Meet the Sex Workers Who Lawmakers Don't Believe Exist

How a New Anti-Trafficking Push in Olympia Is Disrespecting and Endangering Consensual Sex Workers

Comments

1
This is a great article, Sydney! Really lays out the who and the why of it. Thank you for doing it!
2
ditto Matisse. Well done Sydney.
3
Quick clarification on SB 5041 and HB 1558. They allow forfieture of property BEFORE conviction. Even if your proven innocent it can be difficult or impossible to get back. Also, it's not just cars but any property used "in the commission of the crime" and that could include your house if you have someone come over.
4
Thanks for the article. Here are a couple of links with regards to the terminology used above.

"sex trafficking"
Borislav Gerasimov - Hey, mind your language
http://bgerasimov.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11…

"sex slaves"
Hunter Riley - Why We Shouldn’t Use the Term Sex Slave
http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/articl…

"Nordic model"
Dr May-Len Skilbrei, Dr Charlotta Holmström - The ‘Nordic model’ of prostitution law is a myth
http://theconversation.com/the-nordic-mo…
6
Roll camera and now it's not sex trafficking, its porn and you can also win a HUMP!-y.
7
Great article, Sydney! Looking forward to reading more on this from you and more on other topics; you're a great addition to the paper.
8
We are starting to get society to realize the absurd atrocities of the War on Drugs. The millions of lives that have been ruined. So what, now we are going to act like we have learned nothing and we are going to apply the worst of the prohibition regulations to sex? All of the dangers and abuse and violence associated with sex work are there because it is illegal. Making it more illegal is only going to make it more dangerous. If we want to end the nightmare for women (and men) forced into sex work, then we need to bring sex work into the light of day with regulation and oversight. How any rational person can look at the failures of other prohibition movements and think that this one will be different is beyond me.
9
Well who is bringing this crappy legislation? http://titsandsass.com/mistresses-of-the…
10
You forgot to print her phone #.
11
Excellent article!
12
Wage labor is slavery and people are coerced with threats and violence in a range of industries but since this one has to do with sex, and the American pubic is easily stirred on the subject, politicians can make a huge splash over it. Dems HARD ON CRIME, Repubs MORAL ORDER. Attacking sex industry is only in fashion over the violence intrinsic and even necessary to get people to work for wages in any line of business because sex is alternately sacred and repugnant to people in this country.
13
One of the first things in the article that caught my eye was Saterburg's "99%" figure. As soon as you start making up statistics to fit your narrative, you set he stage for over-reaction, like the endless war on drugs, 3 strikes laws, etc. Before we do *anything* as drastic as what Saterburg and co are suggesting, we should have actual reliable data to base the decisions on.

That doesn't mean we can't start doing things immediately to address the known problems with the industry, like coerced prostitution.... Amnesty for sex-workers, and a way out of the industry is a good thing with no downside from my perspective. But increased criminalization just makes a black-market even *more* underground and dangerous.
14
Interesting article, to be sure, and I like it. But why do we need to know that Mary is beautiful and has great skin? Should be also be told how tight her top is, too?
15
The entire topic is very complex, and it's easy to see and respect all the points of view expressed here. As much as I don't want to invalidate the lived experience of Mary or another sex worker who says they are freely choosing this life, I do not believe that the sexual violence and other trauma in her past - leaving home at 13?- has no bearing on her choices. Women who choose sex work against a background of drug addiction, homelessness, abuse, or financial desperation cannot be said to acting perfectly freely. I know that the rebuttal to this is - so what? nobody who works for a living is acting perfectly freely. But the truth is that sex work is an extremely high risk job - both physically and psychologically. It's dangerous, it's (often) unpleasant, and it interferes with the ability to form other romantic partnerships. All of this is true for those women who are choosing sex work: those who are trafficked, coerced, or forced have it much, much worse.

And that is my question, which the article raised but never answered. Let's just take Mary's word that she is happy and fulfilled. Fine. But thousands aren't - thousands of CHILDREN and vulnerable people are basically being raped every day. If the best way to help them slightly infringes on Mary's ability to pursue her illegal profession, that's just too bad. A thirteen year old homeless child's need for protection under the law trumps Mary's need to have a relaxed negotiation period with her John, and it sure as fuck trumps a John's need to rent a woman's body.

