Why nothing gets done…

Before I start in on the upcoming post I would like to apologize for being away so long. My muse went missing. Nothing held my interest enough for me to blog about. I could have blogged about the Newsweek article that came out this week but everything I had to say about it ended up as comments at the end of the article. If interested in what I had to say about it, just look up the comments there by “Mona Stangley” – that was me.

So I came across this lovely piece on this page which makes me want to bang my head on the desk. This is why we will never find solutions or fix problems, because the “problems” that may exist are not addressed. You will see what  mean as you read on….

SAWB: What action do you recommend that brothel owners should take, beyond the current legislative and licensing requirements, to ensure that only safe sex occurs on their premises?

CN: “Brothel owners are currently commissioning violence against women by operating prostitution businesses.  Prostitution is inherently a practice of violence against women, and can’t be made ‘safe’ for women by any action by pimps.  In fact, brothel owners have a financial conflict of interest with regards to ensuring the safety of women in their venues, because clients will pay more for unprotected sex acts, violent sex, body punishing sex acts like anal penetration, sex with younger women, etc.”

What the hell kind of answer is that? They are asking “Look, what can we do?” An answer isn’t given, an opinion is. Does anyone have a real, practical answer? So, I’m assuming that the question regarding ensuring that only safe sex occurs means ensuring the use of a condom during all interactions. Aside from the invasion of privacy that videotaping and personal monitoring of each appointment which would just be wrong or having a chaperone in each session, you have to trust your girls. Educate them, fire them if it is discovered that they are allowing sex without a condom. Let the girls have rights, the right to refuse any dipshit that wants sex without a condom, the right to call security into the room if Mr. Dumbass wants to give the girl crap about it. *Please note – I have never worked n a brothel but have studied the models and have my own ideas on how to run one. I apologize if I am mistaken on how they are currently operated.

SAWB: Are there additional control measures that owners should apply to prevent clients entering brothels with guns or other weapons, such as knives?

CN: ”Brothel owners should be required by government to employ expensive security guards, buy high-quality monitoring technology, and take other measures that will make their businesses unviable.  The currently viability of prostitution businesses rests wholly on women’s sexual insecurity.”

Not just any security guards, EXPENSIVE security guards. Not just any monitoring technology, HIGH-QUALITY (i.e. expensive). And anything else expensive so that it would be to expensive to operate a brothel. This probably came about due to a sex worker who is suing a brothel because a client pulled a gun on her. Now I don’t know how often these type of incidences occur. 1 in every 10,000? If it is a problem, hell have the client go into a changing room with a locker and put on a robe before going private with a girl. Or have them empty all their pockets and walk through a metal detector. There are other security measures that can be taken to ensure this type of crap doesn’t happen.

SAWB: What safety measures would you recommend brothel owners install within the rooms?

CN: ”No physical contact should take place between women and clients–just like an any other workplace where sexual harassment is outlawed.”

This absurd comment just makes me laugh. I don’t even know where to begin…

SAWB: What training would you recommend for women choosing to enter sex work in licensed brothels?

CN: ”Re-training for alternative income generating activity that values their inherent dignity and worth as full human beings. Training in self-defence, assertiveness and self-confidence so that women might evade the predatory behaviour of ‘brothel owners’ or pimps.”

Well she has this one partly right. Self defense, assertiveness, and confidence training are very good points along with training classes as to what do in “x” situation. Give the girls the confidence they need by letting them know that you have their back and let them know that their safety and security are your utmost concern.

SAWB: What safety lessons could Australian brothels learn from comparable licensed sex industries in other countries, such as those in Nevada?

CN: ”Melissa Farley has documented the violence of the Nevada brothels, which is perhaps even worse than here.”

Do I really need to address this ridiculous statement by an abolitionist whose agenda is to shut down brothels and anything else having to do with prostitution? I think not. Ask the prostitutes who work their yourself instead of relying on an abolitionist’s hearsay.

We need practical ideas and implementation, not ideologies.



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5 responses to “Why nothing gets done…

  1. cch

    She could be an academic who does research or one that just thinks/writes about the topic. Assuming she does research, social science research usually relies on assumptions. The researcher can (should?) state these assumptions explicitely to the reader. Assuming her assumptions about all sex workers are true, her conclusions make perfect sense. The problem is that her assumptions are not true for many sex workers. Sex workers are a diverse population.

