So I’m out posting comments to articles and others blog posts and such, and I made comments on this one. You can read the full thing if you like but a lady there also made some comments on why we should NOT legalize prostitution. It’s fairly obvious she has never been a prostitute and also fairly obvious that she has never been in a position to consider prostitution. That’s ok. A lot of women aren’t. So she asked some questions and whether those questions are intended to be facetious or not, they may be valid concerns to her or others. Here is the gist:
(insert her history of being an employee here) …there is always a sense of following the rules passed down by the boss who issues the paycheck. Can you imagine this pressure as a prostitute? How do you plan on regulating and facility labor laws when it comes to prostitution? Age, whats appropriate? Breaks? What b/w ever 6 customers served you get a lunch break? Salary? Minimum wage? Cute, pretty, average, aint cute? Because lets be real every prostitute will not own or run her own business, shit don’t we have pimps now?? All this talk about communicable diseases screening and check ups, we can’t even do this w/ our general population. And do you think prostitutes will be offered decent health insurance? Or will my taxes pay for the medication of a prostitute AIDS medication, Chlamydia/Gonorrhea screening, etc? Will they be required to disclose their HIV status? HIPPAA anyone. Can we discriminate against those who are HIV positive and not allow them to work as a prostitute? Lastly my argument is more emotional on this not b/c of my morals, but b/c of the things I have seen. I have interfaced w/ the public health dept and seen the cycles people get them self into and its quite sad. Desperate people will do and will continue to do desperate things if the law allows. Although there are women out there who do this not as a last call of desperation I think that the numbers will show that for most this is not a first line career choice. Not everyone is born with a full deck of cards, I do feel that it your responsibility to help your neighbor, not feed them to the wolves and say you want off of welfare, go sell your coochie, hey it’s a business, do your part, come on now, we can do better. Sit back and look at prostitution for what it is, its not a pill or blunt, it’s will always involve the physical USE of another human being. So yes, if my vote means anything, I will not vote for the legalization of prostitution no matter economical growth it may suggest.
Here was my answer in the column’s comment section to her:
Woa! LOL Way too many questions and issues to answer here (as in “to answer in somebody elses blog without taking over) but there are answers as I and a few of my peers have already come up with solutions to many of the problems that you foresee. Each woman would be an independent contractor, setting her own hours and her own wages and her own breaks like many who are self employed already do. The sad cycle is what we are trying to stop. Keeping it illegal is not helping any one as time has proven. Women still get pimped, get abused, do things out of desperation. So we should just keep on going like this and hope it gets better when history has shown that it won’t? Or should we try legalizing it as New Zealand has done? (my bad, I should have said decriminalizing instead of legalizing in that last sentence).
To which she replies:
Isnt that an elementary approach to such large issues. (Yes, elementary because I didn’t want to give a 10 page research and study report on somebody elses blog in order to try and properly cover each issue you brought up) If everyone was capable of successfully running and managing their own business would we have large corporations and would anybody work for anyone else at all? So the idealistic theory of having all prostitutes become independent contractors is just that, idealistic. And id also like to point out that a BIG issue for self employed individuals IS healthcare. And no matter how you spin it prostitution is high risk to your health. So more people w/out health insurance with medical issues.
And you genuinely believe that legalizing prostitution will reduce the amount of women that get pimped, abused, and participate in high risk behavior at desperate times? How so?
So what follows now is my attempt to answer this on my blog. These aren’t in the order of the questions above as some will answer others:
1. … no matter how you spin it prostitution is high risk to your health. False concept. I was exposed to more pathogens and bodily fluids when I worked in an Emergency Room. However working in a hospital, I had access to free personal protective equipment and I had health care insurance. In a prostitute co-op system (aka brothel type of situation) free prophylactics and ensuring use of such items (condoms, etc) would be more easily done than the system we have now. As a group, prostitutes could better negotiate lower pricing for health insurance plans or contribute to a health care fund. Thereby ensuring better health care than what we have now. However if this is truly your concern (more people w/out health insurance with medical issues), a better way for your ideals would be to somehow ensure that ALL persons who don’t have health care insurance be forbidden from having sex.
