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92% of prostitutes say that they want to escape prostitution immediately

Apparently, many people I meet believe that prostitutes in general WANT to be involved in prostitution. There is also a belief amongst some that prostituting themselves is "empowering" to women. Maybe we should consult what peer-reviewed studies of prostitution say, so misconceptions about prostitution can be cleared up. Their findings are that:
photo by Melissa Farley
photo by Melissa Farley
* 92% of prostitutes in a 5-country survey say that they want to escape prostitution immediately.

* The average age a woman enters prostitution is 13 or 14.

* Estimates of the prevalence of incest among prostitutes range from 65% to 90%.

* 72% of prostitutes were currently or formerly homeless.

* 80% to 95% of all prostitution is pimp-controlled.

* 85% of prostitutes are raped by pimps.

* Studies show that from 68% to 80% of women in prostitution have been the victim of a rape.

* 78% of 55 women who sought help from the Council for Prostitution Alternatives (Portland, OR) in 1991 reported being raped an average of 16 times a year by pimps, and were raped 33 times a year by johns.

* 73% reported having experienced physical assault in prostitution.

To read these studies' findings, check out:
 http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/factsheet.html

Other good sites:
 http://www.prostitutionrecovery.org/
 http://www.catwinternational.org/
Curious 06.Sep.2004 15:51

rsklnkv

Greetings.

Those are some disturbing statistics. The underlying concept, however, should be blatently obvious for anyone who's been paying attention. Thanks for the post!

My question is this :
Does anyone have opinions they are willing to share regarding prostitution versus the stripping/pornography industry? I'd love to hear both sides, especially relating to the above statistics.

Thanks for your time.


You betcha 06.Sep.2004 16:48

cynic

Yes and 93.6% of gays wish they were straight. Or is that the other way around? Give me a break. We are who we are because we have choosen a path.

Pay attention, cynic 06.Sep.2004 17:02

GRINGO STARS

READ the statistics. Visit the links. Most every women who enters prostitution does so through incest (boot camp for prostitution), rape and beatings. Homelessness and poverty are also factors. Those are NOT "choices" at all. The vast majority were brutally forced.

BULLSHIT!!! 06.Sep.2004 17:24

Suga'bear

My hoes like the street, I treats em' well, If da' bitches don't bring in enough in a night..I don't beet em', I give em' more lovin'...As for incest, sheeeit, my daughter loves it. Get off your high horses and by my hoes, buy me a new Caddilac in the process mofo, I cut you a deal and dese bitches gives the best head in da' Norwest. Come buy my hoes, come buy my hoes...$$$

'chosen a path' argument 06.Sep.2004 19:08

hmm

Chosen a path, huh? I suggest you go tell that to Holocaust survivors that their parents and grandparents chose to be slave labor to Nazi Germany and then wanted to be murdered as a group in the millions over WWII. There is a huge difference between choosing a path--granted people do of course--and totally ignoring evidence that others attempt to constrain one's choices to guide you into fulfilling their desires instead of yours...

Newsflash: 90% of heroin addicts say they want to escape drug use immediately 06.Sep.2004 20:21

James

Yet, nevertheless, drug use should be legal. It should be legal because while heroin use is certainly harmful to individuals, black markets are harmful to society.

The rationale for legalizing prostitution has never been empowerment -- that's silly. The rationale has been that prostitution is an inevitability which is only made worse through criminalization.

Legalization will not prevent child prostituion or rape, since that is a separate problem, serving a separate market. Legalization will, however, elimiate the necessity of pimps and prevent most assaults on prostitutes and rape. (Since prostitutes will be afforded the protections of the state. By creating a black market, the state no longer has the means to enforce its monopoly on violence).

Preventing the black market is the primary concern. Protecting individual freedom is also important, but hardly the oft-cited rationale you imply.

and the countries, drum roll please... 06.Sep.2004 23:51

ne1

...South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, USA, Zambia (!)

