Sex Work and Human Rights

Sex, Lies, and Abolitionists

How prostitution abolitionists defame sex workers’ rights activists

The following comment was left on my blog last night.

Are you actually interested in the suffering of women who were forced into prostitution and who are hard up? If yes, you could read the following: Your Justifications are Killing Us
– Sophie

Rather than replying in the comment section only, I chose to respond more publicly in this post, to highlight the defamation that proponents of sex workers’ rights frequently have to endure.

Dear Sophie,

I do indeed take an interest in forced prostitution, though without your apparent limitation to women. I already knew the text you sent me. Even though I do not wish to deny the personal experiences of the author, I do take issue with the message she aims to convey with her text as well as with the blatant lies she spreads. In the following, I will respond to selected paragraphs of her post and thus, to your comment.

“Too much of the Left is made of male-thought, and in this thinking it not surprising that the Left has always justify the sex trade, and ignore the reality of life for the prostituted.” – Rebecca Mott

To give but one example to challenge her view, I shall name the German prostitution law (ProstG), which was an initiative by the female members of the German Green Party who by no means ignored the reality of sex workers. The ProstG abolished the statutory offence of the „promotion of prostitution” and made it possible to create better working conditions for sex workers without rendering oneself liable to prosecution.

Since the author mentions her view about which groups dominate the prostitution discourse, how about we take a look at the spectrum of prostitution abolitionists? In my view, those are predominantly radical feminists or members of faith-based organisations.

They are the ones who ignore the realities of sex workers, since their opinions often rest on their own concepts of morality and disproven research. I have no problem with anyone who doesn’t consider sex work as a desirable occupation or wishes to write about it and try to have others think about it, too. That falls under freedom of expression. That, however, is not what prostitution abolitionists are content with.

“If you scream and shout that you’re not a victim you are suffering from a false consciousness. And if you try to convince them that you’re not even suffering from a false consciousness, they will say: ‘Well you’re not representative'”.
– Pye Jacobsson, Swedish sex worker and activist URL

The term „prostituted“ supports the notion that sex workers lack agency and aren’t able to make informed decisions. “to be prostituted” is a passive term that supports the notion that one cannot actively choose to work as sex worker. Is a construction worker “constructed” then?

“I am tired of everyone letting the left off the hook – I tired of waiting for the Left to get on board with abolition – I tired of men who Leftist making their porn stash and their consumption of the prostituted is somehow better than right-wing men who do exactly the same.” – Rebecca Mott

I, on the other hand, am tired that forced prostitution and pornography are conflated time and again, and that those who oppose the criminalisation of sex work are branded as proponents of sexual exploitation.

“In this post, I will speak of the many leftist cliches that have said to me, or I have read, or had fed to me by the media.” – Rebecca Mott

I don’t know which media the author refers to here, but I cannot support her view that the media are currently engaged in a campaign for the rights of sex workers. Rather, prostitution abolitionists frequently dominate the discourse and silence any dissenters. (See my previous post about a German talk show in featuring prominent prostitution abolitionist Alice Schwarzer) URL

The following statement is a typical example for that.

“Much of the poison-speech by the Left is the language of pimps and punters – men who are not pimps and punters parrots their words without questioning. I was consumed by many Leftist punters who justify all their tortures – I had profiteers selling me who imagine they were on the Left, hell they were sexual outlaws, they were empowering women, they were model-day freedom fighters.” – Rebecca Mott

If you don’t agree with them, prostitution abolitionists will denounce you as pimp, punter, torturer or – here – will-less parrot.

“I write to the Left, for my heart is exploring with pain and grief – silence round the Left betraying the prostituted class is killing the prostituted every day.” – Rebecca Mott

Again, the author conveys that the left ignored the reality. I would like to know whom she is talking about, but that she fails to elaborate on. I suppose that according to current criteria, you can call me leftist, and where I am concerned, I did seek the dialogue with prostitution abolitionists several times, only to be faced with attempts to defame me, distort my views into the opposite, or shout me down.

“The major one is that if you unionise the sex trade, then it will be fine and dandy. I agree with unions for workers – but there we the major flaw – being embedded in the sex trade is not work, the prostituted class are not workers. They are in the conditions of slavery, of having their human rights stripped from them – they are not workers. To frame it as work, where all that need to be done putting in basic health and safety regulations, all that need to be done is to get a shop steward who go to the sex trade profiteer and speak of working rights for the prostituted. Think a little, and you will see this is nonsense.” – Rebecca Mott

Sex worker unions are indeed no cure-all. However, the notion that sustainable improvements could be achieved without them is a misconception. The interests of sex workers are best represented by sex workers themselves. Those include fighting forced prostitution and violence, by the way. But for as long as prostitution abolitionists fight against sex work itself, a collaboration with sex workers is hardly in the cards. Sex work is work. Forced prostitution is forced sexual labour.

“When there are unions for the prostituted – they always are dominated by the profiteers, punters and those who support painting the myth that the sex trade is safe.” – Rebecca Mott

That is a blatant lie. Information about sex worker organisations can be easily obtained. I recommend the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) as a starting point.

“Unions that exist do not include the prostitute who is trapped in a brothel, do not include women in the porn that is daily torture, do not include the under-aged prostitute trapped in a room with lines of men consuming her.” – Rebecca Mott

While it is true that those forced into prostitution usually have no access to sex worker organisations, it is also true that forced prostitutes represent the minority of sex workers. So what is the answer? To defame sex workers, who like any other working person work on their own accord, and defame their organisations, including the services and assistance they offer? Among others, those include assistance to exit sex work, counselling (e.g. when suffering from sex worker burnout), or the opportunity to report suspected cases of forced prostitution. Does doing away with those sound like a good plan?

“No, unions are not for the ordinary and average woman or girl – for those unions have no intention to stop the routine rapes, the routine beating ups, the routine throwing away of the prostituted. No, the purpose of these unions is to whitewash away all the normal male hate and violence that underpins all aspects of the sex trade.” – Rebecca Mott

See above. One can easily learn about the objectives of sex worker organisations. The supposed “intentions” that the author describes are brazen defamations.

“Do not back any sex trade union – they do not give a damn about the prostituted, they care about pimps and punters.” – Rebecca Mott

This statement demonstrates that the author is not in the least interested in the rights of sex workers.

“It is a union run and controlled by managers, but more by managers who view the prostituted as goods and never as humans. Your belief in unions is killing the prostituted every day.” – Rebecca Mott

The author fails again to disclose what union(s) she is talking about. Her statement is a general condemnation of all sex worker organisations that aims to defame their members and work. Therefore, I will not respond to all further paragraphs, but only to a few additional points.

Sex workers protest against police crackdowns in Seoul [Photo: AP/Lee Jin-man]

“I would see punters who had brutalise me and other prostitutes on marches, in meetings or part of liberal religions – fighting with all the might for rights and dignity of all humans.” – Rebecca Mott

I heard people raise suspicions that sex workers in South Korea were forced to participate in demonstrations. I discussed this with Korean sex workers who I suppose the author would claim belong to this “leftist riff-raff”. None of them was able to confirm this suspicion.

“That when I learnt the lesson I have never lost – these men did not fight for the dignity and rights of the prostituted foe we were not and cannot be classed as humans – we were just goods for them to use to consume and throw away.” – Rebecca Mott

I believe that the information that I published on this blog and via Facebook speak for themselves and refute the author’s portrayal of “these men” as a homogeneous group.

“We were not given access to human rights” – Rebecca Mott

Here I agree. The rights of sex workers are indeed frequently violated and only unagitated discussions about possible countermeasures will lead to a sustainable reduction of such violations. Not only should sex worker participate in these discussions – they should be the protagonists in them.

“Please question your Leftist views if they discard the prostituted class.” – Rebecca Mott

Please question your views if they undermine the rights of sex workers. Failing to safeguard sex workers’ rights, will prevent fighting forced prostitution and violence in sex work effectively.

Sex Workers’ Freedom Rally in Kolkata, India [Photo by Matt Lemon Photography]

95 responses

  1. Anne R.

    you mention Germany several times. Did you know, that the German Police Union and German politicians actually says, that the legalisation was a failure. And did you know, that the only persons, who did not get better working conditions after the legalisation in 2003 was indeed the prostitutes in Germany? The pimps, brothel managers, organised crime gangs, and traffickers just love the legalisation, but the prostitutes just have to pay and pay and pay – they are the loosers.

    Did you know, that the mainpart of the prostitutes in Germany are in fact not registered? That the main part of the German prostitutes are imported? That the German Ministry of Family has realised, that “prostitution ist kein Beruf wie jeder andere. Empirische Befunde zeigen, dass die in diesem Bereich Tätigen erheblichen psychischen und physischen Gefährdungen ausgesetzt sind. Es ist darüber hinaus bekannt, dass viele Prostituierte sich in einer sozialen und psychischen Situation befinden, in der es fraglich ist, ob sie sich wirklich frei und autonom für oder gegen diese Tätigkeit entscheiden können.”

    I hope you understand German.

    And yes, Pye is NOT representative – she was working as a stripper. Really funny enough, the Swedish prostitution lobby never ever mention by just one word the many prostitutes, who actually left the sex trade, when Sweden abolished buying of sex.

    October 31, 2012 at 4:41 am

    • paolo

      Too much lies on your post. You follow only lies of abolitionist and prohibitionist positions, probably you are abolitionist too. I live in Italy my girlfriend is romanian and worked in several FKK in Koln, Hamburg, Berlin and Frankfurt. German Police value legalization law as good law, only Christian and Right Conservatives politicians fight against a law that gave to SW dignity and good money. Please don’t talk about matter that you don’t know. sex work is work

      August 29, 2013 at 11:40 am

  2. Rose

    “The interests of sex workers are best represented by sex workers themselves.”
    Isn’t that why Rebecca Mott’s writing is so important? Because it’s from the point of view of a woman who has been prostituted and is brave enough to write honestly. As a writer you repeatedly mention “defamation” but I have never seen such a nasty example of that than your words. Nasty.

    October 31, 2012 at 5:17 am

    • You are right. The fact that she is brave enough to share her experiences is important and nobody should deny her the right to do so. I mean that.

      It is my right, too, however, to respond, and when she uses her personal experiences to further a one-sided narrative that depicts all sex work as sexual exploitation and all sex worker rights advocates as complicit in torture, then she denies them the very voice that I suppose she wouldn’t want anyone to deny her.

      I don’t consider the word ‘defamation’ nasty but a term that describes the act of falsely damaging the reputation of another person – in this case, of an entire group of people. While it is not my business if someone uses strong language, how would you then label someone who describes others as “profiteering torturers who turn women into fuck-toys”?

      October 31, 2012 at 5:36 am

      • It is the absolute pinnacle of privilege, that you seem to seriously expect this person, who was so savagely brutalized for so long, to remain “objective” (or more accurately, to maintain the subjective outsider’s perspective.) How could you be so callous?

        Let’s try to introduce some empathy for Rebecca – because, there isn’t any. You know, just to mix things up.

        Rebecca lives in a kind of waking nightmare most of the time, and when she sleeps she dreams about it too. It’s called trauma, and when I say trauma, think combat veteran. It is the most severe, most intense form of PTSD. Rebecca never triggers, she is almost always hovering at the edge of shock; memories play out in her body – trauma so severe that her body remembers, and plays out beatings and rapes even though they happened years ago. Bleeding – anally, nosebleed, whatever – from memory alone.

        So, if she uses strong language,

        how many times must a person be raped before they get any slack for it?

        And don’t tell me you’re giving her slack – you targeted her. TARGETED HER. She lives in constant fear and pain because she was so savagely harmed. How many times must a person be brutalized, tortured, before they are no longer capable of considering that the vehicle the abuse rode in on is might ever be okay, for anyone?

        Rebecca speaks only from her own experience. “Profiteering torturers who turn women into fuck-toys” is a specific, explicit reference to exactly what was done to her (SHE is the person reduced to fuck-toy and the profiteering torturers? You better believe they immortalized her pain on film), beginning at a devastatingly young age.

        Somebody did all those things to her.

        She survived everything she describes. Strongly worded? Do you have any idea what she lived through? You do realize that she writes because it gives her an alternative to suicide? That she is trying to warn others, trying to tell the truth of what happened to her so others will not join her hell?

        Do you expect her to be rational about being raped? To the point of being able to rationally discuss other people being raped as if she has no experience having been raped? To impartially consider that her nightmare be inflicted on others?

        That’s beyond absurd. That’s inhuman.

        Give the woman a break. Give her a break for her sake, and if you can’t do it for her sake do it for your own sake. See past your own sense of entitlement – that you get to confront her or whatever – and maybe consider why you were blind to the fact that her blog is autobiographical, that she is talking about herself. Think about the harm it inflicts upon her, to be singled out for pillory – that she is not only being held up for public criticism for daring to advocate on behalf of people like herself, using her nightmarish lived experience and even then – that she spares you the truly gory details. The ones that make it hard to live, for us – make it hard to sleep, for you.

        Sure, you have the right to challenge her. To hold her up as if she were an academic talking about abstract, ephemeral nonsense instead of her body, her anus and vagina torn, battered, brutalized, savaged, discarded.

        You can, I guess, challenge the validity of her narrative, but be advised that this is a person who expressed, via IM, the self-doubt that maybe she doesn’t count? Because she wasn’t gang-raped THAT often.

        . . .

        You can, if you want, present counter-points. To what purpose? You will never, ever persuade her. All of this is the very worst kind of trigger, so what are you trying to do if you can’t ever persuade her? Hurt her? Hasn’t she been hurt enough? For a lifetime? Maybe several?

