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Archive for August 15th, 2019

I recently heard you speak, but was unclear on your point that the criminalization of prostitution suppresses the sexuality of women in general, not just the sexuality of sex workers.  Could you please make this connection clearer?

The criminalization of sex work is nothing less than the criminalization of thought.  Sex outside of committed relationships, even with total strangers, is perfectly legal for motives such as fun, excitement, relief of boredom, experimentation, gratitude, friendship or whatever; it’s only when the woman has a “bad” motive, ie profit, that the act becomes illegal.  Criminalization of sex work therefore gives cops the “right” to guess what a woman’s motive for sex might be, and if they decide (correctly or incorrectly, with or without proof) that her motive is a pragmatic one, to brutalize, rob, abduct and cage her, and in most places even to rape her to “collect evidence”.  Prostitution laws therefore suppress all women’s sexuality, because women who dare to be sexual outside of committed relationships, especially women of color, are always in danger of cops deciding to harass or violate them under the premise of “investigating the crime of prostitution”.  And in the aftermath of FOSTA, we are even beginning to see an erosion of women’s right to go unescorted in a public place without being discriminated against or even accused of “prostitution” or being a “sex trafficking victim”.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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