19 May 2009

Trading sex

Vancouver sex trade workers will be getting help dealing with the media during the 2010 Olimpdicks.

My first thought was "Are you fucking kidding me? They're telling the prostitutes what to say?!" And then I read the article. :)

I find it utterly appalling, and not the least bit surprising, that the media treat sex workers poorly. I mean, virtually everyone else does. And the media isn't exactly known for its compassionate, gentle nature.

I've been thinking about the problems of prostitution for a while, the indignity of it, the problems and their lack of solutions.

The options:
legalization - complete with taxation.
pros: provides prostitutes with protection under the law. Allows them to report rapes.
cons: doesn't discourage men from buying sex. doesn't do anything to stop the exploitation. may encourage human trafficking to areas in which prostitution is legal.

cracking down on prostitution:
pros: gets prostitutes off the street - possible to get help, should they want it. discourages johns.
cons: drives it underground. No protection for prostitutes. criminalizes sex workers. sex trade run by criminals.

decriminalization of sex work - criminalization of buying sex. i.e. not criminal to sell sex. criminal to buy it.
pros: doesn't criminalize desperate women. they're not driven underground. industry isn't normalized or legitimized (this is arguably a con).
cons: ??? I know there are some. I just can't think of any. Please add any you think of.

Another thought. Should prostitution become legal, what protection will there be for strippers who don't want to do it? None, right? People in sex work who aren't actively selling sex acts will likely lose their jobs if they won't "step it up".

Finally, I don't think anything we do is likely to afford sex trade workers any sort of protection against rape or any sort of justice for sex crimes from the law. I mean, given the level of justice women who aren't in the sex trades get, I think it's highly naive to think that any woman, let alone a sex worker, will have a reasonable shot at getting her rapist convicted.

FWIW, I realize there are men on the street too. Just not nearly as many. That's why the language is geared toward women.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Background info: in Canada, prostitution is legal, although soliciting (asking for a prostitute in public), procuring (arrangement of sex), pimping (living off the proceeds of prostitution) are all illegal. Prostitution may well be de jure legal, but is de facto illegal since it would be nearly impossible to have none of those occur. As far as I can tell, on paper the laws go after pimps, johns, and madams rather than actual prostitutes. As for what happens in practice, I can't say much other than that it doesn't offer much protection for sex workers; cf the Missing Women Investigation.