So many of the words used to talk about prostitution are loaded.
Even the word victim. It makes those involved sound like helpless individuals who are clueless and need to be saved.
Let me be clear. I was not yesterday.
Very few if any of the women and men I have met in Hunts Point want to be doing sex work. I hope that comes across in everything I have written before. I hope that comes across in the words they tell me.
What I do believe is that the imagery that is often conjured up by the term “sex traffic” by some in the media is too simple: That of a women being held captive by an evil pimp.
It turns the solution into a fake one. We just need to find that evil pimp rather than look inward at an unfair society that we are all responsible for.
Evil pimps do exist, but not to any real noticeable degree. More common is women being pushed into prostitution by a host of circumstances beyond their or any one person’s control: Poverty, addiction, abuse by men, unfair laws, unfair schools, absent parents, etc.
Sex trafficking by communal norms, as Cassie Rodenberg calls it.
To change this, we have to change our entire society. It means addressing the awful income gap that plagues our country. It means changing laws that target the poor, minorities, and women. It means ending the war on drugs. It means men recognizing the importance of being a father.
That is something few want to hear. It is easier to conjure up the image of an evil pimp we can just arrest.
Few women want to be streetwalkers. For many it is the only option and some make the best of it. All of them deserve to be listened to and respected, not arrested and hassled.
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