        And you need to be aware that people in our situation (yes, our) have been pushed so far beyond the realm of normal human experience that coming back is, for some of us, impossible. That you’re talking to people who assert that – if it all goes south, if that day comes when we’re just too tired and the fear and pain are bigger than can ever heal – we have the right to die. We have the right to not be asked to wait and suffer for decades.

        I will not fucking cry.

        We have the right to let go. There’s an upper limit to how much can be asked of us. You have to be pushed to the very edge of the cliff of human survival strategies to reach a place in your head where suicide becomes self-protection. Our dignity – what’s left of it – demands that we not be made to finish out this race to the bottom. [ Please, those of you I know are reading this – hang in there. ]

        I am afraid to leave those words. I want to delete them because I know there are others who will read this and that particular line of thinking is an echo chamber.

        That calling attention to her, with a personal targeted attack on her (because quite frankly, that position is only a position for people who get to be abstract about this, instead of live it, being put inside their bodies) and that has very real consequences for her – for all of us.

        She will be attacked, by people who are made aware of her existence thanks to this. They’ll attack her on her blog, send her comments advising she kill herself.


        [ As if that terrifyingly logical idea is ever far from her thoughts. ]

        She will be deliberately triggered (and by extension, all of us.) Threats of violence. It won’t have been the first time. There is an entire community of people – mostly, but not all, women, who already can’t ever be safe again, thanks – who will pay for it too.

        Yes, I totally see what you’re saying. I wish I got to live in a magic sno-globe where that ever actually happens, but them’s the breaks.

        And be aware that whatever your position is, she has earned the right to weigh in on this. That maybe, if you care about sex workers AT ALL, you would listen to her very carefully and very closely because she is the living embodiment of all the very worst that can possibly happen, that isn’t supposed to happen but does – listen to her closely, because if you want to protect others from living that experience, you should probably start by learning about that experience instead of insisting it doesn’t exist, or count, or we don’t share it – but that raises the question, how many does it have to happen to before it gets to matter? Can’t we at least be afforded the potential for it happening?

        Kick her while she’s down. But don’t acknowledge it’s even possible that we could be harmed. That the harm you claim you’re working against is exactly what we lived – yeah, silencing us and demonizing us and insisting it’s not real and didn’t happen makes so much sense. Actually treating the harm inflicted with dignity or respect – that’s totally out of the question.


        October 31, 2012 at 11:00 am

    • I’m a female sex worker and I couldn’t disagree more with Rebecca Mott. Is my writing also “important” to you?

      October 31, 2012 at 8:32 am

    • Victims of domestic violence and abuse from violent husbands and boyfriends absolutely have a right to speak for themselves. That does not give them the right to claim that marriage, as an institution, is invalid OR that ALL married women or women in relationships are abused by the husbands/ boyfriends (marrituted?). They have a right to speak for themselves, not for ANYONE ELSE. And to claim that ALL women who engage in sex work are ‘prostituted’ means that the rest of us who were NOT ‘prostituted’ but in fact chose our profession- for whatever reason- is to infantilize adult women, leaving them without the ability to voice their own experiences.

      If Rebecca Mott felt that she was ‘prostituted’- that is her experience. It was NOT mine, and I resent that she or any other abolitionist believes they have a right to impose their experience on the rest of us. As for the ‘danger’ that any of us may face, perhaps we ought to ban women in the military or in law enforcement or cab driving- or any other profession in which danger may lurk. ALL workers are better off when they can go to the police and report abuse and crimes against them- they are NOT better off when the police are their enemy and can arrest them if they don’t ‘cooperate’ with the nice officer and give him a free sample.

      So if you consider Rebecca Mott’s writing ‘important’ -then just as important is the writing of all the sex worker rights activists who have experienced first hand the heavy hand of the laws which criminalize them OR their non violent, non abusive clients, employers and others with whom they interact. If she can talk about the abuse she experienced, then when we write about our clients and employers who haven’t abused us, what we have to say is just as important. It is a two way street. Anything less is abusing those whom you and your fellow abolitionists claim to want to help. Sometimes people just don’t want to be rescued… because they have NO NEED to be rescued!

      October 31, 2012 at 9:03 am

  3. rmott62

    I suppose I have the right to reply at your complete attack at my work.
    I find it very patronising that you think I can only talk about my experiences without making the connections with the way that the majority of the prostituted are treated , and saying that I cannot criticise the Left when it supports the sex trade. That is to make out that only I experience rape, sexual torture and mental abuse – when when is more shocking is that the reason I choose to write is because it is common practice in all forms of prostitution.
    I use the term “prostituted” for it used to say that punters make the choice abuse mainly female as sexual objects, without caring or allowing her to have an humanity. It also said that the sex trade profiteers made her into goods.
    To be prostituted is to be stripped of all your human rights – and it does outrage when the Left ignores this human rights abuse, and instead make the choice to stand up for pimps and punters.

    October 31, 2012 at 8:22 am

    • Rebecca- you are patronizing the rest of us with your denying us the right to talk about OUR experiences… we are NOT all victims of sexual exploitation and for you to infer that we are is about as patronizing as one can get. I support the right of women to choose whether or not to abort an unwanted fetus, to choose with whom to have a life relationship and to choose their profession- even if it offends you and your comrades. Getting arrested and going to jail strips one of all their human rights- and one’s dignity as well. Stop projecting YOUR experience onto the rest of us!

      October 31, 2012 at 9:07 am

  4. rmott62

    I am not offended by the sex trade, it is not a moral issue for me. It is an issue of human rights and freedom for all the prostituted.
    I feel if you happy in the sex trade, then you think outside that box to the vast majority of the prostituted who made into goods.
    It is not about the individual prostitute, it is about a system that makes the prostituted into goods to be consumed. In that system, it become normal to use extreme violence because the consumers and profiteers do not see the prostituted as humans.
    This means there no safe place for a prostitute, and no aspect of the sex trade that cares about their safety. It the purpose of the sex trade to make the prostituted interchangeable and into goods.
    I know when I an escort and doing other forms of indoors prostitution, a major survival tactic was to make myself believe I was in control and happy. This nothing to prevent the torture I lived with – but denial keep me alive and give me strength to exit in the long run.
    I do not need you to agree with me.
    But the prostituted who are still trapped need to be believed – which more and more people are.

    October 31, 2012 at 9:38 am

  5. Rebecca, (in reply to your first comment)

    You most certainly have the right to reply, just as I had the right to respond to your piece, since according to you, I am one of those “leftist punters”. (I already linked to your piece, so I shan’t repeat your words here. You know best what you wrote.)

    Of course one makes connections from one’s own experiences to what one believes is the bigger picture. To label anyone who doesn’t support your view and those who work genuinely to make sex work safer as complicit in rape and torture goes too far, to say the least.

    I don’t support your view that rape, sexual torture and mental abuse are “common practice in all forms of prostitution”. It were different if you were speaking about forced prostitution, which certainly represents a grave human rights violation.

    To be clear: I did not and do not mean to refute your own experiences or those of others forced into prostitution or otherwise abused while working as prostitutes that you might be acquainted with. Since your experience seems to have been an ordeal, it is only understandable that you wish to prevent anyone from experiencing what you did.

    Disagreeing with your view that all experiences prostitutes make are one and the same does not mean that one automatically stands up for pimps and punters. They, too, shouldn’t be seen as a homogeneous group.

    October 31, 2012 at 9:40 am

  6. Rebecca, (in reply to your second comment)

    When you describe prostitution as a system that turns human beings into commodities, it’s hard to believe, at least for me, that this isn’t a moral issue for you.

    Those forced into prostitution certainly need to be believed, just as those who entered it without force but experienced violence later on.

    If you say that you made yourself believe you were happy when in fact you weren’t as a survival tactic, nobody should second-guess you. Just as you shouldn’t second-guess anyone who tells you their experiences are different from yours.

    October 31, 2012 at 9:50 am

    • You seem to have missed the part where Rebecca was violently raped god only knows how many times. That somebody got paid -> Rebecca will never see a situation free from coercion. That seems reasonable for anyone with Rebecca’s experience.

      It’s the rape part we object to. I guess that’s moral. We’re probably way, way more reactionary about it.

      And I will be the first to express just how acute economic coercion creates a situation where, to be blunt –

      “We need the money.” [ said to me, 7 years ago, as I sat sobbing on my bed begging not to, because I had a call, and didn’t want to go. – I went. ] -> commercialized rape.

      October 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      • Miss Andrist, (in response to both of your comments)

        If I try to see things from your perspective, which I suppose you might deny me being able to, I can understand your outrage.

        True, one can probably not expect a victim of sexual violence to be particularly objective, and I already stated that “the fact that she is brave enough to share her experiences is important and nobody should deny her the right to do so.”

        When she chooses to publish things online, however, and taking a stand for what she believes in, others do have the right to respond, especially if they are labelled in the way she did. Rather listen to me, you could listen to the sex workers who have posted comments here and learn about their views, too.

        You wrote that Rebecca “speaks only from her own experience”. I am sorry but denying others’ experiences doesn’t fall under that.

        You ask me to “give the woman a break”, but does she give sex workers a break? They, too, have experienced violence first hand – from law enforcement officers who “can arrest them if they don’t ‘cooperate’ with the nice officer and give him a free sample”. (see Norma Jean’s comment)

        She is not solely “daring to advocate on behalf of people like herself”. She makes generalising statements about the sex industry as inherently harmful, a common falsehood employed by prohibitionists. (see also Traffickedat17’s comment)

        I don’t necessarily expect to persuade her of anything. If she were to consider, however, that her experience, however traumatising, does thankfully not reflect the “vast majority” (her words), she could maybe entertain the idea that prohibitionist laws that criminalise sex workers, their friends and families, clients and business partners are not the answer to the problems that do exist in the sex industry – they are part of the problem.

        I do not condone or encourage any hateful comments sent to Rebecca. She has a public blog that gets referrals from plenty of people via Twitter and elsewhere. And while I hope that she is strong enough to endure the strain that hate speech must put on her, I won’t shoulder the blame for comments she receives by others.

        You wrote that I “don’t acknowledge it’s even possible that we could be harmed” and that I silence and demonise you and insist your experiences are not real and didn’t happen. At no point have I done that and no amount of your words can shame me into admitting that I did.

        “It’s the rape part we object to.” – No arguments there. Sex workers object to rape, too, just as I do. I do object, however, that economic hardships amount to “commercialized rape”. The answer to inequalities (discrimination, lack of education, pay gap, etc.) is not to criminalise sex workers. That adds insult to injury.

        October 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm

  7. I read horrible stories about the sex industry like Rebeccas and it makes me realise just how important decriminalization of the industry really is!

    Forced prostitution is a terrible thing and those that force others to do it should be punished severely!


    The reality i live is, that forced prostitution, while it exists, is the minority.. the world i know and love is sex workers who have gotten into it by their own free will. By their choice. They have control of their own lives. And luckily in Australia, we are protected.

    I liked this quote by Norma Jean:

    “Victims of domestic violence and abuse from violent husbands and boyfriends absolutely have a right to speak for themselves. That does not give them the right to claim that marriage, as an institution, is invalid OR that ALL married women or women in relationships are abused by the husbands/ boyfriends (marrituted?). They have a right to speak for themselves, not for ANYONE ELSE. ”

    I agree.

    Another example : We all know the FACTS about children being abused by priests etc.. yet we dont close down churches and stop our kids from attending sunday school and scriptures!

    Bad shit happens to people in minority groups… but that doesnt mean that they are the majority.

    If people want to protect sex workers from violence, the only answer is to decriminalize the industry world wide, give us back the right to call the police to help us! Give us back the right to stand up and say “Violence against sex workers will not be tolerated!”

    But while we sit here and listen to a heart breaking story (which it is! Im sure there is no sex worker out there that would wish rape at work on anyone) we cannot forget the MANY men and women who work in our industry every day, with their head held high, with pride and self respect.

    The clients i see are mostly very respectful and polite. They dont see me as an object, like a blow up doll.. they see me as a woman, a person and treat me accordingly! In 11 yrs in the industry, i can honestly say i have only ever had one client that truly was horrible. I called the police on that client.

    1 in 11 yrs.

    Before i got into the industry, i had been through abuse… by “loving partners” (here is a blog entry about it if you would like to know more )

    Yes Rebeccas voice should be heard! It should be heard by the policy makers, so then they can make the sex workers working lives easier! To protect us from this sort of thing happening. It just shows that the rules and regulations put on the industry in some countries is outdated and that they need to look at places like Australia and New Zealand to see that decriminalisation gives the sex workers rights and ensures our safety!

    This industry will never go away…. there will always be men and women who CHOOSE to do this job….

    But until those sex workers are given the rights they deserve, the disgusting people who force prostitution will exist!

    Yes Rebeccas story should be heard… yes what happened to her is horrible horrible stuff that should never have happened…. but the only way to stop it happening to others is to change the way people see the industry.

    I am not a prostituted woman. I am a sex worker. I came into it by choice and i firmly believe that i am part of the majority.

    All of our stories are valid. No ones story is more important than any one elses, but unless we knew ever single prostitute in the world, we really cant be saying:

    “The majority of sex workers world wide are forced into it and are abused.”

    We simply cannot say that.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm

  8. Traffickedat17

    I have no empathy for Rebecca. She is selling out trafficking survivors and non-survivors to a nasty extremist feminist lobby with the rhetoric with which they have armed her to interweave into her narrative. There are tens of millions of sex workers who speak of empowerment through solidarity NOT charity. And this anti-trafficking lobby targets women who are vulnerable in order to influence them and peddle their cause which ultimately ends in warehousing humans (prison, deportation etc). Rebecca should look up Jill Brenneman’s account of maltreatment at the hands of abolitionists and maybe she will understand why the former poster child of CATW is now a member of a global, organic movement that attempts to not discriminate on the basis of race, class gender or locale. The sex worker movement is ready for you Rebecca when you drop the disempowering rhetoric and falsehoods. When you are ready to stand on your own two feet and on your own merits, instead of enjoying the benefits of the rescue industry. And when you stop conflating prostitution with capitalism (being sold).

