Sex work

A prostitute made a pass at me, as I walked to the transvestite club. She started talking, and took me by the arm. I felt disgust and arousal. A trans woman I knew thought prostitution was the only way she could get the money she needed. Disgusting old men came to one of the bars on Canal St., the one specialising in trans folk, seeking sex with trans women.

The attitude to prostitution is control, not eradication. There are areas, outside, where men may pick up prostitutes in their cars.

A report by the University of Cambridge examined the case management of 103 migrant women in the criminal justice and immigration systems, including the identification of trafficked women. In only one of the 43 cases of human trafficking identified by the researchers did victim disclosures result in a full police investigation. I got that tidbit from the Prison Reform Trust, in this pdf, p39. Which immigration system? Detention, or merely asylum applications? Really- 43 out of 103 women, trafficked prostitutes? How did the researchers select the subjects?

I cannot know the evidence. I am not interested enough; and dabbling, I come across statements like that, without context, without understanding.

Google tells me that the word prostitute now means to put (oneself or one’s talents) to an unworthy or corrupt use for personal or financial gain. Synonyms: betray, sacrifice, profane, sell, sell out, debase, degrade, demean, devalue, cheapen, lower, misapply, misemploy, misuse, pervert, squander, waste, but its derivation by origin meant merely to expose for sale. General disgust for the action has rubbed off on the word.

I might make my decision from empathy. I read that there are three types of men who patronise prostitution: those who assume the women they buy have no human feelings; those who are conscious of a woman’s humanity but choose to ignore it; and those who derive sexual pleasure from reducing the humanity of women they buy. That revolts me. I am prepared to punish the men involved.

I am also willing to take on the view of those around me, if they care enough.

I have an aim. I find sex trafficking vile. I want it to end. How it might end, I have no idea. Passionate people from competing sides and interests make arguments.

What of students working as escorts? A survey by Swansea University, of students from across the UK but heavily weighted with students from Wales, found 5% of students had worked in the sex trade. I agree that such students should not suffer stigma. Stigma is picking on the victim. They should not be outed- because they would suffer stigma. I have moral positions on minor matters, and the whole system of suffering carries on.

El Greco, Annunciation

12 thoughts on “Sex work

        • Yes. But you are very beautiful, still, and they might be lonely, and mostly closeted, and filled with shame from internalised homophobia. It might be different for those catering for gay men even fifteen years later. You would have been less likely to come across a man who would use a sex worker as he would use a urinal.

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          • That very beautiful just earned you a lifetime of extra-credit points 🙂
            I really don’t know and I can only speak for myself, but every encounter I had was more about someone trying to make a connection than just looking for sex.
            Of course I do imagine that working on a street-corner is probably different, and dangerous, and a completely different type of client…

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  1. I wonder if the fact that the word prostitute appeared in out dictionaries at the time when sex work was illegal or at least the lowest of the low social pursuits and never a legitimate business as it is these days has to do with the lingering bad or repulsive etc attitudes towards “prostitution”? I guess we no longer have prostitution in the traditional sense of the word – we have sex business or what have you. It’d be interesting if some research looked at that and then the word prostitution was re-defined to fit the modern day sex industry. As in marriages or any “intimate” relationships there will always be all sorts of good but also unsavoury goings on – it depends on people really who and what they stand for and how they go about satisfying their sexual needs. I personally do not judge negatively prostitutes at all but I would never do that kind of “work”

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  2. From this and what you said on the last post, it has to be legalised. It’s the only way to make a dent in sex trafficking. We can’t dictate how people use their bodies, even if the primary underlying motive seems to be sexist exploitation, there are too many different drivers for different people. At least if it’s legal and regulated, those who go to illegal sex workers can be fairly prosecuted, without this idea that can never be agreed on – that sex work is generally morally wrong. Get it all out in the open so we know where the true garbage is.

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    • Neil McMillanMy own position, now, is in favour of licensing sex workers, and criminalising men who use unlicensed sex workers. Have a look at the Ugly mugs website, and particularly their survey. They are in favour of decriminalising- well, they are currently sex workers- but still 49% are worried about crime and 47% have been victims of crime. 71% experience stigma, and 15% find the job “dehumanising”. 24% indicated they did not feel able to stop sex work.

      The youngest old woman I ever met was a former prostitute in her late twenties. Her eyes were dead. I am willing to be persuaded against licensing: it seems possible to me that sex workers could never be protected from sexual assault.

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      • The only way to even start making it safe is by legalising it. Maybe part of the licensing process could be providing a course sharing the statistics like that and other research findings on the potential psychological effects of sex work, and pointing people to other potential work avenues. It’s certainly not something that people should be encouraged into even if/when legal, given the risks.

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        • I heard a former sex worker say she would never kiss a client. She could dissociate herself from her own vagina, but retain control over her mouth. I heard through a social worker of a mother pimping her own daughter, aged 14. I heard of a sex worker living with her boyfriend. She bought the groceries and that was enough to prosecute him for living off immoral earnings. At the moment I understand the sex act itself is not unlawful, but every way a woman can find a client is- the fig leaf to permit escorts is that the punter pays for her time, and she can decide not to have sex; though any escort who regularly refused might find her contracts drying up.

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