Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

By: Grainne Rhuad

Earlier in the week the Canadian government struck down two old provisions that made working with prostitutes illegal.  While prostitution has been legal for some time in Canada, the services around it like bookkeeping, healthcare, insurance, etc. have not been.  While this could seem like a plus, prostitutes technically did not have to pay taxes, it also had its drawbacks, prostitutes could not plan for their futures or claim any expenses, of which there seems, there are many.

Most public opinion reported was favorable.   “I feel like a citizen.” That’s what Valerie Scott — legal coordinator of the Sex Professionals of Canada organization — said after emerging from a courtroom where the Supreme Court of Ontario struck down two provisions in the criminal code against prostitution.

What this decision also provided was the legalization of brothels or the incorporation of prostitutes in supportive environments and the ability to legally hire support staff.

At a moment in time when in the United States women’s reproductive rights are a huge topic of discussion from Politicians to Women’s Book Clubs.  And  when it seems like the world should be moving forward, The United States has taken a big step back in how it feels about womanhood in general –(Fun fact: Did you know science didn’t know exactly what  a clitoris looked like until 2009?) and Prostitution in particular.

Nowhere is this more evident than on the political field.  Prostitution after all is a matter which is only important to people professing a moral issue with it.

It is an unfortunate truth that the United States has made morality its business.  The small insertion of God’s name by the founding fathers, despite Thomas Jefferson’s many writings to the contrary has given every politician since the idea that the United States government exists to enforce morality on its citizenry.

A funny dichotomy since the very act of being a politician is in essence prostituting oneself to the masses in order to get either a payday or power or both.  In fact political pandering produced more tax sheltered dollars and benefits for the politician than any prostitute can ever hope to earn.

But let’s break the two down a bit more:

On the one hand, a prostitute makes his or her money by agreeing to engage in pre-arranged acts of sexual congress.  Sometimes the script goes off course and they end up doing more than they thought they would and since what they are doing is illegal they have no recourse.  They simply live through it and go to work the next day.

On the other hand, a politician makes his/her money by agreeing to engage in pre-arranged acts of congress and business and special interests.  Very often the script goes off course and since what they are doing is against the constitution and/or laws, they are left with no recourse.  They simply live through it and pass the pain on to their constituents.

See, Politian’s are actually more screwed than prostitutes and by more people.  They also highjack a higher number of people to their “business ventures” and pass along the pain than does your typical prostitute.

None of this really matters to us as a society of course, as most people are perfectly fine with prostitution being legalized.  It works fine in states like Nevada with no apparent shift in the Moral Majority’s standing in that state.  In fact the Moral Majority is alive and well there.  Mormons, who we have heard so much of with Mitt Romney running for president, operate a Temple in the heart of Las Vegas and their membership numbers for the state are 346,677. Nevada also boasts 9 mega churches with a congregation total of roughly 39,681.  This doesn’t include the many other moral majority members less easy to count that belong to smaller congregations.  By comparison the number licensed brothels in the state are 28 which employ on average 300 prostitutes at any given time. (Nevada law does not allow for prostitution outside of brothels) That adds up to roughly 8,400 registered prostitutes, quite a bit less than the moral majority in the state of Nevada. (Source: Wikipedia)

No, in the one state in the Union known for its legalized prostitution, there is no problem with the Moral Majority living side by side with prostitution.  This is because prostitution has in our time become just another sling or arrow to throw at those on the other side of the fence.  It is a galvanizing word and it gets people’s attention because in our society when we say it we think of sexuality.

However, we can and do prostitute everything from our time and talents to our very souls, which if we were actually taking some sort of moral high ground would seem to be of more concern than what we did to blow off steam or meet our physical needs.

But name calling and finger pointing isn’t relegated to prostitutes.  We have a variety of ways to call people names who we don’t agree with. We also call them sluts, whores and liberals. Conversely the other side is quick to call their nemesis names like conservatives, republicans, reporklicans, republicants.  We call them Politicians too.  When people point out our foibles and we don’t like it, we dismiss them by calling them pundits, non-mainstream news, bloggers or even worse; Comedians.  What do comedians know anyway?  This is a tactic recently used by Fox News and affiliates.  As pointed out by Jon Stewart recently on The Daily Show:


It’s a good thing Comedians have a sense of humor as shown by Will Farrell in his “comedy helmet”



Back to Prostitution, it’s a job, like any other job.  Some people may find it distasteful, boring, and morally wrong and those people shouldn’t do that job.  Just like people who find feet gross shouldn’t be podiatrists.  But does it hurt society?  In the words of one person recently (legalizing prostitution) “reduces the cost of war on crime, increases tax revenue, regulates it, and if done properly, can reduce the risk of diseases… hey, people are gonna fuck, legal or not…”

Clearly it does not.  It hasn’t slowed anyone’s moral, spiritual or community growth.  Nevada is a testament to that.  Its legalization protects both those in the sex trade field and those who need to be protected from it, like under aged children who might otherwise be taken advantage of. In fact a Canadian study outlined how keeping prostitution illegal hurt sex industry workers.  It protects the procurers of sex.  They don’t have to worry about being blackmailed or their kept woman keeping other lovers.  The contract is clear from the beginning.

It even protects the politicians.  The ones who rant about the evils of sex (except to procreate- a lot apparently).  Maybe especially the politicians as they are the ones most often caught in prostitution scandals.  Making this legal keeps them on the job, selling themselves to the highest bidder with no worry about skeletons being released.

Sounds like a good deal all around.


By Grainne

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55 thoughts on “Prostitutes, Politicians And Other Name Calling”
  1. Excellent article. You’ve raised so many important issues that I’m not sure which one to comment on because they are all worthy of ongoing discussion and further research. Hippocracy in the political arena is rampant and unacceptable. I love it when some politician gets caught up in something they have been pounding the war drum about. But what is more appalling is that we did not have an accurate picture of what the clitoris looks like until 2009! Are you kidding me! This is so disappointing. But it points to how unimportant our cultures value women (and men for that matter) and sexual health. Legalize it. Tax it. There is a protective factor to our communities that comes from this. Why are we not talking about this?

  2. Grainne, are you opposed to morality? I mean, do you believe there is no moral right or wrong at all? Or do you think perhaps moral rights and wrongs are defined arbitrarily?

