Decriminalization of sex work might reduce victimization and unsafe practices.

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takeitslowly
Decriminalization of sex work might reduce victimization and unsafe practices.

Decriminalizing indoor prostitution could improve the bargaining position of female sex workers relative to clients, leading to lower rates of victimization. Research from the late 1990s found that indoor sex workers are victimized considerably less than outdoor street walkers. The legal quirk in Rhode Island only applied to indoor sex work, which could have resulted in some prostitutes abandoning outdoor business for its decriminalized — and safer — counterpart. http://www.vox.com/2014/7/15/5898187/prostitution-rhode-island-decrimina...

Issues Pages: 
Brachina

 Its time to decriminalize prostitution.

Slumberjack

Yes, it's long past time to take the criminal element out of it and give workers control over production and the means of production. 

The debate around sex work does resemble a struggle for domination and power as Foucault outlined in "The History of Sexuality," wherein, a seemingly benevolent, concerned power is said to demand submission to its rules around sex, which themselves are derived from an historical want to control what the population may legally access that is over and above what is provided for by the main mechanism of control in all patriarchal societies, being the family structure with a husband and a wife.

When Foucault went on to say that this power is everywhere, to such an extent that instead of a top down model of monitoring and demanding compliance, it is actually said to be the norms and traditions of patriarchal societies themselves that causes the demand for control of sexual practices and exchanges to emanate directly from citizens, or from the bottom up in a sort of biopolitical feedback loop.  Meanwhile, it should be understood that patriarchal societies created their own illegal avenues that provided for exceptions to the rules.  If a man were discreet, he could diversify his sexual interests outside of the family.  Wealthy men could retain paid mistresses, etc, so long as things were kept quiet.  In that light it does seem as if it is the concerned, anti-sex worker feminist position itself that winds up assisting and complementing the age old work of the patriarchy in this respect, as it provides for itself a clandestine means to hide out and to act out.

Brachina

 I don't believe "Patcharcy" is the driving force behind it is those who fear it as a threat to monogomy, as well as condensing would be white knights, like a modern day "white man's burden" attidude, that sex workers need protection from they're own automy.

Slumberjack

Cultural monogomy is derived from patriarchal structures.  The Bible was quite clear about it.

Slumberjack

Do you find that when people don't particularly care for an issue or the way it's being discussed, that they'll express all sorts of outrage and slight that has nothing to do with the substance of the issue at hand in order to sabotage the discussion?  Or is it just me that this occurs to?

Maysie Maysie's picture

Slumberjack wrote:

Do you find that when people don't particularly care for an issue or the way it's being discussed, that they'll express all sorts of outrage and slight that has nothing to do with the substance of the issue at hand in order to sabotage the discussion?  Or is it just me that this occurs to?

Not just you, sugarplum.

Maysie Maysie's picture

As a feminist, since at least I can speak as a feminist in *this* thread, my first perspective on hearing about shit I haven't lived or experienced (like migration, war, anti-Black racism, poverty, sex work, learning English as a foreign language, and more) there are two things I've learned to do.

1. Shut the fuck up.

2. Listen.

I will often not do these things, and will be shamed by my ignorance, if not in public, certainly when I reflect on "what the hell was I yammering on about?"

So, any feminist who yammers on against sex work in particular, who has no connection in particular as an ally to sex workers, loses a few notches of credibility to me. Ditto men who are trying to be allies.

Hearing from the voices of sex workers, and they are by no means unanimous, but hearing from the voices that are out there, there is a strong community of those who name choice and autonomy as reasons why they support decriminalization of their own damn jobs. 'Cause, you know, they kinda sorta should know that given that's what they fucking do for a living.

Sadly, this next part needs to be said: These voices do not conflate trafficked women with sex workers. These voices do not conflate any exploited abused children with sex workers. These voices do not even suggest that those who are in the life because of "economic reasons" and who would leave if they had different employment options are in the same position either.

Human Rights for Sex Workers: You Tube

Slumberjack

In the OP of the other thread there was a statement to the effect of:  'legalizing sex work does nothing about the perverts,' which was part of the follow on commentary.  It made me think about similar statements we have heard as justification for not extending rights in other contexts.  There was the beastiality argument around same sex marriage for instance.  Plenty of things continue to be said about bi-racial couples.  Every struggle which aims to extend or to advance certain social conditions brings forth opposition of all kinds.

Slumberjack

Also, it's quite understandable that the prohibitionist argument is heavily invested in denying the status of 'worker' to sex workers.  Apparently sex workers don't have a job either, because it's not 'work.'  Designating sex work as work, or as a job, would essentially nullify the argument in favour of blocking people's rights, due to the universal understanding that all workers deserve rights and to have their rights respected.  This seems to be the goal of prohibition, which is to deny that situations of work exists where sex workers are employed, so as to be able to deny that they have any rights at all as sex workers.

