The Night Corner – Conversations With The Ladies Of The Night

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The past month has been interesting since I’ve been stuck in San Francisco (thanks government shut down!). For the better part of October I was staying at a friend’s in the Tender/Nob district and got a close glimpse of the night time street life in the vicinity. In particular, one street corner held my curiosity because of the prevalence of prostitutes. I won’t be naming the corner or any names to protect these women. I would walk past these girls to and from the gym. One night I decided to just talk to them. Initially, the girls thought I was trying to procure their services, but after being adamant that I wasn’t a potential customer, they became suspicious of me. Who the hell was this guy trying to have a normal conversation? This definitely wasn’t something they were prepared for. It made me wonder how often they actually get to have authentic conversations with people who see them simply as fellow human beings. It took some time for me to persuade them that I was just a guy interested in finding out more about them and having casual conversation. Eventually, they let some of their guard down. Not completely. I suspected that their ‘handlers’ were somewhere close by and wouldn’t approve of them wasting time with me. I didn’t want to get them in trouble, so I kept the conversation short.

Again, I’m not going to disclose any information that I gained to protect their privacy. I will say that it was interesting to see their behavior shift once they knew I was just a normal guy and not a customer. They had adopted personas for their working selves. When I was able to catch a glimpse of their true selves I couldn’t help but notice signs of damaged psyche and sadness penetrate through. Only glimpses, but enough to strike me vividly.

These types of interactions enforce my opinion that we must stop viewing prostitution as something acceptable in society. To perpetuate this view lacks any notion of compassion or courage against a defeatist opinion. What we do to these women (and men) is unacceptable and incredibly damaging.

This is a direct call to my fellow men to start having a more healthy conversation between ourselves on how we view and treat women. In upcoming posts, I will be shaping this conversation. Stay tuned.

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Roxanne, You Don’t Have To Put On The Red Light

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I recently ran across the following video.

What did you learn?

Many people don’t understand why someone becomes a sex worker. “Why?” is the wrong question to ask. “How?” is more appropriate.

Here are some of the how’s:

– Young girls sold into sex slavery between the ages of 6 – 11 by their families for income. They become part of a system they can’t escape. Mortality is approximately 7 years.

– Indentured servitude. Girls get duped into the opportunity of employment overseas only to learn that they now have to ‘pay off’ their travel fees. They then incur ‘fines’ for any made up misconduct by their so called employers. To pay off these additional costs they are offered to perform sex services as an option to work it off.

– Abduction. Girls are literally kidnapped and drugged into sex service.

– Brothels/massage parlors that act as trafficking thoroughfares. This is where many of these girls end up and rarely do they escape the life of a sex worker once in the system.

– Rarely is prostitution a voluntary act, but forced through manipulation and coercion.

We need to stop thinking of prostitution as simply a way of life and that it’s here to stay. To think in this way is to admit defeat. Legalizing prostitution doesn’t address the source of the issue either. We must combat human trafficking at the global conscience level and educate subsequent generation to think of this issue in a fundamentally different way. I believe we can build a more compassionate and aware society. I will never give up in this belief.

– Stoic Rabbit

Non-Proliferation

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I’ve recently engaged in some interesting conversations around the subject of prostitution and human trafficking. Most of it has revolved around the subject of legalizing prostitution. It’s a tricky and delicate subject because most people that I talk to are used to viewing prostitution in a certain light. Namely, the fatalistic view that it’s here to stay and that we should make it legal worldwide. I couldn’t disagree more.

I am not opposed to protecting sex workers. Legalization would provide certain protections and benefits accorded to legitimate employment. They would face less prosecution from police and have access to legal and governmental oversight. I do believe that most people who are for legalization of prostitution have good intentions. However, I have found through conversation that these good intentions tend to be built from a foundation of fatalism and defeatist attitudes. The thought is that it is too big to fight and demand won’t go away so why not just incorporate it into legal society. I can appreciate this perspective, but it is sorely lacking in an informed position on the subject of prostitution and the link to human trafficking and sex slavery.

The legalization position is a position of continuation. I hold the position of non-proliferation. There is more and more data coming to light that in places where prostitution is legal human trafficking is on the rise to meet demand. This is disturbing on many levels. The most staggering number to keep in mind is that over 92% of sex workers have entered the trade involuntarily at young ages that are unacceptable and criminal. They have either been abducted, sold into service by family, or duped and coerced into indentured sex servitude. They have faced a life of drugs and violence from their pimps and clients. Very few prostitutes are voluntary adults.

Though legalization could theoretically improve the lives of current sex workers it hardly addresses the issue of how these sex workers find themselves in this position in the first place.

Some argue that legalization would create transparency in the trade and that traffickers and pimps would have to move their business out of the shadows. I will simply cry bullshit on this. The reason the trade is clandestine is because of the severity of human atrocities that are committed to young women and men at tender ages. Legalization of prostitution would do nothing to change the clandestine nature of how sex workers enter the trade. If anything, it may exacerbate the situation by creating more demand thereby increasing the ongoing shadow practices of abduction and indentured sex servitude.

I should address what kind of demand we are talking about here. It’s not just run of the mill ‘normal’ sex requests. Most of the men who buy sex are looking to fulfill ugly sexual fantasies such as rape scenarios, child molestation, violent acts, etc. Yes, there are those who are only interested in conventional sex, but their needs are hardly a good enough reason to provide legal prostitution. My stance is that we need to become more educated and open with our sexuality so that we may become more in command of our sexual behavior instead of giving in to primal instincts on a whim out of convenience.

As human beings, we are the single greatest evolutionary anomaly the earth has ever seen. As a species, we are singularly aware at higher levels of consciousness than most other creatures on the planet. Because of this we have the ability to overcome and transcend the primitive behavior that is inherent in each of us. We must do better. We must live as greater beings. It is only in this way that we should be acknowledging the criminal issue of human trafficking and forced prostitution.

