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    Category: Main -> Prostitution FAQf

    Question
    ·  Isn't prostitution mostly a choice?
    ·  Q. Sex is a powerful commodity.
    ·  Q. Men will treat prostitutes better if it is legalized
    ·  Hasn't prohibition been shown to fail?
    ·  Prostitution is the world's oldest profession and will always exist.
    ·  Shouldn't prostitution be legalized and thought of as a normal job?
    ·  Why pretend prostitution isn't a part of everyday life?
    ·  Q. Don't a lot of women enjoy it?
    ·  Q. Do you think prostitutes should be arrested?
    ·  Q. But people need sex and some have no other way to get it than from prostitutes.
    ·  But you agree porn and stripping aren't prostitution, right?
    ·  Q. Can’t prostitution be made medically safer with regulations?
    ·  If you try to stop prostitution, won't it just go underground?
    ·  Q. What about women like Annie Sprinkle, Nina Hartley, etc. who say they enjoy being prostitutes?
    ·  Aren't you making personal moral judgements about prostitution and pushing them on others?
    ·  Isn't it better to make lots of money as a prostitute than working a minimum wage McJob?
    ·  Men prostitute too so it's not just about women.
    ·  Q. Legalizing prostitution is part of a wider campaign of sexual liberation
    ·  Why can't you see johns/tricks who pay for prostitutes as just customers of sexual service?

    Answer
    ·  Isn't prostitution mostly a choice?

    A. When prostituted women are asked if they want to leave prostitution, consistently around 90% say they want out immediately but the decision is out of their hands and in the hands of their pimps, their husbands, their landlords, their addictions, their children's bellies. A recent study of street prostitutes in Toronto found that about 90% wanted to leave but could not, and a 5-country study found 92% wanted out of prostitution. If they are there because they cannot leave, they are not choosing to be there.

    If prostitution were really a choice it would not be those populations with the least amount of choices available to them far disproportionately pushed into it. If prostitution were a choice there would no billion-dollar black market trade in coerced, tricked, kidnapped and enslaved people known as human trafficking.

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    ·  Q. Sex is a powerful commodity.

    A.Tulips were once considered a powerful commodity, which is to say what men place value on is up to men’s subjectivity and not a human universal. The same was said about trading black flesh once, and it was proven incorrect. We're not talking about 'commodities to be traded' but human beings. In prostitution it is not sex that is sold, it is power over women.

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    ·  Q. Men will treat prostitutes better if it is legalized

    This has not borne itself out in legalization trials in Australia, the Netherlands and Germany.

    All attempts to lessen the harms of prostitution have failed because men have not lessened their debasement of female sexuality and propensity to commit gendered violence in any significant way. There are plenty of medical records, police records and personal testimonies to substantiate men's violence towards females in places where prostitution has been legalized. Where prostitution thrives the value of women's lives is low and the gendered violence they suffer has not decreased. In fact, the legalized province of Victoria, Australia has both the country’s highest domestic violence rates and child prostitution rates.

    In theory it sounds good to say sane, reasonable people should have the right to sell a kidney for $500 or more if they choose to. But opening the door to body organ selling would not lead to nearly as many middle class American white men selling organs as other populations whose social circumstances can't seriously be said to allow a free, uncoerced choice, and it would open the door for 'brokers' who exploit poor people. I'm glad we are willing to sacrifice the theoretical capitalistic rights of a very few possible body organ sellers for the greater benefit of preventing widespread exploitation of less privileged people.

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    ·  Hasn't prohibition been shown to fail?

    A. Depends on what you’re prohibiting. We as a culture prohibit child porn, and it’s true there that prohibition doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean the only other option is legalization.

    When we stop focusing all attention on whether or not poverty-stricken teenage girls with abusive histories really want to be whores and begin asking why so many men are unbelievably, horrifically violent towards prostituted people then we'll get to the place Sweden is at, the place that stops blaming young females for creating their own rape, torture and captivity and recognizes that without men's demand for bodies to abuse there would be no supply of bodies to abuse.