    I’ve noticed that Mitch, Az, and yourself don’t seem to like the idea of morality a whole lot. Why? (Mitch, you never continued the discussion on the forum)

    I believe any act that results in feelings of shame (but not necessarily feelings of guilt) is an immoral act. I’ve noticed people get used to feeling shame after a while; the line between moral and immoral becomes blurred.

    You can’t tell me that you won’t feel ashamed if you sleep with a guy for money. But there is no shame in giving half of your dinner to your hungry neighbour.

    You can’t tell me that there is no moral right or wrong.

  3. Shh, I believe in morals. I have and practice them. I do not believe in legislating morality. We are all so very different. How can I tell you how and when and for what you should be ashamed of?

    I really don’t understand your comparison of sleeping with a guy for money and giving food away. My personal beliefs keep me from engaging in the first and absolutely doing the second whenever possible. But that is my belief. I don’t shun those who decide to use what gifts they have in a different way.

  4. Also, I disagree with this statement:
    “I believe any act that results in feelings of shame (but not necessarily feelings of guilt) is an immoral act. I’ve noticed people get used to feeling shame after a while; the line between moral and immoral becomes blurred.”

    Shame can be instilled for the smallest of things and most inappropriately through abuses and other psychological shaping. It really isn’t a reliable gauge in my mind of morality.

    I don’t think people lose their moral compases so much as they learn to ignore it. But that is just my thought.

    The problem with this issue of prostitution and its legalization as I see it in the States is we behave exactly the same way with the other parts of our “gifts” and “spirits” and “soul” we are happy to sell out our word, morals, values and as long as it doesn’t require “sex” it is perfectly okay. This is hypocrisy. A politician is as much of a prostitute as a sex worker. Hell, a musician, writer, carpenter is as much of a prostitute as they need to sell a part of themselves to the highest bidder and meet their terms, some of which go against their morals, to survive.

  5. @ shh,

    “I’ve noticed that Mitch, Az, and yourself don’t seem to like the idea of morality a whole lot.”

    I won’t speak for the others, but the way I see it “morality” is a sham – a set of social mores and values imposed upon people that we’re not allowed to question in any meaningful way: it’s a psychological prison to break out of!

    “I believe any act that results in feelings of shame (but not necessarily feelings of guilt) is an immoral act. I’ve noticed people get used to feeling shame after a while; the line between moral and immoral becomes blurred.”

    If that’s true, almost everything one does out of necessity against his principles is “immoral” – from the Anarchist who finds himself working as a low-level government employee to the young adult that values independence who only gets by because of his family’s charity: shuch situations are indeed shameful to the individual that experiences them, but to call them “immoral” is just laughable…

  6. Az, I’m not talking about situations but rather acts and the feelings that arise as a result. Particular, concrete acts. Not hypothesized possibilities.

    I’ve looked back at my life and reached the conclusion that knowing the difference between a good act and a bad act is instinctual. Grainne, I don’t think anyone is talking about telling others what to feel.. I don’t know why you would even bring up this point.

    Can you deny that we feel shame? Why do you think we feel shame? If there were no such thing as moral right or wrong, what is the point of this emotion?

    There are certain things which are wrong. The vast majority of people on earth today agree on those things being wrong; there is consensus. Of course there are a few sick people here and there but should we base our ideas of morality on a few sick people or what 99% of people already believe in?

    I tell you, 99% of the people in my country believe that prostitution is wrong; their belief is based on a visceral sensation rather than any kind of training. No one ever told me to dislike prostitution, but I don’t like it. And I don’t mean I don’t like people who are prostitutes, but rather the concept itself is repugnant to me.

  7. I’ll make it real simple. I absolutely HATE the idea of my sister becoming a prostitute. I would do anything in my power to prevent it.

    I think we can agree that most men feel the same way. I seriously doubt anyone would encourage their sister to work as a prostitute.. So, I think this makes it pretty clear that there is something wrong with this profession.

    Would you feel ashamed if your acts encouraged your sister to become a doctor? Why not?

  8. Those aren’t hypothetical situations shh – I know people in them and was in a similar bind for a period of my life (I was the out-of-work college grad living off the folks in spite of my value of independence bacause there were no jobs in my field availible to me – a compromise I’m not proud of but it was one I needed to make): the act of relying on some one else for support was certainly shameful to me, but I have no reason to believe it was an “immoral” act.

    And for the record, shame is just the result of failure to live to one’s espoused values – nothing more or less. If you have shame over a given action that just means that it’s time for you to either pick yourself up and bring yourself into proper alignment with your values or else revaluate what you value to determine if it’s worth aligning yourself with them in the first place…

  9. I’m faintly amused by the discussion on morality because morality is obviously not an absolute or unchanging thing. A thousand years ago, it was quite moral to own slaves, and even immoral not to; after all, as the argument went, who would feed and clothe the slaves if not for the institution of slavery?

    Personally, I’d have no problems with my sister or daughter (if I had one of either) being a prostitute as long as she chose it of her own accord and was not forced into it either by blackmail or circumstance. However, as long as she was a prostitute, I’d certainly want her rights protected.

    In India, prostitution is in a curious position – it openly, almost flagrantly exists, and yet it’s illegal. And at the same time, the prostitute isn’t legally liable for carrying on the illegal profession; her clients are. In other words, if you get caught with a hooker, you go to prison; not she.

    OK, time to do an article on prostitution in India, I guess.

    By the way, if I were a hooker, I’d be up in arms about the comparison with politicians. Hookers at least do what they are contracted to do; screw you. They don’t screw you over.

  10. I’ve never heard of a prostitute being proud of her work. I guess they must all be deluded to think what they’re doing is shameful.

    I really don’t understand why anyone would push for the legalization of prostitution.. maybe those who believe this is a good/acceptable profession should get a job as a prostitute.

    I suppose the legalization of theft is next.. I mean ocean’s eleven is cool so why not?

    Please. Without morals we are beasts.. just look at Charlie Sheen.

  11. And Bill, it seems 2500 years ago killing another man was completely moral. In fact, it was expected that stronger people would kill and or steal the wives of weaker people.

    What I want to ask is what is your point? Are we living a thousand years ago?

    We’re evolving.. it’s no longer OK for Kurds to circumcise their women. It’s no longer OK to have slaves. It’s no longer OK to sell sex.