With such a hodgepodge of widely varying countries, no survey that states that "92% of women say they want to escape prostitution immediately" can be taken seriously. Even a survey across the US would be rendered worthless if it lumped high-priced callgirls with crack hoes in its statistics.

Beware: there are a lot of Andrea Dworkin-style feminist "researchers" who have a heavy, sex-phobic agenda and an axe to grind, who like to pronounce these kinds of grandiose statements based on very flawed reasoning. There are many other more levelheaded feminist thinkers who have taken the time to critique these kinds of emotionally damaged sex-phobes.

10 reasons why prostitution should not be legalized 06.Sep.2004 23:57

GRINGO STARS

The following arguments apply to all state-sponsored forms of prostitution, including but not limited to full-scale legalization of brothels and pimping, decriminalization of the sex industry, regulating prostitution by laws such as registering or mandating health checks for women in prostitution, or any system in which prostitution is recognized as sex work or advocated as an employment choice.

As countries are considering legalizing and decriminalizing the sex industry, we urge you to consider the ways in which legitimating prostitution as work does not empower the women in prostitution but does everything to strengthen the sex industry.

1. Legalization/decriminalization of prostitution is a gift to pimps, traffickers and the sex industry.

2. Legalization/decriminalization of prostitution and the sex industry promotes sex trafficking.

3. Legalization/decriminalization of prostitution does not control the sex industry. It expands it.

4. Legalization/decriminalization of prostitution increases clandestine, hidden, illegal and street prostitution.

5. Legalization of prostitution and decriminalization of the sex industry increases child prostitution.

6. Legalization/decriminalization of prostitution does not protect the women in prostitution.

7. Legalization/decriminalization of prostitution increases the demand for prostitution. It boosts the motivation of men to buy women for sex in a much wider and more permissible range of socially acceptable settings.

8. Legalization/decriminalization of prostitution does not promote women's health.

9. Legalization/decriminalization of prostitution does not enhance women's choice.

10. Women in systems of prostitution do not want the sex industry legalized or decriminalized.

There are explanations and studies to back up each reason here:
 http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/ten-reasons.html

The 1999 Swedish Law on Prostitution:
This law is a brilliant example of how a truly progressive society addresses prostitution: the law decriminalizes the prostitute but criminalizes customers, pimps, and traffickers. The Swedish government's logic is articulated in this brief article:
 http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/swedish.html

Moral Impotence 07.Sep.2004 00:14

Migratory Bird

I have known prostitutes who made life long friends out of their clients, had clients become steady boyfriends. If 1 out of 3 women is raped in her lifetime then how shocking is this statistic in relation to prostitution?

You know Gringo, I disagree becuase I have had friends who were prostitutes. Legalize prostitution so the women who do chose to be prostitutes are not victimized as you say. Think about it.

ne1, you provide no analysis whatsoever... 07.Sep.2004 00:26

GRINGO STARS

But Andrea Dworkin thanks you for your ad hominem. She is one of the most maligned thinkers alive, and also one of the least understood - because she is one of the most lied about. For example, Dworkin is not at all antisex. Her early fiction is especially rich with narration about both lesbian and heterosexual lovemaking. Check the Andrea Dworkin Lie Detector to see if your misconceptions have any basis in reality:
 http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/LieDetect.html

You also believe the myth that callgirl prostitution is different than streetwalking. Not so. Prostitutes are very rarely involved in only one kind of prostitution. They almost always sell their bodies in multiple contexts and setting, or "levels" as you might call it. And in a variety of studies, statistics show a uniformity between country's borders and between different "classes" of prostitutes:

In one study, 75% of women in escort prostitution ("callgirls") had attempted suicide. Prostituted women comprised 15% of all completed suicides reported by hospitals.
 http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/factsheet.html

James, I agree that drugs should be legal. But women are not objects. And although you neatly seperate rape and child prostitution apart from prostitution, reality is not so tidy. Incest is boot camp for most prostitutes, who start selling their bodies at an average age of 13 or 14. And rape is not only "part of the job" as they say, it is also one of the ways that they are brutalized and dehumanized into prostitution.