I have absolutely zero respect for, consideration for, or tolerance for men who buy sex from women or children who have little or no choice in the matter, or for men who buy sex without trying to ascertain if the act is in fact truly consensual. Men who use prostitutes casually without regard to their age or willingness ARE sexual predators, taking advantage of the misfortune or poverty of others and inflicting harm on them for transitory gratification. They SHOULD be punished.

If it were possible to create a system in which prostitution were in fact a profession, freely entered into, well-regulated, with oversight and strict protections, then I would have no issue with it. That is not the world we live in. Articles like this one promote a point of view that is basically apologist for the consumers of women's bodies, hiding behind a very thin smokescreen of concern for the rights of women like Mary. The Stranger wants to normalize prostitution for what reason I am not sure, but they would do better to vigorously oppose abuse and support efforts to end underage or coerced sex work. Then I would be more willing to go along when they advocate for the Marys of the world.
16
Sorry - full disclosure - I have been a sex worker in the past and I also now work with the victims of trafficking. That doesn't make me an expert on anybody's individual experience, but it sure gives me some perspective.
17
I don't think prohibition is the only thing that leads to abusive labor practices in the sex industry. European countries that have experimented w/ legalizing prostitution have found that it results in more human trafficking, not less. You can read more about that here:

http://www.citylab.com/tech/2013/12/acro…

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/prostitutio…

http://www.lse.ac.uk/geographyAndEnviron…
18
@15

There's no way except without regard for the person involved to hire sex. Or to view pornography for that matter. It is by nature a reduction of a human being to a thing to be used for anothers pleasure.

Having said that, criminalizing the act is useless, a waste of legal time and expense. Helping people able to recognize their need for help (unlike Mary for example) and focusing law enforcement on underage or nonconsensual prostitution would be more effective and cheaper. And it wouldn't further hamper a person already at a disadvantage from improving their life by giving them a criminal history.
19
@12

Comparing an honest days work at a negotiated wage with prostitution shows that nothing you have to say is worth hearing.
20
If only there was some way to develop self-supporting systems to regulate activities that had potential public harm. For example, maybe we could license and tax liquor and alcoholic beverage sales and use the money for some regulatory authority? Ditto tobacco products. Instead of turning our back or making them illegal, we could tax them and put regulations on who was allowed to sell or buy them. Automobiles need roads to run on. Maybe we could tax the fuel and use it for some kind of fund for highways? Oh, wait, we did all that.

So, what's the difference with sex workers? Why can't they be legally licensed and taxed, with the money used for social workers to monitor their health and safety, and investigators to stamp out trafficking?
21
@15 I think Dan Savage favors legalizing prostitution because Mistress Matisse is one of his best friends and he doesn't think what she does for a living should be a crime. I think Dan tends to gloss over the realities of what legal prostitution is like in countries that have tried it, but I understand where he's coming from.
22
People talking about men who "use" sex workers "casually" reveal their biases. Nobody "casually" decides to drop $50 or $200 (or more) on a sexual encounter unless they're high or incredibly stupid. And just because Mary left home at 13 doesn't mean that she's still working through childhood trauma; no one seems to want to credit her with the ability to deal with remains of her early life through psychotherapy or other means. It seems to me that the morality police here are creating victims just in order to point at them as victims, rather than doing serious research and attempting to untangle the true victims of trafficking from women who claim their own agency, helping the former and empowering the latter.
23
@18

I agree with you, for the most part. Law enforcement should be focused on helping women and girls who want to exit the life do so without legal stigma. It should recognize the complexity of their needs and provide as much help towards housing and education as possible. And the expense of all this ought to fall on those who have been exploiting those vulnerable girls and women. That is why I support some variation of the Nordic model (I don't think we should adopt it wholesale). If I were king of the world I would make the act of buying sex from a minor a felony, and the punishment the same as that for rape of a minor. I would create a new crime (maybe this already exists under another name; I don't know) for buying sex from a trafficked or otherwise coerced person - maybe called "sexual exploitation" - and the prosecution of those crimes would fund social services for vulnerable girls and women. As for Calpete @ 22, the idea that the amount of money one sounds on purchased sex somehow absolves one of callousness, selfishness, or culpability for pain inflicted is just disgusting. I already said that my argument in no way rests on Mary's (or by extension, anyone's) agency in decision making. I am interested in discussing what we as a society ought to do for those women and girls who are in the sex trade AGAINST THEIR WILL.
24
Here is my perspective as the husband of a sex worker. She became one while we were still friends and not dating. She had already been a stripper for a bit but really didn't like not being in control of her environment or who she was seeing. In that environment, which is completely legal, any group of complete idiots and aggressors can walk in the door. Yes, those establishments are quite covered when it comes to bouncers and security, but nonetheless: that's a service job for you - you don't get to choose who walks in the door.