  2. CCH & Brandy, you may find it useful to read the companion piece on the SafetyAtWorkBlog that puts many of Caroline Norma’s comments into context – http://wp.me/pbZy8-2lH. The legal action being taken by a Victorian sex worker will be an intriguing situation to watch.
    I agree with your criticism of the expensive security guard. Some years ago a family planning clinic in Melbourne relied on a security guard as the last control measure in its security system and the guard was shot at the clinic for doing his job. There are other safety control measures that should be considered and are in place in some Australian brothels.
    On skilling-up sex workers to handle clients, there are many resources, workshops and training packages that have been offered to sex workers in Australia. When there is the need for workers to operate alone with a client in an unsupervised room, there are limits to the safety control options and the client-management skills of the sex worker are paramount.
    I agree that sex work and brothels cannot be abolished. Countries that have introduced legislative “management” of the industry come from a recognition that sex work or prostitution cannot be eliminated. The OHS profession operates a hierarchy of control for risks in which the first consideration is elimination. But the hierarchy is an acknowledgement that all risks cannot be removed and that some need to have a graduated control system applied. The licensed brothel industry in Australia has examples of almost all the hierarchy levels except for elimination.

    • bdevereaux

      Kevin, thank you for taking the time to respond. However, the context of Ms. Norma’s comments were established in her first answer, being the typical abolition stance of “Brothel owners are currently commissioning violence against women by operating prostitution businesses. Prostitution is inherently a practice of violence against women, and can’t be made ‘safe’ for women by any action by pimps.” That’s not an answer and is not even conducive to a discussion to come up with an answer. It tells me they don’t even care about making a work place safer, they just want the work place gone. Thanks for telling me about the OHS though, here we have OSHA and honestly I wonder what our system would implement if we were to ever make brothels legal in the states other than Nevada. It’s an element I hadn’t thought about before.

    • bdevereaux

      Even her second comment regarding security. Her stance does not come from a concern for the employees or occupational health and safety. She states her intention is to make the business unviable. This is not helpful.

  3. I posted my comments on that article:

    “So this article starts with “And yet surprisingly little is known about the age-old practice of buying sex, long assumed to be inevitable. No one even knows what proportion of the male population does it; estimates range from 16 percent to 80 percent.” The reason no one has any real valid statistics on prostitution and all things related to it is because our society shames men and women who work in the sex trade. Too many men and women involved in the sex trade business fear coming out and voicing themselves for fear of society’s backlash against them, ie; losing their jobs if found out, losing their kids, being branded by society for the rest of their life and so on.

    The news media does a piss poor job of trying to find out the real truth about sex work, because they go to abolitionists (anti-prostitution folks) for “so called factual” information on this subject whose sole objective is to keep it illegal, skew the truth and shame anyone who is in the sex trade from coming out in the open and talking real facts about it. Why doesn’t the media contact the “real experts” in the sex trade business? You know, the men and women who have been in the sex trade for years and have real knowledge on the issues. I am not talking about the poor “rescued, pitty” me gal who was forced into the sex trade, or the woman who dabbled in it for a short time out of need to desperately pay bills, and never liked the job to begin with, but talk to the vast majority of adult consenting sex workers who do in fact enjoy their line of work, and enjoy all the benefits of sex work. It seems the media is just hell bent on misrepresenting the majority of men and women who are consenting adults who do sex work willingly, and have made a success out of it for years. The media is only interested in portraying all women in the sex trade as being forced into it somehow, being addicted to drugs, looking like some poor woman who cannot think for herself on the matter and constantly be rescued. Farley is an idiot. The fact that everyone keeps going to this num-nut for real information has only one reason for doing so, and that is to continue the stereotyping and myths against women in the sex trade, and shaming the men who utilize their services. For once I would like to see the media have real candid conversations with people like Maggie Mcneil, Txbrandy, and with people like SWOP (http://www.swopusa.org/) and Coyote. These are folks who can flat out tell you with honesty the real statistics, the real truth that some folks just don’t want to come to grips with and that is “sex work” can be positive, and it is not all doom and gloom as shown by the media and anti-prostitution neofeminists.

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