    I assure you, 2000 years ago, there were no laws against prostitution anywhere. Does that mean it’s OK? Or maybe people were a little ignorant back then?

  12. And a little history.. It seems ~1500 years ago middle eastern women in general were as promiscuous and “immoral” as western women generally are today. Then some guy convinced all women to cover themselves up and stop being sluts.

    At this point, western celebrities are completely denouncing clothes. Is this evolution? or is it idiocy?

  13. The point is that morality is an evolving thing. Prostitution is not necessarily “immoral”; it’s satisfying a market. If there was no market for it, it would not exist. Therefore, as long as there is a market for sex work, there will be prostitutes. Banning it won’t do anything but drive it into hiding. And who loses out by that? Obviously, the prostitutes themselves, not their johns. If prostitution is legal, they have the same rights as any other paid worker. If it’s illegal, they are at the mercy of their clients.

  14. I am left thinking of the young girl, who at the age of 3 years old was exploited by her own parents and handed out to grown men to sexually molest so that the father could collect drug money. She was forced to live that way until she was around 11, molested and tied to beds for the use of disgusting people who raped her to the point that she no longer can bear children. Victimless crime? Hardly!

    I think of the other girl featured on that show who was taken after going to the store and pimped out in a hotel room, after her kidnapper placed a photo of her 15 year old body (only in her underwear and drugged) on Craigslist with a telephone number. She was repeatedly raped by strange men answering the ad.

    These were American children!

    Many of the prostitutes are now illegal immigrants forced into sex slavery to repay coyotes for bringing them here in addition to child sex slaves. See the Dr. Phil show on sex slavery:

    “Child Sex Slaves
    October 10, 2008

    Twenty-seven million people worldwide are the victims of modern-day slavery: They are forced into sex or back-breaking labor against their will. Most of the victims lured into this criminal world are innocent children ” maybe even your own. A new documentary, Call + Response, explores the injustices that are taking place in this underground society. These atrocities are not only happening in other parts of the world. Women who were trapped as sex slaves in America share their stories.”

    They say prostitution is a victimless crime; but is it really? The growth of suburban kidnappings of young girls who are later forced into prostitution while plied with drugs is alarming. Lately, they are even kidnapped by their own friends at school for sex slavery. And many of the Johns paying for these kids won’t touch a hooker over the age of puberty.

    This is no longer about moral prudery. Honestly, I could care less what two people do in the privacy of a room. It is about the horrendous pattern of unscrupulous molesters and rapists who are exploiting human capital.

    “Trafficking of people is the fastest-growing crime on the planet. You’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars,” says actress Julia Ormond. “The girls who they’re using to buy in the for-sex trade are actually getting younger and younger. They were 16, 15. They’ve been coming down to 7 and even age 3.”

    I’ve heard grown women say, “I need a pack of cigarettes. Do you want a blow job?” (True story of one homeless woman who was liquored up). She thought nothing of giving oral sex for a pack of cigarettes. She had minimized herself THAT much.

    What I once thought was a moral and liberal attitude towards prostitution is something I regret. After seeing that young girl’s face telling her story of exploitation, frankly, I don’t give a damn what grown hookers want. I’m thinking it’s time to look out for our kids.

  15. Spoken like a true capitalist. Of course there is a market Bill..

    But there is more to this business of sex than meets the eye.. IMO sex is not just some mundane physical act, it has an unseen ethereal aspect.

    I think we, as a society, have no idea the strain that sexual relations have on us. We’re just a bunch of ignorant buffoons seeking pleasure at all costs.

    So I guess what I’m saying is go ahead and legalize prostitution, I really don’t care personally. 😉

  16. These days, when I think of prostitution, I think of this:

    I cannot compare that to the free will of an adult who chooses to submit them self to the mercy of others for career profit…as in a politician; or a woman who uses her body to enhance her financial well being.

    My mother once said, “Choose your sexual boundaries carefully, because once you cross them you may not be able to go back, at least, mentally.” And with today’s sexual liberalism, which has led to the exploitation and trafficking of sex slaves (namely children) I think we have crossed sexual boundaries of acceptance that created nightmares for some innocent children. And in general, those women who have accepted prostitution generally have been molested as children; so the argument about morality is a moot point, IMO. Once you’ve been molested, are you REALLY making a rational choice, if you choose to become a sex worker? Or are you doing what us PTSD victims are taught not to do…nursing the trigger. Knowing what I know about PTSD and how the mind works after the damage, I’m inclined to think that most prostitutes are not making rational choices; and instead, are driven by a complete lack of self esteem. So, do we legalize exploitation of these people?

    That goes back to asking if we’ve crossed that sexual boundary line where we devalue human beings, now.

  17. And Grainne, you mention how prostitution is legal in Nevada. I wonder how it could bypass anyone that Las Vegas is literally the epicenter of stupidity and idiocy on earth today.

    I’ve been there. I think las vegas is a city designed for people to indulge in pointless pleasures. I think everything in las vegas is ridiculous. I think everyone should go see first hand the baffling extravagance and misuse of resources going on there.

  18. Bill the butcher, you say, “Prostitution is not necessarily “immoral”; it’s satisfying a market.” So is sex slavery. So is child pornography. The question is, how low do we go in the name of capitalism? And when we cross that moral boundary, do we excuse murder too; because the guy pissed us the hell off? After all, we could argue that some people should be murdered because they are too stupid to live and offer nothing of worth towards society, no? Or, do we finally stand up and take responsibility for our ethics and values; if but for no other reason, so that these same low ethics don’t endanger us one day (maybe when we are undervalued for being too old?)

  19. shh, I didn’t imply that every victim of molestation became a prostitute. What I said was, most prostitutes are victims of molestation. The two statements are completely different.