At some point she decided to make the plunge into "full service". I begged her not to as I thought it was dangerous and dubious. She did anyways, and ended up doing that even after we became romantically involved. As a result, I have met several other "volunteer" sex workers, who enjoy what they do and manage their own work schedules as they see fit. From my point of view, there is a litany of prejudgments that fill the heads of probably 95% of the population regarding not only the type of women that do this sort of thing, but the type of men who do it as well. The tropes run wild and I think it is valuable to take a step back and realize that not every "john" is some objectifying freak, who just wants a piece of meat throw around. Some have terminally ill wives and have received permission from their spouse to seek sexual encounters elsewhere. Some of these men are elderly themselves and find their personal and social lives quite lonely after the death of their wife and friends. So what are they to do? Never enjoy sensual pleasure and companionship again? Especially, when a young woman decides that she might have something offer as a service. Imagine that: a woman who sees value in her work, chooses it deliberately, decides for herself who her customers are and in what context.

Since we have been married, my wife no longer does "full service" and it a compromise that we, as grown adults, have made in order to minimize health hazards and maximize her safety. She does still work but as full body sensual massage practitioner.

She has a great relationship with her father. She has no drug problems to speak of - she doesn't even drink coffee. Her parents are still married and she is a college graduate. So, while, I think it is valuable to find actual coerced prostitution and do everything we, as a society, to stop it, I don't think it is valuable to moralize over what most people just seem to find "icky," rather than a real honest-to-goodness threat to society. Perhaps what passes as prejudice here and elsewhere about sex workers, is really what keeps the "normal" sex workers away from the conversation. It seems that no matter how you frame the issue, or what kind of stories are told, the prejudice is there and maybe always will be. In other words, how can we expect sex workers to "come out" when there is such disgust and vehemence among what otherwise seem to be smart people. The answer is, and always will be, that those that choose this way of life will always do so. You know why? Because they don't need your fucking permission.
25
@23 - Please don't put words in my mouth, pretty blonde. I don't believe men hire women for sex casually. If you want to accuse them of that, of using women casually, you're free to, but you ignore the fact that sex workers' clients make all sorts of decisions about whom they want to patronize, they don't just wander down the street casually and toss money, any amount of money large or small, at the first available woman they can "use". I live within a couple of blocks of the stroll in my town, and I'm quite familiar with the trade. You're projecting on the assumption that men deliberately go after underage or vulnerable or abused women. That may be the case in some instances, perhaps many, but by no means is it the case in all.
26
Call me crazy, but I think women should be absolutely free to choose what they do with their bodies. This means absolutely no coerced sex and that, through legalization and regulations, making enough clientele options available to them that they can make safe choices.

And I do think that prostitution is a product of patriarchy. Women generally don't feel free to fuck when they want because the standard sociotol narrative says that men want to fuck everyone but women who fuck multiple men are sluts and unmarriable. And since men make more money in the workplace than women, women often feel the need to guard their relative chastity to remain financially secure. This is less and less of a problem as society matures, but it's still the narrative. And because men can fuck freely without that stigma, some go to prostitutes because that is an easy way to get laid. I propose that women have full control over their bodies without stigmatization whether they choose to fuck for money, for free or not at all.

