prostitution

Benny B

Well-known member
I kind of hate to do this but: Would you be perfectly comfortable with your own daughter becoming a prostitute. If not, why not?
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
(re post before last)

That sentence is definitely true, but there are a lot of assumptions there about the nature of sex work that needn't apply to everyone involved in it. Most obvious one is that every sex worker is being pimped out by organised crime, which I'm a bit mystified by - I don't think anyone would disagree with your views on sex trafficking, but we're talking about something far wider here surely?
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
I kind of hate to do this but: Would you be perfectly comfortable with your own daughter becoming a prostitute. If not, why not?

wouldn't be comfortable with my daughter going to prison* but doesn't mean i don't think prisoners should be listened to rather than lectured about their best interests. this q is a dead end - no-one here (i think) is advocating that people become sex workers, but rather reacting to the fact that some people are sex workers, for often v complex reasons

*or taking heroin or anything that is A Bad Thing, prison was just the first thing that came to mind (prob because there's an awful lots of talk wrt prisoners of 'what's best for them' etc, as if getting out of prison into a life of barely making it by or minimum wage slavery is some kind of societal victory)
 
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sadmanbarty

Well-known member
By adding “exploitative criminals” you’re introducing variables that weren’t in my post.

Would you say that men who pay for male prostitutes view all men as merely sex objects to be bought and sold? Would you say that so long as there are women who buy sex from men, men will be viewed as inferior to women in our society?

I have no idea what it’s like to have a child so I can only answer the daughter question in an emotionally detached way (which renders my answer a bit silly). If I was sure she was safe and happy (or as much of those things as she would be in another job), I imagine I’d be fine with it. I would have concern about people viewing her as a victim or psychologically damaged in some way. I’d be concerned that society's stigma’s might get her down or impede on her friendships and relationships. But these things reflect badly on society rather then my parenting or her personality (or her clients for that matter).
 
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droid

Well-known member
Just a couple of rhetorical questions for Benny.

Is there any scenario where you would say that prostitution is not morally wrong? Say a woman of independent means who freely chooses to sell sex with no third parties involved?

Is it only in the context of societies treatment of women that you view prostitution as unacceptable - what about male prostitution?

Not to propagate the happy hooker myth - but can you conceive of a prostitute who actually enjoys her work?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
if like me you believe that there is something fundamentally abusive about any act of buying a person for sex...

Well, I don't, or at least I see it as no more abusive than paying someone to drive you around, mow your lawn, do your taxes or whatever. (And 'paying' is the correct word here - 'buying' is ridiculous hyperbole.)

I was going to write a big post here explaining my position, but it's probably not worth it if we're coming at it from such totally different angles. All I'll say further is that I think the impulse some 21st-century liberals feel that prostitution is necessarily this hateful and involuntary state of desperation that the women need to be 'rescued' from is a direct descendant of the impulse that made 'whore' and 'son of a whore' insults in the first place.
 

sadmanbarty

Well-known member
I was going to write a big post here explaining my position, but it's probably not worth it if we're coming at it from such totally different angles.

If you can be assed I would be interested in your take.

My intuitive position was similar to yours (comparisons with alcohol abolition, war on drugs, etc.) and so I was actually pro-decriminalisation. Thanks to Benny bringing it up I did a quick bit of research (those studies I posted earlier in the thread) which has changed my mind (though I'm by no means certain and of course I'll have to do more than some cursory google searching).
 

Benny B

Well-known member
Don't be like that tea, I still think we can both get something out of the conversation even if we don't agree.
Anyway lads I promise to get back to you all asap. I'm on my phone and in a bar rn
 

UFO over easy

online mahjong
at what point does sex work not offend your sensibilities as someone self-declared "as liberal as they come"? would you ban porn too? or would you allow soft-core stuff? how about advertising referencing sex? you're going to have to find a lot of jobs. are you going to match their earnings?

sex work isn't just people working on the streets full time in desperate conditions, it exists across a huge spectrum and huge numbers of people are involved to greater or lesser extents. you probably know a bunch of people who have done sex work. you don't get to decide who is empowered and who isn't.

so you can continue having your ridiculous 'what if' imaginary world discussion about other people if you want

http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/What-do-sex-workers-want-Toni-M - you should watch this instead though
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I kind of hate to do this but: Would you be perfectly comfortable with your own daughter becoming a prostitute. If not, why not?