  20. Prostitutes, throughout history, have had several different roles, from their initial status as formal initiators of young men into sex. It’s not necessarily true that most prostitutes have had a history of sex abuse and exploitation. What is most certainly true is that prostitution has always existed, in any system, capitalist, socialist, it’s always been there. Even societies which try and pretend it doesn’t exist have prostitution. Just like the idiotic “war on drugs”, which benefits only the illegal trade, banning the sex trade only drives it underground. Do your hearts bleed for child sex slaves? Then, ask yourself: do those nations like Germany or the Netherlands which have legal prostitution – with regular medical checkups, identity cards and so on – have child sex slaves? Where are the exploited prostitutes? In those nations or in the ghettoes of the cities where they are at the mercy of their pimps and their tricks? Which is the prostitute who has more rights, the one in the legal brothel who can insist on her client using a condom, and on fixed remuneration – or the desperate woman in an alley who’s lucky if she doesn’t end up murdered one night, or wind up with HIV? Who has the more bargaining power?

    You don’t like the idea of legalising prostitution. Fine. Tell me what alternative you offer.

  21. So is sex slavery. So is child pornography.

    That’s called a straw man argument. There is nothing in common between the idea of legalising prostitution and sex slavery/child porn. It’s the equivalent of saying adult porn should not be freely available, because child porn exists. Adult porn will exist anyway, as long as humans have sexual urges. Porn has existed since at least Palaeolithic cave art and the Venus of Willendorf. It has nothing to do with the subcategory of child porn, and banning it will do nothing to stop child porn, either.

    Straw man arguments belong in the kindergarten.

  22. OMG! Are you taking a first semester rhetoric class? ROFL I’m not writing a term paper, I’m discussing an issue. So please spare me the 2nd year college criticisms of arguing, okay?

    Examine what I say in context, and you’ll realize that the fact that children are usually the most desired prostitutes, not adults, makes this anything but a straw man argument. (Do they still talk about straw man arguments in these classes?)

    I’m not opposing porn, per say. I’m opposing the use of children in porn and the use of children as sex slaves; which is common in prostitution.

  23. children are usually the most desired prostitutes, not adults

    Where do you get that? I’m honestly curious. Of course there are child prostitutes. Who’s denying there are? At the same time, why are you evading the point (I see you aren’t even trying to answer it) that in countries where prostitution is licensed and legalised, there are few to no child prostitutes?

    There are plenty of child prostitutes in India, where prostitution is illegal. However, there are few to no child prostitutes in European nations where prostitution is legal. It’s a simple, incontrovertible fact. What people “prefer” has nothing to do with it.

  24. Look, I’m not here to argue about the use of fallacies and whether what people say has logic that is rooted in the fundamental rules of rhetoric. Frankly, I have always found that a bit self-serving, cliched and boring. (I’m not much on the pseudo-intellectualism of the academic world, though). So forgive me.

    And certainly, in real life we don’t speak this way to one another. Especially, not in comments offering our opinions on issues affecting the world.

    If we did, nearly ALL of our opinions would be removed for having fallacies. For instance, you tell me what a “straw man” argument is and then go on to use the perfect demonstration of “straw man” logic by stepping away from the subject and arguing with me about the way I present my argument — even bringing in other rhetorical practices in saying I argue as if I’m in kindergarten.
    I disagree with your premise that sex slavery doesn’t exist in areas where legalized prostitution exists. There are any number of sites online that disprove that. For instance, in the Netherlands and Germany men are also arrested for soliciting minors for sex. And they have turned to the internet now to pursue those interests. Ever seen all the fetish sites for daddy-daughter sex: or for older man and young nymphs fetishes? Many of them come from these countries; because an older prostitute is not going to satisfy the urges of these types of men. And that is the reason behind what I say about sex slavery.

    I used to think that prostitution was an act between a man and a woman and what business was it of mine if the two of them agreed to that. I no longer do, because of the surge of sex slaves under the age of consent and the immigrants who are used much the same without consent. The fact is that many men prefer sex with prostitutes who aren’t willing, who can be defiled, who can be forced to endure the human pain of destroying their little reproductive canal; or little boys who have a sense of innocence. And to me, this is disgusting.

    What adults do has no influence on me. I would argue that a prostitute probably isn’t a willing partner if she has a psychological history of molestation; but that’s my opinion and it doesn’t influence the law. But when it comes to children, I draw the line.

  25. Where I get the age group lies in the fact that so many men over 50, from all over the world move to 3rd world countries to defile young virgins and take them on as wives, until they age to a certain age. Then, they trade them in. But if you don’t believe me about the number of men who desire younger prostitutes, then look at the sheer numbers of idiots willing to risk their safety to meet teenagers online and then in person. Men who walk into set ups by police. The Lolita complex is extremely high among the type of men who frequent brothels and buy hookers, mostly, because one of the key issues behind paying for sex is CONTROL. If it weren’t, they wouldn’t purchase hookers, they would meet women their own age to satisfy their needs.

    “This research study compared 101 men who buy sex with 100 men who did not buy sex, matched by age, ethnicity, and education level. Most had a wife or girlfriend at the time of the study. Sex buyers had many more sex partners in their lifetime (prostituted as well as non-prostituted) than non-sex buyers.

    Sex buyers were far more likely than non-sex buyers to commit felonies, misdemeanors, crimes related to violence against women, substance abuse-related crimes, assaults, crimes with weapons, and crimes against authority. All of the crimes known to be associated with violence against women were reported by sex buyers; none were reported by non-sex buyers.

    Sex buyers acknowledged having committed significantly more sexually coercive acts against women than non-sex buyers.

    Sex buyers had significantly less empathy for prostituted women than did non-sex buyers and they acknowledged fewer harmful effects of prostitution on the women in it and on the community. Non-sex buyers more often saw prostitution as harmful to both the woman herself and to the community as a whole.”


    Here is another great article on prostitution:

    It says, “In order to consider prostitution a job, and in order to keep the business of sexual exploitation running smoothly, we can not know that racism and class prejudice, like sexism, are intrinsic to prostitution. In order to consider prostitution a job, and in order to keep the business of sexual exploitation running smoothly, we can not know that prostitution, pornography and trafficking meet or exceed legal definitions of torture.

    Similarly, if people do not see exactly the stereotype of what they think “harmful” prostitution/trafficking is, for example, if they do not see a girl being dragged at gunpoint from one location to another, or if they see an eighteen year old who says, “I like this job and I’m getting rich,” then they do not see the harm. Prostitution tourists and local johns see smiling girls waving at them from windows in Amsterdam, brothels in Mumbai, or strip clubs in Las Vegas. Johns and their friends decide that prostitution is a free choice.

