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Apr 11 2012

Do women really ‘choose’ to be prostitutes

 

‘We say that slavery has vanished from European civilization, but this is not true. Slavery still exists, but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution.’—VICTOR HUGO, Les Misérables

 

I hope we all Free-thought bloggers believe in freedom of expression. My opinion on prostitution  is nothing new. Most feminists believe prostitution or sexual slavery  must end. I do not want to be misunderstood. But  it looks like a war started against me on  FTB because I said something politically incorrect.  I feel suffocated because I am opposed by a group I proudly belong to, a group of atheists, secularists, humanists, rationalists.

 

I was wondering how many people who claim that women choose to be prostitutes encourage their beloved daughters to be prostitutes. Even prostitutes do not want their daughters become prostitutes. They are desperate to send their daughters to schools, so that daughters can get an education and a decent job.

 

I just want to know whether women and girls would choose this ‘’job’’.   Please read the ad.

 

What is prostitution? Andrea Dworkin was a prostitute. She knows what prostitution is. ‘Prostitution in and of itself is an abuse of a woman’s body.’ Please read  ”Prostitution: what is it? It is the use of a woman’s body for sex by a man, he pays money, he does what he wants. The minute you move away from what it really is, you move away from prostitution into the world of ideas. You will feel better; you will have a better time; it is more fun; there is plenty to discuss, but you will be discussing ideas, not prostitution. Prostitution is not an idea. It is the mouth, the vagina, the rectum, penetrated usually by a penis, sometimes hands, sometimes objects, by one man and then another and then another and then another and then another. That’s what it is.”

”I ask you to think about your own bodies–if you can do so outside the world that the pornographers have created in your minds, the flat, dead, floating mouths and vaginas and anuses of women. I ask you to think concretely about your own bodies used that way. How sexy is it? Is it fun? The people who defend prostitution and pornography want you to feel a kinky little thrill every time you think of something being stuck in a woman. I want you to feel the delicate tissues in her body that are being misused. I want you to feel what it feels like when it happens over and over and over and over and over and over and over again: because that is what prostitution is.”

 

 

 

Somaly  Mam was a prostitute in Cambodia. She is now Human Rights  activist. She is saving children from prostitution.

 

Please read   Nicholas  Kristof ‘s story about saving  5-year-old girls from brothel.

 

Prostitution is an actively unlike any other ‘work’. Gloria Steinem said, ‘While all other occupations have physical, mental and sexual hazards and risks, prostitution is one such vocation that has an inherent risk towards violence against women as it involves penetration, which is an invasion of the human body, unlike in any other vocation. Prostitution cannot be legislated since the dignity of the body is constantly negotiated”

 

Prostitution researchers’   say,  ‘women are in   legal prostitution for the same reason they are in illegal prostitution, a lack of alternative survival options. Most women in prostitution did not make a choice to enter prostitution from among a range of other options. They did not decide they want to be prostitutes instead of doctors, engineers, lawyers, pilots. Instead their ‘options’ were more in the realm of how to get enough money to feed themselves and their children. If prostitution were really a choice it would not be those people with the fewest choices available to them who are disproportionately in prostitution. Such choices are better termed survival strategies. Prostitution is about not having a range of educational and job options to choose from. Most women in prostitution end up there only because other options are not available.’’

 

 

Researchers say, ‘Prostitution is not labor, it is paid sexual exploitation. It is often paid rape. It is intrinsically harmful and traumatic. As a society, we do not allow the sale and purchase of body parts, such as kidneys. This is because we know that it would be the poor and disadvantaged who would exercise their ‘choice’ to sell body parts for cash. Others would be likely to ‘choose’ to live a healthier and longer life.’

 

 

Researchers say, ‘When prostituted women are asked, consistently around 90% say they want out of  prostitution immediately, but the decision is out of their hands and in the hands of their pimps, their husbands, their landlords, their addictions, their children’s bellies. A study of women in street prostitution in Toronto found that about 90% wanted to escape but could not and a 5-country study found that 92% of women, men and transgendered people in prostitution wanted immediate help to escape prostitution. If they are there because they cannot leave, then prostitution is not a freely made choice.’’

 

 

Researchers say, ‘There are a few women who apparently earn large amounts of money in Prostitution, these women are in an extreme minority. Prostitution is a route into poverty for most women. Even women in legal brothels report having to pay extortionate sums for rent and food. They also pay pimps inside and outside the brothels. They are not free to come and go as they wish. Women in prostitution must continually lie about their lives, their bodies, and their sexual responses. Lying is part of the job definition when the customer asks, “did you enjoy it?” The very edifice of prostitution is built on the lie that “women like it.” Some prostitution survivors have stated that it took them years after leaving prostitution to  acknowledge that prostitution wasn’t a free choice because they had to lie to themselves in order to survive.’

 

 

Many women who wear burqa say, they choose to wear burqa. ‘When a woman remains in an abusive relationship with a partner who batters her, or even when she defends his actions, most people now understand that she is not there  voluntarily. They recognize the conditions under which she acquiesced. Like battered women, women in prostitution may deny their abuse if they are not provided with safety or  meaningful alternatives.’

