We are told that prostitution is a dangerous profession and therefore we must ban it to protect the prostitutes from abuse: (the following quote is a comment from a reader in reference to an article about decriminalizing or legalizing consenting adult prostitution)
"Being a sex worker is more dangerous than they want to admit, because they want to keep doing it stubbornly, and they HATE to be wrong. They really do. You could go on forever about why they shouldn't do what they do, and they will keep throwing ridiculous argument after argument at you. I could write an essay about why it's wrong but I don't want to take up an entire comment page." HumorousLOL in reply to jxsilicon9
My response: "Being in law enforcement is far more dangerous than being a sex worker- so should we forbid women from taking any work that is dangerous? We are even going to allow women in the military to go into combat- talk about DANGEROUS WORK! The bottom line is that YOU have NO right to tell other adult women what risks they can take and what they can't. Ever seen the stats for domestic violence? Talk about DANGEROUS! Marriage is FAR more dangerous for women than SEX WORK!" The statistics from the US Government on intimate partner violence and rape more than adequately demonstrate that.
In any other profession where there is a danger of violence, and there are many such professions, the government requires that policies be implemented which reduce the opportunities for violence at the hands of co-workers and others. The government does not prohibit women from being employed in dangerous work situations where they might encounter violent co-workers, bosses, customers or others. Even maids working in upscale hotels are not immune from danger- just ask the rape victim of wealthy former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss- Kahn. How many other maids have been raped by hotel guests but we have never heard about them because their rapists weren't as powerful and wealthy as Mr. Kahn, thus their crimes didn't generate a scandal?
According to the March 2011 US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, "In 2009, approximately 572,000 nonfatal violent crimes (rape/sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault) occurred against persons age 16 or older while they were at work or on duty, based on findings from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)..." You can find the stats from 2010 here: www.victimsofcrime.org
Women in the military are at risk of being raped- by their male colleagues. It is such a problem that 'a female soldier in Iraq is more likely to be attacked by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire': "Rape in the US Military: America's dirty little secret" Yet no one suggests that we ban women from the military- instead, women are now going to be allowed in combat- which will put them in even greater danger of physical harm or even death! Don't we value military women enough to stop them from being exposed to rape or mortal combat? Shouldn't they have nice, safe jobs being secretaries or nurses where they don't have to be subjected to sleeping in the same living quarters as male soldiers? Or being killed by enemy fire? Interestingly, the same 'progressive'/ liberals who want to protect us poor, helpless prostitutes from danger are the ones poking fun at conservatives who are aghast at the idea of women in combat.
On January 23, 2013, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that he's lifting the ban on women serving in combat roles. Liberals thought this was great- conservatives not so much. There were of course the same concerns for women in law enforcement- were they strong enough? Tough enough? Women have proved themselves in law enforcement jobs- although back then, when women were first assigned such positions, many conservatives and cops had issues with women out in the field with their male colleagues.Yes, women have been killed in the line of duty in law enforcement- because law enforcement IS dangerous work. Still, female cops are not treated as if they were children who were incapable of choosing work which is inherently risky.
Then there is the issue of suicides in the military- due to PTSD- a direct result of the stressful work that soldiers are required to do- like killing women, children and babies as well as male enemy combatants. Prostitution abolitionists advise us of the 'mental harm' that 'prostituting' oneself engenders in ALL those who become prostitutes- insisting that the mere act of being paid to provide sexual pleasure (to men) causes PTSD (because we all know that providing sexual pleasure is as stressful as killing women and children on the battlefield)... but what of the known problem of veterans and current military personnel who suffer from PTSD and commit suicide? On February 1, 2013, the Huffington Post reported "The most extensive study yet by the U.S. government on suicide among military veterans shows more veterans are killing themselves than previously thought, with 22 deaths a day - or one every 65 minutes, on average." Here, we are talking about actual cases of veterans committing suicide with verifiable numbers, not the 'estimated statistics' of PTSD suffering prostitutes claimed by the delusional Melissa Farleys, Donna Hughes, Janice Raymonds [et al] of the world who could never imagine a woman choosing to engage in commercial sex and being absolutely fine with it. [No matter what the issue, organizations and individuals whose livelihood depends on there being the highest possible number of 'victims' or 'cases' must 'speculate,' 'guestimate' and hypothesize their 'statistics' in order to keep their funding coming in, as well as support their ideological position. Using emotionally laden terminology certain helps, which is why such people insist on using words like 'modern day slavery' and 'prostituted women and children' and 'sex trafficking' because it helps them paint a picture in the minds of the gullible public which is necessary to keep their 'victim' mill going and the money coming in.]
The military and law enforcement are not the only high risk jobs. OSHA reports that the most dangerous profession is driving a taxi- but interestingly and not surprisingly, the stats for just HOW dangerous also vary from one document to another. Some sites claim that the rate of homicides for cab drivers is 20 to 30 % above the national average:
If it is such a dangerous job, shouldn't we prohibit women from driving a cab, to protect her for her own good? Isn't that why we want to prevent women from being prostitutes- because it is dangerous?
Prostitution abolitionists argue that in countries where prostitution has been legalized/ decriminalized there is still great risk for prostitutes. They say legalization or decriminalization has not made it any safer for prostitutes- but they offer no proof of their claims and the media does not fact check- they simply print whatever lies/ exaggerations/ guestimates the prostitution abolitionists tell them. Regardless- why aren't they asked how the continued arrest and incarceration of adult women and their non violent, non abusive clients helps those who are victims of violence? If the police no longer pursue adults who have chosen to engage in commercial sex (and who have not reported being a victim), wouldn't there be more resources available for the police to investigate the reported crimes against prostitutes who report being a victim? More resources to prosecute and punish those whose crimes were reported to the police by a prostitute OR BY ANY OTHER VICTIM OF A CRIME? Isn't it possible that it may appear there are the same number of- or an increase in- acts of violence committed against sex workers in a legalized/ decriminalized system because the sex workers who formerly could not go to the police now can report crimes against them?
Prior to homosexuality being legalized in the US, gays and lesbians were frequently victims of hate crimes. However, a fear of being further victimized by the cops prevented many gays from reporting the crimes against them. After they were no longer "outlaws"- did hate crimes stop? Hardly! But there was an increase in the number of REPORTED hate crimes- because gays and lesbians could now freely report those crimes against them and not worry that they would end up in jail FOR BEING GAY! Should the increase in the number of reported hate crimes against gays be an argument for re- criminalizing homosexuality? Sure, it would cut down on the number of investigations that the police conducted because they can't investigate a crime that hasn't been reported (except when it involves prostitution), but it wouldn't help those who are victims to be left without the ability to report the crime...
Sex worker rights activists do not claim that there are NO victims of violence in sex work, or that there are NO victims of sex trafficking. As a happily married woman deeply in love with her husband, and who has never been abused by him, I cannot claim that there are no victims of domestic violence and spousal abuse- of course there are- the number of victims is in the millions. That does not justify banning marriage to protect women/ children AND men from violent partners. If only we treated prostitutes the way we treat ANYONE else who may become a victim of violence- including employees in all other areas of labor and all other interpersonal relationships- perhaps we could ensure that sex workers had safer working conditions and were able to report incidents of violence against them without fear of being arrested for being a prostitute.