    October 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm

  9. Rose

    It makes me weep to see the cold-hearted cruel words of so many individuals here. If you truly were working for the protection and empowerment of women who are or were prostituted you wouldn’t be treating one woman’s truth in this way. Why is it ok for you to state that the majority of prostituted women have made a choice and are happy but not for others to make the opposite statement? I can honestly say I would not be approaching your ‘research projects’, blogs or ‘support groups’ if I was in prostitution and unhappy about it or unsafe. You are a frightening group. I don’t think anyone here has argued for ‘criminilizing’ prostituted women and yet you keep arguing against it. Bizarre. Traffickedat17 “I have no empathy for Rebecca”?? In your first line you show what an inhumane stance you approach the whole issue from. If you are so afraid of one woman’s truth as to have no feeling when you hear about her suffering then you need to ask yourself some serious questions.

    October 31, 2012 at 6:31 pm

  10. Matt, you speak of a desire for unagitated discussions, yet your entire post is an agitation by calling Mott a liar rather than speaking to the actual issues she and other abolitionists raise.

    You seem to be in agreement that all parties around the sex trade desire to fight violence, yet you don’t actually speak to the violence in the sex trade. This appears to be a fundamental divide between pro-sex trade and abolitionist voices — abolitionist voices are saying the entire tree that is the sex trade is rotten at its roots (the rot being violence towards, and dehumanization of women), whereas pro-sex trade voices seem to be saying it’s just a few “bad apple” customers. Both groups of women exist and both are valid, and it becomes an issue of prioritizing. Why on earth should we prioritize those who are relatively fine and dandy over those who are profoundly harmed? It makes no sense, is callous, and as Miss Andrist said, it’s the absolute pinnacle of privilege. I have no interest in supporting people in positions of privilege, especially when it’s achieved by throwing others under the bus.

    I agree with you that “the interests of sex workers are best represented by sex workers themselves” — this is why I prioritize the voices of sex workers and prostituted women over any academics, researchers, policymakers, and any other so-called ‘experts’, because those actually doing the sex work are the real experts.

    But again, I listen to and acknowledge that there are women happy being sex workers, and I am happy for their luck — they are the privileged group. However, with privilege and power comes *responsibility* — a responsibility to listen to and support oppressed people. Instead we have privileged sex workers clinging to their privilege and getting offended at people like Mott instead of saying “Hey, there are women telling me they and many others are/have been profoundly harmed by the sex trade. I sure am lucky not to be in their shoes. I wonder what I can do to support them so that they can be safe.” This starts with listening to THEIR perspectives and needs, not projecting and inflicting your own ideas onto them.

    Sex work may be ‘work’ for self-identified sex workers, but it is not forced sexual “labour” for prostituted women — stop trying to sanitize their reality of sexual slavery and routine rape, abuse and degradation. No other “job” has employees whose reality is repeated abuse, drug addiction to be able to DO the work, and PTSD rates off the charts, other than the military.

    October 31, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    • “your entire post is an agitation by calling Mott a liar”

      Please indicate the passages you are referring to.

      “you don’t actually speak to the violence in the sex trade”

      Yes, I did.

      “both groups of women exist and both are valid”

      I have yet to encounter any sex worker who denies victims of abuse their right to speak for themselves. I made no statement to the contrary either.

      “Why on earth should we prioritize those who are relatively fine and dandy over those who are profoundly harmed?”

      Why on earth should sex workers accept that those who were harmed try to silence them rather than standing together in solidarity? I have no interest either in supporting people that throw others under the bus. But that’s exactly what prohibitionists do.

      “this is why I prioritize the voices of sex workers and prostituted women over any academics, researchers, policymakers, and any other so-called ‘experts’, because those actually doing the sex work are the real experts.”

      And so you should. It doesn’t mean that allies cannot voice their opinions, especially when their views are distorted, just as you do in your comment.

      “there are women happy being sex workers… — they are the privileged group. However, with privilege and power comes *responsibility* — a responsibility to listen to and support oppressed people.”

      They do. And not only those who you call privileged. You might want to ask sex worker activists in Kenya or South Africa is they feel privileged, just because they managed to organise themselves or have access to computers.

      “Instead we have privileged sex workers clinging to their privilege and getting offended at people like Mott”

      They get offended for a reason. And the reason is not that they try to deny their experience but that they are denying theirs.

      “Sex work may be ‘work’ for self-identified sex workers, but it is not forced sexual “labour” for prostituted women — stop trying to sanitize their reality of sexual slavery and routine rape, abuse and degradation.”

      Why the quotation marks? Why ‘sanitize’? Does ‘forced sexual labour’ not sound terrible enough for you? Sure does to me.

      “No other “job” has employees whose reality is repeated abuse, drug addiction to be able to DO the work, and PTSD rates off the charts, other than the military.”

      And again: you might want to talk with some migrant boys who are forced to work in the Thai fishing industry. Let’s see if they agree that their job doesn’t involve repeated abuse or cause PTSD.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      • Feminist Rag


        “the blatant lies she spreads” = Agitation.

        I have never heard abolitionist voices deny the experiences of happy sex workers — they speak to and about their experiences and other women like them, they just don’t privilege or prioritize the happy sex workers.

        Re. objectivity: there is no such thing, so let’s not pretend there is, for any human being. All we can do is speak to our own experiences, listen to others’, and decide for ourselves what makes the most sense to our hearts and minds.

        November 1, 2012 at 1:28 am

    • Traffickedat17

      Thanks for the lecture on the ‘responsibility’ of privilege feministrag. You obviously haven’t cottoned onto the fact that sex workers’ are an organised movement and as such, have empowered more sex workers than any bourgioise white feminists could ever hope to by ‘rescuing’ them.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      • Feminist Rag

        Empowerment appears to be understood differently among sex workers and abolitionists formerly in the sex trade.

        Re. feminist rescuing — not from what I see. The former prostituted-now-abolitionist voices I hear are some of the strongest and most articulate women I’ve come across, they’re a far cry from needing, wanting or asking to be rescued. The only thing they demand (through their educating, not by asking) is RESPECT, and they have mine. Their arguments just speak for themselves.

        Sex work may not be rape to YOU, but it is to many women in the sex trade, and it would be to me if I were forced to ‘choose’ this work. Why do other people’s realities threaten yours?

        You make an important point in saying we should look at the exploitation and very real rape of Mother Earth, which is not a metaphor as some people think it is. Physical land (and bodies) is where the violent predatory, dehumanizing colonist culture begins its destruction, and the sex trade is but one part of the very long road of carnage this particular culture is paving along its fast track to total nihilism.

        It’s a huge beast (this ongoing colonization, its mind-mining and Spirit-eating), there are no easy answers other than full stop decolonization in every sense of the word, but that’s much easier said than done since violence is used to uphold colonization, and it’s why violence is seen in every single aspect of life it touches, wilts and kills. Capitalism & globalization are just the labels of this colonist culture today.

        What am I doing to stop it? It starts with decolonizing and un-mining the mind, which is a huge and ongoing feat for us all — and voices like Mott’s further this process by examining one piece of it that is the sex trade. Then I think it’s about restoring our relations with eachother and the Earth, to bring back RESPECT that is so sorely lacking and corroded, for ourselves and eachother and every single living thing on our planet. It starts with the smallest of things, like how we speak and listen to eachother which is not easy because convos like this quickly get viciously disrespectful.

        I think with full decolonization, there will be no such thing as a sex industry/trade (certainly not how we know it today), nor will there be a need for feminism and a lot of other movements grappling with this predatory colonist beast. In the meantime we gotta do what we are able while always thinking of what else we can do to make things better for and support eachother, ESPECIALLY those suffering more than we are.

        November 1, 2012 at 1:21 am

      • Traffickedat17

        Look, I was a radfem once. In this century though, it has become nothing more than an oppressive ideology. And having a radical analysis does not always bring people to the same conclusion. Your law and order initiatives hurt people. Including the trafficked. Having a radical analysis (or extremist in the case of ‘radfems’) does not mean you can transplant white western values into other people. That is the point of Rebecca retelling her story over and over again. So that you can set more cops onto sex workers and can even pretend you are only going after the clients. They don’t CARE that a woman is being retraumatised with this telling retelling. Happy with her lot to be wheeled out as a professional victim till she retires. As long as those white feminists get their money and careers out of making an underclass of women of whom they don’t approve. #

        As Kthi Win, a Burmese sex worker said in her plenary at the Assn of Women in Development conference in April ‘We are already afraid of the police. Why should we be afraid of feminists too? We don’t have a choice when a policeman or a policewoman has a gun pointed at our head.”

        Thanks at least for acknowledging colonisation and its egregious effects. But you are wrong about healing mother earth. She is a living entity, the one who sustains us. Our gender equality BEGINS with her – it doesn’t happen AFTER you’ve rescued the people you presume to be oppressed. Instead of that, maybe a plan to ASK the people you are rescuing if that’s what they want, would be in order. But it’s not. It’s gun ho. Violent. Women are losing housing and their children. … Thanks to western feminists. Shame.

        November 1, 2012 at 12:55 am

  11. Traffickedat17

    We reject the use of the term ‘prostituted woman’. Yes, please stay away from our projects. From our lives. And out of our panties. It might sound inhumane, but Rebecca has been proliferating her story on the net for a long time. Demanding that we sit up and accept the semantic contortions woven throughout the narrative is simply an attempt to silence legitimate questions. Ordinary people use ordinary language to tell their stories. Not this rhetoric that pathologises an entire class of people and conflates rape with consenting sex. Those bourgois feminists even have Rebecca believing she suffered some kind of Stokholm Syndrome. Sad. We are supposed to believe that Rebecca can’t trust her own instincts. That her own feelings were blocking some kind of deep seated pain. That the feminist professional class will save us? No thanks. If you object to rape, then label it properly. Call rape, rape. Don’t call sex work rape. And maybe if prostitution bothers you so much, you should examine capitalism and your own relationship to exploitative frameworks. Abolitonists love the term ‘exploitation’. How about we start with the exploitation – the RAPE – of mother earth. Our mother is being raped. What are you doing to undo a grossly unjust system like capitalism. I can tell you the sex workers have an analysis and are addressing system problems in a methodical way. What are you abolitionists doing other than sicking the cops onto vulnerable women. Hmmmm?

    October 31, 2012 at 7:57 pm

  12. Traffickedat17

    Here ya go Rose. Here’s one woman’s truth.

    ‘More harm emotionally was done to me by rad fem activists than any pimp.’ – Jill Brenneman

    October 31, 2012 at 8:16 pm

  13. Rose

    Again you assume that people who are against men buying women for sex are against the women who suffer because of it. You are very wrong. I can’t put my energy into a conversation with someone who speaks about rape in the way you do. It makes me feel sick.

    November 1, 2012 at 12:59 am

    • Rose: the sex industry does not only consist of “men buying women” (and I take issue with that phrasing as well, but one thing at a time). Women buy sex too. Men buy sex from other men. Trans folks sell sex. The sex industry is not this black and white thing where only men buy sex and only women sell it. Of course, the entire argument falls to pieces once you acknowledge that men sell sex as well as women and that women also buy sex. Are you going to argue that those female sex buyers are raping their male clients? I doubt it. And second, as a sex worker with six years of experience who has NEVER experienced violence at the hands of a client, but who has been raped TWICE by former lovers–it disgusts me to hear you continually categorise my work as “rape.” I’ve experienced rape, and in my six years in the sex trade, sex work has never amounted to rape.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:55 pm

  14. Anne R.: “that the German Police Union and German politicians actually says, that the legalisation was a failure.”
    False: That is only selective citation. Only parts of the Police Officers who can be considered part of the prohibition movement do say so. The opposite is true, as was evaluated 2007 by the government report. One part of the 3 part report was especially devoted to evaluate oppinions from policy makers, judges and police. That report found out that a (not so big) majority was in favour of the legislation introduced in 2002!

    Anne R.: “Did you know, that the mainpart of the prostitutes in Germany are in fact not registered?”
    Partly false or misleading: There is no requirement to register as sex worker!!! You are only required to pay tax and have health insurance. Only in conservative areas like Bavaria (Munich) the police requires sex workers to register with them, before they can start doing sex work. Police sells this ideology as more safety to sex workers. However a killed or raped or betrayed sex worker will not be saved nor safer by having her name on a police list, no?

    Anne R.: “German Ministry of Family has realised, that “prostitution ist kein Beruf wie jeder andere.”
    Right: That is a statement by the new government, which now is the christian party. They obviously don’t like the law issued by greens and social democrats in 2002. But most sex worker colleagues which I know frome the German whore movement (part of the women and gay liberation movement) do like the law. Some do not like the law, since they believe legalisation will reduce the sex work income one can make *LOL*

    “Empirische Befunde zeigen, dass die in diesem Bereich Tätigen erheblichen psychischen und physischen Gefährdungen ausgesetzt sind.”
    Richtig: Diese Befunde gibt es, aber keiner kann sagen, ob das KAUSAL mit “Sex gegen Geld” zusammenhängt, oder mit der prekären Lage, in der Sexworker arbeiten müssen, weil das Gewerbe stigmatisiert und marginalisiert ist und viele Teilbereiche nach wie vor kriminalisiert werden in vielen Regionen in Deutschland.