 

 

A small number of women say they choose to be in prostitution, especially in public contexts orchestrated by the sex industry. I am very curious to learn why  they  like to be raped  everyday. Kate Millett, the author of ‘Sexual Politics’  said, ‘Prostitution, when unmotivated by economic need, might well be defined as a species of psychological addiction, built on self-hatred through repetitions of the act of sale by which a whore is defined.

 

Everyday  female children are sold to brothels by their father. Everyday   young women  are sold to brothels   by   their boyfriend, husband, neighbor, acquaintance. Everyday poor  girls and women become victims of sex traffickers. I visited brothels. I saw their terrible lives. Many organizations donate money to make prostituted women  free from diseases. ‘Health examinations for women but not for men make no sense from a public health perspective. Women are not protected from HIV contracted from clients. Clients prefer sex without  condoms. HIV test for women is  to make sure they are ‘clean meat’ for clients.’

 

‘Women in prostitution should not be punished for their own exploitation. The seller of sex should be decriminalized. But governments should not decriminalize pimps, buyers, procurers, brothels or other sex businesses.’ Swedish Law on Prostitution

 

There are hundreds  of  non-faith-based anti-prostitution organizations all over the world trying to save women and children. A very few links are here : Say NO to prostitutionCaptive daughters,   Arguments against prostitution , Coalition against trafficking in Women, Trafficking, prostitution and inequality , Protection project  Selling of innocents, End demandDEMAND documentary

 

 

 

247 comments

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  1. 1
    Alyson Miers

    I hope we all Free-thought bloggers believe in freedom of expression. My opinion on prostitution is nothing new. Most feminists believe prostitution or sexual slavery must end. I do not want to be misunderstood. But it looks like a war started against me on FTB because I said something politically incorrect. I feel suffocated because I am opposed by a group I proudly belong to, a group of atheists, secularists, humanists, rationalists.

    Yes, they do believe in freedom of expression, and that is why they are posting their disagreements with your assertions. It’s not a war against you; other bloggers respect you too much to ignore you when you write something they find objectionable. No one is trying to stop you from posting what you have to say. But when they disagree with your ideas, they will say so.

    Belonging to a group doesn’t mean disagreements won’t happen. Freethinkers, pretty much by definition, expect to have arguments amongst themselves.

    1. 1.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

      1. Free won't

        Welcome to Freethought Taslima. This is my first comment ever and I feel a bit nervous but I wanted to share how I view this site

        I have found this a place where people are asked to think, not fight, where views are challenged in such a way that the ensuing dialogue enlightens all.

        Above all this is a place where courage (such as yours) is celebrated, honesty (such as yours) is respected and where all (readers writers and responders alike) hold each other to a standard of reflection that supports growth and new learning. For me, this is a place where I have learned to feel safe, where I don’t have to struggle but instead can share.

        Welcome home Taslima

  2. 2
    WilloNyx

    A small number of women say they choose to be in prostitution, especially in public contexts orchestrated by the sex industry. I am very curious to learn why they like to have sex with strangers everyday. Kate Millett, the author of ‘Sexual Politics’ said, ‘Prostitution, when unmotivated by economic need, might well be defined as a species of psychological addiction, built on self-hatred through repetitions of the act of sale by which a whore is defined.‘

    I am not fully qualified to completely dismantle this argument effectively but I want to say that this quote I put right here is vile and a terrible early impression to me of your character.

    You just equated every person who chooses to have sex for money with an addiction to sex. You have managed to both shame addiction and women who enjoy sex in one breath. This is fucking sick and I am positively ashamed that you could use it in your argument.

  3. 3
    julian

    Sorry if this question has already been asked or answered but, can you think of a situation where someone prostituting themselves would be acceptable? For example, someone, hoping to set a few extra hundred aside for the month, propositions their roommate offering a night of casual sex in exchange for them covering more than their normal share of the rent.

    What would be objectionable in that situation?

    Both individuals are informed of the consequences and both are approaching this situation on a relatively even playing field.

    The reason I ask is, I don’t think anyone is (or at least didn’t read anyone as) disagreeing that prostitution and sex work can be exploitative. Greta Christina even says directly that “prostitution is sometimes sexual slavery, patriarchal oppression, violent, not freely chosen, abusive, and harmful” going on to say that had the point only been that it usually is she “probably wouldn’t argue with that.”

    On that, I think everyone here agrees.

    1. 3.1
      Jess

      Right, so first of all, sex work and prostitution are the same thing; the term “sex work” was created to normalize the idea of prostitution and make it sound more acceptable.
      As for your question, this type of thinking is very common and it’s problematic. I recently participated in a program where I heard a story of a beautiful woman who worked a brothel. Before, she had worked as a laborer in a textile factory, barely getting by. She switched occupations and her work as a prostitute allowed her to live well and send her children to private school.
      So, what is objectionable in this situation?
      She is successfully able to support herself through her work. What must be remembered, is that, at the moment, she is young and beautiful. She feels in control. However, like most who come into this line of “work”, she came from poverty. She chose this because she could not find another option.