Slumberjack

In the other thread that, inevitably and expectedly went adrift, there was the typical charge that we were not reading from the same pages.  Anyway:

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Many in favor of the legalization of prostitution refer to it as “sex work” and employ concepts such as “consent,” “agency,” “sexual freedom,” “the right to work,” and even “human rights” in the course of making their defense.[1] Consider some of the common claims defenders of legalization advance: sex work is work just like any other form of work, only the social shame and stigma around sex prevent people from seeing it as such;[2] many (most) women[3] who sell sex chose to be there, so we should respect their choice and agency, after all they are in no different a position than someone who chooses a minimum wage job without better alternatives;[4] women choosing to sell sex is an example of sexual freedom and rejecting repressive norms that limit women’s sexuality,[5] so we should respect their sexually autonomous choices to sell sex for a living. Other defenders are more circumspect in their defense of legalization, arguing that prostitution is “the oldest profession,” isn’t going away, and so we are better off adopting a “harm reduction model.” That is, they argue that many of the harms associated with the buying and selling of sex are harms that are either a product of its illegality or can be reduced by a program of regulation that would be required if prostitution were legalized.[6] For example, they claim that legalization will reduce trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation; they claim that legalization will increase the health and safety of women (the workers); they claim that legalization will reduce death, violence, and other abuses.

These are all possibilities within a decriminalized framework.  Of course, resources would have to be dedicated toward making the work safe, just as other forms of work gets subsidized in our society.  It seems reasonable that those in favour of decriminalization would bring forward such arguments.  It seems unreasonable to imply that these are of no account.

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Legalization does not come with many of the benefits its proponents suggest:

It doesn't prevent an entrepeneur from adding benefits to a potential compensation package.  It doesn't prevent a worker from arranging their own benefits package, or in combination with others in a group plan.

 

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it does not reduce trafficking

Not sure if that is the primary aim.  Safety is the paramount reason for decriminalization isn't it?

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It does not provide a solution to the most vulnerable women in prostitution—immigrants—who are often excluded from regulatory procedures and licensing;

Currently, isn't everyone engaged in sex work excluded from regulation and licensing?  If decriminalization can provide a route toward safer solutions, logically everyone in the industry might avail themselves of its provisions, instead of just the pimps.

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it does not necessarily increase the health and safety of women—

Nor does decriminalization necessarily increase the risks to health and safety.  The opposite might be true however.

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buyer’s health and STD status is not tested under legalization;

People who buy cigarettes are not tested to see if they have cancer or COPD before being allowed to purchase a pack.

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legalization does not remove social stigma for the women in prostitution.[13]  

I don't know if that is one of the stated aims of decriminalization.

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However, legalization does likely remove some of the social stigma for the buyers

I don't see too many johns bragging about having to pay for sex, or talking about it at the office water cooler.  My sense is that because of the way the issue of sexuality is treated in society, all will continue to be be stigmatized if they are in contravention of the norms.  I don't see it going away for anyone, anytime soon.

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in addition to making access to women easier and less dangerous (for the buyer).  

Is that one of the selling points of prohibition?....that it's more dangerous and tends to act like a deterrent?  And how easy is the 'drive-thru' method of obtaining services, or picking up the phone from a hotel room and putting in a custom order.

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Finally, the violence—the potential for assault, rape, and even death–endemic to prostitution exceeds the level of danger accompanying even those most dangerous of other forms of work.[15]

Decriminalization carries with it the potental to make for safer conditions.  Prohibition does nothing but to maintain and perpetuate the levels of violence.

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The Nordic model, in which the selling of sex is decriminalized and the buying of sex criminalized, along side social services for increasing the exit options of the women, is being increasingly adopted and considered as the best approach to combating the harms of prostitution, empowering persons in prostitution, all the while affirming a commitment to sex equality.

It's like saying the pot trafficker should be legalized, but the pot smoker should be placed behind bars...the filthy bastards.

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In what follows, I draw on the laws of the United States regarding workers safety, sexual harassment, and civil rights to show that the claim that selling sex is work just like any other form of work is indefensible.   It’s indefensible because if we apply the regulations currently applied to other forms of work to the selling and buying of sex, the acts intrinsic to the “job” can’t be permitted; they are simply inconsistent with regulations governing worker safety, sexual harassment laws, and civil rights.

So is coal mining without wearing a mask, in a hypothetical situation where people also sexually harass one another.  One of the objectives of decriminalization, if I'm following the arguments correctly, is to regulate such practices and provide for codes of behaviour.  If one is a sex worker who is given the choice between working on a street corner late at night in all sorts of weather and dangers, or working in a safe, regulated establishment with no difference in the level of pay, I doubt it would be a 50/50 shot as to which venue they would choose.