2. And you genuinely believe that legalizing prostitution will reduce the amount of women that get pimped, abused, and participate in high risk behavior at desperate times? How so? One of the ‘controls’ that pimps have over prostitutes is that what they are doing is illegal and that they will be arrested if they try to turn their pimps in to the cops (or their abusers). Remove this control by allowing women the empowerment to escape their situation via going to authorities. Why find a prostitute via a pimp when you can just go down to the local co-op? Why have a pimp when you can just advertise for yourself and find your own customers? Why have a pimp for ‘protection’ when you can go to the police yourself? When you can work with other women in a co-op situation and therefore not have to work alone? There still needs to be laws against force/coercion and eliminating the crime of prostitution allows women to report those assholes. I highly suggest you read http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/pimps/ to get the REAL story of this pimp myth.
3. How do you plan on regulating and facility labor laws when it comes to prostitution? Age, whats appropriate? Breaks? What b/w ever 6 customers served you get a lunch break? Salary? Minimum wage? Cute, pretty, average, aint cute? Because lets be real every prostitute will not own or run her own business, shit don’t we have pimps now?? In a prostitutes co-op situation (picture a best practices type of brothel, not that Nevada crap) age would be the legal age, no minors and PROOF that their are not minors. MOST women are already independent contractors. They schedule their own appointments, they make their own hours, to include breaks, and they see who they want to see as well as set their own rates. Never should a woman be required to see a client she doesn’t want to see in ANY situation or be told how much she should charge for her service. A co-op situation will give them the opportunity to NOT be on the street, to work in safety in numbers, and to have peers that they can discuss situations and learn from.
4. I do feel that it your responsibility to help your neighbor. Of course it is, if they NEED help. However it is your neighbors RIGHT to have privacy. Nobody is telling anybody that they should sell their coochie, but hey, if that’s what you want to do – let me help you do it safely IF you want me to and not by throwing your ass out to the wolves.
5. Or will my taxes pay for the medication of a prostitute AIDS medication, Chlamydia/Gonorrhea screening, etc? Will they be required to disclose their HIV status? HIPPAA anyone. Can we discriminate against those who are HIV positive and not allow them to work as a prostitute? Your taxes are already paying for AIDS medication on the vast amount of people who aren’t prostitutes and never have been. Not one case of HIV has ever been traced back to the legal brothels of Nevada. Prostitutes as diseased whores is a myth. We have the lowest STD rate in the general public BECAUSE we are prostitutes and therefore have a vested interest in keeping ourselves disease free so that we can continue working. Your ideas are just another myth in that respect. HOWEVER, people are already required to disclose their HIV status to the state health department. There are already certain fields that you can not work in due to a positive HIV status, mostly medical fields. A person with HIV can not work as a surgical tech, but they can still work in a hospital – just not in cases where there may be direct bodily fluid contact. A prostitute with HIV can still work but she will need to engage in ‘outer’course such as giving massages with happy endings (it is not possible to contract HIV from a handjob).
I many not have addressed all your concerns fully but this is what we are working on, answers to issues that may arise should it be decriminalized and co-ops allowed to open. As it stands now, women who are current prostitutes simply want decriminalization because it is nobodys business (certainly not the state’s) who we have sex with, why we have sex, and whether it is free or paid. It’s hard enough trying to look out for the bad clients without having to look out for the bad cops or even cops in general.
Feel free to ask questions. Questions facilitate discussions. Discussions facilitate answers. I know I don’t come up with all of the concerns that the public has in regards to legalizing or discrimination, but if we can discuss as adults concerns from both sides, the most likely thing that can happen is that we can make changes to ensure the safety of women just trying to make a living and concerns the public have about what their neighbor may be doing and how it will affect them.
Stopping now before your eyes glaze totally over and my fingertips go numb 🙂