    “Es ist darüber hinaus bekannt, dass viele Prostituierte sich in einer sozialen und psychischen Situation befinden, in der es _fraglich_ ist, ob sie sich _wirklich_ _frei_ und autonom für oder gegen diese Tätigkeit entscheiden können.”
    Genau: darum geht es in der moralischen Debatte. Es gibt keinen Konsens darüber wie frei Frauen entscheiden. Auch ist im post-demokratischen Kapitalismus die Freiheit für arme Arbeiter/Migrant_innen eine andere als etwa für wohlhabende Unternehmer oder Akademiker mit Beamtenstatus… Sexworker werden politisch kaum angehört. Es gibt keine anerkannte nationale Sexworker-Gewerkschaft. Es gibt nur defizitäre Sozialberatung, die von kirchlichen Organisationen geleitet wird.

    Prostitution Law (ProstG) and News Germany:

    November 1, 2012 at 1:21 am

  15. Traffickedat17

    No Rose, I do not assume that. I do not assume that because prostitution is the sale of a service, not of a person or a body part.

    And feministrag, it is not an and/or proposition between anti-trafficking advocates and sex worker activists. That’s a paradigm set up by our enemies to disenfranchise & invisibilise us. Sex workers have been helping coerced or unwilling people since the year dot and will continue to do it regardless of external political pressures, until the end of the world. The sex worker project is the feminist project. It is people building community and solidarity and working toward systemic change. It is sex workers who are subverting the patriarchy. You ‘good women’ could maybe learn a thing or two from us about solidarity. Because the feminist movement is somewhat devoid of solidarity these days.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:27 am

  16. Again with the lie that radfem deny women’s agency. Do you understand that radfem theory is about a systemic analysis of the oppression of women, and is NOT about judging the actions of individual women within the Patriarchal system? It is doubly insulting that not only do you repeat the lie, but you accuse an ex-prostitute of doing it to herself!

    November 1, 2012 at 12:11 am

  17. By the way, could you point me to a debunking of the study Prostitution and Trafficking in Nine Countries: An Update on Violence and Posttraumatic Stress DIsorder, by Farley, Cotton, Lynne et al.? Since you said radfem rely on discredited research, I figure you already know how to debunk said research. I have relied on it in the past, so I am honestly interested in reading your evidence against the study, if you have any.

    November 1, 2012 at 12:15 am

    • You could start with the sources you can find on Wikipedia, then move on those provided by Maggie McNeill.

      “Her prostitution studies have been criticized by sociologist Ronald Weitzer, for alleged problems with their methodology. In particular, Weitzer was critical of what he viewed as the lack of transparency in how the interviews were conducted and how the responses were translated into statistical data, as well as the sampling bias toward highly marginalized groups of sex workers (such as street workers) and for the way the findings of Farley’s studies have been more generally applied to demonstrate the harm of sex work of all kinds.[10] A 2002 study by Chudakov, et al.[11] used Farley’s PTSD instrument to measure the rate of post-traumatic stress disorder among sex workers in Israel. Of the fifty five consenting women interviewed, 17% met the criteria for PTSD, compared to Farley’s 68% figure. Farley’s critics also claim that her findings are heavily influenced by her radical feminist ideology.[12][13][14]”

      [10] “Flawed Theory and Method in Studies of Prostitution” by Ronald Weitzer, Violence Against Women 11(7): 934–949, July 2005.

      Click to access WeitzerVAW-1.pdf

      [11] The motivation and mental health of sex workers. by Chudakov B, Ilan K, Belmaker RH, Cwikel J. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 28(4):305–15, 2002. doi:10.1080/00926230290001439.

      Click to access motivationofsexworkersEnglishChudakovCwikel.pdf

      [12] Weitzer, “Flawed Theory and Method in Studies of Prostitution” (above-cited); “The articles in question are by Jody Raphael and Deborah Shapiro (2004), Melissa Farley (2004), and Janice Raymond (2004). At least two of the authors (Farley and Raymond) are activists involved in the antiprostitution campaign. […] The three articles are only the most recent examples in a long line of writings on the sex industry by authors who adopt an extreme version of radical feminist theory—extreme in the sense that it is absolutist, doctrinaire, and unscientific.”

      [13] Letter to Ambassador John Miller by Ann Jordan and others, Center for Health and Gender Equity, April 21, 2005, p 4.

      Click to access LtrMillerTrafficking.pdf

      [14] “A Commentary on ‘Challenging Men’s Demand for Prostitution in Scotland’: A Research Report Based on Interviews with 110 Men who Bought Women in Prostitution, (Jan Macleod, Melissa Farley, Lynn Anderson, Jacqueline Golding, 2008)” by Teela Sanders, Jane Scoular, Michael Goodyear, and others, April 29, 2008. “The researchers were defined as people wanting to end violence against women – but presumably this may introduce bias into how the research was run. If you are asking someone to disclose buying sex but you openly disagree with this how can you hear what they say?”


      Maggie McNeill – A Load of Farley

      November 1, 2012 at 1:10 am

      • Traffickedat17

        Here is the complaint to the APA by a psychologist about Farley’s research. Hopefully she will be struck off soon. Also read the judgement in the recent Supreme Court case in Canada about the prostitution laws, where the judge dismissed Farley’s evidence as unreliable.

        Click to access complaint-to-apa-re-melissa-farley.pdf

        November 1, 2012 at 1:15 am

      • Your first source is a litany of lies and ad hominems. Wonderful. Why the hell should I care?
        Your second source has a straightforward lie right in the abstract- “stereotype of sex workers as either always having histories of childhood abuse or as being always ‘happy hookers'” (whatever that means)- when the study clearly states that 63% of prostitutes (NOT 100%) were abused as children.
        I am not going to check the rest… your sources are, shall we say, unreliable. This is what you use as a basis to silence two whole classes of women?

        November 1, 2012 at 1:45 am

    • Francois, I addressed that Farley study here. I was mainly focusing on one particular statistic out of it, but some of my criticisms (eg its gross selection bias and its failure to distinguish adults from children) are applicable across all its findings.

      November 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      • You say the study is not representative enough. Okay then, although I don’t know if I totally agree, what other studies do you suggest that are more representative and draw from a vast pool of respondents?

        November 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      • As I said in that piece, there really are no “representative” studies. The very concept of “representativeness” is meaningless as applied to sex workers; the industry is simply too diverse. And there are sectors of the industry which we are completely unable to even quantify, much less interview; they’re more or less completely off the radar. It just isn’t possible to get a statistically valid sample.

        That said, I can point you to a few studies which at least looked at diverse sectors, recognising that backgrounds and experiences can differ widely depending on which part of the industry you’re surveying. Examples off the top of my head are the Christchurch School of Medicine’s “Impact of the Prostitution Reform Act on the Health and Safety Practices of Sex Workers”; Elizabeth Bernstein’s Temporarily Yours; the LASH reports from Australia; Jeal and Salisbury’s “Health needs and service use of parlour-based prostitutes compared with street-based prostitutes”; and Kimberly Kay Hoang’s “‘She’s Not a Low-Class Dirty Girl!’: Sex Work in Ho Chi Minh City”. All of these are limited both geographically and in terms of the sectors they capture – but unlike the Farley study, they don’t just indiscriminately lump all sectors into a single, undistinguished category and then equate that category with “prostitution” generally.

        As for your comment elsewhere that prostitution is rape even with “enthusiastic consent”, I find that very troubling. What it says is that when a sex worker and client agree a price and an activity, and the transaction proceeds accordingly, this is no different in substance to when a man pins a woman down, or puts a knife to her throat, and penetrates her against her will and despite her physical and/or verbal resistance. I cannot speak for sex workers, but as a woman I’m pretty sure I could distinguish rather easily between the two.

        What’s wrong with your position, apart from the obvious, is that it means there’s no reason to try to protect people who sell sex from the latter type of occurrence. Because being violently attacked and penetrated against their will is no worse than what they do for a living, anyway. Sure they’re being raped all the time, they might as well be used to it. This is – of course – precisely the attitude that police, prosecutors, judges and juries regularly adopt when refusing to take the rape of sex workers seriously. It is enormously disturbing to see it being advocated under the guise of feminist theory.

        November 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm

  18. Honestly interested? I doubt it. I gave you a starting point, nothing more, nothing less.

    How about you read the comments by Justice Susan G. Himel of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on the evidence supplied to her court by Farley and Raymond. (source below)

    [352] I find that some of the evidence tendered on this application did not meet the standards set by Canadian courts for the admission of expert evidence. The parties did not challenge the admissibility o evidence tendered but asked the court to afford little weight to the evidence of the other party.

    [353] I found the evidence of Dr. Melissa Farley to be problematic. Although Dr. Farley has conducted a great deal of research on prostitution, her advocacy appears to have permeated her opinions. For example, Dr. Farley’s unqualified assertion in her affidavit that prostitution is inherently violent appears to contradict her own findings that prostitutes who work from indoor locations generally experience less violence. Furthermore, in her affidavit, she failed to qualify her opinion regarding the causal relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and prostitution, namely that it could be caused by events unrelated to prostitution.

    [354] Dr. Farley’s choice of language is at times inflammatory and detracts from her conclusions. For example, comments such as, “prostitution is to the community what incest is to the family,” and “just as pedophiles justify sexual assault of children….men who use prostitutes develop elaborate cognitive schemes to justify purchase and use of women” make her opinions less persuasive.

    [355] Dr. Farley stated during cross-examination that some of her opinions on prostitution were formed prior to her research, including, “that prostitution is a terrible harm to women, that prostitution is abusive in its very nature, and that prostitution amounts to men paying a woman for the right to rape her.”

    [356] Accordingly, for these reasons, I assign less weight to Dr. Farley’s evidence.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:56 am

    • I’m sorry, but if you thought this dreck was a “starrting point,” we have different definitions of the term. I already read the part you quoted, but I don’t know why you think that proves anything except that some of what Farley says does not follow a legal framework. The same legal framework that has oppressed women for hundreds of years. So… ?

      November 1, 2012 at 2:18 am

  19. “Forced prostitution is forced sexual labour.”
    – Did you seriously just say that? Forced prostitution is RAPE!!! Statements like that are another reason why I am trying keep buying sex illegal… so rape is not dismissed as ‘forced labour’.

    “it is also true that forced prostitutes represent the minority of sex workers.”
    – This is absolutely not true, particularly globally. Every piece of research I’ve read on this topic lists “choice” workers as only 10-15%. Where did you get this “minority” number from?

    “Please question your views if they undermine the rights of sex workers.”
    – What about the right of ALL people to not have to perform sexual services as part of their employment? If sex is a required part of the job, that employer is automatically undermining the rights of its employees – to an occupation free from requests for sexual acts.

    “the author is not in the least interested in the rights of sex workers.”
    – EVERYONE I KNOW WHO IS AGAINST LEGALIZATION IS STRONGLY IN SUPPORT OF ASSISTANCE AND AGAINST CHARGING WOMEN WITH PROSTITUTION, STOP SUGGESTING WE ARE OKAY WITH WOMEN BEING ABUSED AND ARRESTED. The DEMAND is what has to end. We can do that by arresting pimps and punters. As long as women in prostitution are still being asked to provide sexual activity as part of their job – their employment rights are being violated.


    My opposition is not coming from a moral or religious perspective. It’s coming from an ethical one – it is unethical to purchase sex because it disproportionately affects low-income young women (and some young men). It is unethical to purchase sex because the majority of people in prostitution are NOT choice workers (only approximately 10% are choicers by all research I’ve seen on this, but apparently they’re a “majority” in yours. Of course, anyone can disagree about the validity of the other’s opposing research.)

    I am Leftist and as such, am committed to providing social assistance that prevents entry into prostitution due to financial need, and assistance to help women exit. Of course, that will not help as long as there is still a demand for paid sex. Most urgently, we need to stop the punters who believe they are doing nothing wrong when they purchase sex from a non-consenting or underage worker – they are wilfully unaware that they are causing such harm, or don’t care at all. They have to be held accountable for their actions; they have to be charged.

    Spreading misinformation that non-consenting workers are a “minority” is a blatant lie, especially when you look at the global trade, or when you factor in all of the underage workers who are too young to legally consent regardless. This rose-coloured view negatively affects millions of these underage and non-consenting women worldwide – and contributing to a culture that values women for nothing more than the market worth of their body.

    I want it to remain illegal for anyone to try to make sexual acts part of a person’s required job description. This is a basic employment right and we will NOT allow you to make young, low-income women (and some men) a state-sanctioned “Prostituted Class”.


    November 1, 2012 at 2:51 am

    • The author of this entry misrepresents abolitionism and presents studies that misrepresent the abolitionist position. I don’t really see the point of talking about it unless you at least understand how it’s defined… it’s a waste of time.

      November 1, 2012 at 8:45 am

    • “Forced prostitution is forced sexual labour.”

      Yes, I did just seriously say that. Thanks for proving my point that prostitution abolitionists take the words out of people’s mouths. I don’t know where you get off to redefine my expression as ‘dismissing rape’ or, while I’m at it, to suggest that the term ‘forced labour’ dismisses the exploitation of workers forced to work in other industries.

      Work is a synonym for labour. Prostitution is corporeal and sexual labour. Forced prostitution is rape. To be forced to work as a prostitute is rape. Forced sexual labour is rape. Forced sex work is rape. Sexual exploitation is rape.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if you find a way to discredit me anyway.

      “This is absolutely not true, particularly globally. Every piece of research I’ve read on this topic lists “choice” workers as only 10-15%. Where did you get this “minority” number from?”

