies the means, or all discussion is automatically beneficial. Judging from what internet “talking” I saw, lots of self-righteous, under-educated people are feeling even more morally superior than they did before, and many experts and activists feel even more discouraged and devalued.

The Best TV Prostitute Ever

Chances are that since you’re reading this site, you’re already cool enough to know that Arrested Development was one of the greatest TV shows of all time. A big reason for that was their “Family Ties” episode which featured a high end escort named Nellie, played by Justine Bateman. As with every episode, there are tons of in-jokes and funny plot lines but we’re going to stick with discussing the strictly sex work aspects and Nellie’s all-around awesomeness.

Let’s start with presentation. Nellie is impeccably clad in sexy, elegant dresses without any gauche hallmarks of conspicuous consumption; she looks like a beautiful businesswoman during after work hours. (Indeed, we eventually find out that she started escorting because of her business school loans.) She’s not blonde, doesn’t bare generous amounts of cleavage, or conduct herself in an embarrassingly transparent manner while in public. In other words, she’s barely a recognizable TV prostitute at all. She’s articulate, dignified, unpretentious, and capable. By the end of the episode, she’ll have triumphed over everyone’s uncharitable assumptions and saved the day.