    On the other hand, survivors of prostitution have described it as “volunteer slavery”5 and as “the choice made by those who have no choice.”6 If you’re a woman or girl, global forces that choose you for prostitution are sex discrimination, race discrimination, poverty, abandonment, debilitating sexual and verbal abuse, poor education or no education, and a job that does not pay a living wage. All drive girls and women into the commercial sex industry.7 Defined as whores when they were young, women who appear to choose prostitution have been sexually abused as children at much higher rates than other women. One way that women end up ‘choosing’ prostitution is that they are paid for the abuse that they have already grown up with. They assume that’s all they are good for.”

  26. And the preceding arguments illustrate precisely why I consider “morality” a psychological prison – first we have shh insisting that there’s an absolute “moral” standard which we should all be held to, then curiosly he states that it’s an “evolving” standard (and just what makes an absolute standard of “morality” evolve anyway? the fact that “morality” changes at all indicates that it’s an arbitrary set rules set up by some people group for its benefit…).

    And on the other we have Jen – who absolutely insists that no one has ever chosen a certain line of work (prostitution in this instance) because it’s a degrading line of work: by that logic, no one with a humiliating position (from the janitor to the sewer worker – who literally spend their working lives covered in shit) would ever pursue such a career of their own acord. Of course, this is little more than an exercise in projection of her own values onto others (never stopping to think that, perhaps, certain people apply for the disgraceful positions because they guarantee steady work or perhaps they hate the job but love the wages affiliated with it?).

    If either of these folks could break out the “moral” cages they’ve been trapped in they might be able to understand the reasoning of people who don’t subcribe to their positions…

  27. Azazel,

    Please don’t paraphrase for me. I did NOT “absolutely insist that no one has ever chosen certain line of work (prostitution in this instance) because it’s a degrading line of work.”

    You are simplifying this to something prudish, and that isn’t what I’m saying. I have no problem with sex workers like married couples who advertise their porn on the internet for profit. That’s free will. I do have a problem though with children or immigrants being exploited from a human rights standpoint.

    I asked the question if people chose it because of past experiences with molestation or being forced into it…as in sex slavery by gangs or pimps. There is a big difference between your all-or-none argument and what I actually said.

    But having said that, please name the organizations that “rescue” sewer workers from their career choice. Because, I can name three that rescue prostitutes…which is odd, since you imply they have the same free will as a sewer worker. That being so, why would there be ANY organizations out there ready to rescue prostitutes? They are:

    Sex Workers Anonymous
    MASIE (Minorities & Survivors Improving Empowerment)

    But comparing a human being (man or woman) who submits to a career in prostitution vs. a sewer worker is a bit of a stretch, to me.

    Sewer workers have free will to apply for their positions and apply for other positions when they realize there is an option. Many prostitutes do not.

    That sewer workers may feel exploited, (like many who work at McDonalds, for instance; after working in careers they obtained an education for) is not the same as feeling exploited as some creep throws a towel over you when he’s finished sexually assaulting you; and the next man enters the room you are tied to the bed in, to assault you too. It is not the same thing as being raped for a living; or being forced to comply with a human being’s most intimate possession…their free will and body. It’s not the same as being a child that doesn’t know she has the right to not be raped, because her sick father has offered her around since she was a toddler. But that is a reality in prostitution.

    And my “moral cage” is shared by many experts in the field who help prostitutes LEAVE those careers you assume they choose. Which makes one wonder why organizations like Polaris exist, since this is a free will decision? Should I assume that your “moral cage” is the reason you feel enabling exploitation of some people is acceptable? After all, the profile of many Johns seems to share some rather deep fears of empowered women!

    I would challenge you to find an organization that rescues sewer workers or people who work at Mickey D’s. But I’ll bite…

  28. Of course older men go to Thailand and other places for children – it’s because, legally, they can not have access to child hookers in their own countries. It is not an argument for banning prostitution; it’s an argument for legalising and regulating adult prostitution, so that any and all prostitution outside the legal framework is provably criminal.

    I’d have thought anyone could understand that.

    None of the people in Germany and other nations who solicit children for sex in their own countries can do it except in hiding, and if caught they have no way to weasel out of it. Elsewhere, it’s a buyer’s market.’

    You don’t like it; fine. But as I said before, tell me an alternative. what is your solution? Do you even have any?

    In India some years ago, after a right wing Hindunazi government came to power, the employment of “bar girls” (hostesses) was banned as being “against Indian culture”, and it was said they were mostly hookers anyway. What happened? Did these women magically find other work? Of course not. In most cases, they ended up becoming full time prostitutes.

  29. one prostitution is not legal in Las Vegas
    and two child sex slaves are not the same as grown woman deciding to be prostitute

  30. my “moral cage” is shared by many experts in the field who help prostitutes LEAVE those careers you assume they choose

    That’s really very funny. In this country we hear regular stories of women being ”rescued” from brothels and prostitution and “returned” to society. in almost every case, after a year or so, those women were back working as hookers…often in those same brothels. They simply had no other economic opportunity available.

    I find it incredibly insulting that some people can arrogate to themselves the “right” to decide that other people need to be “rescued” from their jobs instead of being helped to get the best they can out of it. It reminds me the “white man’s burden” to save us lesser breeds without the law from our dark ignorance.

  31. @ Jen,

    That seemed to be the core of your argument throughout your posts – that prostitutes are necessarily exploited and are only in that profession because it had been forced upon them (and I won’t deny that in certain cases that’s true, and for the record I don’t condone forcing anyone into a given line of work – be it prostitution, sewage treatment or anything else): up until the last post you made that appeared to be your attitude.

    Regarding the “rescue” organizations you allude to – as Bill points out, most “rescued” prostitutes wind up going right back to their old line of work because it’s all they know: which makes the effort to come and pull them out of that life an exercise in futillity (practically speaking).

    Also, there’s this assumption that just because one’s line of work is “legal” there’s no reason to “rescue” anyone from it (the mentallity: why try to “rescue” some one from an honest day’s work – even if that work is degrading or even dangerous?) – never mind that the job just might end up killing the laborer (particularly people who work with such things as asbestos insulation or in mineshafts). According to the dominant cultural mentallity, people with dangerous “legal” work know the risks and all responsibility for anything that happens to them is on their own heads: it’s the ultimate in social hypocracy – people involved in trades not deemed “legal” need to be arrested for “endangering themselves and others” (even if their trade is statistically safer than the “legal” alternatives) or else “rescued” from their craft, but those who endanger themselves “legally” assume all liability for the hazards of their profession.