Prostitution is not an inevitability of nature. It is a tendency for men to force some women into serving them sexually:

The prostitution market is driven by customer demand for sexual service. During WW II, the Japanese military forced from 100,000 to 200,000 Korean women into prostitution to service their military.
 http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/factsheet.html

That is only one example of many.

I hope you read the "ten reasons" article I linked to above, James. It explains that, in study after study, it shows that legalizing prostitution strengthens the grip of pimps on "their" prostitutes (nevada brothels send some womens' salaries directly to their pimps). Legalization also encourages child prostitution (Amsterdam is a worldwide mecca for buying child rape), Legalization also, contrary to your assumptions, sees a rise in violence and rape against prostitutes. It's eye-opening:
 http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/ten-reasons.html

Nature 07.Sep.2004 00:42

James

"Prostitution is not an inevitability of nature. It is a tendency for men to force some women into serving them sexually."

Are men separate from nature? We don't disagree. I'll phrase it more bluntly: The tendency for men to coerce some women into serving them sexually is an inevitability of nature.

While I have read similar arguments in the past, I've not yet read through your links entirely. (It's late, but I intend to).

Incidentally, I was reading this week's Economist tonight and came upon a related article. I hope you'll peruse it.

 http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3151258

The prostitutes I know are very different than the ones you know, Migratory Bird 07.Sep.2004 00:42

GRINGO STARS

Since 80-95% of prostituted women are controled by pimps, it is only a small minority that have made a real choice to do what they do. But no woman deserves to be legally criminalized for prostituting themselves, since they already have far too much to deal with.

That is why I like The 1999 Swedish Law on Prostitution:

This law is a brilliant example of how a truly progressive society addresses prostitution: the law decriminalizes the prostitute but criminalizes customers, pimps, and traffickers. The Swedish government's logic is articulated in this brief article:
 http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/swedish.html

Yep, they were the coolest damn women. 07.Sep.2004 01:10

Migratory Bird

You not all restaurants are the same. While ideally everyone would know how to cook really great meals, it is understood that not everyone likes to cook and some people only eat out.

Prostitutes in repressive cultures like India flourish. All over the world there are prostitutes. In almost all countries it is illegal so what Gringo does it serve you to say " prostitution is illegal and by God it should be!" I honestly think that helping prostitutes to get regular aids tests, yes we know you think aids is a hoax but for many prostitutes it is very real, helping prostitutes get contraceptives and etc are very important. I understand that prostitution that flourishes under capitalism will be very cruel and therefore justifiably many people have moral concerns about it.

Once I was walking along the street when a cop asked me if I was a prostitute. Holding back my forocious temper, I said I was not. My word against his. Maybe he had "conducted a sting." Prostitution is usually a baseless unprovable charge levied against women of color and minorities. Hows that for a bum rap, Gringo?

I think your response and posting on this issue is rediculous. Maybe the prostitutes you talked down to gave you the victim scenario becuase you had already moral preconcieved notions on their sexuality. You know a lot of people doing stuff that society does not agree with often have a hard time explaining their actions. Sometimes it is easier to express self hatred to those who choose not to empower us. The prostitues I met were a fun loving group who were often misunderstood. They were wild women, who lived with a zest few have in America. It was an honor to have them as friends.

I pray I run with them again.

Why are my responses and posting here ridiculous, MB? 07.Sep.2004 01:36

GRINGO STARS

You make several asumptions about me, most of them wrong. I am quoting real statistics of peer-reviewed studies. You might want to follow some of the links, but maybe you know better. Your microcosm is encouraging and mine isn't - but anecdotal evidence is merely that, anecdotal.

I NEVER said that prostitution should be illegal. Follow the Swedish Law link for what I see as an ideal solution, which involves completely decriminalizing the prostitute.

shit dude I misread 07.Sep.2004 02:14

Migratory Bird

I misread your title and the ensuing comments. I thought you said it SHOULD be illegal which only exasperates the victimization.