Know what else is a product of patriarchy? Working in deep-sea fishing. I have several male relatives who live in areas with absolutely no economic opportunity and so they resort to performing the incredibly dangerous job of crab fishing to support their families because that's what men are supposed to do. They are injured often and they can look forward to their bodies giving out before their hair turns great. And then they're right back where they started, without any economic opportunity, and a destroyed body to boot. Should we make it illegal to buy fish?
27
So let's see if I have the story right: on the one hand we have those who accuse me of ignoring the narratives and rights of women who, like Mary, are 100% in control of their bodies and who freely choose to engage in prostitution; who are entirely empowered and under no duress of any kind. On the other hand we have those, like me, who accuse the other side of ignoring the narratives and the rights of the underage, the trafficked, the exploited, and the unwilling; those who have very little agency and who do not choose to engage in prostitution but who have to because they are under severe pressure. Gee, you know what? I'm pretty happy with my position.
28
Obviously the ideal would be to allow willing prostitutes, like the women profiled in this article, to do their thing and stop exploitative prostitution, but suppose that's not a viable option? The experience of various European countries has shown that the best way to reduce the amount of exploitative prostitution is to reduce the overall amount of prostitution. The best way to stop prostitution is to go after the men who pay for sex. They are often respectable members of society w/ more to lose.
29
Ken, yes, that's exactly my point. When the rights of the (relatively) powerful to buy or sell sex conflicts with society's obligation to protect the rights of the powerless from exploitation, then we as a communal society must come down on the side of protecting the powerless. Forgive me if I'm not shedding big hot tears for the men who are frightened they might get in trouble with the law for hiring underage prostitutes.
30
Ken, yes, that's exactly my point. When the rights of the (relatively) powerful to buy or sell sex conflict with the rights of the powerless to not be exploited, we as a society must come down on the side of protecting the vulnerable. Forgive me if I'm not shedding big hot tears for those men who are less than totally free to hire whoever they see on the side on the road to suck their dicks.
31
@Gueralinda

I don't think anyone on here is arguing against protecting and creating more resources for people coerced into prostitution or underage sex workers. I think the general consensus is that these things are despicable and should be dealt with. I do however think that by ignoring the voices of happy and consensual sex workers that it's further disempowering to women by telling them that they are not capable of deciding what to do with their own bodies. It just so happens that those creating these laws are telling them not to accept money for sex, rather than those who tell them that they have to.

The bottom line is that these laws, however benevolent their intentions are, are aimed at controlling women. Is it not at all possible to create a system that allows for willing sex workers to perform their job safely and consensually? A law that also creates strong penalties for those who have coercive sex or sex with minors? Because coercing someone into sex, or having sex with a minor aren't prostitution-based crimes. It's just rape.
32
@31 In a lot of cases it's probably hard for a John to tell whether the women he's paying to have sex with is being coerced or not.
33
@31 - NopeNope - Exactly right. Thank you.
34
@32 All the more reason to regulate the industry. If John's could make the informed decision to go to a credible place to have an experience with a willing, empowered and healthy sex worker I'm sure the vast majority would. Much in the same way that just about anyone would rather buy a bottle of Jack Daniels at the grocery store than a jar of moonshine from the back of a truck.

I'm not saying there are no creeps out there that still won't seek out underage or coerced women, but there are creeps that do that whether or not money is involved. And they should be dealt with for what they are: Rapists.

I just don't see how these concepts can't coexist.
35
@34 What they have found in Europe is that a significant number of the women at legal licensed brothels are not there by choice. The supply of women who want to be sex workers just isn't big enough to keep up w/ demand for their services. International crime syndicates are adept at fooling regulators and striking fear into the women they traffic.
36
"End demand"? ...for the 'world's oldest profession'...really now... Satterberg et. al. want to "end demand".
Sooo... they plan on rewriting the human genetic code to eliminate sexual impulses or something? Because simply arresting people will only guarantee an endless supply of people to arrest by the police. Lords knows that THAT is a winning and long-term sustainable activity.
37
I highly doubt that entrapping johns will help is capture traffickers and pimps. This is government attempting to create an illusion that it is doing something about a problem.
As has been pointed out, legalization would be an imperfect alternative. But focusing in the johns would do far too little to capture the REAL criminals here. Lets use our police resources a little more wisely here. The behavior of law enforcement in this country, their role in generating revenue (and laws passed that serve no public good to generate revenue at the sacrifice of our liberties), and the reputedly low intelligence standards put on new recruits (with intelligence caps in many departments) leaves plenty of room to doubt that anything will actually be accomplished.
38
This comment thread is shit, exemplified by the fact that Seattleblues expressed an opinion in a reasoned and measured way without resorting to blind invective. Fuck this thread; I shall mutilate it. OMBS AWAY!!!
39
*>OMBS AWAY!!!
(preview still not 100% identical to finished post)
40
<B>OMBS
goddamn, seriously?
41
To keep this black-and-white view churning along, people like Mary—people who feel fulfilled by sex work—can't be discussed