      Prostitution is not sometimes exploitative, it is always exploitative. By finding a situation to make it “acceptable” people are telling women, girls, children, men, whomever, that objectification of a person and self-objectification is alright.
      In the situation you named above, one roommate(we’ll call him/her 1) offering the other(2) a night of casual sex in exchange for rent that month is objectifying him/herself. A person who feels the need to portray themselves as an object often does so because they do not feel they have another option (whether or not this is true is insignificant, if psychologically, the prostitute feels there is no better choice). By accepting the offer, 2 is effectively telling 1 that he/she views 1 as an object that 2 is willing to price.
      Regardless of whether these two rational adults feel negatively impacted by this choice, the mindset that it can sometimes be acceptable to sell or buy a person, for an hour, a night, a lifetime, is the same mindset that makes slavery an acceptable trade.

  4. 4
    Walton

    Please read Nichole Kristoff ‘s story to save 5-year-old girls from brothel.

    In my understanding, there are very serious problems with Kristoff’s article and with the group he supports, International Justice Mission, which goes around “rescuing” women and girls from prostitution in the developing world by working with local police and conducting raids on brothels. Unfortunately, as Noy Thrupkaew has highlighted in a detailed investigation, some of the women and girls who are thus “rescued” end up being detained, abused by cops, and, in some cases, deported as undocumented immigrants (since many have migrated illegally or been trafficked across national borders).

    Aziza Ahmed, a feminist scholar and researcher, has identified some other problems with this movement:

    A key victory for anti-sex trafficking organizations was the insertion of the anti-prostitution loyalty oath (APLO) into the US Leadership Act for HIV/Aids, TB, and malaria. This provision requires that organizations agree to oppose prostitution and sex trafficking. The APLO has the effect of disempowering sex worker organizations who refuse to sign on, shutting health services for sex workers, and alienating sex workers from public health programs.

    Further, implementation of the APLO alongside raids and “rescues” disrupts HIV projects that have sex workers as peer-educators and leaders. Attempts to provide necessary health services to sex workers may lead to accusations of aiding in trafficking. Despite these negative outcomes, anti-sex-trafficking organizations, including women’s rights groups, support the US government in their effort to implement the APLO to the detriment of women’s health.

    Second, when women and girls are “rescued” by the anti-trafficking organizations, they may be taken to state-run rehabilitation homes that have jail-like conditions. Human rights and sex worker organizations have long documented what rehabilitation might mean for a sex worker: overcrowded conditions, a lack of healthcare, and violence at the hands of the police and guards. The rehabilitation activities of some organizations are also often suspect – the staff of a rehabilitation home in Maharashtra, India that I visited last year told me that one of their rehabilitation activities includes getting the rescued women married.

    Finally, the ongoing attempt to shut down safe places where sex workers can advertise services, like the Village Voice and Craig’s List, drives sex work underground and makes sex workers less capable of screening clients. The cast of characters that feature in Kristof’s blogs and Twitter feed, who call for the closure of “adult advertising”, and who advocate for provisions like the anti-prostitution loyalty oath are often one and the same. Not being able to do business in the open means that sex workers are driven to dark and hidden places to conduct business. This makes sex work unsafe.

  5. 5
    Walton

    Please read Nichole Kristoff ‘s story to save 5-year-old girls from brothel.

    In my understanding, there are very serious problems with Kristoff’s article and with the group he supports, International Justice Mission, which goes around “rescuing” women and girls from prostitution in the developing world by working with local police and conducting raids on brothels. Unfortunately, as Noy Thrupkaew has highlighted in a detailed investigation, some of the women and girls who are thus “rescued” end up being detained, abused by cops, and, in some cases, deported as undocumented immigrants (since many have migrated illegally or been trafficked across national borders).

  6. 6
    Walton

    (More detail on Aziza Ahmed’s research can be found here, at the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender.)

    I am not defending the sex industry, by any means – but I think the evidence shows that trying to prohibit it and eradicate it by force can often have unintended bad consequences for those one is trying to protect.

  7. 7
    Prof. Woland

    There are some blogs that you might want to read that will add to your knowledge here and that also will reinforce much of what you talk about here…

    They are are:

    http://secretdiaryofadublincallgirl.wordpress.com/

    and

    http://secretlifeofamanhattancallgirl.wordpress.com/

    I”ve also long heard the claim that “some women choose to do it. It’s voluntary! and then okay!” but from everything I’ve read and from people who’ve I’ve talked to who deal with prostitutes on the street–this idea about “voluntary prostitution” is one of those things that some people really just want to believe in order to make themselves feel good–whereas the reality is almost always–like 99+%–far more ugly and violent.

  8. 8
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Most feminists believe prostitution or sexual slavery must end. I do not want to be misunderstood. But it looks like a war started against me on FTB because I said something politically incorrect. I feel suffocated because I am opposed by a group I proudly belong to, a group of atheists, secularists, humanists, rationalists.

    I’m not sure most feminists equate prostitution or its close cousin, pornography, with sexual slavery–though many do. I don’t think you said anything “politically incorrect”. This issue is a very difficult one for feminists. On the one hand, we say a woman’s body is her own and she has the absolute right to have sex with whomever she wants–even if it’s for money. On the other, the culture we live in means that in reality, a woman’s choices are often limited to have sex for money or starve/be beaten/get evicted/suffer withdrawal. As well, on a meta level, the whole idea of renting women’s bodies is commodification and therefore dehumanising. But then, when we take away the whole puritan, patriarchal attitude toward sex, how is that kind of commodification any different, theoretically, from buying any other kind of labour? It’s natural that some feminists will take one position and others will take the other.