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    ·  Prostitution is the world's oldest profession and will always exist.

    A. Prostitution is not the oldest profession, slave trading is, men selling or trading female bodies amongst each other for profit. Saying prostitution is the oldest profession makes it sound like women. the prostitutes, have always been the cunning and seductive initiators wielding their mighty sexual power over defenseless men like powerful vampiresses of the night. That's the misogynist lie men have always wanted promoted because it absolves them of responsibility for what they do to children and women and makes them look like the victims of women’s seductive wiles.

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    ·  Shouldn't prostitution be legalized and thought of as a normal job?

    A.  There's no reason to believe there will be a day when being naked won't make people feel vulnerable and exposed. It's a universal human experience of being naked to feel more vulnerable than having clothes on (there is no human society that doesn't have clothing of a sorts), and it is inherent in having a piece of someone else's body penetrate another body to feel what thousands of prostitutes interviewed say they feel: like a human toilet, like they are being raped over and over again.

    Contrary to what pro-prostitution advocates claim, the worst thing prostitutes face is not social stigma, it is rape, strangulation, beatings, burnings and other violence from johns and pimps (pimps being the party johns pay to outsource the violence necessary to keep prostitutes obedient.)

    The Swedish model decriminalizing victims and putting the emphasis for change on prostitute-using men is the way to go because men should not have a right to sex on demand and it is the belief they are entitled to sex on demand that fuels prostitution, rape, street harassment, workplace sex harassment, anti-choice dogma, and every other gendered ill that makes up what we call “sexism.”

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    ·  Why pretend prostitution isn't a part of everyday life?

    A. I don't see anyone pretending our culture isn’t saturated with the selling of female bodies, especially not the social workers and researchers trying to find solutions to the misery. When I hear people talk of legalizing it, I see a whole lot of pretending the misogyny and abuse intrinsic to the act of prostitution can somehow be wished away if only more laws making rape and assault more illegal than they already are get passed. It can't, as Sweden's own decades-long experiment with decriminalized prostitution demonstrated.

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    ·  Q. Don't a lot of women enjoy it?

    A. There is no research or collected evidence supporting this claim. When proponents of legalization talk about legitimizing prostitution they talk a lot about theory and rights and ethics, but they don't let prostitutes themselves speak what they want. A 5-country study of prostitutes found 92% wanted help getting out of prostitution immediately. 100% said they didn't want anyone they loved to ever have to prostitute their bodies for survival.

    In Germany the service union ver.di offered union membership to Germany's estimated 400,000 sex workers. They would be entitled to health care, legal aid, thirty paid holiday days a year, a five-day workweek, and Christmas and holiday bonuses.

    Out of 400,000 sex workers, only 100 joined the union. That's .00025% of German sex workers. Women don't want to be prostitutes.

    There is no sensible feminist reason to ignore the 92% of prostitutes who do not consider it work but slavery in favor of the 8% minority, especially when doing so only affirms the rape culture that affirms men’s entitlement to use women’s bodies any way they desire, any time they want it.

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    ·  Q. Do you think prostitutes should be arrested?

    A. Absolutely not, since I don’t believe being desperately poor and/or abused is a crime. But johns, pimps and other sexual predators need to stop their criminally abusive behaviors and other options, like legalization, have been tried and have failed. Sweden has had great success criminalizing sexual predation while attempting to assist people in getting out of ‘the life’.

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    ·  Q. But people need sex and some have no other way to get it than from prostitutes.

    A. No one ‘needs’ sex like they need food, water and air, and no one has the right to purchase access to another person’s reproductive organs in order to masturbate themselves.

    Sex is fun, and it feels good, and it is widely available to anyone who treats others respectably with kindness and asks. Buying prostitutes is less about sexual gratification than power gratification, because in an exchange of equal partners there is always the risk of disagreement and the need for compromise. 85% of American johns have regular female sexual partners and 60% are married men.

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    ·  But you agree porn and stripping aren't prostitution, right?