Highly unfair comment - Farley mentions them as "privileged because of their ethnicity and class and they have escape options". This article focuses on a beautiful white woman with a college degree and a middle-class job. The exact type of person Farley - probably rightly - dismisses as a sex-worker outlier and (unmentioned) probably helped by existing policies which restrict supply and keep prices high.
42
So let me see if I understand this. Self employed sex workers who enjoy the safety of having intercourse with professional clients in safe places such as hotels and who earn a decent wage are opposing a bill to protect sex workers forced to do the same with potentially dangerous clients in potentially dangerous places for a fraction of their earnings because it might make their job more difficult.

That sounds pretty fucking selfish to me.
43
The Seattle Stranger article is misinformed with respect to Satterberg' statement. Here is the pertinent Satterberg statement from Jan 28, 2015 Seattle Stranger Article (\http://www.thestranger.com/slog/arch...&…)

"I know that there is a small group of women who are saying, hey, this is okay, this is a profession that I chose; it doesn't hurt anybody," Satterberg said. "And my answer to that is that IF there is one percent of women who are being sold in prostitution who are happy with that life, if one percent—I don't think I’ve ever met anyone who is—but IF there is one percent of them, that doesn't mean we should turn our backs to the 99 percent of them who continue to be abused in our community."

The statement has three conditional clauses with 'IFs" in his statement. Satterberg does not say as the pro sex worker activist claim that 99 percent are unhappy with their lives. He is making a supposition that if some providers are happy we should not ignore the unhappy ones. He is actually acknowledging the possibility that some Provider are happy with their choice.

We are all prisoners of our own experiences. In King County Prostitution is low priority crime with nearly all arrest that would come in contact with Satterberg's office are from the low end ( street prostitution, survival sex, sex to support a drug habit) of the hobby where their good evidence that 80 to 90% are unhappy and would get out if they could. Mary in the stranger article is a relative high end provider and her experience have largely been with other high end Providers an other pro sex worker activist. I am not surprise many them claim Prostitution is their profession of choice. I wonder how many of them if they had a choice of earning $350/hr as a prostitute or another profession would they still choose prostitution. Many of them don't have the skills set to get a job earning even 30$/hour. Mary after over a decade as a sex worker can never go back to working as a corporate accountant. How much choice does she have if she still wants to have eggs Benedict for Breakfast. Mary does not want to go back to the Dead Head life style (Grateful Dead fans travelling gypsy like to see the band in as many shows or festival venues as they could) she experience when she was younger. The point is many of theses Providers are trapped into being Prostitutes and don't really have a choice if they want to maintain their current lifestyle.
44
Let me see if I got this right - sex workers are opposing bills which not only DO NOT target forced service, violence and abuse - but have been shown to have negative unintended consequences for sex workers health and safety. These same sex workers are advocating for more support and services for those who are vulnerable or who are in any way trapped, and would like law enforcement efforts to go toward actually addressing rape, violence and actual human rights abuses.

Selfish? Swop seattle volunteers are not all similar in story to Mary (who did not enter the sex trade until she was almost 30), not are they all like Karen (who lived in the streets as a Sexworker and addict for over a decade.). Whatever the story, swops decision making council is composed entirely of current and retired Sexworkers who have direct industry experience. Swop volunteers include grad students, legal and social service allies, and more. All unpaid and doing what they do in hopes of making a safer industry for all.

And yes, the illicet nature of the business helps keep prices high, benefiting the most "privileged"... So you might want to consider why these "outliers" are coming out of their safe shadows at great risk to try to educate the public on the many dozens of international organizations and sex work advocated and even unions that have been promoting and supporting solidly supported harm reduction oriented human rights based policies such as decriminalization for decades.

Good lord, I inagine my earnings ability would tank with decriminalization. Just a few totally selfish Sexworkers, I guess.

Regardless of where on the spectrum of choice-coercion anyone falls, they deserve human rights and safety. And it is a VAST spectrum, no where near as weighted as portrayed.