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OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is responsible for overseeing worker safety and health in the U.S. They specify the standards for worker safety regarding in employment contexts that include exposure to blood borne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials (of which sperm counts)[19], as they are concerned with the potential transmission of HIV or Hepatitis, or other infectious diseases.   The sexual acts that form the necessary working conditions for (persons) women selling sex means that routine “Occupational Exposure” is intrinsic to the “job”. Occupational exposure “means reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee’s duties.”[20] Employers must “list … all tasks and procedures or groups of closely related task and procedures in which occupational exposure occurs…” and [t]his exposure determination shall be made without regard to the use of personal protective equipment.”[21] So, presumably, every potential sex act would need to be on the list, as “tasks”, in which occupational exposure occurs, and the list needs to be made without reference to condom use because the list is required list exposure threat without reference to personal protective equipment.

When people look for work most places ask for a criminal records check.  All types of precautionary paperwork and documentation could be part of a decriminalized system.  It's a matter of resources being made available.

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Condom use...etc...Mouth pipetting/suctioning of blood....etc...gloves, masks, eye protection...all of that...

Bare minimum standards apply in corporate rest rooms practically everywhere.  You don't know what you're getting on you.  It doesn't seem to be a problem for most.  Eating establishments are hardly visited by health inspectors.  They might if there are enough complaints about a particular establishment, which they'll simply close down until things are brought up to standard and then everything gets the green light again.  Education, prevention, medicine.  All better faciitated in a decriminalized atmosphere.

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The fact is the buyers drive the market, as is true generally in commercial exchanges. If the buyers don’t want to use condoms or follow other “worker safety protocols” as would be necessary to protect the safety and health of workers, then we have little reason to be confident that legalization and regulation will effectively protect those who sell sex.

Buyers of unsafe practices could be relegated to the non-decriminalized stream as it currently exists, at their own risk and everyone elses like it is now.  Decriminalization will not make any of that go away.  What it does is to provide the sex worker with a potential range of options.

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Sexual Harassment - So, “clients” or “customers”—purchasers of sex in this discussion—can also be found to have sexually harassed someone from whom they are purchasing sex, under the current legal standards.

Controlled, regulated, decriminalized working atmoshperes can potentially place sex working conditions on more of a par with everywhere else in terms of available avenues for protection.  This applies to unwelcomed sexual behaviour obviously.  I don't think it has been substantiated that a regulated sex work industry is incapable of addressing sexual harassment or sexual assault less than anywhere else. 

Anyway, the entire article is stuffed to the rafters and brimming in fact with straw like that.  How indeed does any other profession where someone's body is being used to generate a living manage to get by every day in full compliance with every workplace law we could think of.  I think most industrial settings would run afoul of this or that rule in the run of a week.  Government of Canada workplace accident statistics and investigations alone would be enough to highlight the fact that on any given day safety regulations are not being followed.  And the Public Service is rife with complaints of harassment and sexual harassment.  Nobody thinks to shut government down because of it.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Do occupational safety standards apply in the same way to self-employed workers as they do to workers on a payroll?

As an example, if I work for a contractor and today I'll be driving nails into cinder block, my employer will surely be mandated to provide me with eye protection, and if I'm using a power hammer, also hearing protection.

But if I'm working for myself, am I similarly REQUIRED by law to provide these for myself and use them?  I know it's a GOOD IDEA, but I'm curious whether the law would apply to me working for myself in the same way that it would apply to my employer when I'm working for him/her.

Sineed

maysie wrote:
So, any feminist who yammers on against sex work in particular, who has no connection in particular as an ally to sex workers, loses a few notches of credibility to me. Ditto men who are trying to be allies.

Actually, I used to be an uncritical supporter of decrim, and it was working with sex workers, seeing their degradation and exploitation first-hand, treating them for sexually-transmitted infections over and over again, that changed my mind.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Has working with alcoholics -- I'm assuming you have -- changed your views on the legality of alcohol sales?

6079_Smith_W

Wel I'm sure at the very least it has demolished the myth of the happy contented drunk who loves being an alcoholic.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Magoo, you can be fined for unsafe work practices even if you're self employed, IIRC.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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Wel I'm sure at the very least it has demolished the myth of the happy contented drunk who loves being an alcoholic.

It has?

I think that's a bit like saying that if you work as an emergency room physician you'll quickly learn that you can't go skiiing without breaking your leg.

I guess what I was thinking, though, was that if we could meet and know someone whose whole professional, financial and personal life has been devastated by alcohol use, would we say that if legal alcohol can do this to someone then we need to prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol?  Or would we say that while this person is an extreme but tragic case, we should look for ways to help them that don't include a prohibition on the sale and consumption of alcohol?

