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Archive for May 23rd, 2014

This essay first appeared in Cliterati on April 27th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

Though it’s wrapped in layers of feminist and “anti-crime” rhetoric, the truth is that the war on whores (whether in its pure form or disguised as concern over “sex trafficking”) is “deeply rooted in Protestant Christianity’s obsession with ‘pure and pious womanhood’, and even when there is no Christian group involved in a prohibitionist scheme the same themes of sin and degradation echo through their rhetoric, even if translated for a non-Christian audience.”  One of the most telling examples of this can be seen in prohibitionist adoption of the “hate the sin, love the sinner” doctrine:  we are repeatedly told that prohibitionists only want to help sex workers, to “rescue” us from “objectification” and “degradation”, to “save” us from our own choices.  As Furry Girl put it:

They support us!  They acknowledge our choices!  They see us as real people!  And they can’t wait to show their loving solidarity with us by putting us in jail, taking away our income, and making our jobs as dangerous as possible…They see nothing odd about trying to have it both ways:  being the heroic would-be saviors of the fallen with one hand, and with the other, the cause of the fallen’s increasing unhappiness.  They’re the abusive boyfriend who brings you flowers after giving you a black eye…

KKK cross-burningI’ve written before on the necessity of ceding not one inch of ground to the prohibitionists, and this is a perfect example of what I mean by that; by allowing them to pretend that they care about us when their every behavior screams the exact opposite, we allow them to dictate the narrative and define the rules.  It is absolutely vital that prohibitionism be called what it is: a jihad against sex workers.  Prohibitionists seek nothing less than the total annihilation of our kind; if we were a race, the term would be “genocide”.  Nobody would accept the input of avowed Nazis on matters pertaining to Jews, nor to KKK members on issues involving black people, but until prohibitionists are widely recognized as the sex worker equivalent to those hate groups, they will continue to be given voices in the public debates about our lives and livelihoods on the grounds that they are “concerned” about us.  Here’s an example from Scotland:

A prostitute savagely beaten and raped…says a police clampdown is putting more working girls at risk.  Sarah…was working in a flat in Perth when serial rapist Graeme Bell attacked her after arriving for a pre–booked appointment…Sarah…said she feels angry that girls working in a flat with others risk being accused of running brothels…the situation is more dangerous since Edinburgh Council stripped the city’s saunas of their licences…she said…“I do not understand why Edinburgh has scrapped its tolerance”…

But Sarah, the police have explained why they effectively destroyed the sauna system; it was to “help potential victims”, apparently by destroying their livelihoods.  Here’s a similar example from the United States, where those who want to “help” sex workers are not satisfied with merely making it impossible to work legally:

…[Under a new] California…bill, anyone convicted of [agreeing to pay for sex]…would be required to receive jail time regardless of whether the Court believed [it]…appropriate…the bill calls for convicted customers to spend “not less than 48 hours of continuous confinement [in the county jail], nor more than six months” on a first offense, as well as a fine of one thousand dollars [half of which goes into police coffers]…The bill doesn’t even try to explain why…the 48 hour time frame is necessary or how it was arrived at…the bill gives law enforcement a direct and inappropriate incentive to entrap people since they would get at least $500 a head…for every person convicted…This [may] deter those customers who are otherwise law-abiding…but not…a violent felon…Having more committed criminals…in the client pool…only makes sense if one believes that the best way to “protect” sex workers is to make their jobs as dangerous as possible…

And in Arizona, prohibitionists don’t even bother with making new laws; they simply ignore whichever constitutional rights of sex workers impede their efforts to “save” us:

…Project ROSE strikes me as a ghastly cross between a Crisis Pregnancy Center and a 12 step program, with police and prosecutorial force behind it…They are really trying to claim that handcuffing people and taking them to a location where they are not permitted to leave is not an arrest?  They are really trying to claim that being “assessed for eligibility” by cops is not an interrogation?  They are seriously acting like…suspects being required to make incriminating statements about themselves and a deal with prosecutors to avoid being charged and put in jail is somehow fine and that all the above can happen without the suspects being advised that they can talk to a lawyer first?  Project ROSE [claims that women]…are “never arrested” by snatching them off the street and handcuffing them for “manifesting prostitution” or whatever…if this is such a helpful program, [what’s wrong] with simply allowing…suspects caught up in it to…talk to a lawyer of their own choosing about whether or not this is the right thing for them before they agree to it?…Why are you so afraid of diligent defense attorneys snooping around your program, Project ROSE?…

woman tortured by InquisitionPeople who truly want to help others don’t subject them to arrest and coercion; they don’t evict them from their homes or workplaces, don’t try to steal their income and don’t put bounties on the heads of those who provide that income.  Prohibitionists want to “save” sex workers like the Inquisition wanted to “save” heretics:  preventing them from “sinning” by any means necessary, even if it means they end up tortured, locked in dungeons or dead.

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