I thought that they were rediculous taken in the context of saying that it should be illegal: Like you were smugly posting, hey folks, it is right to see so many miserable women becuase the current model of the illegalization of prostitution is WORKING. Which if you were saying that sounds reall ypatronizing and stupid, huh?

Sorry. You got me there.

By the way those women were really fucking cool. I still stand by that.

Rockin' in the Free World! 07.Sep.2004 02:22

Migratory Bird

I know you are very sensitive so I will add this. I was surprised to see you saying something so crazy and ad hoc against everything you do seem to stand for, so I guess I was a little harsher in my response than normal.

I guess the only assumption I really make about you is that you are an eccentric who keeps late hours, researches a great deal, and generally seems cool.

But I would say that all the statistics in the world can never compare to my very real experiences with my friends. Maybe that can't be the case for onlookers but I think it is wrong to devalue my personal experiences with your textbook studies.

And I guess that is it. Keep on rockin' in the free world!

I'm going to bed because I can no longer read 07.Sep.2004 02:25

Migratory Bird

Wait I just reread that and you did say 10 reasons prostitution should not be legalized!

I'm going to bed so I can deal with this when I don't feel like I am taking crazy pills talking to you.

If you follow the links all will be clear, MB 07.Sep.2004 07:27

GRINGO STARS

(I was WONDERING why you weren't understanding what I was saying - now I get it) :) After only two hours of sleep, I feel like I took crazy pills too. In the '10 reasons' link, it explains exactly why having de facto legalized prostitution hurts women. I think we'd definitely agree that this is a bad thing. That is why the Swedish Law is good. In it, it is impossible for the prostitute to be arrested/fined/penalized in ANY way. The johns, human traffickers, and pimps would definitely be criminalized - but not the women. The current system in the US is a horrible disaster. I have no doubt the women you knew (you use the past tense too) were very cool. Statistics should never devalue ones personal experiences - but I do think that they can, and should, add to them.

James, I read the Economist article. It is typical of its kind. A light breezy shallow piece, it has very many common status quo justifications for keeping a stable of available female bodies. But its inaccurate dismissal of prostitution studies is intentionally misleading, in my opinion. The few such studies that only use police or outreach programs clearly list this as their methodology, and they are the exception, not the rule. The studies I link to are peer-reviewed. The Economist's "free will" approach to an industry where most workers are unwilling is a typically Ayn Randian Libertaraian approach to slavery; blaming victims in essence.

fuck money 07.Sep.2004 12:04

johnny

money and sex combined turn me off. is it because of my morals, or because i enjoy free sex?!?!

legalization has been tried; it failed everywhere 07.Sep.2004 13:39

Sam

First, a big kudos to Gringo Stars for presenting the case against legalization so well.

Migratory Bird, do you have anything other than personal anecdotes backing up your assertions? You paint a different picture of prostitution than prostitutes themselves paint in decades of research.

You can try to casually brush aside all the data collected over these several decades with the specious "maybe the thousands of studies revealing sexual slavery as the primary source of prostituted people are all flawed because of the stigma against prostitution by the researchers", but that's quite a stretch. You can go to the websites presented and read about the methodology of some recent research yourself, but don't malign the work of so many thousands of people without giving a substantial reason for how EVERYONE who has investigated this is just wrong and being a whore is super duper to a lot of prostitutes.

I've read the Economist piece and noticed the distinct lack of factual information in it. Lots of hypothetical theory, though. The writer suggests legalization will do this and legalization will do that, but the results of legalized prostitution are in and this is the verdict: it doesn't work. No one should speak of the hypothetical benefits of legalization when the proof for its failures are getting better documented every year in places like Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Don't you think many wealthy men (sex industry and goverment) with a lot of money to make from legalized prostitution have done their own studies based on the legalization of prostitution in various countries? If the results were shown that legalization decreased child prostitution instead of increased it, decreased gang activity instead of increased it, decreased illegal prostitution instead of increased it, why wouldn't these wealthy men with everything to gain spread the news all over the Earth? It is precisely because the truth of legalization's failures at its harm reduction goals exacerbates the worst problems of prostitution that we don't hear about studies showing how great legalization has worked.