I guess I'm thinking that if another "prohibition" were being seriously considered, lots of babblers would find it in themselves to "think outside the box" no matter how horrifying liver failure might be to see.

6079_Smith_W

Mr. Magoo wrote:

It has?

Actually, my rhetorical point was that it hasn't - at least in the case of happy sex worker myths, like one sees in hollywood movies.

And that's not to say that there aren't some people who manage to treat it like a job, but the reality is that those tragic cases aren't actually the extreme, but rather the norm. That would be the difference between alcohol consumption and prostitution.

takeitslowly

when it comes to accepting risks, what about abortion? having an abortion seems to carry its own risks, why do feminists argue that its a woman's choice to have an abortion and take the risks, or have plastic surgeries, but using her bvody parts to have sex or sexual activities should be a criminal offense? according to the law, a woman can have as many sexual partners as she want and have as many abortion as she wants, why do we allow unlimited abortions just because a woman choose to have alot of unprotected sex?

The nine most common major complications which can occur at the time of an abortion are: infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping or perforation of the uterus, anesthesia complications, convulsions, hemorrhage, cervical injury, and endotoxic shock.

 If we ban abortion except when the mother's life is at risk for giving birth, than we would be able to protect more women, right?

mark_alfred

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Do occupational safety standards apply in the same way to self-employed workers as they do to workers on a payroll?

New Zealand is typically seen as the standard-bearer for decriminalized sex work.  Here is from New Zealand's Prostitution Reform Act:

Prostitution Reform Act wrote:

Health and safety requirements

8   Operators of businesses of prostitution must adopt and promote safer sex practices

  • (1) Every operator of a business of prostitution must—

    • (a) take all reasonable steps to ensure that no commercial sexual services are provided by a sex worker unless a prophylactic sheath or other appropriate barrier is used if those services involve vaginal, anal, or oral penetration or another activity with a similar or greater risk of acquiring or transmitting sexually transmissible infections; and

    • (b) take all reasonable steps to give health information (whether oral or written) to sex workers and clients; and

    • (c) if the person operates a brothel, display health information prominently in that brothel; and

    • (d) not state or imply that a medical examination of a sex worker means the sex worker is not infected, or likely to be infected, with a sexually transmissible infection; and

    • (e) take all other reasonable steps to minimise the risk of sex workers or clients acquiring or transmitting sexually transmissible infections.

    (2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000.

    (3) The obligations in this section apply only in relation to commercial sexual services provided for the business and to sex workers and clients in connection with those services.

    (4) In this section, health information means information on safer sex practices and on services for the prevention and treatment of sexually transmissible infections.

    Section 8(2): amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

9   Sex workers and clients must adopt safer sex practices

  • (1) A person must not provide or receive commercial sexual services unless he or she has taken all reasonable steps to ensure a prophylactic sheath or other appropriate barrier is used if those services involve vaginal, anal, or oral penetration or another activity with a similar or greater risk of acquiring or transmitting sexually transmissible infections.

    (2) A person must not, for the purpose of providing or receiving commercial sexual services, state or imply that a medical examination of that person means that he or she is not infected, or likely to be infected, with a sexually transmissible infection.

    (3) A person who provides or receives commercial sexual services must take all other reasonable steps to minimise the risk of acquiring or transmitting sexually transmissible infections.

    (4) Every person who contravenes subsection (1), subsection (2), or subsection (3) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000.

    Section 9(4): amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

10   Application of Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992

  • (1) A sex worker is at work for the purposes of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 while providing commercial sexual services.

    (2) However, nothing in this Act (including subsection (1)) limits that Act or any regulations or approved codes of practice under that Act.

 

So, to your original question, see s. 10 above.  There are other protections as well in the Act under sections 16, 17, and 18.

takeitslowly

Iif i had to do sex work in the future, that is i assume none of you would provide me with a regular income and job training opportunties, I rather have those safety standards than not.

takeitslowly

all these talk about safety and standards ..

 

my mother had to work on a second job on the weekend as a self employed househould cleaner, do you know how many hours she had to work everyday of the week to support my deadbeat brother ? or how she cant afford to take any time off and barely have time to eat lunches in between her jobs? wheres the safety standards to make sure workers are not overworked to death from working two, three or four jobs ? How do we protect workers to make sure they dont overstrain themselves and who are afraid to take any days off jbecasue they might found themselves terminated without cause?