Nothing else matters if at the end of the day we do not become greater as a species.

– Defiant Rabbit

5 Myths About Buying Sex

I recently posted about the scale vs substitution issue surrounding the topic of whether or not prostitution should be legalized. In my post I also linked to 10 Things You Might Not Know About Women Being Sold For Sex and 10 Things You Might Not Know About Men Who Buy Sex. The information links were provided by a great organization called REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade). They provide many services in the fight against human trafficking and sex slavery: direct outreach teams, mentors for girls exiting the sex trade, restorative housing, along with many other services. 

I was contacted through the comment section by them and was given additional information that I now gladly post. The following is taken directly from their blog which can be found by clicking here. Personal thank you to REST for the information and for taking up an important fight.

#1  Prostitution is a victimless crime. The most often stated defense of proponents of the legalization of buying sex is that it is a victimless crime.  Of working adult women in the sex trade, 82% have been physically assaulted; 83% have been threatened with a weapon; 68% have been raped while working; 84% reported current or past homelessness and 68% of women interviewed in 9 countries met the criteria for a clinical diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).(1)

#2 Prostitution is a free choice made by consenting adults. Proponents of prostitution argue that women should have the right to make a living using her own body. On paper, the arguments may seem credible, but the reality of prostitution tells a different story.  A survey of 169 women working in prostitution showed that the average age they were first sold for sex was 14, 75% reported being abused as children, 58% have been assaulted and an overwhelming 92% of women said they would quit if they could afford to. (2)  No young girl grows up dreaming to be bought nightly and assaulted by strange men.

#3 If Prostitution was legalized, it would be safer. Regardless of prostitution’s status (legal, illegal or decriminalized) or its physical location (strip club, massage parlor, street, escort/home/hotel), prostitution is extremely dangerous for women. Homicide is a frequent cause of death…” (3) In fact, 37% of sex buyers think that once sex is paid for, women are obligated to do whatever the buyer wants (4) and the average life span of a woman being sold in the sex trade is 7 years. (5)

#4 Prostitution Prevents Rape.  Some wrongly argue that prostitution prevents rape.  But, given that the average age of entry into “the life” is between 11-14 years old (6) – buying sex is often times rape of a child.  And even when the woman being bought is an adult, she likely has endured years of brutality. In fact, nearly a third of the sex buyers told surveyors that the acts they sought out from women in prostitution gradually changed and increased in violence, including more sadomasochistic sex acts and anal sex. One male sex buyer stated, “I have an easier time treating them worse.”(7These men become increasingly violent and more prone to rape as they see a woman more and more as an object to be used to gratify their lusts.

#5 Prostitution helps women earn income.  There are plenty of profits being made by a multi-billion dollar sex industry, but most often, the girl being bought and sold for sex nightly sees none of it. The overwhelming majority of women involved in street prostitution live in poverty, are frequently homeless, and use drugs and alcohol as a way to numb themselves.  The estimates for women who are under the control of a pimp are as high as 90%. (8) In one study, 80% of the pimps said that the girls and women did not keep any of the money they made so that the pimps “keep control” over their girls.

– See more at: http://iwantrest.com/2013/02/12/5-myths-about-buying-sex1/#sthash.xbOpsqRJ.dpuf

10 x 10 Things You Need To Know About Prostitution

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[I have quite a bit to write about from the past week, but this has been weighing on mind]

A friend of mine recently posted on FB about prostitution. His post was on 10 Things You Might Not Know About Women Being Sold For Sex. It’s a great informative list and I highly urge you to click on the link and take a look. There was also an accompanying list of 10 Things You Might Not Know About Men Who Buy Sex. As I was reading the article my buddy posted, I started seeing comments pop up. One that stuck out was a question about whether legalizing prostitution would help mitigate the human trafficking issues and harm done to the women and men involved as prostitutes. It’s a quandary since it does not seem prostitution is going away any time soon so how do you protect the sex workers in today’s environment?

Human trafficking is the 2nd largest illegal trade in the world right behind the drug trade. It is a billion dollar industry and works in a clandestine way, so hard data and information on the number of people harmed by this trade are hard to come by. There are those who propose that legalization of prostitution would somehow mitigate the flow of human trafficking or at least help to protect current sex workers. I’m all for protecting the current sex workers. They face great harm everyday and anything that could help them would surely be appreciated. However, there is a greater issue to deal with.

The scale issue vs substitution issue.

The substitution theory is that with legalized prostitution demand for illegal trafficked humans will defer to those who are legally licensed. This is an ideal theory, but most data points to the contrary that legalized prostitution actually creates an economic scale effect. Countries with legalized prostitution have a higher rate of human trafficking expansion to meet the growing legal demand. The argumentative issue is that this is refutable evidence because hard data is so hard to come by, but from current available data this is what legalization seems to point to. Here is a great paper written on the subject: Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking?

Prostitution is considered the oldest profession in the world. It is openly derided by society but in the hidden social psyche it is actually tolerated and accepted. This is what really needs to be addressed. Just because the profession has become a mainstay doesn’t make it acceptable at a human compassion level. The vast majority of sex workers are involuntary and coerced or abducted into the trade. They are essentially human slaves. If you ever hear a prostitute tell you that they are ok with their work, don’t believe it. Prostitutes have an incredibly high suicide rate along with accompanying PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome). They are under constant threat of violence and rape.

What needs to happen is not more legislative wrangling, but a change in will and conscience in society. Human trafficking and prostitution is not acceptable in the grand scheme of human compassion and needs to be fought on a personal and world level. Change can happen, but this type of change will take the will of us all.

– Strong Rabbit