You can't Abolish prostitution unless you abolish prostitutes.

I first started working as a prostitute at age 36. Like any job there are days you don't want to work. But for the most part I love my job. I've been a sex worker for 15 years. I don't think this work is for everyone but there are many people who are suited for it. We are healers. We've had to heal ourselves constantly. For the most part we are constantly healing wounds inflicted by stigma, intolerance, exclusion and most of all: being criminalized. I am very sad today for a fellow sex worker. She will be 50 in a week. She is educated, she can speak several languages, she used to be a very wealthy woman who lost everything overnight. She searched for any possible employment until finally, days before her family of five were to be evicted onto the streets she turned to sex work. For over six months she did sex work to keep her family in their home and food on the table. She wasn't proud of it. In fact she was deeply conflicted (whereas I have never been by the way). Until one day she was arrested. Now that she has been arrested, now that she has a criminal record for prostitution, no one will hire her. Her apartment manager has threatened to kick her out based on her arrest. If this happens, no new landlord is going to lease to her unless it's a dive. She actually managed to get her charges dismissed! But it doesn't matter. Since her dismissal two employers have told her she cannot be hired due to her arrest. She was simply trying to survive. Now she is seen as damaged, unemployable, undesirable, rejected. Before she simply couldn't find work due to a lack of jobs, but now if she does find work she is canceled out of the game thanks to that record. She is deeply depressed. It is as if society is saying "just go off and die". I have never been arrested for prostitution. Since new laws have been passed recently- allegedly to abolish prostitution and go after the buyers of sex- since all prostitution (regardless of whether it is consensual or not) is now being categorized as 'human trafficking' more sex workers are being arrested and despite any claims of 'rescues' or 'restoration' people's lives are being damaged and bad circumstances such as my friends are made far worse. FAR WORSE. Why is my friend and many others just like her- being punished on top of poverty, which itself is a life of preventable punishment? Why does this society need to treat sex workers so harshly? Why do women like my friend deserve to be labeled as damaged goods once arrested and for the rest of their lives? Getting such a record cleared is near impossible. She was at least surviving before the arrest. Now she is effectively shut down. Every sex worker who is arrested knows this reality. There are sex workers who thrive and live and work from healthy platforms, I am one of them. Why should I fear my life being destroyed? Why is my body and my private sexual choices subject to judgment? Do I not own myself? Apparently not. In 15 years of doing sex work, the only instances of trafficking I have ever witnessed were when people were arrested and FORCED into government treatment programs where they were also made to pay debts to the state for their 'crime'. People who were barely paying rent made to pay the state for having chosen to engage in a commercial sex act. People are so judgmental and intolerant. But until they walk a mile in someone else's shoes maybe they shouldn't be so quick to condemn. Chances are, someone you know has done sex work or is doing sex work. Criminalizing sex work has only harmed people. There are far more human rights violations taking place facilitated by criminalization. Don't let moralizing get in the way of your HUMANITY. I see people doing a lot of damage in the name of helping. I see people thinking they can abolish prostitution with harsh laws which are actually hurting the very people the laws are alleged to protect and help. I see immeasurable damage being perpetrated by zealots who lack understanding. Please stop hurting us. We are just trying to LIVE. If you want to abolish something so bad- ABOLISH POVERTY.

User Comments

Prostitution wrecks peoples' lives and relationships. The people at fault are the men who think they can buy women like they buy a car.

Anon-1

I solicited a prostitute once. I was lonely. I wouldn't do it again, casually, but I can't say as the situation would never arise again. I saw her as a companion offering a valuable service. As they say, it's the world's oldest profession. I think we would benefit from its being decriminalized; this was a lovely young woman who helped me out when I needed someone to listen, and then some. I certainly wouldn't look down on her if I were to see her again in some other context. 

Anon-2

I don't think that prostitution wrecks lives, though I would like to share my sympathies with both of you; I read the first commenter's story, and I can't say as I would feel any better than she does in the same situation. That said, it's what he did that was wrong, not who he did it with :/ I'm so very sorry that that happened, though :(

Anon-3 You won't help prostitutes by making men the villains. There are many of us men who are lonely, longing for a connection to another human being, but we lack the social skills, or we simply don't have to to make those connections.