Can anyone provide a link to a credible study showing legalization in any country has met the majority of its harm reduction goals? There's certainly no lack of credible studies showing the immense failures of prostitution legalization. Sweden had legalized prostitution for about 30 years and then ended that failed experiment because the results overwhelmingly showed the inherent harms of prostitution. On ending African slavery, women's rights, environmentalism, and more Scandanavia has led the path to the future many times and with their remarkable 1999 decriminalization law they are doing it again.

Prostitution is organized violence against women.

I would prefer 07.Sep.2004 14:04

clamydia

I would prefer the eradication of the entire concept of prostitution, along with the concept of law and property.

It seems to me that most people would agree that an act of prostitution is more or less a brief period of sexual slavery that one provides to a customer in exchange for monetary compensation. There are a few variations here and there, but I think that that is the general idea. Well, in my utopia that concept would not exist, because capital would not exist. The word "money" would be a reference to a silly way of doing things in the past, its purpose and meaning remembered only by those generations whose heel touched the new age while the toes of the other foot left the old one. Thus prostitution would become an antiquated concept as well. Or would it?

What if we were to expand the definition of prostitution to include any sexual act in which one participates in order to procure anything (other than sex) from the other sexual participant? That would change things considerably. Then we would have to deal with the whole idea of what sex is, what the humyn body is, and sexual liberation and comodification of womyn's bodies and the sexual alienation of ugly people and so on and so forth. Well, I just poured some coffee, and it's early in the day, so why the fuck not?

People should demand respect for their bodies and refuse to acknowledge any separation between their bodies and their selves. Comodification of the humyn body is a power-based relationship between two people. On the one hand, you have a humyn being whose body is seen by both of them as something inert that can be bought and paid for. On the other hand, you have a humyn whose body is seen by both as something ugly and undesirable to the extent that the only possible thing that could motivate someone to have anything to do with it sexually is the promise of some sort of material/situational reward. Both of these perceptions are ridiculous. In my life (I am aware that this is anecdotal evidence, but I'm not arguing as to the frequency in occurence of this phenomenon. I'm only arguing that it is extant, in which case anecdotal evidence will suffice so long as the anecdote is true and accurate.) I have known quite a few people who were unattractive by our mainstream society's standards, who by virtue of their self-confidence and mostly non-asshole personalities were able to "score" with people who were fairly attractive (by mainstream society's standards) without having to pay for it in any way other than with their pleasant company. This is proof (if only to me) that the act of arranging to reward someone for sex as an avenue to procure it (or alternatively; the act of performing sex on the expectation of being rewarded) is not only ideologically icky, but completely unnecessary even in this near-dystopia in which we live.

It is because of this that I believe that the process which we loosely refer to as prostitution is actually the child of a more fundamental problem. The problem is the power-relationship traps that people fall into as a result of a damaged psyche, as indicated by your statement that most sex-workers enter that world as a result of abuse, and that most enter it at an early age. The answer is education and awareness. If the majority of prostitutes would rather not be in this situation but still are, then it must be because they are otherwise incapable of sustaining their life. If you scare away the johns, do you not then drive their livelihood even further underground, and make their lives even more difficult? The answer seems to me to be providing alternatives to sex-workers. If they still turn tricks even though they don't want to, then it is because they are blind to the alternatives in life or are unable to reach them. My response would be to turn on the lights and hand them a ladder. The ho-john relationship (in the context of the so-called "street-ho" as opposed to the more rare "executive escort") is a symbiotic relationship. If you kill off one half of it, then you kill the other. That is why I feel that criminalizing ANY aspect of prostitution is a disservice to the most oppressed people that are involved in this phenomenon.

I think that the source of my disagreement with you, Gringo, is that you seem to be coming from an authoritarian perspective (Social problems can be solved by outlawing things.), whereas I come from an anti-authoritarian perspective (Social problems are an inevitable effect of political authority and therefore more laws only create more problems.). I don't think that you can change the world (for the better) by forcing people to do what you think is right. You can only show people alternatives to what's happening and hope that it is more appealing to them than what they are doing to the extent that they abandon their situation in favor of the one you came up with (or the one that you are advocating).

