Sunday, February 25, 2007

Not for Sale

My friend once went with a guy to his hotel room, and found lots of other men there too. She wouldn't tell me what happened after that, but she was shaking for a long time when she got back home
The above is an extract taken from an interview with a former Thai sex worker. The rest of the article can be read here.

Following the Ipswich murders, there has been renewed interest in the dangers faced by those who sell sex for money.

Some argue that criminalising prostitution is to blame, and that the word prostitute should be replaced by the less judgemental "sex worker".

Again myths are relayed of the "happy hooker", like prostitution is a money making hobby for the over-sexed.

Yet the vast majority of prostitutes are substance abusers, as demonstated in a U.K government report.

So would legalisation actually make much difference for those who sell sex? On the contrary, I feel it would just support the destructive lifestyles of these women. The only people who would benefit are the clients of these women, as they would no longer the shame of getting caught breaking the law.

By being able to purchase a woman, a man is able to feel he can treat her as he wishes. The story above is not an isolated incident. Those who end up as prostitutes are frequently the most vulnerable in society. Amsterdam may have legal brothels, but they are full of trafficked women, and the desperate will still be forced offer to have unprotected sex if it means they earn more money for their pimps.

To encourage prostitution, to normalise it, will only increase the numbers of victims and abusers.

In Sweden, it is not the prostitute who is the criminal, but the client. This has lead to a massive decrease in both the number of prostitutes and the number of people being traffiked into Sweden.

This is taken from the legislation passed:

"In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant social problem... gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them."

This is the real issue at stake and shows what women and society as a whole will lose, by ever allowing prostitution to be accepted


luckyfatima said...

hmmm, sweden has encoded in their legal system the same view as i hold on prostitution. it is an ultimate means of exploiting vulnerable women and children.

there is a conference going on right now in Calcutta where sex workers are demanding certain constitutional rights. have u been following that at all?

Safiya said...

I haven't heard about the conference in Calcutta, I will look out for any news on it.

I guess it's a fine line to between giving these women the support they need and making prostitution acceptable, which to my mind it is not.

Bilal said...

its a shame- seems like we have gone in a complete circle when it comes to womens rights- and we are worse off than ever before!

Safiya said...

Bilal - You're so right about us having gone backwards. Certainly as far as the media goes, the exploitation and objectification is the worst it's ever been.