If prostitution is such a victim, violence, drug filled occupation that nobody in their right mind WANTS to do – then why are there so many organizations popping up that are fighting for the rights of sex workers and are arguing for the right to work or choose to work within this field? Most of these organizations are either fighting the spread of misinformation about sex work to the public and/or are letting sex workers know that they are not alone and we all have a different story to tell and that we (the orgs) support your right to CHOOSE sex work and will help in any way we can.
Even I have an idea for an organization, much of which has to do with the same issues above, however I would like to have a self regulating agency. The purpose of this would be to further legitimize the profession through voluntary response of sex workers to show the public that we are as concerned, if not more so, about the instances of sexual slavery and human trafficking. I would like to show that we care about professionalism and that there should be standards of care and ethics and that clients have the right to choose a professional adult provider who follows a certain criteria. Picture a State Medical Board or American Bar Association for prostitutes if you will.
1. A non-mandatory registry of adult voluntary (as in non-forced/trafficked/coerced) providers/prostitutes/escorts/sex workers, et al.
- Pros for the Pros: A registry such as this will show that you take your work seriously and professionally. That you agree to abide by certain ethics and standards. It will lend credibility to your services and could be a great advertising tool. The same as any professional occupation organization only lists competent and verified professionals of any field, such as forensic investigators, medical personnel, etc.
- Pros for the Cons: Many times clients hire the service of a provider assuming she is over the legal age and non coerced. A registry of voluntary adults will prevent them from unknowingly hiring the services of underaged trafficking victims.
- Logistics: Finding a way to verify and list persons without the gathering of real life information so that, until prostitution is decriminalized, there is not a danger of real life information being leaked to law enforcement or others that would use the information against us.
- Other issues: Will this solve the problem of underage sex trafficking 100%? No. Unfortunately, there are still freaks out there that actively seek out the young and vulnerable. However, I believe that such a registry can eventually be used by law enforcement for verification. I would like to see that all registered adult voluntary providers be given a professional, laminated ‘card’ that instead of being used as evidence of prostitution can be verified by law enforcement to show a voluntary adult versus an underage trafficking victim. Picture a sting, law enforcement comes in to make an arrest. The prostitute shows him her ‘card’ and he verifies the status on the database. If all is well, it ends there. If the card can not be verified (i.e. it’s fake or the person being questioned doesn’t have one) then law enforcement could investigate further. The same could be said for clients. Clients could ask to see the card, verify the legitimacy of the card and whether or not there are infractions on the registration (such as yes, this person is registered with the organization, however an investigation into unethical practices (it was reported that she robbed someone for instance) is underway). This in effect would help to keep clients safe and knowledgeable about what they are getting themselves into.
- What information would be needed by the adult provider? Real names and real addresses should NOT be compiled. Stage/working names should be used only along with other information that can be used to identify that the person you are hiring is the actual person listed. Such as the area of the country that the person primarily works from, an age range, and a general description. The purpose of this is to prevent registry theft. Since this listing should be open for clients wishing to use it, it will also be open to those who may want to use it for fraudulent purposes. Human traffickers, true pimps, and the like may take a look at the listing, pick a provider, and try to pass his girl off as the one who is registered. This is where I think the cards (with registration numbers) could come in handy if we can figure out a way to get them to the actual providers. With registration numbers on the cards or advertised, information as to whether the number is listed and valid and as to whether the registrar has any infractions could be looked up. This is where the clients and providers would need to step up and report to the organization instances of fake ID’s, bait and switch tactics, and whether or not someone is trying to trick the system. It may not be a perfect system especially at first, but I think with time and honest effort….
The registry itself should not be an advertising platform but a place to let people know that we are trying to legitimize our business and that we are concerned about trafficking and prostitution of minors. As such, providers may advertise as they wish and normally do in whichever venues they are comfortable with. Once registered, your ad and/or your website should clearly display our logo letting your customers know that you are registered with the organization. When a client contacts you, give them your registration number which they can then use to go to the organization website to look up and verify your status.
Speaking of status. There should be statuses of pending (meaning more information is needed from the registering person before their status is upgraded to active), active (meaning the person who is registered is an active sex worker in good standing), probation (meaning a negative report has been filed and an investigation into the authenticity of the complaint is underway), revoked (meaning the person screwed up and no longer is a member due to information received that their application is false), and retired (meaning the person is no longer actively advertising but is still in good standing with the organization).
Sex workers should feel free to register or not. It should not be a requirement, there is no law that says you have to. As this organization will be recommended for use by clients to prevent any inadvertent hiring of unknown and therefore possible minors or trafficking victims, it may behoove a person to register but the choice is entirely up to the individual. It would also show that you agree to certain standards of professionalism and legitimize your business (similar to a lawyer or doctor who is a part of either the American Bar Association or American Medical Association which this organization is attempting to emulate). Registering and membership should be free as I don’t want to be seen as trying to capitalize on the earnings of a provider. Please note, upon legal counsel and how well (hopefully) this takes off, a small fee may be charged for the purpose of advertising and administration and if it is ever decided to issue cards or something, to cover the cost of that.
The governing ‘board’ should not just be one person. It should be a panel of legal counsel and known adult providers who recognize the issues that are going to come up and who can discuss effectively solutions to said issues.
I think it is something that can be begun now quite honestly and have already started working on s-watch.org (if it’s not active at the moment it’s because I am playing with it) to try and put it together. The site now is just being played with and is in no way official.
So … who is with me? What else can we do? Or is this one of those ideas that just needs to be trashed before I even bother playing with it?