Prostitution Is it sexy?
Prostitution Is prostitution sexy? It might be. Or maybe not. This is not a sociological question. You decide. Certainly, it can seem sexy when it is portrayed with flashy images. And prostitutes make it seem sexy; that is their job. The images shown on the following pages, ones filmed in Amsterdam’s renowned Red Light District, make prostitution look sexy. The facts about prostitution presented on the pages after the images show prostitution in a different light.
Prostitution: Facts • The average age of entry into prostitution is between 13-14 years. • Most of these 13-14 year old girls are recruited or coerced into prostitution. • The age of entry into prostitution is decreasing. • Incest is “boot camp” for prostitution. • Estimates of the prevalence of incest in the personal histories of prostitutes range from 65% to 90%. • 85% of prostitutes report a history of sexual abuse in childhood. • 70% report being victims of incest.
Prostitution: Facts • Pimps target girls that are vulnerable, naïve, lonely, homeless, rebellious. • Once recruited, or purchased, prostitutes are kept in bondage to the pimp by verbal and physical abuse. • 85% of prostitutes report being raped by their pimps. • Why do prostitutes stay with pimps? • Humans bond emotionally with their keepers in captivity. • Pimps isolate prostitutes to make them totally dependent upon them. • Pimps use force to hold prostitutes captive.
Prostitution: Policy If prostitution is sexy, then should it be either decriminalized or legalized? Legalized: Government control of prostitution. Decriminalized: No laws against prostitution.
Prostitution: Policy • If we view prostitution as violence against women, then it makes no sense to legalize or decriminalize it. • Decriminalizing or legalizing prostitution would legitimate practices that are human rights violations, and in any other context would be illegal. • Studies show that decriminalizing or legalizing prostitution increase rather than decrease rates of human sex trafficking.
Prostitution: Policy • In 1999, the Swedish Parliament put into effect a law that criminalizes the buying of sexual services, but not the selling of sexual services. • Social reformists consider the Swedish law as a humane alternative because it places the criminal burden on the “perpetrator” rather than the “victim.” • Studies indicate that the Swedish laws significantly reduce rates of prostitution and human trafficking.
A Modern Slave Trade • Sources: • National Catholic Reporter Online • http://www.soc.iastate.edu/sapp/SlaveTrade1.pdf • John R. Miller, A Modern Slave Trade • http://www.soc.iastate.edu/sapp/SlaveTrade2.pdf
A Modern Slave Trade • Prostitution not only is inherently harmful and dehumanizing to women and children; it also fuels the growth of trafficking in persons, or modern-day slavery. • Women and girls, worldwide, are lured to foreign nations with promises of jobs. Then, they are forced into prostitution. • “With globalization and cheap transportation, you can move people easier and quicker than guns or drugs. And you can use them over and over and over again. You don’t just sell them once and call it a day. It’s very, very profitable.” • Joy Zarembka of the Campaign for Migrant Domestic Workers Rights
A Modern Slave Trade • Owning a slave has never been cheaper than it is today. A healthy young African male can be bought on the Ivory Coast for $35. In London, two 13-year-old West African girls, bought for $1,200 each, were soon put to work as child prostitutes making $400 an hour each for their owner. • The CIA estimates that young women and girls are being smuggled into the United States at the rate of 50,000 a year. • An estimated 10,000 Asian women and girls work in underground brothels in the United States.
A Modern Slave Trade • In what amounts to a global epidemic of slavery, the United Nations estimates some 27 million slaves are being held worldwide. • The United States and Western Europe are prime destinations. In the U.S., slaves work in factories, fields, homes, and in every facet of the sex industry. • For smuggling people, organized crime gangs use the same routes and methods perfected in the drug trade and, to a lesser extent, the arms trade. • Many of the slaves are burdened with enormous “contracts” of $40,000 to $50,000, which the smugglers use as an excuse for withholding wages.
A Modern Slave Trade • Slaves flown into the United States may arrive well-dressed, masquerading as tourists or students. But they are stripped of everything the moment they are out of the airport and into the waiting van. • Gone are the clothes, the promises, the passports. Awaiting them are threats, rapes, brutality, isolation, and terror. • “Their passports are confiscated as soon as they arrive. There are threats of being deported or sent to the police, and lots of psychological coercion. They’re told if they go outside they’ll be harmed, raped, because Americans are dangerous, evil, crazy. ‘Look at television,’ ” they’re told.
A Modern Slave Trade • To counter the growing trend, the U.S. Congress passed its tough Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000 with bipartisan support. • In 2001, U.S.-based advocacy groups formed the first national anti-slavery coalition, the Freedom Network. • Underscoring the global dimension of the anti-slavery movement, the 180-year-old Anti-Slavery International, founded in London, has opened its first U.S. office.
Prostitution Is it sexy?