From the Article:
My answer to the trafficking problem is not simple, but it’s necessary if we want to truly address the systemic destruction of vulnerable populations. We have to decriminalize prostitution, removing the legal penalties; this is not to be confused with removing all government regulations. This decriminalization must, in turn, be combined with an overhaul of state and federal policies aimed at dismantling institutional oppressions such as racism, poverty, sexism, and transphobia.
Source: Working As An Escort Helped My PTSD – The Establishment
I often wonder if the folks try to drive sex workers out of business because they believe every last one of them is being trafficked, and would characterize their work as rape? I wonder if they ever really met people that engaged in sex work willingly?
I grew up knowing a lot of sex workers. Not the kind of gals that were pimped out or trafficked. Usually DOM’s, or solo entrepreneurs of the more vanilla variety, that made their living with a select clientele of their choosing.
One gal I knew, kept getting picked up by the Seattle Police Department in the 80s for prostitution, but kept getting off the charge because all she did was dress sexy and force cis white men to smell her dirty running shoes. It’s sex work, even if you never take of your clothes or touch your John. Just not legally.
I don’t think there is even a position that supports trafficking people, and forcing them to engage in sex work. It is a horrific form of slavery, that hits women and children the hardest.
However, a lot of the white knighting around sex workers denies people who work in the industry of their own free will.
I have never seriously worked in the sex industry, but I did cheesecake, and on-demand pictures through a website. Not a lot, but since I had friends that did much more, I tried it out. It honestly gave me a better feel for my sense of body. Being a transgender man, it actually helped me knowing the men I chose to pose for thought I was hot and sexy, because I certainly couldn’t see it. I was not being degraded, or oppressed.
My friends that chose to engage in sex work, either back in the day, or in a more internet friendly time, weren’t oppressed either. They chose their clients, they chose their prices, and they chose their hours. They made way more than I did. They were protective of their choice to engage in this kind of work.
That’s why I think this article is important. She hits the nail on the head. Although I don’t think you will ever stop sex work from happening, I do think you can safeguard the people that engage in it by looking at the systemic issues that drive people into survival prostitution.
That is a way better goal, then criminalizing the people that engage in sex work, and cutting off their attempts at safe screening of clients.
Most of what is done to “help” sex workers, actually drives trafficking farther underground, and removes tools workers use to stay safe.