    I do see the same split on whether we ought to push for a ban on burqas. Should we unequivocally support a woman’s choice to wear (or not wear) whatever she wants–even if it means she might choose to wear a burqa, or do we say the burqa is effectively a prison and the shackles of slavery and the women who “choose” to wear it aren’t really making a choice with complete freedom, so it’s better to make a choice at a societal level?

    There aren’t easy answers to these ethical conundrums. But please don’t feel that you’re being ganged up on. We, as rationalists and humanists, really need to talk these things out and weigh all the factors. I’m sure I speak for FtBers when I say your voice is both valuable and valued here.

  9. 9
    Walton

    My comments got caught in moderation because of links.

  10. 10
    Nepenthe

    Maybe most feminists over history have opposed prostitution, but post-backlash, “sex-positive” feminists have defined porn as sex, sex as a commodity, and conforming to liberal male desires for constant access to women’s bodies as empowerment and liberated sexuality. (Look at the popularity of the slogan “This is what a feminist looks like”; feminists are now sexy and beauty compliant, not ugly, hairy lesbians like the hated second-wavers.) Obviously, any statement against prostitution is interpreted by such feminists and their male cheerleaders as fascistic and bigoted. You could not have possibly made a statement that would have been acceptable them without praising prostitution or at the very least glossing over its horrors.

    1. 10.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      I oppose the idea of so called ”sex-positive feminists”. Are we ”sex-negative feminists”? We are not against sex. We are against sexual objectification of women. I do not call them feminists. I think they are either misogynists or masochists.

      1. Stacy

        I think it’s more complicated than that–that’s the one sure rule of life, everything is more complicated than you’d think it would be.

        Emotionally, I am mostly on your side. And I realize that the reality of prostitution, throughout the world, is mostly closer to sex slavery than to dignified, well-compensated work. But I can see the other side too. Imagine a world of true equality–some women and men, gay and straight, might indeed choose to be prostitutes, if:

        They, and their work, was not shamed

        They were free to choose or reject their clients and negotiate their fees, as in any other sort of work

        They were well-compensated

        The truth is, the fight against prostitution is somewhat muddied by people who fight against it not so much because of human-rights abuses, but because they see sex, and especially sex outside of marriage, as inherently “bad” or shameful. There may be some relatively privileged people in the Western world who really do choose prostitution. Perhaps a distinction needs to be drawn between truly freely chosen and coerced sex-work.

      2. Nepenthe

        When the sexual objectification of women is considered sex, then anyone who opposes it is called sex-negative.

        1. mynameischeese

          I see this happening a lot and it bothers me. People seem to confuse any kind of sex with the “zipless fuck.” Whether or not the sex in question is liberating or not, when certain “sex positive” see it, it is automatically designated as liberating.

          And everything becomes framed in this binary that’s like sex positive vrs Victorian repression.

          1. Ace of Sevens

            Isn’t it ultimately up to the participants to decide whether sex was liberating?

          2. mynameischeese

            Nope. When sex positivists see sex represented in art, they decide that the sex was liberating on behalf of the characters. Seriously, google Oscar Wilde’s Salome and read some of the sex positivist criticism. Salome is objectified by her step father, dances for him in order to try gain some kind of advantage, and then is *killed* by him. And yet sex positive critics go on about how “liberating” it is for Salome to get in touch with her sexuality through dancing.

          3. Ace of Sevens

            And Valerie Solanas tried to kill Andy Warhol and a couple people who had the misfortune of being in the same room as him, therefore feminism in general is discredited.

          4. mynameischeese

            I have faith that if you think about that for a few minutes, you’ll see why it’s not a good argument.

          5. Ace of Sevens

            That’s my point. It’s essentially the same argument you made. Unless it’s a defining characteristic of sex-positive feminist that they think all sex is positive, even if coerced, the fact that a couple nuts have made such arguments isn’t relevant.

          6. mynameischeese

            But that is the point! All sex = liberating. That is the defining point. And the counter to this is the implication that people who are not “sex positive” think that all sex is repressive.

            It’s just like when “pro-life” people make out that “pro-choice” eat babies for breakfast. It’s just not true that “pro-choice” people like abortion, they just dislike not having the option. And it’s also not true that non “sex positive” people dilike sex or are a bunch of frigids who can’t recognise that liberating sex exists.

            But not all sex is liberating. If the woman is dead at the end of the play, how could getting in touch with her sexuality be liberating? Come on.

          7. mynameischeese

            Oh, and I highly doubt that some of the foremothers of sex positive feminism can really be considered fringe nuts within the movement.

          8. Nepenthe

            Cult members believe that giving up all individuality and subsuming themselves to their leader is liberating. Quiverfull women believe that acting as a brood mare is liberating. Ex-gays believe that repressing who they are is liberating.

            The participants in an act are not the sole arbiters of whether it is actually liberating.

      3. Cipher

        I’d very much appreciate it if you’d refrain from using “masochists” as an insult. The fact that I respond to sensory input differently than you do does not make me any less a feminist.

      4. Cipher

        Taslima,

        I won’t be insulted or upset if you don’t take my preceding comment out of moderation. It’s beside the point of the discussion and could definitely contribute to derailing the conversation, which is not what I want. I do hope you’ll consider it for future reference, though.