      The following are two excerpts from Ronald Weitzer’s article “Sex Trafficking and the Sex Industry – The Need for Evidence-Based Theory and Legislation” URL

      “Data on the 2008–2010 period show a similarly wide discrepancy between the alleged magnitude of the problem and the number of confirmed cases. Between January 2008 and June 2010, law enforcement authorities investigated 2,065 suspected incidents of sex trafficking (with a suspected “incident” defined as an alleged act of sex trafficking or another crime involving some element of sex trafficking). Only a minority of the reporting agencies (eighteen out of forty-two) engaged in what analysts at the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics considered “high-quality” data collection and reporting; confining the analysis to these eighteen agencies, 31% of the alleged sex trafficking incidents (consisting of 218 cases) were confirmed as bona fide trafficking, 37% were not confirmed, and the remainder were pending. Taking into account the challenges involved in identifying and substantiating such cases, the 218 figure is far below what we might expect from the claimed number of victims. For sex and labor trafficking combined, 257 incidents were confirmed, a figure that stands in stark contrast to official claims about the number of victims in the U.S. during this time period: 14,500 x 1.5 years = 21,750. In other words, only 1.2% of the estimated number of victims resulted in confirmed incidents. Again, recognizing the difficulties in locating victims and building cases against perpetrators, the disparities in the numbers presented here should at least raise serious questions about the alleged magnitude of the trafficking problem.”

      “We are left with a hodgepodge of numbers that hardly lend themselves to evidence-based policymaking. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Bangkok office was quite blunt in explaining how well-intentioned concerns can trump evidence in this sphere: “When it comes to statistics, trafficking of girls and women is one of several highly emotive issues which seem to overwhelm critical faculties.” Unfortunately, numbers gain a life of their own after frequent repetition in the media and publication in government reports. Jahic and Finckenauer state the matter eloquently: [I]t is in the best interests of groups and NGOs, both national and international, to push these unreliable and most likely vastly overstated estimates. Once the problem has been presented and accepted to be on a certain scale, new information that does not support this notion is dismissed. The estimates have become the “received wisdom”.”

      Ronald Weitzer is a sociologist specializing in criminology and a professor at George Washington University.

      The following information was provided by Marc of Frankfurt, sex worker and sex work analyst from Germany.

      “This chart shows the reality of crime statistics (however before trials and not confirmed by legal court) related to the numbers of sex workers in Germany and is about below 1% for many year up to today:”

      “What about [not undermining] the right of ALL people to not have to perform sexual services as part of their employment?”

      Absolutely. Nobody should have to perform sexual services against their will.


      If one’s intention is to end all prostitution, the criminalisation of clients might sound like a good idea on paper. In reality, it leads to sex workers having to move abroad or being pushed underground into more dangerous circumstances.

      “The approach of criminalising the client has been shown to backfire on sex workers. In Sweden, sex workers who were unable to work indoors were left on the street with the most dangerous clients and little choice but to accept them. … There is very little evidence to suggest that any criminal laws related to sex work reduce demand for sex or the number of sex workers. Rather, all of them create an environment of fear and marginalisation for sex workers, who often have to work in remote and unsafe locations to avoid arrest of themselves or their clients. These laws can undermine sex workers’ ability to work together to identify potentially violent clients and their capacity to demand condom use of clients. … These laws do not reduce the scale of sex work, but they do make sex workers more vulnerable.”

      Quotes from the Report of the UNAIDS Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work

      “Of course, anyone can disagree about the validity of the other’s opposing research.”

      Of course. But let’s turn the tables anyway. Where did you get your numbers from? It’s always good to add articles to one’s library.

      “My opposition is not coming from a moral or religious perspective. It’s coming from an ethical one.”

      If we talk about ethics, there are plenty of purchases of services or products that can be seen as unethical, such as purchasing a smart phone, for example. I can already see your “CAPITAL punishment” for this statement, but I don’t happen to play favourites when it comes to exploitation. Forced labour is always unethical, in whatever industry.

      “I am Leftist and as such, am committed to providing social assistance that prevents entry into prostitution due to financial need, and assistance to help women exit.”

      Supporting people by offering them more options to choose from to earn a living or assisting those wishing to exit prostitution – I see no problem there. Just the opposite.

      “we need to stop the punters who believe they are doing nothing wrong when they purchase sex from a non-consenting or underage worker”


      “I want it to remain illegal for anyone to try to make sexual acts part of a person’s required job description.”

      And I want laws that don’t criminalise an already marginalised population. As stated above, this includes not criminalising their clients, or, as California’s Proposition 35 attempts to establish, their relatives. If laws do more harm than good, they should be changed.


      I can assure you that I publish all comments left on my blog. That’s more than I can say for the opposition. Marc of Frankfurt, for example, had the following comment disallowed on Rebecca Mott’s blog, and the deleting of dissenting comments on anti-prostitution websites is frequent and common.

      “One can also hold the motion: “Your prostitution prohibition fight is killing us sex workers, ex-sex workers and familiy members”. The war against whores creates not only victims by definition (e.g. sex workers who previously did not consider themselves to be victims), but also creates victims by self fulfilling prophecy, by dis-empowerment denying agency and resilience of sex workers, by reinforcing putophobia stigma, by marginalisation & alienisation, by forcing people underground into clandestine dangerous areas into fringe existance and double life with lots of extra life energy costs, by taking away dignity and blessing of sex workers, by criminalisation and witch hunt.”

      November 1, 2012 at 11:52 am

      • Traffickedat17

        I always forget what energy-vipers abolitionists are. They visit this client mentality upon us and quite obviously have no intention of paying, because they do not value sex workers in any way shape or form. They objectify sex workers much more than clients do (think of the depravity in some of their fictionalised accounts of ‘sex slavery’). In fact the rescue industry by and large is populated with some very perverse people. The difference is, clients are honest about their intentions. I am of the belief that a lot of anti-traffickers are sexual abuse survivors who are too stingy to pay for therapy. So they visit their particular pathology on the world, and make it a prescription for the woes of a complex world. It is essentially a racialist philosophy though. It wasn’t called ‘white slavery’ for nothing, as though being ‘white’ did not fit with the very idea of being a ‘slave’. It’s white women of middle class, telling working class women and coloured women how to behave.

        In the end, I think we end up wrestling with a belief that for women, sexual experiences are different from all other experiences. Those who cling to that belief are unlikely to be reasoned with. Their truth becomes a universal truth. Some fall into the ‘sex is sacred’ camp. Some believe it should be attached to feelings of love. Whatever. They do not believe that the body is a sovereign space though. They want to control our bodies in the same way that right wing religious nutters do. That’s why we call them fundamentalist feminists.

        Anybody who has researched the trafficking issue with a modicum of intellectual honesty, will reach the conclusion that legally enabling environments are the best way to fight trafficking. That sex workers are not the problem, but part of the solution. Abolitionists do not listen though… they presume to know [more] about our lives and our work environments than we do. What can you do. It’s neocolonialism. Pure and simple.

        November 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      • No, Matt… buying prostitution is rape. Enthusiastic consent or no consent at all. Stop repeating the lie (another lie!) that prostitution itself is not rape, because you know very well that’s not true.

        November 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      • No, Francois. You and I will have no other choice but to agree to disagree.

        By the way, “you know very well that’s not true”? Could you be any more condescending? (That’s a rhetorical question, I should add.)

        November 2, 2012 at 12:44 am

      • Well, let me be more specific: you claim you don’t, but I don’t believe you. I think you’re lying to support your misogyny. It’s not really unusual for men to do that.

        November 2, 2012 at 12:47 am

      • Your comment is revealing of your gender bias. I don’t need to have the last word, so feel free to comment away, but please understand (or don’t) that I’m unwilling to discuss with someone who discriminates against.

        November 2, 2012 at 12:56 am

      • Discriminating against? What, you’re claiming to be a victim now? Is that how you justify your misogyny? Incredible.
        So unlike all other men in the world, you don’t have male privilege because ______. (fill in the blank with the rationalization of your choice)

        November 2, 2012 at 1:01 am

      • Traffickedat17

        Francois, you are the misogynist who refuses to listen to the voices of hundreds of thousands of sex worker activists. You are the misogynist whose retort upon hearing about the lived realities of sex workers and trafficked people at the hands of abolitionists in partnership with law enforcement, that we don’t understand abolitionism. Yes, we are women and no, we are not a disposable population. Sorry we don’t fit into your cosy heated lounge-room world view of what is acceptable behaviour for a woman. Fortunately, the UN does not agree with you and states unequivocally, sex work is work and that it should be decriminalised.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:37 am

      • “Francois, you are the misogynist who refuses to listen to the voices of hundreds of thousands of sex worker activists.”

        Excuse me? I listen to the voices of ex-prostitutes. You don’t know what I do and don’t listen to.

        “You are the misogynist whose retort upon hearing about the lived realities of sex workers and trafficked people at the hands of abolitionists in partnership with law enforcement, that we don’t understand abolitionism.”

        No, what I am saying is that you are LYING about abolitionism. Very different. Your goal is malicious, not misguided.

        “Yes, we are women and no, we are not a disposable population. Sorry we don’t fit into your cosy heated lounge-room world view of what is acceptable behaviour for a woman. ”

        I follow radfem theory, which is not about individual behavior but about how institutions perpetuate the Patriarchy. I think you are projecting here. Some guilt showing?

        “Fortunately, the UN does not agree with you and states unequivocally, sex work is work and that it should be decriminalised.”

        Sex work are strippers, people who pose naked, etc. Prostitution is not “sex work.” It is rape. Stop lying to people.

        November 2, 2012 at 1:59 am

      • Traffickedat17

        Bwahaha. NeoColonialist. I’m an ex prostitute that works for an organisation with 250 thousand members representing a region that encompasses more than half the world. My intentions are to build that community, located mostly in the developing world. Our movement has schools for our children, banks for sex workers, safe houses, liasons with the police & the system. What solidarity platform do you operate from? The one that reinforces individualism and might make you a well known academic one day? My interest in the matter is organic to my being. Your interest is motivated by heavens knows what. ‘I’m a theoretician!’ LOL

        November 2, 2012 at 2:13 am

      • This is a perfect demonstration of why theory is important… you don’t even know what colonialism means, but you see fit to use it against your opponents. You’re hopeless.

        And no, being an abolitionist has nothing to do with colonialism. Jesus.

        November 2, 2012 at 2:17 am

      • Traffickedat17

        Hilarious. White woman tells the indigenous woman she doesn’t understand colonialism. It’s like being back in parochial school being tortured by the drone of rewritten colonial history. And the assumption that sex workers do not understand theory is priceless. Many of us paid our ways through university, lovey. And we lived to tell about it and not be devastated. For some it was a rung to economic empowerment. That kills you doesn’t it? Empowered women without the need to be rescued by some class of highly paid academic women. So solidarity… you got any?

        November 2, 2012 at 2:30 am

    • So you will sacrifice sex workers like me.. you will make me and many others into criminals

      Have a look at New Zealand and NSW Australias trafficking and rape on sex workers and forced prostitution! You will see, with decriminalization we have very few cases!
      What we have done is give men and women who work in the industry the RIGHT to put an end to abuse and rape! With our laws, the police protect the sex workers! They make it harder for exploitation and rape to occur!

      If the sex industry is going to always be here, lets protect those in it, not make it harder for them. In NZ and Australia, the abused sex workers ARE the minority and have been for quite a while! Obviously we are doing something right!

      If a sex worker is being abused in countries where the occupation is illegal, they will suffer in silence, scared that if they go to police they will be arrested for prostitution. In some countries, this makes them a SEX OFFENDER! That is terrible! A raped or abused person should not feel fear of seeking help!! That is insane to continue to allow this to happen to them!

      This is what we should all be fighting for together! There is a solution to stop crime against sex workers world wide – Decriminalization!!!!

      I agree with you on one thing, rape is rape.. its NOT something i should expect or tolerate in ANY occupation i have!

      November 2, 2012 at 5:03 am

  20. @Traffickedat17
    better than yours I can’t say. I don’t know if I m privileged because I m white and have a higher education but do my work for same reasons like my others. I ve a lots of tough times behind me, also with some clients who felt in love, a few, but with some deep impact to learn how to set boundaries. But I can understand these clients because I also would fell in love with a hooker who does her job excellent. There was a difference to other related stories in my so called private relationsships but to be honest, the best experiences with men in my life I made with clients. I know many men suffer violence by women, mothers, fathers, partners as women. But what does that mean? To build up an identity of suffering, not beeing able to come into terms with it for the rest of a lifetime and to become an official declared victim for the rest of the life? To stay connected with the dubios rescuers, moneyful powerseeking NGO’s legitimised with their own faith as do-gooders? Are these the right alliances for a sex worker with many backgrounds? I dont think so. Better to be in touch with comrades and sex workers within the scene. Let’s the researchers and others out of our life. We are strong and able to speak for ourselves!

    November 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm

  21. Traffickedat17, this is in reply to your comment on November 1, 2012 at 12:55 am as well as a few other of your comments, and I’m breaking it into 3 posts so as not to have one 50-foot long comment!

    # 1

    I agree with you that decolonization (healing Earth and our relations with it and eachother) comes FIRST, everything else will just fall into place and be healed because colonization and the barrage of unfathomable suffering it creates will just cease to exist, including the sex trade, which in my mind is when abolition will happen.

    Let’s forget about feminism, radical or otherwise, for now and just talk human to human, but first I want to clarify a few things that I think you’ve wrongly assumed about me. I don’t wholly ID as a radfem (OR feminist, despite my username), never have, never will, though I do love some of it brilliant thinkers. But sometimes radfeminism isn’t radical enough for me, and doesn’t always feel quite right (and holy sh*t are some radfems nasty & cruel). It does appear to be a mostly white women’s movement and lacks the critical decolonization component. Maybe it’s partly because it’s their brothers, husbands, sons and fathers who are the colonists damaging the world? Though colonization is no longer a white person thing, any person of color can & is encouraged to assimilate and become a raging colonist, in all parts of the world. Yaay for freedom and progress!