Human trafficking of adults and minors is already a felony. These laws exist!!! There are laws against kidnapping and assault and rape and sexual exploitation of a minor. Let's get serious about ferreting out abuses instead of attacking an entire industry.

.02
Just one SWOP volunteer

Sexworkers themselves NEED to have a voice in the policy decisions that directly affect them, and Sexworkers themselves are vested in the safety of their industry.

It does not take much digging around outside of Melissa farleys biased and unsound research to find a great deal of information from many sources directly contradicting the current narrative - of the majority of sex workers being forced,
Of the majority experiencing regular violence and abuse... And moreso the entire premise and effect of prohibition style End Demand policies as somehow being helpful.

45
Sorry for the typos, I'm on a phone
46
@jerseyguy -

And High tech specialists can be trapped as high tech specialists and really don't have a choice If they want to maintain their standard of living.

Again, this is not a simple choice or forced subject. We believe in empowering and supporting individuals in what they need for health, well-being and safety - instead of infantilizing all sex workers as powerless victims.

Only Rights can stop the Wrongs.
47
@46

Pro sports would be a better comparison skill. And that's the flaw in your thinking, or one of them.

For a few years a football player can make a lot of money selling his skill. But time and age will catch up and the demand for that skill will fall away. Also, for every player making real money are many more making much much less. And at the end, unless they invest their money or tine in acquiring a new means of income they're out of work at 30. So with prostitution. Only with less money for a high risk of physical harm and certain stigma rather than applause for their work. Even if you separate the role of sex in emotional and moral terms, if you ignore the stigma attached to it and the difficulty in changing jobs later, even then the prostitute will always get more financial harm than benefit from sex work in the long run.

Because we're "sex negative " as a culture, you say? These are simply people selling a skill? Even if I grant that, and I don't, that's the culture we live in. That's the culture in which prostitutes and johns operate, the understandings by which they're acting. Most of us in Western cultures value sex as an expression of love, as the intimate sharing of one person with another at their most literally and figuratively naked. And in that context comparing the commercialization of this sacred act to a trade or profession just doesn't work. Such a comparison is in fact obscene.

Yes, we should find ways to help those in sex work willing to be helped. Yes those who hurt kids or force others into sex work should be punished.

But whatever you and your friends think, such coercion will always be the rule. The demand will always vastly outstrip the very limited pool of those willing to supply. Until you understand that no policy you propose could possibly work.
48
@47,
My point was that most people in any specialized profession "get stuck" if they want to "maintain their standard of living"... that does not in any way keep people from making changes, especially when they can no longer do the work that they had been doing.

I do agree that professional sports is a reasonable comparison. Physical work, risk of injury, perceived "shelf life" etc. However just as many move into sports casting or coaching, many ladies move into website design, screening for other ladies, etc. Beyond that, I've known many individuals who have participated in the industry using those monies to put themselves through school and/or start transition careers and businesses. As a 40+ year old sex worker, who knows a good handful doing well into their 50's, I would contest your belief sex workers "age out" at 30.

Your assumption of "always get more financial harm than benefit" is perhaps only relevant for those with addictions, those who do not know how to manage money, and those who cannot fathom a transition (typically this third would be one or both of the previous.)

You may perceive commercialization of "a sacred act" to be obscene, yet that is a personal moral judgment. I find people who have sex without condoms without first properly testing and fluid bonding with a partner somewhat obscene. Yet, I do not think that the government has the right to regulate either.

I have met and communicated with thousands of sex workers in my years, the vast majority either simply making extra money for something urgent (debts, childs illness, etc.), working for the sake of work, or even enjoying the freedoms the work provides. The very fact that there are many "happy hookers" is indicative of the fallacy of sex work itself being inherently violent for those who participate.

I completely disagree about such coercion always being "the rule" - economic circumstance is the most common coercive factor in the sex industry (as it is for everyone alive, regardless of industry!),This will only change by granting rights to sex workers, providing training opportunities for transition away from the industry, providing counseling and treatment as may be needed, and focusing enforcement efforts on abusive behavior and human rights violations.
49
@48 You and Gueralinda seem to have had very different experiences in the sex industry.
50
@49,
Yes indeed. And that's one of the points - that there are MANY different ways to be involved in the industry. Many different motivations, power dynamics, and experiences. Survival based sex work, escorting, sensual massage, BDSM pros, tantrikas and other "sacred sexuality" providers, strippers (those who give "extras" as well as those who don't), and even the bikini barristas who have been charged with prostitution and related offenses.