I'd probably not be overwhelmed with joy by the idea of my daughter cleaning toilets for a living, but that doesn't mean I think no-one should allowed to do it. Ultimately I'd prefer her to be happy, and if she achieves this by perfoming brain surgery, cleaning toilets or having sex with strangers, then so be it.

All your objections basically boil down to "sex work is icky and gross, no-one could possibly consent to doing it in any meaningful way, ergo sex workers need rescuing from their unfortunate circumstances/their own weakness and stupidity". And I'm convinced "sex work is icky and gross" comes from "sex workERS are icky and gross".
 

UFO over easy

online mahjong
Strange that you of all people take an anti-academic line. You rightly say that more prostitutes' voices should be heard but that's hardly feminists' fault. Lots of research is carried out, they're not just making this stuff up!

Sex workers are systematically excluded from these academic conversations because they don't satisfy 'academic criteria'. They may be interviewed by academics and used as research tools but that's not the same as actively involving them in the conversation.

The abolitionist arguments I've read (from feminists or not) are backed up with research and the horrific statistics of abuse and murder caused by the sex industry pretty much speak for themselves.

Violence and murder are caused by a huge amount of intersecting problems - obvious distrust of the police, criminalisation, the fact that sex workers are often simply not believed or assumed to have 'deserved' it. The people who are pushing against all this are sex workers themselves, through organisations like Ugly Mugs, because the system is not on their side - if you are serious about ending abuse and violence, you should donate: https://uknswp.org/um/

Here is a study showing that criminalisation of clients (often pushed by abolitionists as a way to prevent violence and abuse without criminalising sex workers) actually makes sex workers more vulnerable to abuse by making it harder for them to effectively screen clients and operate in safe working conditions - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24889853. It also shows that as usual, this applies disproportionately to low-income street based workers.
 
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droid

Well-known member
I dont agree with Benny, certainly on the moral position, but sex worker advocacy groups like the scarlet alliance cannot, by definition speak for the hundreds of thousands of women forced into prostitution. For every German or Australian sex worker who controls her own income and terms of employment, there must be dozens who are trafficked and effectively enslaved.

My default position on most of these kind of issues is 'let women sort it out', but there is a valid argument that many women involved in prostitution are effectively voiceless, so from that point of view I don't see any major problem with having these conversations as long as they are non-proscriptive.

It's a difficult one, with loads of opposing but valid claims... ...regulation seems like the least worst option to me, but I can sympathise with other POV's.
 

UFO over easy

online mahjong
The anti-trafficking position obviously sounds very rational but in reality it often seems to go hand in hand with general anti-migration stuff. A lot of women who worked as sex workers in London were deported based on police testimony that they'd been 'trafficked' after the recent soho raids, and a lot of trafficking figures have been debunked based on the definition they use etc

Here's an article about it based on a SWOU meeting in 2009 - https://bristolnoborders.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/more-evidence-that-sex-trafficking-is-a-myth/

Another here with some contributions from Laura Agustin - http://distributedrepublic.net/archives/2009/01/20/the-myth-human-trafficking/

"She is critical of the conflation of the terms "human trafficking" with "prostitution" and "migration", arguing that what she calls the "rescue industry" often ascribes victim status to and thereby objectifies women who have made conscious and rational decisions to migrate. She advocates for a more nuanced study of migrant sex workers."

For every German or Australian sex worker who controls her own income and terms of employment, there must be dozens who are trafficked and effectively enslaved.

Criminalisation makes it pretty hard to conduct the research you would need to verify that.
 
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droid

Well-known member
Yeah, thats probably true, but my point is that there are competing narratives here.
 
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