Anyway, thanks for making me think.


figures don't lie but liars can figure 07.Sep.2004 16:03

firebrand

Scientific methodology that proves anecdotal evidence is myth is in itself a myth. I would suggest reading Paul Feyerabend's "Against Method", his writing could be very enlightening for those who put to much stake in "science".

Is there a woman on the face of this earth who has made a conscious free will decision to become a prostitute? Are women mindless automatons without the intellectual capability of controlling their actions? I find the attitudes of some of these postings to be insufferably patronizing to women, even though this attitude is an integral part of feminist ideology nobody has to buy into it.

The fact is we are all prostitutes, when we sell our labor to corporations and consume products we contribut to a war, ecological devastation, and support a corrupt elite that profits from these atrocities. Why is sexuality privileged as being different?

No, we are NOT all prostitutes 07.Sep.2004 18:30

GRINGO STARS

Of course, it is easy to dismiss disturbing studies because then one won't have to be disturbed anymore. For some people, it really is that easy. And also, forcing to admit that a cherished hobby, for example: renting a woman's flesh to masturbate into, is intrinsically oppressive, is difficult for some who might see it as a social rebellion: a bold temper tantrum saying "I don't care about your social mores".

Firebrand, we do not all work under threat of violence and rape. We did not all get raped by once-trusted family members repeatedly so that we start a job when we got to the ripe age of 14. We did not get beaten up when our job isn't done properly. For many prostitutes, these things are a reality.

The sex industry is huge. Billions of dollars annually. The libertarian method of money-and-freedom-trumps-all seems to work in the corporate media.

Clamydia, you are very thoughtful, but your dogma is different than mine. I want to see what WORKS. What cuts down rape, violence, incest, child prostitution, human trafficking, etc. I don't care if it is authoritarian or anti-authoritarian. Just as long as it can be shown to work, I'll do it. If has been shown to NOT work, I'll avoid it. The proof is in the pudding. I am not particularly attached to libertarian ideals against the government, when it can be shown that the government can actually be helpful for once, as it rarely but surely does once in a long while. The 1999 Swedish Law is working. By all measurements that I care about, it is a success. I understand your devotion to freedom, but I am wary of such devotion since it can also be misused. Such as the ACLU's defense of corporate freedom of speech, which has proven to be truly oppressive. The freedom of the sex industry to brutally enslave women and traffic them to where they are forced to fuck 20 strangers a day is also a freedom I fight. I am not a philosopher really. I just want to make things better, which is what everyone REALLY wants to do too. I think working towards a utopia is admirable, but that people must not be oppressed along the way. Prostitution is brutal.

Opinions don't pay the rent 07.Sep.2004 21:00

Pravda or Consequences

As long as prostitution pays more than flipping burgers, prostitution will be an alternative to destitution (even though the difference may be minor in the minds of some).

As long as there are men willing to force women to have sex... 07.Sep.2004 21:33

GRINGO STARS

Although poverty and homelessness are part of the equation, a more statistically accurate statement would be: As long as there is a violent asshole who is willing to beat the shit out of a teenage incest victim so that she will fuck 20 losers a day and give him all the money, there will be prostitution.

None of your links are working right now Gringo 08.Sep.2004 02:39

Migratory Bird

None of these links you provided are working.

I guess my favorite prostitution stories come from the old west. They are very fascinating stories.

Another story I really like is Maya Angelou's. She isn't exactly scientific about being a madam or a prostitute. Nor does she glorify her actions. But she doesn't get to heavy drama like about it either. She did both.

I guess being a woman I come at it different than, ya'll do. Maybe you have had thousands of hours to read all the thousands of different perspectives.

But one thing I can say about media is that when they want to "black out :)" an entire subject or refuse an entire subject they are successful.

Somebody gave this rich man scenario I found amusing. Thanks, that made me smile.

Well until I read the data you wrote up I guess I can't put in much thought other than personal experiences.