    November 2, 2012 at 7:46 am

  22. Traffickedat17:


    You appear to be unfamiliar with Mott’s work because she is very much about solidarity with other exited women and those still in the sex trade going through what she did. She DOES speak to and embody empowerment through solidarity, not charity. She rejects academics and certain radfems who exploit hers and others’ stories for selfish reasons.

    Re. wheeling out survivors to tell and re-tell their stories and get traumatized and re-traumatized: When in the context of the above selfish people for selfish gains, you’re 100% right. But it must not be dismissed that telling our stories is tremendously healing and empowering when connected with activism for those of us who have been traumatized, in whatever way, since during the nightmare times of our life we don’t even know the extent of trauma and oppression we were trapped in until we can distance ourselves enough from it to think clearly and coherently. With all your talk of elitist white feminists and their charity work, you are sounding just like them in making Mott sound more victim-like than she is.

    November 2, 2012 at 7:48 am

  23. Traffickedat17:


    I don’t stand behind “law and order initiatives”, I know they hurt people and fall grossly short of solving problems in the short AND long term. Plus many, many cops are porn-infected ignorant brutes, so they can’t give the kind of help needed. Also, The Law is a colonist tool used to enslave and oppress those living in any colonist-infected nation. Also, legalizing anything creates an illegal market because they are two sides of the colonist coin. Look at drugs: there would be no ‘black’ market if there were no white market of the government hoarding and controlling drugs. This hoarding and controlling creates a demand that is not met, hence the black market is necessary.

    Extending that white/black market idea to the sex trade, legalizing it will not rid the illegal side of it, and this has been proven to be true in a European country (sorry, I forget which one). But forget the colonist idea and language of law & legalization. Let’s talk about the DEMAND that creates the WANT for consuming mostly female bodies. As long as colonialism and the porn and rape culture it fuels exists, there will continue to be gross abuse against prostituted women, local and global. Decolonization and getting back to our indigenous roots and living WITH earth will solve this, but F**K is it ever a huge endeavor that will take TONS of work, and the violence we come up against in tackling it is a huge barrier. How do we do this? The only thing that makes sense to me is meeting their violence with violence, but our weapons aren’t enough to counter theirs.

    November 2, 2012 at 7:49 am

  24. Traffickedat17:


    I live in North America where we are grossly behind in many human rights issues. Do you do any work around, or know of any, that addresses the dehumanist male violence and sociopathy that fuels it the sex trade, and which doesn’t involve laws or giving out/educating around condoms and safe sex practices? I’m personally interested in creating safe houses, childcare, and ways to achieve autonomous, sustainable living that doesn’t push girls & women into the sex trade, but my present financial and enslaved colonist-capitalist position doesn’t allow me to do this kind of work.

    November 2, 2012 at 7:49 am

    • False: It is not only male violence that fuels the sex trade!

      There is also the unsolved male need for personal contact, for having someone not judging him (when he does not fit in a patriarchal role), his desire for erotic pleasure, unsettled because of being abroad, split or without partner, lonely, old, handicapped or just being in the mood to celebrate life…

      Just because of the financial and capitalistic constraints: What some sex workers do or dream of in different grades of realisation is working cooperatively in women / worker lead brothels or cooperatives.

      Actually the financial constraints and the insatiable will to be free from dominance of others, leads us sex workers into sex work and taking the exceptional entrepreneurial risks associated with the stigmatized practice including criminalisation and acting within a partly grey or black market.

      We sex workers have noticed our power, competence and giftedness and we are capable of giving pleasure without compromising ourselves or the divine, when we are grounded, doing it educated intelligently safe, and filled with humane wisdom and heart-fullness. Sadly we do not have strong societal support like priests, howdies or physicians receive. The lack of support by the system leads to frequent early breakdown of individuals in the sex trade.

      What a public or cooperatively funded bordello should look like i.e. which facilities are essential and welcomed by sex workers:

      (Public funded brothel, sex sauna club or erotic theme park as a realisation of (female) sex worker safe space and a means and alternative to precarious street hustling or being suppressed or debt-bonded wage labourer [not as totalitarian regime of prostitution control.])

      Image translation:
      – Entry hall with info and booking centre
      (entry fee includes all rent and taxes)
      – mutual saving bank with money transfer and micro credit
      – changing room with lockers, hair dresser, shopping arcade
      – security centre
      – gallery, pools, spa and gymnasium
      – restaurant, relaxation, TV, internet
      – bar and show area, disco, cruising
      – love cubicles (doors without lock), dark room, condom dispenser
      – erotic information centre and book store, porn cinema
      – sexual health clinic, STI testing
      – hotel with workers dormitory
      – counselling and substance abuse information
      – sex worker only backstage area
      (beauty parlour, hair dresser, masseur, gym, relaxation room)
      – sex worker union office and meeting place
      – sex worker academy
      – …

      November 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm

  25. Trafficekdat17:

    You said “stop conflating prostitution with capitalism (being sold).”

    You speak of and seem interested in the devastation of colonization (and by extension, decolonization, I assume?). Since capitalism is the name of today’s colonist game, and since colonist-capitalism/globalization is the embodiment of exploitation and slavery (maybe to different degrees, maybe it’s all the same degrees), then how can you say to not conflate the two? It’s hypocritical.

    p.s. The UN is a colonialist boy’s club, so their views towards anything human rights-related are lukewarm at best.

    November 2, 2012 at 8:02 am

    • Traffickedat17

      Of course the UN is a boy’s club. But it’s not as deadly as the US government with all that lovely anti-trafficking funding they keep printing and giving to the ‘saviour feminists’. The sex workers did not enter into a GLOBAL WAR, employing the use of armies and police, (incidentally where the GREATEST threat of violence comes from for trafficked and for sex workers) in order to hunt down vulnerable women. We are pursuing diplomatic channels and trying to change law, legislation and policy at country level so that everybody can have optimum health and safety and above all SOLIDARITY. Radical feminists have betrayed the principles of feminism by sicking the cops onto other women. You can’t say to a woman ‘I respect your right to do sex work but I simultaneously reserve the right to criminalise your JOB and take away your livelihood, under threat of state force if necessary.’ No. That makes you agents in league with a violent patriarchy and a failed state. Your vaunted economic system is collapsing too btw. And you women have nothing. Not even each other. You’re too busy hunting witches… You will be forever our enemies and next to the police, the greatest threat to sex workers and trafficked persons.

      November 2, 2012 at 9:46 am

  26. Traffickedat17:

    You have inspired me too look more into the sexual slavery & exploitation that you and Matt call ‘labour’ and ‘service’ by the ‘sovereign’ body and your dismissal of sex as sacred or as an act of respectful love as “whatever”. If you are an indigenous woman, you would agree that it is impossible to separate the physical from the psychological from the Spiritual from the emotional. This means sex workers do not JUST offer a service or their bodily goods for neutral, harm-free consumption.

    Let’s talk the colonialist sex trade. I’m quoting a few things from a book that began my own decolonization journey, ‘Negative Ecstasy’ by Arnold Itwaru.

    The colonist-capitalist culture’s industrialized eroticism “cultivates the pornographic imagination in proposing that sexual attraction is manufactured in the political economy of capitalism and is purchasable for all [men renting women].”

    “Desire dressed in the imaginary of industrialism fetishizes each dismembered part of the body whose sensual wholeness is destroyed. […] It is the commercialization of the sexual, the commercialization of the body and the indication of the dominance of the economy of free enterprise which struts about in the name of freedom.” —> Slut Walks anyone?

    The sex industry is a capitalist business like any other, it sells the service of sex and the goods of the (usually) female body’s holes and hands. How these goods are treated and consumed is entirely up to the customer, which puts women at extreme vulnerability, especially those not lucky enough to be able to choose safe clients. There is no way to know, and there are too many of these violent ‘consumers to just dismiss as ‘bad apples’.

    You’ve more or less said that people like Mott need to stop being victims and toughen up. —> “Toughness is the new hallmark of liberation. Tough decisions have to be made. Life is said to be a tough business. This is a troubling rule of the tough in a culture which has institutionalized violation. The new woman [empowered sex worker?] is the tough woman. She has successfully imitated some of the worst features in the mythologization of masculinity in this [colonist-capitalist] culture, and in this she has sunk deeper into the domination in the values of the phallus/destroyer/protector. She is now the active and “free agent” in the enforcement of its rule. This is her abusive liberation.” I know feminists like this, and sounds like you do to. Your comment of having no empathy for Mott is exactly this.

    November 2, 2012 at 10:00 am

    • Traffickedat17

      Yeah, quote me on that in yer little gossip forum. ‘I’ve been following Rebecca Mott for two years, and have no empathy with her’.” I care as much as for her about as she does for me… which would be not at all. And the prostitution – capitalism mistake is to refuse to acknowledge that sex WORK is a service (not to be mistaken for ‘sex being a service’). Prostitution is not the sale of a person as a person cannot be property. That would contravene slavery laws. A masseuse does not sell her hands. She sells massages.

      November 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

      • Aw, but you’re the compassionate one who cares so much about the women who get exploited that you want them to be exploited indoors instead of outdoors! But you hate Rebecca Mott because she’s brave enough to tell the truth about what happened to her… oh wait, that’s right! You are lying [insult removed by admin], so when you see someone who tells the truth… it rankles you? Is that the reason?

        November 2, 2012 at 10:42 am

  27. Traffickedat17

    Also, Slut Walk was a spontaneous women’s movement that sprang up in reaction a Toronto cop’s statement about women dressing modestly so as not to invite rape. I believe some sex workers marched in solidarity with SlutWalk Toronto, but the event itself had nothing to do with the sex worker movement. If you were a true solidarity player, you’d know that history.

    November 2, 2012 at 10:44 am

  28. Radfem and sex workers will have more in common than one may think.

    One is how we perceive the hostility against us:

    Sex worker: “One can also hold the motion: “Your prostitution prohibition fight is killing us sex workers, ex-sex workers and familiy members”.

    The war against whores creates not only victims by definition (e.g. sex workers who previously did not consider themselves to be victims), but also creates victims by self fulfilling prophecy, by dis-empowerment denying agency and resilience of sex workers, by reinforcing putophobia stigma, by marginalisation & alienisation, by forcing people underground into clandestine dangerous areas into fringe existance and double life with lots of extra life energy costs, by taking away dignity and blessing of sex workers, by criminalisation and witch hunt … ”
    [This sex worker voice was deleted / censored here: 16.

    November 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm

  29. “There is also the unsolved male need for personal contact, for having someone not judging him (when he does not fit in a patriarchal role), his desire for erotic pleasure, unsettled because of being abroad, split or without partner, lonely, old, handicapped or just being in the mood to celebrate life…”

    Men’s needs for personal contact is not women’s responsibility! Go drink with some buddies and watch a football game or go golfing if you’re so lonely, or masturbate.

    If men conducted themselves respectfully then they’d get what they want and more. That would require doing the WORK it takes to be a decent human being relating with HONOR and RESPECT towards women, and along the way, they’d probably get lots of genuinely consensual sex free of the coercion and unequal power relations that comes with money. That would require being a REAL man, which buyers of prostitutes are not.

    People love throwing out the disabled example as though disabled people are sexless pitiful people in need of charity sex. Lovely to dump them on prostitutes just like the rest of the men dumping their selfish needs on these women. Disabled people are no different than anyone else and can and do have healthy, consensual sexual relations. To suggest otherwise is offensive to disabled people and people who love them.

    There are tons of available women out there of all ages and abilities also in need of personal contact and who are lonely, abroad, split up, feeling celebratory, etc. Hook up with them for mutual fun and stop lazily, selfishly and destructively using prostituted women.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:18 am

    • Your concept of relationship is idealistic and therefore hostile to the reality and prostitution and us sex workers.

      > “Men’s needs for personal contact is not women’s responsibility!” – It is the responsibility of both genders and/or both partners (in non-bisexual relationships). You doing it wrong, when you demand the males to change or accept partners where there are no vibes, something which is not you business to change.

      > “That [sexual relationship] would require [men] doing the WORK” – You want the men to be like you want them. Sounds like the language of power. Besides, your statement reveals that you are accepting that there is a trade deal underlying, that female love is an exchange for the male WORK [courtship or benevolent behaviour]. That is a very limited concept of relationship and sexuality. This misunderstanding is one of the roots of our conflicts and hostility.

      Courting is not without being respectfully, even if there is ‘money for sex’ involved. I conceptualize all relationship as exchange or ‘trade’. In the so called real men partnership or marriage, the status, wealth or character of the male is traded. And the time scale is different and larger. He still pays in most of the cases, the only difference is he pays to have her around and not for the individual sex act. (That is the market invention, the culture of prostitution and the knowledge and business of us sex workers)

      Paying for sexual gratification one may consider to be the root conflict and disgusting. But we sex worker see this payment or short time scale contract as very clear, simple and the fundamental element of truth within prostitution. No man has to ly about his real feelings or needs. We know what he wants in this moment. And we decided to accept it, if we are honoured and paid decently. There is no problem with that, having sex like sport or celebration, if there were not these other hostile competitors or ‘moral’ women like you which spell shame on us.

      > “it takes to be a decent human being” – many of our clients are exactly that!
      > “relating with HONOR and RESPECT towards women” – I can confirm that. And sure I know many people who are not (in and outside of prostitution). But taking money to the farmer, the restaurant or the sex worker is not without respect per se! Sure there are many not-respectful guys, but you will find them in the restaurants too and many bar tender become sex worker and their testimony then is: “I needed to be sexy and smiling all day long for nearly nothing as bar tender. Now as a sex worker I get more respect and much more money!”