    A. Of course they are. If getting paid to perform sex acts is prostitution, using a camera to record people getting paid to perform sex acts is recording prostitution. It is comforting for people to call porn performers ‘porn actresses’ to distance themselves emotionally from the truth that they pay a third party for recording of prostitutes being prostituted, but porn actresses have a lot more in common with other prostitutes than with other actresses, such as poverty, a history of child sex abuse and drug addictions.

    Strip clubs, porn, Hooters, mail order brides, and other “sex work” are the prostitution of female sexuality for male consumption. In one study, 100% of strippers interviewed said they had been propositioned as prostitutes by strip club patrons, so if you don't think strippers are prostitutes please recognize that your opinion differs greatly from that of men who spend their money to make women submit themselves sexually in strip clubs.

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    ·  Q. Can’t prostitution be made medically safer with regulations?

    A. Sometimes more safe is still not safe enough. Unless prostituted women are sterilized they can expect to get pregnant and must have repeated abortions. Neither the option of sterilization nor submission to repeated abortions is acceptable, and humans have not yet figured out a 100% effective method of containing the spread of deadly STDs.

    I'm much more concerned about preventing rape, battery, burnings. etc. than I am in wondering how to patch women up after men torture them. When doctors, police, priests, NATO soldiers and refugee working men use their position of power to prey upon vulnerable and traumatized populations, as many prostituted people have reported, regulating prostitution is really about men organizing to provide other men easy access to disease-free bodies and not about the welfare of women's health and well being.

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    ·  If you try to stop prostitution, won't it just go underground?

    A. This is extortion. It's assumes that men currently abuse, torture and rape prostitutes in horribly high numbers and if feminists don't agree to provide clean bodies for men’s sexual self-gratification, their entertainment, then johns are gonna really beat the living shit out of prostitutes and it will be feminist's fault they did it.

    Basing public policy measures on the extortionist threat of increased violence in an already very violent environment is no way for a civil society to operate. Also, legalization has not only not stopped the violence prostituted people face, it has actually made it harder for victims to 'prove' they were forced and increased the number of people involved with the sex industry overall, hence expanding the number of people affected without stopping the violence.

    I am not persuaded that being *****ed by men and having men squirt ejaculate onto and into a woman's body should be normalized as a "profession" and good-enough work for poor women based on threats of worse violence and violations. Prostitutes are already at the bottom of the social totem pole, more raped, killed, exploited and reviled than any group of women. Brothels are rape rooms and the daily systematized atrocities happening in them right now are compelling enough to take action stopping them.

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    ·  Q. What about women like Annie Sprinkle, Nina Hartley, etc. who say they enjoy being prostitutes?

    A. As with antiwar leaders, many former prostitutes (Andrea Dworkin, Norma Hotaling, Kelly Holsopple, Carol Smith, Anne Bissell) are themselves survivors of the commercial sex industry.

    That a few paid prostitutes have learned to profit from advocating the legalization of prostitution does not hold water next to the responses of the overwhelming number of prostitutes without columns in porn magazines, book deals, their own websites, nationwide tours and scheduled appearances on the talk show circuit booked by an agent who negotiates speaking fees. Some leading "pro-sex work" advocates of legalized prostitution such as Robyn Few, Norma Jean Almodovar and Margo St. James have been convicted on pimping charges though they continue to present themselves as common prostitutes and not bigger players in organizing crimes against prostituted women. Sex worker rights leader Carol Leigh, aka Scarlot Harlot, has said herself in a 2004 debate, "95% of my friends want out of prostitution."

    Don’t you think tons of studies on legalization have been done by all sorts of parties? If the wealthy pimps, pornographers and governments who want legalization and taxation had solid information proving that legalization has met its stated goals, why wouldn’t they spread that information across the Earth? Hugh Hefner would probably make a centerfold out of such "women like it and it's healthy" research.

