If you want to read the story that inspired this post, then scroll to the section titled Deadly Force.
Can’t Stop it, So Legalize It
Rape, slavery and death are just a few of the risks increased by the archaic laws prohibiting sex work, a profession first documented in ancient Sumer circa 2400 B.C.
A few countries like The Netherlands, Germany and Australia have legalized sex work along with some areas within the state of Nevada. However majority of global legislatures continue to view sex work as a societal evil and legally unacceptable.
Sweden implemented the ‘Nordic Model’ in 1999 that decriminalizes sex work, but penalizes the patrons of sexual services instead; Norway and Iceland followed suit. Similar models have been implemented in Northern Ireland, Wales and England commonly known as Shifting the Blame.
While these incremental laws help, they still don’t prevent money flowing into the illegal sex economy which is wreaking havoc across the world as human trafficking is at all time highs due to these exorbitant profits.
Punitive laws should be replaced with health and safety regulations.
Morality vs Ethics
Moral judgements aside, an ethical argument can be made that the laws currently governing sex work are doing more harm than good for society.
Modern sex work laws are doing little to actually stop the commerce of sex, but instead enable underworld operators to co-opt the industry for their own benefit.
The story I’ll share next is from a sex worker in Houston who’s faced several life threatening situations and is an example of why laws that fail to stop sex work, should focus more on health and regulation.
“I asked him to pay me, he shuffled around as if he was looking for his wallet and instead pulled out a gun and pushed it into my forehead…”
This is a real life experience from a sex worker who I recently met while enjoying a cigar. Since meeting her, we’ve spoken daily as I’ve been fascinated by the challenges she faces daily but continues to remain committed to her line of work.
From this point forward I’ll refer to her as Miss X. This is one of many stories about how she’s survived near death encounters.
She was 19 years old at the time she met a young man around the age of 26 at a gentleman’s club she was working at. He approached her about meeting up after her shift to exchange sex for money.
Miss X was working with a pimp at the time and cleared the meeting with him first. He advised her on the precautions to take and gave her the green light to proceed.
She left the club with her trick and they proceded to a nearby hourly motel. Once they arrived the trick stated he was too tired to go in and get the motel room himself, so ask her to do it.
While she found this odd, she complied and went inside to request a room for one hour. The front desk attendant declined, stating that all rooms were booked.
She was met with the same message at the next motel they tried and her trick continued to yammer on about how tired he was.
Hourly motel operators generally don’t offer short-term rooms to females as they assume they’ll be used for prostitution, however they don’t reserve the same judgement toward men.
With the minutes quickly adding up, her trick suggested they go to a vacant lot he knew about. While her pimp advised her against doing this, she also couldn’t return without money so she begrudgingly agreed.
When they arrived to the vacant lot, her trick parked the car near a cement pole in a manner that pinned her passenger side door against it. Turns out this was purposely done to prevent her from escaping for what was about to happen next.
Prior to engaging in any sexual act, Miss X asked her trick to pay her first. He said OK and began frantically look around in his car as though he were looking for his wallet.
Instead of retrieving his wallet, he pulled out a gun and pointed it at her forehead and told her she is to do exactly as he says.
While this was her first violent encounter, her natural instincts took over in the form of anger. She told him that if he’s going to take anything from her it’ll be her life, because she won’t have any kind of sex with him.
He became more assertive and threatened to shoot her in the face which only increased Miss X’s anger so she began yelling back at him. At this point Miss X had concluded that she was going to die fighting and so she slapped the gun out of her face so she could get a clear swing at his face.
Turns out the gun was not real and it broke by the force of her hand and at that point she her anger had morphed into sheer rage.
No longer afraid, she now saw this man as a complete joke and berated him into submission and told her to let her out of the car.
Unable to handle the chaos the trick complied and Miss X lived to share this story.
Moral of this Story
Millenia have proven that illegal or legal, sex work will continue as it always has. However, laws prohibiting it only favor the underworld economy and increases the risk of harm to the sex workers themselves.
Without a regulated, taxable industry supporting sex workers, the burden falls on everyday tax payers to foot the bill for the arrests, incarcerations, property devaluations in places of illegal operation and so much more.
It’s about time we, who claim to be a progressive society, take a long hard look at our laws governing sex work and asking ourselves the hard questions:
Who are these laws helping and is it time to legalize sex work?