      And yes, there are lots of lonely women out there. Now many of them who have money due to job independence and have the guts to change their sex lives, become erotic tourists and draw on the power of money and modern life as men do. You find these women well portrait in the movie which I found very realistic, since the situations I can confirm and they are quite similar to what I experienced in the field of male2male prostitution in Europe.

      > “unequal power relations that comes with money” is only to be found in exploitive places! (capitalism is rooted in exploitation) Places like bad paid kitchen or cleaning or brothel jobs… We sex worker human rights activists educate ourselves and demand that we sex workers have good work conditions, where the sex trade is on equal power level (sex worker union, structural safety). That is only possible, when the sex worker can work legally and being protected by fundamental laws, when she/he is clever and educated and her/his own boss or having found a fair contract with good e.g. female/(ex-)sex-worker led agency/brothel etc.

      Dumping disabled into the pro-prostitution discourse may feel for you similar as dumping the child sex abuse topic into the anti-prostitution discourse feels for us; sorry about that. Check out and to learn what we understand about the needs of disabled clients and the quality of our services.

      > “REAL man, which buyers of prostitutes are not.” – What a simplistic stereotype black-and-white concept you are favouring. This without question led you into a mistaken war against us sex workers, a war which in the first place will not change men, but make us sex workers (mostly female, but not only) vulnerable. Thanks for being so honest about sexuality and partnership issues. We surely may go on with that core issue and work on our misunderstanding or world views…

      November 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      • “You doing it wrong, when you demand the males to change or accept partners where there are no vibes, something which is not you business to change.”

        Really. You expect me to believe that hetero men who use the sex trade have ZERO non-prostituted women they can develop a mutual vibe with? Ha! Do these men not care that the women they rent are more often than not faking their zeal and are actually repulsed to be with them sexually? This “vibe” you speak of is selfishly one-sided.

        My ‘idealistic’ (no, it’s realistic and many men do behave the way I said) concept of relationships and sexuality is only hostile to men who refuse and are too lazy & selfish to be fully human and treat women as fully human.

        Men who consume porn and create the demand for prostitutes are the ones with an extremely limited and dehumanized concept of relationship and sexuality.

        And this has nothing to do with morals or courtship which are limiting, religious ideas. It has everything to do with human beings BEING HUMAN, which really means something. The sex trade wounds the humanity of the porn-sick men who buy the enslaved women they dehumanize in it, indoors, outdoors or on the f[***]ing moon.

        What we have is what John Trudell calls the reality of the spiritually disconnected. He also explains how our world has two perceptions of reality – Religious and Spiritual, where the religious one is about dominance, male authoritarian figures and their traps and chains of guilt/sin/blame. Whereas the spiritual is about Responsibility, where we’re not guilty, but responsible. Women’s bodies are not the dominion of men to commodify, objectify and consume! Men need to take RESPONSIBILITY for the harm they’re causing and stop their selfish, destructive consumption of girls & women in the sex trade. The roots of the tree that is the sex trade are rotten to the core — your legalizations and unionizations are bandaids on the bark of this dead tree.

        November 4, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      • Traffickedat17

        oh thankfully. sane people have arrived.

        November 5, 2012 at 1:54 am

  30. Promiscuous29yearold

    Hi Feminist Rag,

    So, what is your opinion on promiscuous women – those who have plenty of sex for free and for fun with many, different sexual partners? Are you ok with that? Or would you call them names “sluts” and “whore” because of their sexual behaviour?! Because that is what I do. And usually people like you tell me, that I should wait to fall in love and stuff like that…

    November 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm

  31. Promiscuous29: Only porn dis-eased minds would call you a slut or whore. So no, I would not call you that. I am all for people having as much free fun safe sex as they desire, when all parties are consenting. Money binds slaveowner to slave and removes equality, real consent, and safety which is what we have going on in the sexual slavery that is the sex trade.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    • Traffickedat17

      Right, so when you buy groceries from the Safeway, you are actually buying a check out chick? Am I right? Giving her money makes her your slave. Look, any idiot can join a lynch mob and go after ‘individuals’ they see as the problem. But it’s a position for cowards. Cowards join lynch mobs. It takes bravery to address the structural imbalance of a system that is grossly unjust.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      • Traffickedat17:

        “It takes bravery to address the structural imbalance of a system that is grossly unjust.”

        Sure as hell does, which is why exited, abolitionist women speaking the Truth about the sex trade have my utmost & unconditional Respect & support.

        Which unjust system are you addressing? We must unmine our colonized minds and dream of, create, and demand MORE than the scraps that are legal changes, unions, indoor/outdoor nonsense, etc. (all rigid colonial frameworks). That said, I think EVERYONE agrees that the prostituted must be de-criminalized. That is one small step towards the Big Picture of abolishing sexual slavery.

        For someone supposedly concerned with the unfathomable destruction and gross injustices caused by ongoing colonialism (i.e. exploitation & slavery, within which sex slavery/trade exists), your words and examples betray you.

        Interesting you bring up lynch mob mentalities when sex trade lobbyists are the ones acting like lynch mobs. i.e. Nasty, defamatory, going-for-the-jugular tactics such as personally targeting & attacking people. Only intellectually lazy people with weak positions resort to these [insult removed by admin] measures. Clear, coherent minds see through these smokescreens of bullshit. Cowards indeed.

        November 5, 2012 at 3:59 am

      • “Which unjust system are you addressing?”

        Previous comments already answered this question.

        “I’m an ex prostitute that works for an organisation with 250 thousand members representing a region that encompasses more than half the world. My intentions are to build that community, located mostly in the developing world. Our movement has schools for our children, banks for sex workers, safe houses, liasons with the police & the system.”

        “We are pursuing diplomatic channels and trying to change law, legislation and policy at country level so that everybody can have optimum health and safety and above all SOLIDARITY.”

        November 5, 2012 at 8:51 am

    • Feminist Rag, I wonder what you read in my lines above where you have already answered November 4, 2012 at 11:00 pm (but no reply button was available)?

      > “Really. You expect me to believe that hetero men who use the sex trade have ZERO non-prostituted women they can develop a mutual vibe with?”
      – No, I was not saying that! I know that many of our clients are married or/and have interesting and good sex life with their primary partner besides booking sex workers. I wanted to say you can not demand that men are good partners to women, where the man (!) can not develop erotic feelings or vibes.
      You can not change or force men or couples to have good relationships (unrelated if there is prostitution around or not). The existence of prostitution is not the first reason, why men do not please women. And if prostitution is around, you can not punish that sex workers and punters make arrangements. You can only punish, when there is exploitation and rape (we have already laws for that). And that requires us sex workers to do the fist step and file an accusation, and that requires that we as sex workers are protected by the law…

      > “Do these men not care that the women they rent are more often than not faking their zeal and are actually repulsed to be with them sexually?”
      – Behind your first statements seems to be a typical misunderstanding of what I wanted to say and what you hear. I meant the vibes or desires which our clients have towards us younger or exotic sex workers, because sometimes they do not have it that way towards their long standing (married) partner. But you read in my words about the vibes of the women sex workers. Being a sex worker myself, you do not need to tell me how often I fake orgasm or stage emotions and feelings of well-being for my client, in order to deliver quality service for him individually, so that I can earn a lot of money and that he will book me again soon.

      Do you personally identify (during feelings of misery of being female marginalized or having been abused…) to be in the same situation as a prostitute as victim? Do you believe us sex workers are that what you may have suffered as non sex worker women?

      Contrary to your saying, the demand for sex workers is not created by porn! (changed or influenced by ok, but not created!) We sex workers as service trade and culture may have existed much longer, than related media reproductions of sex did occur in human history. And first of all is the male, female or human fantasy which derives from feelings and experiences.

      > “human beings BEING HUMAN, which really means something.”
      – Obviously we have very different concepts. Being free to not sell or free to sell sex or to not book or to book a sex service, to be able to say no must include to be able to say yes! That is one aspect at the core of being human in my understanding.

      > [buy women] “or on the f[***]ing moon.”
      – never heard of it. *LOL*

      > “John Trudell calls the reality of the spiritually disconnected”
      – When you call us spiritually disconnected, than that is another of your blunt dehumanising statements turned against us.

      > “two perceptions of reality – Religious and Spiritual…”
      – I confirm all that. BUT you do not seem to recognise, that you are just using the religious power method instead of the spiritual wisdom to teach us (sometimes spiritual) sex workers and most often women, men and trans people of body (nature) wisdom, what we have to believe in. I wonder why you are so twisted in your overall judgement, when you have so great insights in some aspects.

      You may believe that a sex worker or client are responsible that females somewhere else or in general are suppressed by patriarchy or sex with money ordering males. That is a very simplistic or exaggerated definition of responsibility related to a spiritual or religious belief. I find that very questionable, especially in regard with very dangerous consequences about the totalitarian policy one may derive from that (criminalisation of clients; cf. the failed experiment of social engineering in Sweden).

      > “legalizations and unionizations are bandaids on the bark of this dead tree.”
      – For me this couple (rights and unions) are embodiments of modern, human and democratic cultures. Besides, I advocate for “no criminalisation” of sex work (that means de-criminalisation related to the situation we have now, and decrim. is way different to just legalization).

      November 5, 2012 at 4:40 am

    • Promiscuous29yearold

      Fine. But, let’s say, every time I have sex for free and for fun, I also get to have dinner with the guys and let them pay. Since we both know he would not pay for dinner, if we would not have sex afterwards, you could say that this kind of sex doesn’t happen completely for free after all. I am sure, every woman having dated a man on this planet ever has done exactly that: Allowing a guy to pay for dinner, because that means that sex is going to happen afterwards.

      So, since the example above is common practice and seems to be accepted all over the world without being brought into closer connection with prostitution (it is even considered to be appropriate female dating behaviour), let me ask you this question: What if I would prefer being given 50 or even 100 or 200 Euro/dollars for having sex with the same guy? Instead of having dinner with him, I could spend that money on other stuff, which I can CHOOSE and which may be more useful to me than dinner. I have to say, as a promiscuous 29 year old and having been a “poor student” for quite some time, the idea seems pretty attractive to me. If I can get a dinner for free with a guy, why shouldn’t I get money? Also I’d have sex, so where is the problem? Men having one night stands with women probably care as little about me than those potential clients (of course, the legal environment is completely different). So why shouldn’t I be allowed to get money for sex instead of just a dinner and a glass of wine!?

      You see, I am promiscuous and I wouldn’t mind, because as far as I can see, there is little difference between getting a dinner and getting paid. But society sees the one behaviour as appropriate and the other as being a symbol of sexual slavery. This doesn’t add up.

      Let women get money for sex, if they wish that. After all you are not complaining about global dating behaviour. Or do you want to start paying for dinner, every time you go out with a guy?

      November 5, 2012 at 8:18 am

  32. Esther Shannon

    I am a Canadian woman, living in Vancouver, who works as an ally to the sex worker rights movement in support of the decriminalization of sex work and for sex worker human and labour rights.

    I was once a radical feminist who gained a certain amount of respect because of my longstanding work on women’s issues in various local and national communities. I once supported the abolition of sex work. However, in 2003 and as a result of a work assignment, I began to work with Vancouver sex workers and was soon introduced to the sex worker rights movement. That work led me to understand that many of my positions on sex work were, at best, uninformed and, at worst, discriminatory in the extreme. I also was forced to consider a fundamental feminist principle: that women facing oppression have the right to name their oppression and organize against it. Just as with all women’s liberation struggles, organizing against your oppression does not mean that all women or all women facing the same oppression, have to agree with your analysis of your oppression. For example, I am a lesbian and there was no need for me to wait for heterosexual women to agree with me on the basis of my oppression as a queer woman before I could seek out others to start to collectively organize for my rights. Similarly, many lesbians are still deeply closeted, but I did not have to wait for them to come to consciousness before I could organize for my rights.

    I have read much of this lengthy discussion and find that it greatly reflects, in tone and content, discussions I have been engaged with on feminist list serves in Canada for nearly 10 years now. Sometime last year, I finally decided such discussions are, ultimately, not useful. Now I only engage when baseless or truly inflammatory statements are made – the kind of foolishness, ignorance or hatred I still cannot let stand. Around about the same time, I finally decided I had to give up my identity as a radical feminist. The turning point was actually there early on, but we are all masters of denial. I couldn’t face dealing with the fact that radical feminism is now profoundly allied with the State and with those who embrace fundamentalist religious beliefs about women’s sexuality and worth on issues related to sex work, and so many others. When women in these debates speak of elephants in the room, that is the first one that comes to my mind.

    Here, I only want to speak to the notion that neo-criminalization – aka criminalization of demand – is a viable “solution” for those who oppose full decriminalization of sex work (See New Zealand’s approach as the currently most responsive decriminalization regime and noting, I’m not going to discuss the issues around the supposed success of the Nordic Model – I’m assuming everyone knows the ins and outs of that debate.) Rather, I’ll just say that criminalization is criminalization and criminalized environments are criminalized environments.

    On the street corner, there is no magic circle drawn around the sex worker that keeps the police from having, for example, reasonable grounds to search her. If she happens to be doing sex work to support a drug habit and she’s carrying, bang, she’s busted. If she happens to resist the order to move on, bang, she’s busted. Equally, she doesn’t stop working and get on the bus to utopia where no one stigmatizes her, no one threatens to evict her, no one takes her children because she is considered unfit to be a mother.