    If you know of a piece of quality research where a majority of prostitutes responded that they enjoyed being sexually used by several men a day, day after day, please present it to me. I have read a lot about this and I have never seen any evidence to support that prostitutes enjoy their job (paid celebrity spokeswomen for the billion dollar multinational sex industry aside.)

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    ·  Aren't you making personal moral judgements about prostitution and pushing them on others?

    A. While the inherent intimacy of the nature of sexual acts is often a part of some peoples belief that sexuality is unique to personal identity and possibly even sacred, most of what I've seen is research focused on the harm done to prostituted people. In other words, I'm not against legalizing prostitution because I'm uncomfortable morally with selling sex or have questions about my own sexuality, I am against legalizing prostitution because I have seen how it destroys health, hope, communities, and many, many lives.

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    ·  Isn't it better to make lots of money as a prostitute than working a minimum wage McJob?

    A. Pimps ask themselves the same question, "Isn't it better to make lots of money controlling a prostitute(s) than working a minimum wage McJob?"

    Prostitution is "work" unlike any other, which is why I have come to see it as the Swedish do, as institutionalized sexual oppression instead of work. There is no other "job" where a person is expected to have their bodies penetrated repeatedly and exposed to contagion-carrying human fluids. There is no other "job" where a 13-year-old with zero experience can be sold for 100 times the price what a 23-year-old with ten years experience is sold. There is no other "job" an emaciated homeless person strung out on heroin can do (or, more accurately, have done to them) as they're lying limp on the floor.

    What has happened in the Netherlands is johns seek out the most dejected and desperate women (and children) to sexually prey on because their powerlessness and addictions make them more willing to do violent, unsafe acts of prostitution for less money. The relatively small number of Dutch-born sex workers complain of being undercut by drug addicted and severly abused women and "prosti-tots" (pimp joke) offering sex for their next fix.

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    ·  Men prostitute too so it's not just about women.

    A. Prisons develop systems of prostitution (not surprising since prostitution is big $$$ among gang members not in jail), and there is a specific loss of power, prestige, self-determination and spirit among men who are pimped and tricked. Men who get *****ed are treated much differently than men who do the *****ing, and no one is treated better than the pimp.

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    ·  Q. Legalizing prostitution is part of a wider campaign of sexual liberation

    A. Liberation for who is the underlying question. What is it about sex and women that lowers a woman's perceived cultural value if she has sex even without money or forcibly as in cases of rape? Changing the cultural connection that makes women engaging in sex (paid for, raped, or consensual) worth-less, low class sluts needs to be changed before legalization can be honestly considered.

    There is the unfortunate neoliberal misconception that free markets are the best kind, that the economic marketplace can regulate itself through the cause and effects of competition, supply and demand. Ask yourself if Wal-mart is really the world’s largest private employer because they are “better” than other companies. In light of the evident failures of free marketism to produce diverse, consumer-driven and fair business practices, how well should the free marketplace of ideas fare under the same laissez faire system? Why wouldn’t we expect the same opportunistic consolidations, money equals the right to speech, more powerful exploiting the less powerful?

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    ·  Why can't you see johns/tricks who pay for prostitutes as just customers of sexual service?

    A. The man with the money has all the power, not the moneyless prostitute. It's impossible to say men spend their money to create the exact sexee scenario they desire and this means prostitutes have the power to dictate what will happen, how far it will go, and all other aspects of the fantasy the customer is paying for. Not only is it impossible for the money-holding man to transfer his inherent greater power in a fantasy of his own making, it is emphatically not what prostitutes say happens. Johns are the demand that keeps the prostituted bodies moving, and the economic model is "demand creates supply."

    Johns do not go out of their way to forcibly abduct women, get them hooked on drugs, take total control of their lives, or in any other way trap them in the sex trade because they don't have to. The pimps do it for them. They don't trap their prey, they are like vultures who prey on the down and out, who pay specifically for their victims to be down and out. Johns have sex with someone who is being held captive because of the expectation (an expectation rooted in reality) that they will pay good money for it, then they say it is not their fault because they weren't the one holding them down.

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