How about legislators stop looking at sex work as something only victims or ‘sluts’ with no morals, and begin treating their job as a job that commands workplace safety and protections like any other?
Within feminist communities – and not-so-feminist ones – there are loud dissenting voices on whether it should be legal, decriminalized, or abolished. Even those who agree on the safety of sex workers place arbitrary limits on what is right and wrong in the industry. ‘Sugaring (going on dates with older, rich men for money) is fine as long as you don’t have sex’, ‘escorting is fine as long as you aren’t looking for clients on the street’ – the list goes on.
Part of this comes from people deciding what they would do. How far would they take it, and at what point would they feel morally wrong?
This makes sex workers an ‘other’ and dehumanizes them in the same breath. They’re no longer you or I, they’re a hypothetical question where you play with their very existence as a way to virtue signal your own ideals.
The Yorkshire Ripper is the perfect example of this dehumanisation. Despite Peter Sutcliffe murdering sex worker Wilma McCann, it wasn’t until he killed a woman outside the industry – Jayne MacDonald – that anyone took notice.
A report called Behind Closed Doors looked at the fact that sex workers were often exploited by organized crime gangs. Somehow, they came to the conclusion that punishing workers by removing their source of income was the best way forward.
Let’s also mention the fact that this investigation was led by an MP – Gavin Shuker . . . He’s a former pastor and member of Christians on the Left, and has campaigned for charities to be able to say prayer can heal people without being challenged by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Sex worker Molly Smith says, ‘Gavin Shuker is a grim homophobe (for example, he defends Evangelical charity CARE, which has is involved in pushing ‘conversion therapy’ for LGBTQ people) and misogynist. . . .
Shuker says on his Twitter that ‘paying for sex is abuse’ but perhaps those of us who have chosen to sell sex can decide what constitutes abuse. There is no differentiation in his report between consensual acts and trafficking, abuse, rape, and violence. This is where flawed ‘morality’ once again falters and fails people.
I never felt more satisfied or optimistic than when I rode the river in my youth.