I am the one in six childhood abuse survivors, I suffered violence in the sex industry, BUT, I advocate sex worker rights. I do it by choice, I am aware of the various other ideologies, I’m not brainwashed by some monolithic pro porn movement as critics charge, I’m not rich, I live paycheck to paycheck, worry about bills, am happy when I come home from work and the dog hasn’t gone potty on the floor, in other words I’m human. Just like 20/20’s viewers. I don’t want to be glamorized, pitied, studied, or rescued. I left the sex industry in 1995 because I chose to. Not because I was running from it, not to beat an addiction, but because I wanted to do something else. The same reason I have left many other jobs. The same reason others leave their jobs.
When I did need help, when I was facing violence and coercion in the sex industry, none of the current anti trafficking measures would have applied or helped, I couldn’t go the cops or the justice system because in the US being a prostitute is illegal, the clients getting arrested,,, so what??? Great so the whole thing which was underground in the first place just moves farther underground. Not to mention I went into the sex industry for a reason. To make money to survive. I didn’t need the clients arrested because they were clients, I was there to make money to eat, to live, there was a need for the clients. I needed the ones arrested that beat the shit out of me, or raped me, or forced me to do things without my consent. I needed them arrested for rape, for assault, not on some minor misdemeanor that they could wash away with a visit to “John School” in some lame ass plea bargain. I needed labor and human rights so that an abusive, sadistic pimp, didn’t have criminalization to use against me to keep under control.
As long as the whole thing is illegal the cops were more his allies than they ever could have been mine as I was more afraid of being arrested, or worse, being blown off because I was a prostitute and sent back to him to face a very angry pimp. I needed human rights. Not more than the rest of the world should get, but not less either. Perhaps what people don’t like about the sex worker rights movement is that we want to determine our own course. We don’t want to be rescued, or be research guinea pigs, or stereotyped. We are individuals and human beings.
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