  32. This is one area where liberalism; or working hard not to be prudish creates injustice for others. There is nothing wrong with mutual sex between adults…even in prostitution, IF they are consenting adults. And from a moral standpoint, ONLY if the person isn’t a victim of sexual trauma in their youth. Because if they have been molested, the two adults aren’t on the same sexual plane.

    However, when our liberalism creates the vehicle that drives the wholesale disregard for other people’s human rights; such as the sexual assault and battery of children or immigrants; or even to tour countries to exploit other people’s daughters because our own has stricter laws, we have lost our perspective and ethics.

    This argument that a woman who is rescued goes back to prostitution is ridiculous too, from a psychological standpoint. Why? Because people who have been traumatized often have such a low sense of self worth that they do go back to their vice, be it: sexual promiscuity, drugs, alcoholism, anorexia or even cutting themselves. That’s the problem with reinforcing this liberal attitude. We tell the victim that this is all they deserve, not that they have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

    And the comparison of the white man’s burden to save minorities from themselves is a ridiculous argument. For one thing, white guilt is self serving. It has no purpose except to promote the white man’s idea of his own superiority and limited perspective of human behavior. The white man who assumes all (name the minority) are submissive, for instance, is likely ill informed. The white man who assumes all (name the minority) are angry because they react to offensive behavior, is defending his poor behavior.

    Helping save children who have no ability to rescue themselves from something so traumatic that it not only damages their womb to the point that later they cannot choose to bear their own children; but further damages their psyche to the point they suffer the trauma of PTSD for years is not promoting our own “superiority,” it is rescuing a victim. Just as rescuing helpless caged animals suffering abuse is not promoting our own superiority. And the idea that workers going out to extend help to women often abused by gangs, pimps and others whose sole aim is to exploit them is a moral judgment is self serving. It’s like saying we shouldn’t rescue children abused by their families. And frankly, the idea that women and children are ranked lower on the scale of help than animals is incredibly sexist to me.

    The other issue never discussed with prostitution is the fact that many sex buyers fit a certain profile. It is a profile of men who desperately need to feel in control. This crosses all races and financial classes; but there is a profile for sex buyers just as there is a profile for gang members, serial killers, and others who participate in like behavior. And this need to control extends too often to the sexual domination of children. This trend has made prostitution no longer a victimless crime. As a matter of fact, the profits from defiling children, which is why so many gang members have capitalized on it and turned to kidnapping high school girls and forcing them to sell their bodies.

    This article tells about a gang based wealthy Virginia suburb that had a prostitution ring of unwilling victims.

    It says, violent street gang based in wealthy Virginia suburb ran prostitution ring that recruited high school girls who were beaten or knifed if they refused to participate.

    Both the Crips and Mara Salvatrucha have been actively forcing girls into prostitution. Now, picture this, if you still feel this is right. You are in high school and abducted at knife point by a group of tough kids. You are held in a motel by a group of men and sexually molested over and over, to the point your rectum is so damaged that it bleeds and the pain is unbearable. You are tied to the bed and when each rapist is done with you, you are covered by a towel until the next one comes along. A photo of your body is placed on craigslist under the personals area, with a phone number. This generates an endless stream of willing molesters. If and when you are rescued you are hospitalized, have corrective surgery for the damage done to your rectum, and suffer endless nightmares. You want to kill yourself because you can’t get this out of your head.

    Welcome to the victimless crime of prostitution. It happens every day in the U.S. and the victims are getting younger and younger.

  33. ****The basic argument is this: the less sex we have, the better we are. The more sex we allow, the more we increase the risk of crime, underage exploitation, STD transmission, and other negative trends.****

    What? Who said that? That’s a prudish view of the problem. And therein lies the problem. The classifications assigned to those who want to fight the problem of sex slavery and exploitation of women.

    “If you aren’t for prostitution, you don’t like sex.” Or, “If you don’t feel Johns should have the right to exploit women’s bodies when they pay their cold, hard, cash, you are a prude, part of the God squad, a moral crucader.”

    WRONG! None of those labels fit me. I can’t stand the “moral majority” and I hate their ideas that sex is only for procreation. I’ve believed that prostitution should be legal for years and only recently changed my views on this. I love sex, nudity, write graphic sexual stories, enjoy the hell out of porn, have known many a prostitute and helped them (so much so in one city they reported on the activities of my son in his teens) and I STILL hate the idea of women, children and immigrants being exploited.

    And I don’t feel a woman who has sex on her terms is exploited, I think she’s empowered. I do believe there are mature women who actively make the choice to work in the sex industry because they love sex, love the money they can earn from it, and feel it empowers them. And yes, I do feel many prostitutes also come from some childhood sexual trauma that goes beyond cruel.

    I’m not for less sex, less pornography, less prostitution, even. What I am for is holding JOHNS, web sites, hotels, pimps and gangs (all of which participate in the destruction of the lives of unwilling victims) accountable. And here’s how.

    For each victim who has been sexually assaulted by people finding him or her on sites like Craigslist, a manual closure of the site until it is corrected and hefty fines that hurt. It should not be so easy to advertise young girls being victimized. Shut down the hotel where it happened or fine them an enormous sum of money for the same reason. Put the bastards that sold her in prison for 20 years if they are over 18. If they are younger, put them in prison for ten with a mandatory class teaching the elements of empathy.

    This is not about morality in the biblical sense. I believe half of the bible thumpers in this country ARE child molesters! This is about protecting children from the perversions of many of morality specialists whose prudery has caused pent up sexual problems.

    You compare the minority (the children and unwilling immigrants, I suppose) to the majority (I’m assuming the consenting prostitutes of age). But I think you have the figures backwards. It may have been at one time that consensual adults were involved in this, but with gangs and teenagers changing their ideas on sex based on television, this has changed. With immigration being illegal and so many desperate people willing to do anything to come here from war torn countries like Nigeria…that has changed too. And these are mostly the victims of today’s prostitution. So, I turn your question around on you. Do we protect the minority, or the majority?