    I want every abolitionist to read deeply about criminalization and its impacts, most especially its impacts on poor women and their families and their communities and on women of colour and their families and their communities. Find out about who is in prison and why they are there, individually and collectively. Think about just exactly who is being targeted by the rising war on crime and the rising war on drugs under neo-liberalism or, as I now think of it, neo-totolitarism. Then go figure out how you are going to fit that information into your feminist abolitionist analysis.


    November 4, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    • Esther, I’ve been thinking very deeply about the things you’ve mentioned for years, and my abolitionist position very much takes all that you spoke of into account. I don’t think abolition of the sex trade will happen on its own without the dominant colonist culture changing. All you/we speak of is not linear, and Change is not linear or piecemeal, it is organic, connected, and is happening as we all think about and work towards our goals and dreams.

      We are all sorta kinda talking/struggling with the same language, but we have different perceptions of reality. Like John Trudell said, the two perceptions of reality are the Religious vs. Spiritual one –> polar opposites. Sex trade lobbyists are thinking & doing from a Religious-colonist mentality while Abolitionists are thinking and doing from a Spiritual and decolonist mentality — this is the language I’m using, I don’t speak for other abolitionists.

      Those who mock or disregard the power of the Spirit and Heart are the real victims who have allowed the predatory industrial colonist energy to mine their minds and eat their Spirits (as Trudell describes it). Male consumers of women in the sex slavery trade are perhaps the most pitiful, Spiritually-retarded victims of all. The physical and Spiritual carnage their behavior creates is tragic and unacceptable! No laws or unions will change the mentalities that fuel these men’s dis-eased behavior. I have so far heard zero compelling sex worker rights arguments addressing this.

      I want every non-abolitionist to read & listen deeply about colonization and its impacts and how it is upheld today and is destroying us all, and then you’ll see that sex worker rights arguments exist within an oppressive framework. We must decolonize in every sense of the word; decolonization is not a metaphor. This is difficult but necessary work because it will solve most if not all world problems including the horror that is the sex trade. This is ALL of our bus to so-called utopia, which is not just a figment of the imagination as the oppressors want us to beLIEve.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:27 am

      • Promiscuous

        Feminist Rag, have you ever thought about what “colonization” really means? It seems to me that you are also acting well in accordance with colonialism. After all, who gives you the right to speak on behalf of those persons you identify as “slaves”? The “slaves”? It does not seem so. And even if some persons you describe as slaves agree with you speaking on their behalf, this does not justify your assuming that suddenly you have the right (the right) to speak on behalf of everyone!

        Even assuming (which I do not) that sex workers are oppressed and that prostitution is a form of slavery, speaking on behalf of them and refusing to listen to them – to all of them – is a form of colonization and oppression. Who gives you the right to do that? My answer: Colonialism! Or are you not a privileged person in this globalized world comsuming stuff made by exploited people every single day?! If you think you’re free from colonial patterns, then I honestly suggest you take a pretty long history class (not read the Wikipedia Article!)

        November 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm

  33. > “sex worker rights arguments exist within an oppressive framework”
    – That is a biased false world view and highly inflamatory.
    For us the glass is not half empty but half full of opportunities for sex workers and sex workers’ human rights!

    > “We must decolonize”
    – Yes we surely must. And sex workers are doing right that from the beginning. That includes that you stop teaching us a rotten twisted moral like a priest of an obscure cult or neo-con feminist religion! We sex workers can feel and think and decide ourselves. Thank you.
    Just stop colonizing our bodies! Stop colonizing the brains of free people! My bedroom is not your business!

    Feminist Rag, as I tried to explain above [November 5, 2012 at 4:40 am, outside the reply order], I think you misinterpret the teachings from [b]John Trudell[/b] and misuse his spiritual wisdom, like religion does, which he and you rightly criticise.

    Only when sex workers are empowered and when they can decide, what is best for them at the moment and on the long run (sustainable sex worker career management!), then sex workers and women and humanity can advance. For most sex workers I have met during my years in prostitution and advocacy, sex work was a chance for a better life and a beginning of self expression or other careers.

    That prostitution can become to a trap to so many is not related to doing sex for money per se, but to the circumstances and structural hostility. The sexuality taboo, the money taboo, the derived prostitution taboo, the partnership (pimping) taboo, the migration (trafficking) taboo, the whore pimp punter prostitution stigma, the marginalisation, exclusion, alienation and up to criminalisation, incarceration and deportation…

    All that because a small group of self identified “wise” fundamentalist feminists are trying to reinforce neo-con morals. Stop shaming sex workers to death! Stop searching your liberation and perfect ideology at the cost of condemnation of your sisters and our customers and partners!

    Sure, there are different energies in sex work. And some are very bad. Similar to all aspects of life, they can loose balance and become exploitative or corrupted. Like spirituality becomes religion. Like capitalism: first it is the free market which brought freedom to the serf, but later it became imperialism indulging in wars and destruction of the very nature of our planet. Or take sexuality which can be the greatest pleasure, meaning and realisation of life, but also an addiction. In prostitution, there are certainly some sex addicts having very bad behaviour with influences/consequences for the victim, but that is a minority as I can tell from my experience and long time studies. And the “perverts” or criminals are mostly to be found in the most precarious, secretive, marginalized, out-door strolls and are not punters but criminals! They can do “hate crimes” because people like you hate prostitution so much and create the very climate of hate, wherein for them it feels legitimate and easy to exploit or kill sex workers with no female support lobby.

    The data and cherry picked horror stories about exploitation in prostitution and migration (trafficking) which nowadays can be found everywhere like a new religion, that is vastly over-exaggerated and not evidence-based has been debunked many times. It somehow started more than 100 years ago with the “white slavery moral panic” where best selling author William Thomas Stead faked the selling of 13-year-old child Eliza Armstrong in 1886 in order to sell his book “The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon” and to ignite the war of the abolitionist movement. Please do more research and open up yourself to sex worker arguments. We are humans.

    No women or boy can be really free, if we sex workers can not!
    We demand de-criminalisation and solidarity not doom teachings!

    November 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm

  34. Promiscuous:

    I am not trying or wanting to speak for everyone or anyone, I am only speaking to my own abolitionist position.

    Most of us have a mix of privileges and oppressions. One privilege I have is that I was not prostituted, so when I hear the voices of exited abolitionist women who did not have this privilege, they get my full attention & support, because with privilege comes Responsibility to listen to and support the more vulnerable/harmed, NOT those benefiting FROM their harm, or those averting their gaze from or constantly side stepping it.

    I have and do listen to the other (non-abolitionist) voices, and most of the ones I hear just don’t make much sense but more important than that, they lack a basic sense of humanity which is a huge red flag that Something Is Wrong With This Picture.

    I’ve got a busy week ahead so won’t be coming back anytime soon, if at all. I’m not trying to change your minds, I’m just sharing my views, and I think I’ve said all I have to say.

    Peace and SAFETY to all.

    p.s. To the person that said I was wrong that porn created prostitution — of course it didn’t, thank you for clarifying if my comment to that was unclear.

    November 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

  35. Sophie

    @ Sexworker M.: You do NOT speak for all people in prostitution (men or women). There are many, many prostituted women who despise the “work” they are “doing” (or that is done to them) and the men that buy them and who want to escape prostitution as soon as possible, but are unable to do so. Stop erasing their voices!

    November 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm

  36. > Feminist Rag: “non-abolitionist voices, and most of the ones I hear just don’t make much sense but more important than that, they lack a basic sense of humanity”
    – what an insane hegemonial and again dehumanising statement of you as abolition fighter.

    > Sophie: “Stop erasing voices of prostituted women, who despise the “work” they are “doing”!”
    – Your are partly right, since there are victims and is exploitation even in churches and families or queer relationships, but at the same time you are so erasing ignorant to not value my sex worker voice, which is a precious gemstone in the flood of propaganda out there. Your argument is so simple and stereotype out of your catalogue debate table, that it reveals to me the thin ground abolitionists arguments are based on. Come on with something better and more to the core conflicts of sexuality, humanity and belief system as outlined above.

    November 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm

  37. We have now seen that the feeling of being silenced is mutual on either side of the divide. Whether or not one agrees with said feeling is another question, but either way, people on either side have made such accusations several times now, and I believe it has gotten to the point where it’s not useful to further the debate, just as Esther Shannon so accurately put it.

    Far be it from me to exclude any voices in this debate. At this point, however, I would like to ask everyone to try and refrain from further comments regarding others’ attempts to silence their opponents.

    I have read and published all commentary on this blog and read additional comments elsewhere. I stand by my view that prostitution abolitionists often ignore sex workers, spread – knowingly or not – falsehoods, and, more often than not, go as far as using defamation as a tool to discredit unwanted opposition.

    I have sought the debate with prostitution prohibitionists before and will do so again. Among them, I have yet to encounter someone genuinely interested to listen to sex workers who reject their rescue ideology and to immerse themselves into reading evidence-based research, either because they know that it might well undermine their prejudices, or because they are already so very deeply rooted in their cult-like belief system that they’re simply unwilling to entertain the idea to listen to anything but their own gospel.

    I know it isn’t particularly kind to say so, but I really see no other explanation why anyone with such strong an interest in the situation of sex workers/prostitutes would refuse to acknowledge that obviously, things aren’t as black and white as previously thought and evidently, there is more research out there, especially (but not only) research done by sex workers themselves.

    Why not take a look at the Empower Foundation’s report “Hit and Run: The impact of anti-trafficking policy and practice on Sex Workers’ Human Rights in Thailand” More details at

    Or take a look at “Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific”, a report created by UNDP and UNFPA, in partnership with UNAIDS, the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) as well as with other community sex worker organizations and individuals.

    Finally, I would like to further elaborate on the term “forced sexual labour” that I used in an earlier comment, and for which I was criticised to an extent, that I was accused of “dismissing rape” or “sanitising the reality of sexual slavery”.

    I already explained that I had no intention of doing so and I admit I was somewhat surprised at the suggestion that the term “forced sexual labour” should amount to a euphemism. Forced labour is synonymous with exploitation. Thus, forced sexual labour is synonymous to sexual exploitation.

    I didn’t actually intend to coin and vigorously defend that term. I happened to use it in my rebuttal of Rebecca Mott’s statement that to frame selling sex as work and prostitutes as workers would be “nonsense”. It is not.
    Any sexual acts committed on those forced into prostitution are rape. To those forcing them into prostitution, however, their being raped is a service they, the ones who force, provide to others – rapists, no less – in exchange for money or other things of value. By the same token, a forced labourer wouldn’t identify himself or herself as an employee but as a victim of exploitation, while his exploiter would think of his work as work.

    Finally, let’s look at the case of a person that agreed in principle to migrate to another country to work there as a sex worker/prostitute. Since there are no legal ways to migrate, he or she accrues huge debts in the process of migration, and upon arrival finds the working conditions to be “exploitative”, to say the least. This person would literally be “forced to work as a prostitute” without freedom of movement. However, due to the initial agreement to work as a sex worker/prostitute, one can employ the term “forced sexual labour” to include both perspectives.
    The “forced sexual labour” of this sex worker/prostitute may still be termed rape, but it differs, because the person would in principle consider it work. With a person “forced into prostitution”, who never would have decided to work as a sex worker/prostitute, the only term that describes it should be “mass rape”.

    In a private conversation, ‘Promiscuous’ pointed out to me that one could make a distinction between “forced labour” and “forced prostitution” since the forced labourer could refuse to work – of course with the consequence of being physically abused or killed – while the forced prostitute, even if she attempted to refuse being raped, would still be raped eventually – again with the very likely consequence of being physically abused or killed afterwards as punishment.

    Even though forced labourers are also faced with being beaten into submission, I agree with Promiscuous’ view, and to be sure, reiterate that I did not mean to dismiss or sanitise anything.

    The following quote by Kathleen Barry is taken from Melissa Farley’s website.

    During WW II, the Japanese military forced from 100,000 to 200,000 Korean women into prostitution to service their military. (Kathleen Barry, The Prostitution of Sexuality, 1995, New York, New York University Press

    I find it inconsistent that prostitution prohibitionists can use terms such as “forced to work as prostitute” or here “forced to service” within their contexts, but if you happen to be an opponent, even the term “forced sexual labour” can be called into question to the extent described above.

    Similarly, I was once accused of “denying the experiences of Korean Comfort Women”, when in fact, I had criticised the conflation of sexual slavery in WW II, U.S. camptown prostitution, and the modern sex industry in South Korea as one and the same, and the nationalist sentiment underlying the issue of prostitution in Korea, to name just two aspects I disagreed with. I had in fact made statements to the contrary and expressed my sympathy to the cause of the survivors of sexual slavery during the Japanese colonial period.

    Those are but two examples of what motivated me to write “Sex, Lies and Abolitionists” in the first place: to highlight to those unaware of it the attempts by prostitution abolitionists to discredit those who oppose them at all costs.

    November 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm

  38. Pingback: Francois Tremblay's response on "The Prime Directive"

  39. Quote from Francois Tremblay’s response to “Sex, Lies, and Abolitionists” (see link above):

    “[T]here is no such thing as “choice” and no such thing as “agency” because there is no such thing as contracausal free will. … No one makes “informed decisions” because human beings are entirely moved by non-intelligent, non-informed deterministic causes.”

    If only I had known…

    November 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    • Hey Lehmann, can you give us one, just one, example of a human action that is uncaused? I don’t think so.

      November 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      • I have no choice but to leave you your opinion.

        November 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      • Thank you for proving my point about what a hack you are, misogynist [insult removed by admin].

        November 10, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      • Likewise, as far as proving my point is concerned.

        November 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm

  40. Pingback: “A self-inflicted lack of information” – My response to Rhoda Grant’s consultation process « Research Project Korea

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