I’ve been thinking recently about how I can be an ally to sex workers while simultaneously advocating the dismantling of the prostitution industry. Chiefly, is that even possible? So far, I have not received an answer to either of these questions. It disturbs me to think that I’d be at odds with the women in the industry, women who are vulnerable enough as it is. While I haven’t seen this topic elaborated on, I assume this alliance would still entail advocating for legalization of prostitution. Unfortunately, that is something I absolutely cannot and will not do, for one very obvious reason. Legalization will inevitably lead to growth of the prostitution industry, and along with it, human trafficking. That should not be an acceptable price to anyone who calls themselves a feminist. The end.
July 19, 2011
July 19th, 2011 at 7:46 pm
Yes, it very much disturbs me to be at odds with a vocal number of women who are clamoring for legalization and say they genuinely like prostitution.
However, every exited woman I know also says she would say how much she loved it and felt empowered by it; it wasn’t until somehow getting out that she realized a most terrible period in her life had passed.
July 19th, 2011 at 8:06 pm
That’s also what concerns me. It’s a known coping mechanism for sexual abuse and torture victims to “make the best of” their situation. While I believe that a few of these women genuinely prefer prostitution, there’s no way for me to know the difference. It also reminds me of domestic violence. I’m sure many of us have had a friend in an abusive relationship who would swear that she’s happy, she’d make endless excuses, she’d tell us that most of the time he’s very nice and that she was better off with him than not. I would never force that friend to do anything, but I won’t approve of the relationship either…
July 20th, 2011 at 6:47 pm
Right….I think one other thing we need to keep reminding ourselves and everybody else is that prostitution is at its heart an unfair system. *some* women are done everything to sexually so that then men, most of whom are married, can come home to “their” wives, and not do these horrible things to them. So, non-prostituted women benefit by having a prostituted class.
Furthermore, as I’m sure you know, where prostitution is legalized, the door is simply opened up for pimps and traffickers. Pimping is seen as a “normal” job. There is even worry women trying to get onto welfare or disability could be asked if they will take a job in the sex trade–if not, they won’t get the monetary benefits. Interestingly, in some countries where prostitution is legalized, jobs in the sex industry are specifically off the table when finding work for welfare
recipients. So, that leaves the question., do the people in the countries who have legalized prostitution even believe that it is a job just like any other?
July 22nd, 2011 at 4:13 pm
Why would removing the criminal prerequisite from prostitution result in an increase in criminal behavior? Prohibition creates bootlegging, and abolishing prohibition puts the criminal element out of business very quickly.
July 22nd, 2011 at 9:37 pm
It’s common sense. Legalizing the buying of sex will lead to more men buying sex for two incredibly obvious reasons, 1) There are men who do not frequent prostitutes for the sole reason of being afraid of the legal repercussions…2)Legalization will further normalize buying sex. Human trafficking doesn’t operate independently from consensual prostitution, because it is driven by the same demand: more bodies for men to use. Traffickers don’t put neon signs saying “THIS WOMAN WAS KIDNAPPED.” in front of the women they peddle. They market them as “normal” prostitutes, and either a disturbing amount of men can’t tell the difference, or they don’t care. Their desire to buy sex doesn’t distinguish between “happy hooker” and rape victim. The demand for sex drives every type of prostitution, and if we want to end human trafficking, we have to fight the demand.
July 31st, 2011 at 5:46 pm
Good luck getting the recording and distribution of consensual sexual activity abolished. Since that’s an entirely neutral event that does not inherently include slavery or force, abolishing it would violate the First Amendment (if you’re from the US), not to mention legislate sexual desire for people interested in having themselves recorded while having sex. A whole bunch of folks — yes, even those poor, brainwashed “prostituted” women who don’t know any better! — would be vocally against such things.
July 31st, 2011 at 7:36 pm
Thanks for your kind words, but I don’t need any luck – especially since I’m not actually trying to get the recording and distribution of depictions of consensual sexual activity abolished? Additionally, I don’t understand what anything you’ve said has to do with this post.
July 31st, 2011 at 9:04 pm
I stand corrected. You were talking about prostitution, and I was talking about pornography. Maybe it was a different post that you were advocating for the abolishment of pornography, in which case, my comment still applies, albeit in response to the wrong post. Sorry.