      5. Cory Brunson

        The origins of “sex-positivity” (now that i’ve been prompted to consider them) appear to be grounded largely in the celebration of porn, prostitution, and kink. You raise a good point that opposition to pornography and sex work shouldn’t be construed as opposition to (or shame over) sex. While i enjoy the term “sex-positive” for its confluence with polyamory and kink, you’ve got me wondering how suitable it is as a name for a countermovement. (I hope that someone else will address this.) Thank you for continuing this conversation!

      6. Verbose Stoic

        Well, take this quote from Dworkin from your own source about arguments against prostitution:

        “Violation is a synonym for intercourse.”

        Sure, there’s more context required, but it’s quite easy to see how that might be interpreted as “sex negative”. If all sex is defined as being exploitive or misogynistic, that isn’t a view of sex that anyone should reasonably consider positive. Now, a lot of this might simply be rhetoric, but all sides have to take responsibility for their own rhetoric and how it might confuse issues.

        There’s probably a middle-ground here, where we acknowledge that some sexual interactions are sexist, objectifying, exploitive and even violative while acknowledging that some at least need not be. That being said, as far as I can see it won’t be the actions themselves that determine that, but things about the relations between the parties themselves. Thus, taking pictures won’t be in and of itself objectifying, and nor would sexual actions up to and including bondage and S&M, and even simulated rape fantasies, as long as it’s in the right “spirit” of two equals coming together and doing sexually what pleases both of them.

        An argument, then, that you could make against prostitution is that it will always be an objectifying relationship, because essentially it is not anything about the person being paid for, but simply about them being “rented” as a sexual object. This isn’t a bad argument, but it is vulnerable to objections about essentially you dicating to other women what they can and can’t do with their own sexuality, which surely belongs to them and is their choice, not yours or society’s.

        1. Liz

          “Violation is a synonym for intercourse.”

          I don’t know where you specifically got this quote, but it’s not hard to put it in context that has nothing to do with anti-porn feminism.

          It might be a clear and irrefutable example of how sex-negative our culture actually is. Taken on its own, it certainly holds weight as a comment on how we conflate penetrative sex with degradation and destruction. Consider twidely used phrases such as “fuck you”, “we really got fucked over” and so on. In these and the numerous other usages, violation is indeed a synonym for intercourse.

          Critiques of sex-as-commodity are mostly pro-sex. The so called “pro-sex” position that is pro-porn, pro-prositution and pro-liberal-male-lobby -for-easy-access-to-sexual-servants is sadly anti-sex, if one happens to think of sex as the free and mutual exchange of pleasure between equally valued human beings.

      7. daenyx

        I consider myself a sex-positive feminist, and what that means to me is that I support owning our own sexuality – whatever that may mean, and whatever form that might take for each of us. It might mean being asexual, it might mean being sexual in any of the myriad ways in which that is possible.

        But if what I do with my body is *my* choice, based on *my* desires I am following, all is well.

        Taslima, I entirely agree with you (and from what they’ve said, Greta and Natalie do, too) that anyone being coerced or forced into sex work is absolutely unconscionable, and as decent human beings, we should work to stop that. But they’ve offered evidence that this is not the case for every sex worker, so a blanket statement of “no matter what, sex as a commodity is evil and exploitative of women” comes off as telling women what not to do with their own bodies. Even though that is probably true for a *majority* of women in sex work, the blanket statement is an erasure of the choices and experiences of those for whom it is not true, who chose their profession and enjoy it. (Not to mention the men who have done the same.)

        I’ll echo what Alyson said above – “freethought” means disagreement is bound to happen. If you read their other posts, they’re *delighted* that you’re here, because you’ve done some amazing work and your writing is a brilliant and powerful thing. But much as they’d expect you to do if you disagree with something they post, since their knowledge and experiences lead them to believe differently from what you’ve said about sex work, they’re going to talk about it.

      8. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

        **You** feel persecuted?

        I’ve been catching up with these threads over the course of days and I have yet to see anyone say that you are not a freethinker and/or atheist and/or feminist because of what you believe. This despite the fact that you ignore the meaning of your own evidence: 90% of people would choose to escape prostitution when surveying only those stuck in the most brutal category of prostitution: street prostitution, where rape and police violence are rife. That means 10%, if given the choice explicitly, would not choose to escape prostitution.

        I make no claims that there is no coercion among the remaining 10%, but we can’t say that there is based on the evidence that you have provided. One most honestly look into the possibility that some choice and agency is at work here, and then honestly look at why people, especially women, trans folk, and gay men, would make those choices.

        But it’s not your lack of honest skepticism that is the real problem here. No, the point I’m making is that some could reasonably argue that you’re not being a skeptic, yet criticism is focused on your ideas, facts, assertions, and writing: no one is making statements that resemble, “you are not a real skeptic/freethinker.” No one is making a war on you or your identities.

        No, that’s what you are doing to others. And I find it arrogant and atrocious.

        In particular, I want to call out your assertion that one is not feminist if one is masochistic.

        I have a serious disability that involves chronic pain. There is no way to get rid of it short of unconsciousness: I am and will be in some level of pain every moment. Every activity increases pain in comparison with lying perfectly still in a perfectly ergonomic position.