To lump all prostitution in one basket and saying that it is exploitation? It's asinine. Sex work itself is NOT inherently "violence against women and children." Violence against women and children is "violence against women and children"!

I'd love to see us actually addressing the real issues instead of chasing sex workers and their clients around with no focus on what and where the real issues are.
51
just chiming in as the nonexistent percent: I'm deeply appreciative of those of us who have the bravery to contact media and potentially expose themselves to abuse by law enforcement, legislators, and others who might vehemently oppose our position of choice and empowerment. I don't necessarily mind operating illegally because 1: I'm not paying taxes (though I will this year but I'm not sure how yet) and 2: the illegality drives my rates up and makes me, a well established sex worker, more desirable. Due to my reputation I'm unlikely to be cops posing as girls in order to catch my delightful, kind, respectful, adoring, adorable, reliable, humorous, 100%reasonable clients. Fine. I'm privileged because I'm white, young, pretty, tech savvy (mostly), educated, and have no abuse or addiction in my history. Out of the forty five other providers I've had in depth conversations with, waaaay more than one percent are like me. I'm one of the super unusual ones who honest to Dawkins desired the life of a sex worker since age 12. Most of those other 45 are solid, professional, intelligent women I love and respect.

You know what I would like? I would like the same or similar privilege for all other sex workers as I have had. I want every girl thinking about escorting to have someone to ask. I want them to have an advocate and supporter, as I was fortunate enough to have. I want them to have access to a beautiful and affordable place to practice. I want a friend and counsellor for all of them. I desire all women who wish to enter the sex industry to have the support I had. The Swedish model outlaws all of that. Nevada's legalization is so restrictive that anyone who wished, like me, to open a brothel in which every girl had the physical and emotional support she needed to make informed decisions and which provided services for those who couldn't, could legally support these girls and provide a safe space to practice As they wished.

Go ahead, hate my desire, but at least aknowledge that there are voices out there who have valid thoughts and opinions. @43: that guy said 'if' three times. Read the damn quote! He's not saying that despite a minority of consensual sex workers we should pass these laws, he's saying that in the unlikelihood (he even says in your own quote that he's never met one, implying he believes we don't exist) that a consensual sex worker exists, their rights are trumped by the rights of the victims. If you agree that consensual sex workers should be restricted in order to save the forced ones, then ok. The efforts don't work, but many people have trouble accepting facts that go against emotions. I respect your opinion nonetheless. However, that's not what your quote is saying. I really wanted to point that out.

Im looking forward to the anti-sex work war going the way of the drug war: ineffective and extinct.
52
@justmeinSEA46

Most people are stuck in their current profession because they lack the skill set needed for a higher paying profession that will allow them to have a higher life style . A janitor can't becomes a bus driver, a bus driver can't become plumber, a plumber cant become a Professor unless they acquire the necessary skill set. A plumber was not always a plumber, a bus driver was not always a bus driver, a Professor was not always a Professor . Essential all had lowered paying position an life styles previously. In contrast, janitor, bus driver, plumber, Professor are born with the equipment and the basics skill set to prostitutes themselves and earn a 200+ per trick and having higher life style. There are currently ~14 million US women earning less than $10.10/hr who have and will not exit their minimum wage job to enter a relative minimum skilled job as a Prostitute and a higher life style.
53
It's really unfortunate that organizations like Seattle OPS are pushing for legislation - they claim to represent all "survivors of prostitution," yet they selectively hand-pick those former prostitutes they are willing to offer benefits to. They asked me to represent them in an interview on KCTS9 last October, then when one of their volunteers got jealous about the attention focused on me after the show aired and started stalking and cyber-bullying (and I requested help protecting myself) they decided to refuse survivor services to me from then on with a loud and clear "no comment" to all of my requests for the reasons they told me I was no longer welcome. Apparently, they're not there to represent all those who want out of the life, just the ones THEY think "fit in" to their idea of a non-assertive sex slave. Too bad, their rejection really hurt - it's really bad when even the organizations set up to help society's rejects like myself, when even THEY reject you and refuse to help.