I would add that probably more than 92% of the fast food workers want to leave there job immediately but there doesn't seem to be much legislation on that.

I would also remind you that there are a hell of a lot of male prostitues, transgendered prostitutes, sex changed prostitutes, etc. So don't place your victim reasoning entirely on women.

All of the links except the factsheet link works right now 08.Sep.2004 07:17

GRINGO STARS

And that factsheet link worked just fine when I posted them. i don't know what happened. (?!?!?!)

I get my facts from speaking with the women involved. It is women who told me about these sites, too. If you have a problem with decades of research, then so be it.

Andrea Dworkin has a similar story to Angelou's. Not everyone has the same story just because you've heard of it.

Rich men hardly want to promote the facts about prostitution. So many of them patronize prostitutes that they have an interest in promoting the free will myth about prostitutes. Your fast food analogy is not applicable to prostitution. There is a reason that prostitutes charge much more for their services than fast food workers. And the statistic is 92% of protituted women want to "escape" their job immediately, not "leave". There is a huge difference.

It's not me placing my "victim reasoning" on anything, it is countless researchers. There are studies of male prostitutes too, I'm sure. You are as free to serach for them as I am, yet neither of us has done so apparently. Yet those studies do not effect the results of the studies already done, since the subjects are different.

So if you feel like it, check out the Swedish law link and the ten reasons link. And the prostitution recovery link in the original post, as well as the Coalition Against Trafficking Women link its next to. Those four links work fine. And also explore:
 http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/

good post clamydia 08.Sep.2004 08:44

Sam

You touch on a few of the root mindsets that allow prostitution to continue. I especially appreciate "Comodification of the humyn body is a power-based relationship between two people." and the story about how even ugly people can find a willing sex partner if they are kind to others.

Sex is fun and feels good, and it is widely available to anyone who treats others with respect and asks. Men don't pay for prostitutes for the physical sensation of sex so much as the emotional satisfaction of degrading a woman, of owning her for a short while and having her act subservient.

While I agree with you that positive alternatives are needed to help people escape prostitution, I don't think lack of them precludes ending an abusive situation. When desegregation happened there were a number of black business owners upset because they lost the captive black customers who could not shop in white-owned stored before. These black business owners were against desegregation for personal financial reasons, but I'm glad the temprorary hardship of readjustment for a few wasn't used as a reason to continue the racist system of official segregation.

"Is there a woman on the face of this earth who has made a conscious free will decision to become a prostitute?"

This is the wrong question to ask, especially in a country where the average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years old.

In theory it sounds good to say sane, reasonable people should have the right to sell a kidney for $500 or more if they choose to. But opening the door to body organ selling would not lead to nearly as many middle class American white men selling organs as other populations whose social circumstances can't seriously be said to allow a free, uncoerced choice, and it would open the door for 'brokers' who exploit poor people. I'm glad we are willing to sacrifice the theoretical capitalistic rights of a very few possible body organ sellers for the greater benefit of preventing widespread exploitation of less privileged people.

From a study done with 130 people working as prostitutes in San Francisco  http://www.prostitutionresearch.com...trauStress.html

- 57% reported a history of childhood sexual abuse, by an average of 3 perpetrators.

"The 57% prevalence of a history of childhood sexual abuse reported by these respondents is lower than that reported for those working in prostitution in other research. It is likely that, in the midst of ongoing trauma, reviewing childhood abuse was probably too painful. Several respondents commented that they did not want to think about their past when responding to the questions about childhood.

Many seemed profoundly uncertain as to just what "abuse" is. When asked why she answered "no" to the question regarding childhood sexual abuse, one woman whose history was known to one of the interviewers said: "Because there was no force, and, besides, I didn't even know what it was then--I didn't know it was sex." A number of respondents reported having been recruited into prostitution at the age 12 or 13, but also denied having been molested as children."

- 84% reported current or past homelessness.

- 82% reported having been physically assaulted since entering prostitution. Of those who had been physically assaulted, 55% had been assaulted by customers.

