December 17th

Today is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Today, a man in Utah was sentenced to jail time for raping a Utah college student. He was also accused of killing, not one, but three prostitutes... but the case was thrown out because a witness lacked credibility. In the US, it's hard for me not to feel bitter and wonder if it was that, or just that the women were prostitutes, and therefore not considered worth an in-depth investigation.

Meanwhile, an Indian sect is telling its members to marry prostitutes, supposedly ones who were forced into it, to help give them better lives. Many of these women have children, and many are HIV positive. But will the men they marry treat them well..? It's a bit of a concern, throwing off one set of shackles for another...

Copenhagen warned people coming to the climate change discussion not to frequent sex workers via postcards sent to each of the participants. The postcards read "Be sustainable: Don't buy sex". In a brilliant move, the sex workers offered free sex to anyone producing these postcards and flashing a badge for the conference. While I commend the response, I'm annoyed that Copenhagen, which is one of the few countries wherein sex work is legal, just not brothels, felt they had the right to take a political stance on a legal activity. Shame on you, Copenhagen!

And in New Zealand, a cop has been arrested for using his privilege/power to threaten a sex worker into free sex with him- basically, he used his badge to rape her. Lovely. But at least he has two years in jail for it... though, may I point out, only two years. For threatening and raping a woman. WTF. And the headlines say "cop jailed for forcing prostitute to have sex"... not "for rape". Why does it matter that she's a prostitute?

But, in better news, only three days ago Nevada passed a method to test men for hiring in their brothels- which is fantastic, because I wonder if it's a sign that women are being seen are possible clients, at long last. Men being subjected to the female gaze! One of my favourite things, as I'm sure you all know.

It can be easy where sex work is relatively legal, especially if you're a middle class white woman working along and indoors, to forget how many different ways governments and cultures commit violence against sex workers. It's not just the blase attitude to sex workers who are raped, robber, beaten or killed. It's also the ways in which governments prevent sex workers speaking for themselves on what makes a safe work environment, the fact police often ignore or are violent towards these people, the fact that media still thinks that a dead hooker is a funny hooker. Read this list of victims, updated every year. It's not funny to them, or those who know and loved them. Just this October in Brighton, it was Andrea Waddell- a trans woman with a Masters degree who worked as a sex worker, strangled to death in her flat. And it's legal in England, and Andrea was educated, white, middle class- never mind the many women where it's illegal, where their families have disowned them, where their bodies are unidentified, or may never be found.

Every day is a day to remember and fight against violence against sex workers.

Be the first to comment

Post a comment