        “Every activity” includes sex.

        I could simply never have sex. I could hate my pain and do everything to minimize it while having sex. And, frankly I do hate my pain sometimes.

        But over time I have learned that intense sensation, including pain in normally non-painful parts of my body, distracts from the pain that drives me literally crazy with its omnipresence. Like deep tissue massage that hurts but releases tension and leads to relaxation and pleasure, I can and do enjoy certain kinds of distracting pain.

        Moreover, sex being always painful is not a mere statement of immediate sensation. The pain lingers in certain parts of my body – especially hips and knees – depending on how my partner and I choose to express ourselves. This lingering pain, an hour later, the next morning, a day after, becomes a reminder of love and pleasure shared. Although I wish I could live a pain free life, given the life I do lead, I’ve learned to interpret this pain as an insistent sensation encouraging me to think of myself as loved and desired.

        I didn’t choose to connect sex and pain. My disability chose that for me. However, given the connections which I am unable to avoid, I have learned to take certain pleasures in certain pains. My story may not be what you would describe as stereotypical of masochism or masochists, but since you assume that masochism, the appreciation of and even taking pleasure in certain painful stimuli that result from consensual interactions, is antithetical to feminism I know for a fact that you are relying on stereotypes, not information.

        Your vasty, exclusionary statements prove that you do not consider the lives of women with disability as including sexuality.

        Let me say it more directly: women with cancer have sex, women who are pregnant have sex, women with arthritis have sex, women with injuries have sex. We who have sex while in unavoidable pain must develop a healthy psychological relationship to that pain if we are to have sex lives at all. For many of us, that relationship will involve finding pleasure in pain.

        We don’t appreciate it at all when you so dismiss the possibility of dislabled (or otherwise painful) sexuality that you insist that our understandings of the meanings of our pain and their relationships to our sexuality renders us inherently non-feminist.

        You think we’re waging war on you because your ideas are met with disagreement? How about being assumed out of existence when discussing things as central as sexuality…and in the process having to read statements that assert we are non-feminist for finding peace with the inevitable pain in our bodies?

        That’s offensive. I won’t use war, because that devalues the horror that is war, but having someone with able-bodied privilege dismiss us as unimportant, irrelevant to the discussion, and inherently anti-feminist is far more disgusting than disagreeing with an idea.

        Perhaps you could restrain yourself from defining my feminism out of existence based on my relationship to pain until you at least have a clue what you’re talking about in re: the sexuality of women with disabilities and other women who, for any reason at all, find that they enjoy some painful stimuli when they occur in specific, consensual contexts.

        If you can’t, you are still of course free to write on FtB, but I won’t take you seriously if you can’t admit ignorance where legitimate ignorance actually exists. People who know they are right – especially about what other people think and who other people are – regardless of ignorance or contrary information are simply not reliable.

      9. lee

        no i think they are another branch of feminist. you may not agree with them, but they, like you, have a right to their opinion.

    2. 10.2
      Mikey

      @2 Nepenthe

      Actually, it was more of a back lash against the oppressive meme that only butch haired ugly man hating lesbians were feminist and that a woman can be of any shade of attractiveness and want equality. Its also fighting against the idea that women don’t enjoy or want sex and/or porn and that only men want them.

      I remember talking to a friend once about her views on feminism and shes like “Well… I’m a girl who wants equal pay in the work force but also enjoy wearing make up.” To which i replied it should be an “and” instead of a “but”. There’s no need to comply to a beauty standard (too ugly, too attractive) to speak for your views.

      The “This is what a feminist looks like” meme is to encourage people like my friend to let go of the misconception that feminists are this horrible stereotype.

    3. 10.3
      Verbose Stoic

      You seem to be rather badly misrepresenting the actual position. The position of what are called “sex positive” feminists are ones reacting to what they perceive as a view that defines all sexuality and sexual contact as inherently exploitive and patriarchal, and as giving in to male desire. They react to this by advocating for women to take ownership of their own sexuality, and define it for themselves and on their own terms. Women, then, do not have to reject sexuality and can engage in as liberated or … perhaps “sedate” is the best word here a sexuality as they choose. Ultimately, it’s about women themselves choosing who has access to their bodies and when, and about not being ashamed if they choose more strongly sexual behaviour and appearance. The point about what feminists look like in fact highlights this, by pointing out that a woman can indeed still maintain her sexuality as a part of her without being somehow considered unequal or inferior. A woman does not need to deny her sexuality to be equal and participate equally in society.

      There are, of course, potential objections to some of these, and in some areas. Prostitution may be one of them. But what you say here is in fact rhetoric that doesn’t accurately capture their position.

      Full disclosure, since it might be an issue here: I’m male, and have received a label that I’m exceedingly proud of as being “An anti-feminist who doesn’t seem to hate women”.

    4. 10.4
      Caravelle

      post-backlash, “sex-positive” feminists have defined porn as sex, sex as a commodity, and conforming to liberal male desires for constant access to women’s bodies as empowerment and liberated sexuality.