 

someone who needs money is always at risks of being exploited, i suggest adding more protections that workers demand instead of pretending that they shouldn't be allowed to work altogether. Unless you are ready to give every exploited worker money and support for the rest of their life.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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New Zealand is typically seen as the standard-bearer for decriminalized sex work.  Here is from New Zealand's Prostitution Reform Act:

Okay.  But it sounds like the only requirement for a self-employed sex worker (as opposed to a brothel owner, a.k.a. "operator of a business of prostitution") is a requirement for the use of condoms or similar.  No face masks, no rubber gloves and no haz-mat suits.  Would that be to everyone's satisfaction?  With the understanding, of course, that workers would be free to wear all of the above if they choose?

takeitslowly

well maybe there could be a fine if the client ejeculates on the worker's face without premission

mark_alfred

Mr. Magoo, the entire Health and Safety in Employment Act applies to sex workers, if you see s. 10.  Nothing in the Prostitution Reform Act limits it.  So, the same health and safety rules that apply to all workers also apply to sex workers in New Zealand, along with the additional stipulations in the Prostitution Reform Act.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Mr. Magoo, the entire Health and Safety in Employment Act applies to sex workers, if you see s. 10.  Nothing in the Prostitution Reform Act limits it.  So, the same health and safety rules that apply to all workers also apply to sex workers in New Zealand, along with the additional stipulations in the Prostitution Reform Act.

Got it.

But is there anything in s. 10, or any other s., that seems to call for anything other than the use of a condom?

Brachina

 I don't support making condoms mandatory, LA tried that with the adult industry and they just took they're business elsewhere, it failed. Of course Prostitution and Porn or different, porn actors have a much narrower group.of potential partners, its a more islotaed population, and I do believe in encouraging condom use at least until better technology is availible, but mandating condom use is too intrusive and could drive some underground.

 I would also encourage vaccinations and medications that protect from the transmission of HIV, but you can't force people to do that either.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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I don't support making condoms mandatory, LA tried that with the adult industry and they just took they're business elsewhere, it failed.

That sounds like a municipal law, which folk can usually circumvent by working outside that municipality.  I hadn't heard that this failed.

If Canada made condom use a condition of sex work, the similar strategy would be to only do sex work in another country.

"OK, but if that's what you want, you'll need to meet me in Iceland or New Mexico."

mark_alfred

takeitslowly wrote:

well maybe there could be a fine if the client ejeculates on the worker's face without premission

If consent is not given then it would be a criminal act, in Canada or New Zealand.  New Zealand's PRA makes it explicitly clear (see below).

From s. 17(2) of New Zealand's Prostitution Reform Act,

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The fact that a person has entered into a contract to provide commercial sexual services does not of itself constitute consent for the purposes of the criminal law if he or she does not consent, or withdraws his or her consent, to providing a commercial sexual service.

mark_alfred

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
I don't support making condoms mandatory, LA tried that with the adult industry and they just took they're business elsewhere, it failed.

That sounds like a municipal law, which folk can usually circumvent by working outside that municipality.  I hadn't heard that this failed.

If Canada made condom use a condition of sex work, the similar strategy would be to only do sex work in another country.

"OK, but if that's what you want, you'll need to meet me in Iceland or New Mexico."

*sigh*  It's getting hard to follow this thread.

Anyway, I think Brachina was referring to LA's porno movies industry, rather than full service sex work, when stating that "LA tried that with the adult industry and they just took they're business elsewhere, it failed."  I've never heard of such a thing happening with full service sex workers. 

I used to work in first stage transitional housing (a shelter that people lived in), where some sex workers lived (and worked).  Anecdotally, I was told by them and others that they insisted upon condom use.  The shelter provided free condoms, and often the sex workers would ask me for some so they could conduct business.  It was considered quite normal, and this is without regulation of the matter.  Regardless, to decriminalize and set up regulations similar to New Zealand would certainly be helpful.  Always best to firmly establish safety stuff, be it wearing seatbelts and being sober while driving a car, or using condoms when engaged in sex work.

Slumberjack

Grant it, this is a new twist in the anti-decrim 'logic' that basically says the dangerous status quo for sex workers must remain as is, because of the health risks involved, and because there are no circumstances whereby the workplace can be made safe.  They can order soldiers to charge into machine gun fire on behalf of corporations, but don't get anything else on you in a decriminalized sex worker framework is what the prohibitionists are trying to sell.  

Slumberjack

mark_alfred wrote:
Anecdotally, I was told by them and others that they insisted upon condom use.  The shelter provided free condoms, and often the sex workers would ask me for some so they could conduct business.  It was considered quite normal, and this is without regulation of the matter.  

And that's without supposing clients have no interest in safe practices.  They're all out to infect themselves and others if we're following that line.  Obviously exceptions exist, but if I operate a restaurant, and an unruly customer plunks himself down and refuses to conduct himself in accordance with the prevailing decorum, there's always the option of asking the person to leave, and if they refuse, throw them out or call a cop.

Sineed

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Has working with alcoholics -- I'm assuming you have -- changed your views on the legality of alcohol sales?

Oh fer chrissake - selling sex isn't an addiction.