    Here’s some facts about the men who participate in buying sex from children. Most cases of grown men purchasing children are a reaction to stresses and losses that threaten these mens masculinity and an expression of anger. At least one third of these men are substance abusers which minimizes their guilt over their sexual sadism. All social classes, races, and vocations are represented. These men may also be classified as the child haters – sociopaths. While gratification may occur from molesters with this motivation it is more an issue of power then it is sexual desire. These offenders are similar to the ‘power’ motivated rapists seen in other sexual crimes.

    As for the couples who suffer sexual issues, there are an abundance of much more effective therapies than prostitution out there. There are sex therapists who can adequately treat the sexual problem much more effectively. And they should be covered by insurance policies; so that no one has to spend income seeking help for sexual problems. It should be covered the same as each other medical diagnosis is covered.

    The “poor suffering needy sex addict” argument reminds me of the privilege arguments of the wealthy. The wealthy couple who argues that he has to artificially inseminate the financially strapped woman whose womb he rents to have his seed develop, rather than adopting a baby. Or the rich guy who wants to purchase body parts instead of waiting in line for his kidney that will keep him alive. Why? Because he is SPECIAL, more important than the rest of us, and doesn’t have time to wait, like the others who need kidneys. Spare me the entitlement of the wealthy and the oppressor!

    If one of these emasculated men who have power rape issues “suffers” because he can’t exploit a child’s innocent body, do you really care? Hell, I “suffer” because I can’t murder the son of a bitches that feel they have the right to do this. When I see these children talking about what happened to them on shows like Dr. Phil, I suffer to the point I want to cut their balls off. Should we negate the laws so I can go cut his nuts off and stuff them in his mouth and feel whole again? Come on! Sometimes you just have to suffer, buck up, and do your best with what you have.

    I’m really sick of coddling people who make excuses for their weaknesses. Life isn’t always fair. I’m 4’7″, not 5’9″. Boo hoo! I have a thyroid condition that makes me care less about sex if I don’t take my medication; so I’m always taking pills that help me stay active. Boo hoo! I’m 58 and no longer as desirable as I was at 20. Boo hoo! That doesn’t mean we let the weakest or the least capable among us set the rules for everyone else. We certainly don’t enable them to molest our children or relatives because they have sexual problems.

  34. @ Jen,

    “For each victim who has been sexually assaulted by people finding him or her on sites like Craigslist, a manual closure of the site until it is corrected and hefty fines that hurt. It should not be so easy to advertise young girls being victimized. Shut down the hotel where it happened or fine them an enormous sum of money for the same reason. Put the bastards that sold her in prison for 20 years if they are over 18. If they are younger, put them in prison for ten with a mandatory class teaching the elements of empathy.”

    You do realize that this is unworkable for a number of reasons…

    1. Sites like Craigslist are really just “middle men” for other people to barter goods and services – they realistically can’t keep track of what’s actually traded through the site (if for no other reason the high volume of traffic that passes through it, for another it’s pretty easy to disguise one good/service as another [ex. drugs as “home-made candy”]): it accomplishes nothing to fine them because there isn’t a lot they can do to stop those “in the know” from trafficking their wares via the internet medium the trafficker uses.

    2. Sending people to prison is not a practical solution to begin with (especially considering that the prisons are overflowing already) – if anything, sending people to prison is akin to sending them to a boarding school for gang membership: by the time most cons get out they can’t function in normal society – which means that they either roam the streets committing petty crimes to get by or else get caught and go right back to prison (neither situation being a win for the common man). In the end, prisons just make social problems even worse than they were before.

    To put things bluntly, there simply is no “legal” solution to this problem – as long as people want to abuse other people and have the power to do so, they will do it (with or without the approval of “law”): if you are really disgusted by people who abuse others, it falls on you and those in your local community to drive them out by any means necessary (I’ll leave the details to your imagination, as they aren’t often “legal”…) beause the “law” will either bungle about blindly attempting to stop them (assuming that it cares in the first place…) or else have their palms greased by those with more money than you and yours (at which point it doesn’t really matter what’s actually written in the “law” books – not when you have the police chief, the judge and the DA on the payroll, if not as clients for your illicit product or service…).

  35. Azazel, I agree with most of your last post. It is fairly impossible to fix this problem. But my point is that we don’t have to underwrite the problem with our approval, either.

    In our ideal world, sex would be beautiful and plentiful for everyone. Children would not even be in the radar of sexual ideas. People would not be compromised sexually for coming to this country. And women would not be judged for having open sexuality. Money would be made without exploiting people and gangs and pimps would no longer exist. But this isn’t an ideal world. So we only work to fix what we can. We simply live with the rest and do the best we can to not make things worse. But, I don’t think we accept things for others that we could never imagine for ourselves. And I believe when we do that, we license others to exploit us, later.

  36. Mitchell,

    I have been hearing about Mara Salvatrucha’s efforts to capitalize on prostitution for years…ever since I met my husband (an ex-member of that horrid organization). I admit to my naivety, not really seeing up close and personal what happened to these girls. Maybe, I didn’t want to deal with it. But hearing these stories HAS impacted me. It ripped my heart out, because I know of the injustice done to immigrants already and have fought to correct that. (They are raped in immigration detention centers as well as being turned out on the streets). I had to ask myself what role I played in this as a citizen of a society that allows this to happen. And I concluded that some of my liberal values HAD impacted the ideas of minimizing this and saying it was a small minority. So, I researched this and learned I was wrong. It was much larger than I thought. And when I thought about possibly having a granddaughter and thinking of what I’d do if this happened to her, I couldn’t deal with that. It shouldn’t be ANYONE’s daughter, OR son. My creepy sexual needs shouldn’t destroy a child’s life…plain and simple. I don’t care about the moral majority. To me, they are HARDLY moral at all. I care about human rights. And having experienced the erosion of human rights and the minimalizing of it first hand through my husband’s deportation, I’m

  37. I find it incredibly interesting and sexist that nowhere in this conversation are male sex workers brought up. And I’m not talking about the tacky gigilo’s you see on cable t.v. network series’. How is it that we think protstitution is only a female/young child problem?

    Men in the sex trade are in fact more likely to be abused to the point of death and less likely to report crime. Let’s be clear, I’m talking about all pre-op men, no matter how good they “pass”. Actually an arguement could be made for post-op women who used to be men as if a client or sugar daddy or boyfriend/husband finds out and doesn’t like it they will take their latent homosexuality/phobia out on them.

