Saturday, August 12, 2006

Warning: sex war triggers.

I don't believe the sex industry is all fun and games. I'm sure there are many fun witty migrant workers and I'm sure some of their bosses gave them birthday presents or whatever, but that doesn't make it ok to work people to death for 10 cents an hour in the hot sun, now does it? In fact, there are many sex workers who do not like their work. While I don't think they should arrest the prostitutes, I can't in good conscience look on the bright side about it either. Sex workers who speak out about the abuses in their profession should be listened to as much as our model happy hookers:

During eight years as a sex worker in Olongapo and the capital Manila, Pascual says she was raped, beaten, forced into drug addiction and driven to the brink of suicide by abusive clients, pimps and bar owners.

I always get beaten and addicted to drugs when I work service jobs! Of course!

TANYA [translation]: Prostitution is hard on the body and soul. You wake up in the morning, think what the day has in store for you and shudder. And with my children growing up I was more and more worried that they'd find out what I did for a living

And this is with state health insurance.

Every time I turned a trick, I sold a piece of my soul. Although my heart wept, I didnÂ’t shed a tear, as they paid me to fulfill their fantasies.

They never looked in my eyes to see the pain or sorrow. I didnÂ’t know that I was priceless.

With Sex Industry Survivors, I hope to find others like me and, together, we can learn how to move beyond the pain of our past and learn how to laugh and live. Sex Industry Survivors and Anne Bissell are here to educate the public and police on the truths of sexual exploitation.

I believe that once people understand the truth, they will then have the compassion to effectively help others. Imagine, for a moment, what the world could be if we looked past the labels we all possess and embraced the humanism in each other. Imagine what the world could be if each of us cared just a little bit more.

Wendy Barnes
Former Prostitute

There is an interesting video attached to this. I don't agree with every single thing she says, but let people talk, you know?

"I lost my parents, I had no one to support me," said Judith, 21, who could be a student and once was. "I met another girl who told me: 'You are pretty, I will show you where you can get money easily.' That's when I began what I do here. Unfortunately I am not happy but it's my life."

In a story about how the use of condoms among sex workers is beinthwarteded by poverty.

MELINDA: If you haven't turned a trick you will eventually. I did not turn tricks while I stripped. After I hit 27 I did. I started working for massage parlors then I went on to escort services. It just leads to that. You get older, what else are you . . .you think that that was the only thing that you can do.

Hey, Memphis. This area is more than half black.

The worst part really is twofold. One, the threat of arrest and any other social repercussions, such as, you could get evicted from your apartment, if you rent. ... It's amazing how few civil rights and human rights prostitutes have. You cross that line into bad girl kingdom and basically serial killers and serial rapists have a welcome mat in comparison. The life of a sex worker is worth nothing. And her word is worth nothing if she goes into a court of law, because she's automatically considered a liar. She can have her children taken away. You could basically strip her of everything.

from a woman who had a good experience.

'NIKKI', FORMER PROSTITUTE: The worst story I heard was of a woman who was 19.

She was told she was coming here to do Thai massage.

But when she arrived here and realised what she had to do, she refused and so was locked in a room and she was ganged rape for several days by six men.

During that time she became infected, as in urinary infection.

She was bleeding and very upset and she still refused to work, so they basically left her alone in a room and they starved her and she had nothing to eat or drink for 10 days and she finally succumbed and did as she was told.

A discussion about Australian prostitution.
One of the problems I had as a prostitute working the streets is I couldn't work at home. Talking about abandoned and leaving your kids. I have two children and I raised five. I could never be at home because if I was at home I would got to jail, so I would have to move around. That's why I worked in so many different places. And then also when I was working the streets, I had to work by myself, because if I worked with other women, it was a conspiracy. A conspiracy is two to three years in jail, whereas a misdemeanor, 647b is a misdemeanor. When you see the police you want to be by yourself because if you get arrested you don't want to be arrested with other people because you might got to jail for 2 or 3 years

from testimony on prostitution. a black woman was harrassed by the police.

I didn't mind that much. It was kind of like the guys at school and everything, so it wasn't that big of a deal. And I did get raped and it felt like it was the same thing that all the other girls on the street were talking about. I had one friend, and he reacted the same as I expected if I had gone to an authority figure. He said I'm hustling and I should expect that. And it made me feel...well, I didn't feel like I could talk to anyone about it.

a lesbian teen discusses some of her experiences.
I went down to the police station I think the very next day after .. and he wanted me to do a taped conversation with the guy who raped me. We tried to call him several times and nobody answered. He wanted me to ... and say you never did pay me and I had to pick up the bill and I had to pay the agency and all that and try to get him to admit that he had done it because his statement said that I was just angry because he didn't pay me enough, but he didn't pay me anything.

A sex worker describes her rape.
Other sex work stories:

Also, this story on legalizing prostitution should be here because it is interesting.

Racism in the industry causes women of color to make less.

Indonesian sex workers suffer from AIDs

Links to all of the San Fransico sex work testimony.

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