Sineed

slumberjack wrote:

Quote:

The Nordic model, in which the selling of sex is decriminalized and the buying of sex criminalized, along side social services for increasing the exit options of the women, is being increasingly adopted and considered as the best approach to combating the harms of prostitution, empowering persons in prostitution, all the while affirming a commitment to sex equality.

It's like saying the pot trafficker should be legalized, but the pot smoker should be placed behind bars...the filthy bastards.

Seriously? Buying access to a woman's body is like buying a doobie?

It's the frequently blatant misogyny of the decrim crowd that contributed to my discomfort with that position.

takeitslowly wrote:
If we ban abortion except when the mother's life is at risk for giving birth, than we would be able to protect more women, right?

Statements like this don't belong on babble. We don't argue from first principles around here. (Anyway, to address this: being pregnant and giving birth has a higher risk of death than a first-term abortion.)

Slumberjack

Sineed wrote:
Seriously? Buying access to a woman's body is like buying a doobie? It's the frequently blatant misogyny of the decrim crowd that contributed to my discomfort with that position.

Isn't it misogyny that positions itself as the controller of women's bodies, restricting the agency of a woman to do what she wants to her own body.  Also there are potentially thousands upon thousands of sex workers who are not women, and so your way of thinking is even more restrictive and exclusive than it might first appear.  Did you grow up in a convent or something?  You're quite conservative and controlling in your outlook.

If a human being decides to sell their body for money, and without negating the fact that we are talking about human beings, it is both the buyer and seller that commodifies what is being sold.  It commands a price depending on local markets.  In that sense it is no different than providing labour in exchange for a living, and it is closely related to selling material goods for money, except of course, with sex work clients they don't get to keep what they've purchased.  It's a provisional exchange, the terms of which can be over and done with in mere seconds depending on the client.

If a person wants to temporarily sell themselves, who are you to look down on that.  You are not better than they are no matter what you may thing.  You are merely partaking in this debate from the perspective and effect of antiquated thought processes, ie: formerly living brain tissue petrified into the stone ruins of the distant past, or at least, that which should be relegated to the past so that those who want to live their lives in safety as they would wish can get on with doing so.  If I wanted to sell my body for sex I would think nothing more about it than as a service for a fee.  The odd thing about sex work as it currently exists, as it seems to me at least, is that one is left to confront danger from all sides.  From predators and from antiquated thought that is no more in tune with the reality of people's lives than party politics is.

hookstrapped

I think the reason this debate results in people talking past each other so much is because each side of the debate is arguing about a very different thing than the other.  Decrim advocates, including current sex workers and sex worker advocacy groups, argue from a policy position that makes sex worker safety and well-being primary.  The result is attacks on what are seen as threats to safety and well-being: criminalization, stigma, infantilization. 

Prostitution prohibitionists' focus is on social message and political statement and the role of prostitution in the cultural reproduction of a) patriarchical exploitation (for feminists), or b) debasing immorality (for the religious right). This can be seen in the the focus on the rhetoric and the statements of the originators of the Swedish model, where negative effects on sex workers was seen as a good thing and part of the strategy to eliminate prostitution, as well as current commentators like Meghan Murphy and Julie Bindel.

So the argument really boils down to what you think is more important to pursue as a matter of public policy.

6079_Smith_W

hookstrapped wrote:

So the argument really boils down to what you think is more important to pursue as a matter of public policy.

Yup. And that is compounded by a refusal in both cases to recognize the concerns and valid points on the other side. There are plenty of issues with conflicting values and remedies just like this one; assuming the other side is absolutely wrong and not acting in good faith just makes that conflict worse. And in fact, not everyone does.

MegB

A couple of points:

Takeitslowly abortion rights aren't a debating point here on babble. Try to find another analogy.

Sex workers are not selling their bodies. At best they are offering them for rent. What is being sold is a service performed physically, not the body itself and this can be applied to any person who offers a service performed by the body. At one time women who were actors, dancers, performers in public were perceived to be prostitutes because they used their bodies to provide a service - entertainment. Sex workers use their bodies to provide sexual entertainment which I think we can all agree is different from providing other forms of entertainment using the body but in essence is the same because our patriarchal society continues to see women's bodies as commodities.

Sex work under duress is different from sex work by choice. Using your body to address issues of addiction and/or homelessness is sex work under duress and criminalizing it does nothing to assist those exploited for these vulnerabilities. Address the issues of addiction and poverty will do far more to decrease sexual exploitation than criminalizing sex work will. When I worked with homeless youth in Toronto the need to pay for shelter was a priority and sex work was one of the primary ways of addressing homelessness for those who didn't meet the criteria for shelters with strict rules and guidelines. Because of criminalization these young people were at the mercy of corrupt law enforcement officers who exploited them ruthlessly.