      What sex-positive feminists are you reading ? As far as I know this isn’t just completely untrue, it’s the opposite of the truth. Everything I’ve seen about sex-positive feminism has the very concept revolve around sex not being a commodity, but a social interaction. The essence of replacing “No means No” with “Yes means Yes”, which makes the conditions for consent more stringent and defines rape more broadly than the traditional version, is sex-positivity.

      Here is a sex-positive feminist talking about sex as a commodity :
      http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/buyers_and_sellers

      Relevant quote, but don’t hesitate to read the whole thing :

      A lot of us feminists who came up online have been promoting a model of sexuality called “enthusiastic consent”, and I think that one thing that could strengthen this is tackling the market model of heterosexuality. Because, to put on my Twisty Faster hat, if we cast men as buyers and women as sellers, that means that women are assumed to be in a perpetual state of consent just as that gallon of milk at the store is assumed to be on sale for anyone who can cobble together the $5 to buy it. As long as the market model of heterosexuality is in play, the notion that sex should be a mutual exchange between two individuals will not make so much sense to people.

      1. FeministWhore

        I have trouble trusting that anyone who puts on a “Twisty Faster” hat is actually all that sex positive.

        1. Caravelle

          I admit I don’t actually know who Twisty Faster is; just reading her article that was linked to in the post I can see why you wouldn’t associate her with sex-positivity, but from everything I’ve read by Amanda Marcotte I don’t think it’s a problem she shares.

  11. 11
    Avicenna

    @Taslima.

    You are basically taking a very very complicated issue that covers a HUGE variety of sex workers of various genders (Remember in India 25% of sex workers are men and that’s a pretty sizeable number of people) and trying to boil it down to a yes or no situation. It’s not sensible.

    The problem with a lot of your sources is that they do not grasp the full truth of prostitution and often conflate prostitution in different countries with each other. Prostitution in India ranges from really grim to western style. One cannot compare sex workers in the same country working in different situations, how can one hope to compare sex workers in a third world nation with a first world nation? And yes, that is the term to use. Gloria Steinem can jump of a cliff for all I care. Her article in the Hindu was a lousy piece of sucking up to the government who just wants an excuse to drop the hammer on prostitutes and feel good about themselves. A feminist encouraging them to throw the hammer at some prostitutes is ideal.

    Do not compare prostitutes in places with legalised prostitution to ones in places without the same protection. It’s pointless. A New Zealand Prostitute is a completely different beast to a Nepali Trafficked Girl or a Phillipina Sex Slave. You have to realise the difference in CHOICE. I know women who voluntarily (In your definition, with no money involved) ask to be beaten. I know some who PRETEND to die and are fascinated with murder and sex. I know women with rape fantasies. There are women who enjoy being tied up and there are women who enjoy giving blowjobs and having anal sex. No money involved… Categorising these sexual acts as weird doesn’t really help the argument. Majority of prostitution does not involve guns being jammed up vaginas. That’s Rape. Rape is unacceptable no matter who you are.

    If you want to call it a survival strategy then fine. Do you care to explain why (you did pick India at the start of your previous article) we should take 20 million people who live a life ABOVE the poverty line (In nearly every survey nearly every sex worker seems to earn more than 2000 rupees a week which is what most FAMILIES in India have to live on.) and dump them into the 500 million odd Indians who toe the line or are below it? What possible benefit are we achieving by dooming these women and their kids to a life of begging? You can call it what you like, sometimes survival is important. Who are you to judge what they are doing to survive. They CANNOT be doctors, nurses, engineers or ninja assassins. They cannot be hired in many cases because they have no skills what so ever. And more importantly? No one is willing to teach them any of the skills because people are not nice to prostitutes. And even if they have the skills? What Jobs? 10% of Indian workers are unemployed. What the hell do you want them to do in such a market?

    The thing that irks me the most? The HIV tests argument you just made…

    HIV tests ensure women and men (The lower number of sexual partners and gay male prostitutes available make them a prime candidate for rapid spread of HIV and STDs) are clean and ensure that we can educate them about a disease which spreads rather nastily and kills people quite horribly in India (In India the Major Cause of Death in HIV patients ranges from systemic fungal infections, Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Metastasis to good old TB. The White Horse of Death rides in India because of HIV.)

    HIV and VD tests in red light areas are accompanied with ex-sex workers who are HIV positive giving advice on the subject. We try and combine it with real genuine education and things like free condoms, birth control and information on safe sex practices. We actually remove more women from prostitution succesfully than your method. We don’t judge their actions. We give GENUINE advice. We also have systems in place such as encouraging them to learn languages, giving them references, finding them jobs, keeping their work a secret and indeed offering them TRAINING. Many prostitutes insist on condom usage and are proud of it.

    Maybe I just want my meat to be educated and HIV free…

    Have you personally seen any of these women? The reality is a mix of both attitudes.