- 88% had been physically threatened while in prostitution, and 83% had been physically threatened with a weapon.

- 8% reported physical attacks by pimps and customers which had resulted in serious injury (for example, gunshot wounds, knife wounds, injuries from attempted escapes).

- 68% reported having been raped since entering prostitution.

- 48% had been raped more than five times.

- 46% who reported rapes stated that they had been raped by customers.

- 49% reported that pornography was made of them in prostitution

- 32% had been upset by an attempt to make them do what customers had seen in pornography.

When we stop focusing all attention on whether or not poverty-stricken teenage girls with abusive histories really want to be whores and begin asking why so many men are unbelievably, horrifically violent towards prostitutes then we'll get to the place Sweden is at, the place that stops blaming young females for creating their own rape, torture and captivity and recognizes that without men's DEMAND for bodies to abuse there would be no SUPPLY of bodies to abuse.

It is said 'prostitution is the oldest profession', but really it's pimping that is the oldest profession, men selling or trading female bodies amongst each other for profit. Saying prostitution is the oldest profession makes it sound like women (the prostitutes) have always been the cunning and seductive initiators weilding their mighty sexual power over defenseless men like powerful vampiresses of the night. That's the misogynist lie men have always wanted promoted because it absolves them of responsibility for what they do to children and women and makes them look like the victims of all those manipulative whores' seductive wiles.

Like that Canadian judge who suspended the sentence of a man who sexually molested a 3-year old girl because he decided "The child was sexually aggressive." Well, you know females and how helpless men are to their seductions.

Anti-sexism activists 08.Sep.2004 13:58

smberg

Hello all,

I am a local writer, activist and feminist working on education about prostitution, pornography and other forms of sexual exploitation. If you are interested in getting connected to groups working locally, nationally, and globally on these issues or would like resources on where to get sexual exploitation news for private activist action, please email me.

Such a surprising treasure of well informed persons demonstrated in this thread...I hope to hear from some of you.

 smberg@hevanet.com

And yes, Gringo I wasn't taking crazy pills you did say it 08.Sep.2004 14:30

Migratory Bird

"Neglecting to report certain sexual crimes to be made punishable

Under certain circumstances, neglecting to report or otherwise reveal gross sexual offences (rape, gross rape, gross sexual exploitation of a minor or gross procuring) will be made punishable."
-Swedish Law


Yep, exemplerary
or wolf in sheeps clothing????

Why more and more law??? Why penalize the victims this way? If prostitution is considered rape then what does this do to the prostitute? You know they are going to push it this way becuase this was included in the law.

Hey, I think EF! does a better albeit freaky job of it!

"under certain circumstances" 08.Sep.2004 15:17

Sam

Migratory Bird,

If you cannot explain what the Swedish parliment meant by including "under certain circumstances" then going apoplectic over it is premature, no?

The truth still stands that the Swedish decriminalization model is showing tremendous results reducing trafficking and assisting people out of prostitution, better results than any legalization model has shown (which is easy considering illegal prostitution increeases where legalized prostitution goes.

One article of hundreds about the failure of legalization trials

 http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1077612.html?menu

German prostitutes have rejected the first ever employment contract created by union officials.

They refused to sign the deal, which includes six weeks holiday and a pension, because they are to embarrassed to admit what they do.

The union contract attempts to regulate everything from the duties of a "sex worker" to working hours and holiday claims.

Devised by the ver.di service industry union, the legal work aims to regulate the relationship between German call girls and brothel owners.

"Sex workers should have the same rights as any other employee," said a speaker for ver.di.

Based on the regulations, a prostitute is entitled to "30 paid holiday days a year" and should "not work more than five days a week".

The contract also includes Christmas and holiday bonuses for prostitutes.

Only 100 of Germany's 400,000 prostitutes have joined ver.di so far, and the majority of these have rejected the contract completely because they don't want to admit what they do for a living.

for those interested in this discussion 09.Sep.2004 01:57

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You might be interested in revisiting this currently active discussion thread:
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/07/293267.shtml