Criminalization does nothing to address, and actually exacerbates the issues of addiction and poverty. Sex work under duress is merely a symptom of deeper societal issues.

Brachina

 Yes the adult movie business, prostitution is still illegal in California.

takeitslowly

I absolutely support the choice of having abortion. Its a woman's choice what she wants to do with her body.

Sineed

MegB wrote:
Sex work under duress is different from sex work by choice. Using your body to address issues of addiction and/or homelessness is sex work under duress and criminalizing it does nothing to assist those exploited for these vulnerabilities.

Precisely. I become frustrated when the debate is framed as a woman's "choice" when in fact sex work is usually the last refuge of the truly desperate.

MegB wrote:
Criminalization does nothing to address, and actually exacerbates the issues of addiction and poverty.

Agree. This is why I favour the Nordic model, where the sex workers are not criminalized. I totally can get how some guys would find it unfair that the (mostly female) sex workers are decriminalized while the (mostly male) customers are not. I don't think there is sufficient evidence to say that total decrim would make women safer.

MegB wrote:
What is being sold is a service performed physically, not the body itself and this can be applied to any person who offers a service performed by the body.

I used to think this, but not anymore. Sex is qualitatively different from other activities in which we use our bodies to make a living, such as me standing on my feet all day, using my hands to prepare and dispense drugs. The article in the OP tackles many of the ways that sex is different from other kinds of work, which is why I selected it for discussion. There's also the matter of consent which she touches on in the section on sexual harrassment that I mentioned in the other thread. If sex requires enthusiastic consent, how can a sex worker consent enthusiastically? Is the fact that she is being paid constitute sufficient consent? Does economic coercion constitute enthusiastic consent?

I can't help but see total decrim as a tacit endorsement of rape culture.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Oh fer chrissake - selling sex isn't an addiction.

I get that.

My point was, neither is selling alcohol.

Slumberjack

Sineed wrote:
I can't help but see total decrim as a tacit endorsement of rape culture.

This statement is offensive, fascist, and an attack on everyone who has participated in this forum in good faith.  I ask you to withdraw your offensive remark.

Sineed

Slumberjack wrote:

Sineed wrote:
I can't help but see total decrim as a tacit endorsement of rape culture.

This statement is offensive, fascist, and an attack on everyone who has participated in this forum in good faith.  I ask you to withdraw your offensive remark.

Here's some examples of violence (with thanks to plastic girl):

  1. stepping on a land mine.
  2. getting eaten by a great white shark
  3. getting hit by a car
  4. being shot
  5. being stabbed
  6. being raped
  7. being abused
  8. being tortured
  9. being beaten
  10. being hanged
  11. being tazed
  12. being screamed at incessantly when you can not escape
  13. being chased or pursued on foot or in a vehicle by people trying to hurt or rape you

What's not violence or an attack: someone says something with which you disagree.

Slumberjack

Luckily, there's Fidel's gift from a few years ago that keeps on giving.  Now, I never have to encounter your bullshit again.  And it works like a charm too!

A User Script for Ignoring babblers

Gustave

Sineed wrote:
sex work is usually the last refuge of the truly desperate.

1 How do you know that?

2 If it was true (but it is not) you could say the exact same thing of any other thing they decide to do, including work at a very low wage on a "legit" job.

Sineed wrote:
If sex requires enthusiastic consent, how can a sex worker consent enthusiastically? Is the fact that she is being paid constitute sufficient consent? Does economic coercion constitute enthusiastic consent?

I did not know it took "enthousiastic consent". Is that in the law or just your opinion of what other people should sign to be authorized by you to have sex? I though consent was the obvious thing. I did consent unenthousiastically many times to have sex simply because a girlfriend have asked for it when I was not in the mood. Was I raped? Can men be raped when applying that criteria or is rape something that applies only to women?

Sineed wrote:
I can't help but see total decrim as a tacit endorsement of rape culture.

"Rape culture" What's that? What does it have to do with the society in which we live?

Sineed

More examples of violence (from a support site for sex workers in Los Angeles):

Quote:

Research related to women working in various aspect of the sex industry is telling.  Such research indicates that women working in the sex industry are faced with higher rates

  • drug addictions[ix],
  • sexually transmitted diseases[x],
  • violent assaults[xi], and
  • mental health problems[xii] such as Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than the general population.


Between 66% to 90% of women in the sex industry were sexually abused as children[xiii].

Diagnosis of PTSD per country of prostituted respondents:

Canada: 74%

• Colombia: 86%

• Germany: 60%

• Mexico: 54%

• South Africa: 75%

• Thailand: 58%

• Turkey: 66%

• USA: 69%

• Zambia: 71%

***Diagnosis of PTSD for combat war veterans: 69%

 

89% of women in the sex industry said they wanted to escape, but had no other means for survival [xv].