    Also Male sex-workers are less likely to seek medical help and legal help. Because they will most likely be hurt again at the hospital and cop shop, both physically and mentally.

    Legalizing sex trade would not stop the ridicule, but it would give them legal recourse that they do not have.

  38. While I cannot address every comment made here and a lot of people already have made points I agree with I would like to add a couple of things.

    Firstly, for Shh, I don’t know if it was clear that in the U.S. the “Moral Majority” is a term for a group who thinks their morals should be everyone’s (because they think they are the majority). Also for Shh, Las Vegas, I agree is a hedonistic sink hole and prostitution is the least damaging of the vices sold there. I think the world would be fine without it. I find it overstimulating and hate stopping there even for gas when travelling. However, Las Vegas isn’t the whole of Nevada, most of which believe it or not, is populated by bible toting born-again christians who live and work farms and mines and outpost military bases.

    So, it’s a good case study because it shows people can live “moral” lives side by side with the sex trade. The main arguement used by the “Moral Majority” is “Other peoples sins/desires will ruin us/our families/our community.” It is clear this hasn’t happened in Nevada. Where churches far outnumber whorehouses and most people vote conservative and live conservative.

    This is my main arguement. That legalizing prostution will not ruin the human race. We do this in so many other ways on our own.

    Now as to slave trade and other abuses. Legalizing things means regulating them. It wouldn’t solve every problem of course, but I think it would provide more legal recourse for investigation, arrest and conviction of those who would abuse. All for a government fee of course but isn’t that the way everything is run?

    As far as the STD arguement, I think that cat is out of the bag, people having sex on their own who want to, for free spread it like wildfire anyway.

  39. (Fun fact: Did you know science didn’t know exactly what a clitoris looked like until 2009?)

    Did they not know where it was ?? was the Hubbel not available for research ?? You know tomorrow I am sending info to Rush Limbaugh to see what he has to say about this …..after all, who knows Vegas and what is moral, more than Rush…..

    interesting article and discussion …. thanks ….

  40. @Rich, it does seem amazing that we can help with erectile disfunction but we are just now looking at a clitoris.

    And yes, lots of folks don’t know where it is, how it works, etc…still. Hard to blame them when you look at the pictures though, did you know it was a wrap-around muscle?

  41. Az, I don’t believe in limiting behavior based on false arbitrary morality.

    I do however believe in a code of conduct, and in my code of conduct it is immoral to do onto others what I wouldn’t like done to me, for one. (does this make sense?)

    How else are we supposed to have order?

  42. No that’s not what I mean Grainne.

    I think the first point is that we have a capacity for a behavioral/moral code. The second point is that there exists a collective code of conduct based on the consensus of the time (and place.) And the third point is that a moral code is composed of certain abstract propositions.

    The first two points are beyond the scope of individual choice IMO; they are constants. The third point however is a variable, and while it is possible for an individual to decide what behavior suits him/her personally, there is no way for any individual to decide the modality of the time.

    So, it seems individuals are obliged by the natural order to conform to the consensus. And there is a very small degree of freedom here mind you; if one’s idea of morality is averse to the general agreement, one is certain to encounter friction IMO.

    And then there’s the matter of whether the collective model of right behavior is in fact right.. but this is a whole other discussion.

    In the end, the simple truth IMO is that unless people -living in the same time and place- have a similar (practically identical) moral code, collisions and tension (ie. lack of order) will be very common. I think the purpose of morality is order; I don’t believe that morality exists for its own sake.

    I’m sure all of us here can more or less agree on the bulk of the abstractions that make up “morality.” I don’t expect anyone (anywhere, anytime) to agree with my idea of what is right, rather I myself follow the modality of the time.

  43. @ shh,

    “I think the first point is that we have a capacity for a behavioral/moral code. The second point is that there exists a collective code of conduct based on the consensus of the time (and place.) And the third point is that a moral code is composed of certain abstract propositions.

    The first two points are beyond the scope of individual choice IMO; they are constants.”

    The first one might be a constraint (but ten again, the capacity to do something does not necessarily imply it’s necessity…) but the other is actally well within the scope of individual influence – the dominant consensus of a given people group can be modified if one knows what strings to pull and set up the proper cicumstances for social engineering to occur (ex. an individual can form an alternative society by selectively pulling various malcontents with the present order towards his own way of thinking – effectively creating a culture within a culture that rejects the and subverts the mainstream society).

    “The third point however is a variable, and while it is possible for an individual to decide what behavior suits him/her personally, there is no way for any individual to decide the modality of the time.”

    On may not be able to change the modality of the day, but one can *defy* it and refuse to acknowledge it as having any legitimate claims over his life provided he has the power to keep the social mainstream at bay – just because a given mode of thinking is presently more popular than mine doesn’t mean I must submit to it.

    “So, it seems individuals are obliged by the natural order to conform to the consensus. And there is a very small degree of freedom here mind you; if one’s idea of morality is averse to the general agreement, one is certain to encounter friction IMO.”

    No, one has no obligation to conform to anything that he has the power to resist – of course, as you put it, one is certain to encounter fricton (but “friction” isn’t necessarily an imovable obsticle – even the mighty mountains can be worn down to nothing by the smallest of forces, you know…).

    “In the end, the simple truth IMO is that unless people -living in the same time and place- have a similar (practically identical) moral code, collisions and tension (ie. lack of order) will be very common. I think the purpose of morality is order; I don’t believe that morality exists for its own sake.”

    Most of the tensions you speak of have more to do with interests than with one’s “moral” code – the codes of behavior (be they “moral” or otherwise) in a given culture are not established until thre’s a clear set of interests to lay them down.

    As fo me, persoally, I don’t live according to any rule or principle that I can’t defy without consequense unless *I* have agreed not to defy it – and the reason I decide notto defy certain conventons is simple: it would be detrimental to the well-being of myslf and mine if I were to do so – in short, I’ve made myself the final judge over the matter of what principles are worth following and what principles are to be tread upon at any given opportunity. Yes, that’s a very egoistic take on ethics but then again all forms of ethics are made to benefit somebody (so why not make a form of ethics to benefit myself?).

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