Virtually all sex workers I have enountered have histories of surviving horrific abuse. As I previously mentioned, amongst crack-addicted sex workers in Toronto, the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse approaches 100%.

slumberjack wrote:
Also there are potentially thousands upon thousands of sex workers who are not women, and so your way of thinking is even more restrictive and exclusive than it might first appear.  Did you grow up in a convent or something?  You're quite conservative and controlling in your outlook.

An article from 2012:

Quote:
There are 40 to 42 million prostitutes in the world, according to a report from Fondation Scelles (via Le Figaro). Three quarters of them are between the ages of 13 and 25, and 80% of them are female.

More violence:

Quote:
A Canadian Report on Prostitution and Pornography concluded that girls and women in prostitution have a mortality rate 40 times higher than the national average. ( Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution, 1985, Pornography and Prostitution in Canada 350.) In one study, 75% of women in escort prostitution had attempted suicide. Prostituted women comprised 15% of all completed suicides reported by hospitals.

Again, I don't see how decrim solves these endemic societal problems or really helps traumatized people.

 

Sineed

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Oh fer chrissake - selling sex isn't an addiction.

I get that.

My point was, neither is selling alcohol.

Then your comment makes no sense.

hookstrapped

Sineed wrote:

Again, I don't see how decrim solves these endemic societal problems or really helps traumatized people.

Taking your cited statistics at face value (a dangerous course when it comes to the field of sex work research where confirmation bias and poor quality research -- see Melissa Farley -- combine with misrepresentations of findings by third parties to a high degree), I don't think anyone who supports decrim asserts that it is a solution to broader societal problems that disadvantage women in a way that might lead them to be more likely to be coerced into sex work or to choose to pursue sex work among a more limited set of choices.

The point is that criminalization causes additional harms specific to sex workers. The morality and feminism that put moral principle and political ideals ahead of the human rights of actual people is what gave us the Swedish model of criminalization. It's intended to send a message to society, no matter the collateral damage to sex workers evicted by landlords ensnared as pimps because they derive economic benefit from prostitution, sex workers forced to work alone who working together for security and support would be guilty of operating a brothel, sex workers unable to hire drivers and security who would also be considered pimps, migrant sex workers deported back to the desperate situation they fled, sex workers who have to pick from a more dangerous set of potential clients because the only ones left are the more dangerous and abusive, and have to negotiate transactions with them more quickly, more furtively, more dangerously. It is a narcissistic morality and politics that values its projection of the virtue of the holder over the harm caused by it to others. It's a morality and politics pursued against reason, toward the elimination of prostitution -- like its kindred movements alcohol prohibition and the drug war.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Then your comment makes no sense.

I'll simplify.

Given the devastating harm that alcohol does to some people, do you support its continued legal sales?

quizzical

Sineed wrote:
More examples of violence (from a support site for sex workers in Los Angeles):
Quote:

Research related to women working in various aspect of the sex industry is telling.  Such research indicates that women working in the sex industry are faced with higher rates

  • drug addictions[ix],
  • sexually transmitted diseases[x],
  • violent assaults[xi], and
  • mental health problems[xii] such as Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than the general population.


Between 66% to 90% of women in the sex industry were sexually abused as children[xiii].

Diagnosis of PTSD per country of prostituted respondents:

Canada: 74%

• Colombia: 86%

• Germany: 60%

• Mexico: 54%

• South Africa: 75%

• Thailand: 58%

• Turkey: 66%

• USA: 69%

• Zambia: 71%

***Diagnosis of PTSD for combat war veterans: 69%

 

89% of women in the sex industry said they wanted to escape, but had no other means for survival [xv].

Virtually all sex workers I have enountered have histories of surviving horrific abuse. As I previously mentioned, amongst crack-addicted sex workers in Toronto, the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse approaches 100%.

slumberjack wrote:
Also there are potentially thousands upon thousands of sex workers who are not women, and so your way of thinking is even more restrictive and exclusive than it might first appear.  Did you grow up in a convent or something?  You're quite conservative and controlling in your outlook.

An article from 2012:

Quote:
There are 40 to 42 million prostitutes in the world, according to a report from Fondation Scelles (via Le Figaro). Three quarters of them are between the ages of 13 and 25, and 80% of them are female.

More violence:

Quote:
A Canadian Report on Prostitution and Pornography concluded that girls and women in prostitution have a mortality rate 40 times higher than the national average. ( Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution, 1985, Pornography and Prostitution in Canada 350.) In one study, 75% of women in escort prostitution had attempted suicide. Prostituted women comprised 15% of all completed suicides reported by hospitals.

Again, I don't see how decrim solves these endemic societal problems or really helps traumatized people.

what's a bottom line solution?

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