    1. 11.1
      jessicahollis-brown

      @Avicenna, does your organization have a name I could find online, since we’re prohibited from linking on this forum? Your work sounds extremely helpful and fulfilling. I live in Costa Rica, where prostitution is legal. I know many of them, and consider them my friends. Although I would never do what they do, I don’t look down on them for their decisions. None of them were forced into it, and they practice their professions by choice, and use it as a way to better their lives and those of their families. However, many of the girls (and guys) do dearly need help in areas of health education, especially since there is no such thing as sex education in this Catholic country (ironic, that prostitution is legal, but sex ed is not?). I have been seriously considering starting some kind of informal program similar to what you describe, and would love to hear more about your work. Regardless of whether prostitution *should* exist, it *does*, and it’s not going away anytime soon. By ignoring the needs of the women and men who engage in sex work, by objectifying them as objects of derision and pity (which is plainly at odds with the feminist battle-cry of “Don’t objectify me!”), by not helping them to make good, informed choices about their lives and bodies, we do all of them, and ourselves, a grave disservice. As a feminist, as a mother, sister, wife, daughter, and friend of other women, I think it’s a step in the right direction to reach out to other women, especially disadvantaged ones, and try to help them improve their circumstances. If it’s by preventing unwanted pregnancies and STDs through better sex ed and free contraception, that’s a step in the right direction. My best wishes to you and to the women and men you work with, bless you for caring.

  12. 12
    michaeld

    I don’t think anyone is really waging a war nor have I seen any attempts to silence you or your opinion. People just disagree with parts of your views and are trying to explain the areas of their disagreement. Its also not like there haven’t been controversies with other figures in the movement, Hitchens and Dawkins both spring to mind and I’m sure people can think of others.

  13. 13
    Bertrand Le Roy

    Would it make sense to defend slavery on the grounds that there exist people who derive pleasure from being treated like slaves? Or rape because some people have rape fantasies? Of course not. I don’t see a difference with prostitution. I’m with you on that one.

    1. 13.1
      WilloNyx

      My other comment will probably never escape moderation so I doubt this one will either but you have created a false equivalency here.

      Slavery by its nature strips a person of their bodily autonomy to choose whether to be a slave. We allow the willful temporary enslavement of our bodies all the time. We just call that working.

      Rape by its definition is non consensual therefore not the willful use of our bodies. We allow rape fantasies to exist because they are consensual. We do not allow rape to go unpunished because it is not a consensual use of another persons body.

      Prostitution (in its idealized form) is no more slavery than working 9-5 is slavery. There are inherent risks but they are best mitigated by making prostitution legal, and reducing the stigma attached with selling sex.

    2. 13.2
      Verbose Stoic

      The main difference here would be consent. So, while rape is not justified by some women having rape fantasies, it would be another kettle of fish entirely to suggest that a woman cannot engage in a consesual simulated rape roleplay with a trusted partner. The same thing applies here; the counter argument is that these women are consenting to this and so to deny them the ability to consent to this interaction is basically taking away their own autonomy and control over their bodies and their sexuality. It is, of course, much more complicated than that, but it does not help to suggest that somehow these women aren’t really qualified to decide if they really consent or not and so it isn’t consensual, as that comes across as patronizing.

    3. 13.3
      OverlappingMagisteria

      No, but I don’t think your analogy holds up. I haven’t heard anyone defend forced, abusive prostitution; only prostitution by choice. To fit your analogy, no one is defending rape, but they are defending people’s right to have rape fantasies (so long as its done safely and with full consent.)

    4. 13.4
      daenyx

      If you go back and read Greta’s and Natalie’s posts, you’ll see that they are NOT defending coerced or forced sex work; they are contending that it is possible to have freely-chosen sex work, and THAT is what they are defending.

      To borrow and extend one of your analogies, slavery, as an institution, should not be defended because some individuals enjoy master/slave BDSM roleplay. But one can defend the right of people to choose to engage in said roleplay without defending slavery.

      And much as Greta (I think it was Greta) pointed out, people can be enslaved and forced to produce manufactured goods – does that make all manufacturing work de facto exploitation? No, it does not. We recognize the difference between choosing to do a manufacturing job for pay and being coerced or forced into doing the same work. The exact same is true for sex work.

  14. 14
    Nathair

    I feel suffocated because I am opposed by a group I proudly belong to, a group of atheists, secularists, humanists, rationalists.

    Some individuals may disagree with you but they don’t speak for all of us.

  15. 15
    Suido

    I just want to know whether women and girls would choose this ‘’job’’.

    When prostituted women are asked, consistently around 90% say they want out of prostitution immediately

    A small number of women say they choose to be in prostitution, especially in public contexts orchestrated by the sex industry. I am very curious to learn why they like to have sex with strangers everyday.


    A recent ‘Ask Me Anything’ post on reddit
    by a prostitute has answers in relation to this. It seems that she is one of the 10%, and you may find it interesting.

  16. 16
    Dana Gower

    http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/

    This is the Web site of a woman who says she is a former escort and writes positively about her experiences. I’m sure her experiences would not apply to all women, but you might find reading her site interesting, for nothing else than a different perspective.

    1. 16.1
      Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

      Warning: Maggie McNeill’s website is full of all sorts of disgusting bigotry: racism, transphobia, fatphobia, and misogyny. She somehow got invited to do a guest post on Feministe, and commenters were not only scornful of the historical ignorance in her OP but appalled at some of the commentary she’s written and she permits on her blog.

      1. Maggie McNeill

        Warning: Some people try to libel websites they haven’t read with silly labels that not only don’t apply, but in many cases are exactly the opposite of the truth: http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/target-audience/

      2. Dana Gower

        I would be curious to see one of her posts that fit any of your characterizations. She does take exception with some feminists, so maybe that’s it. I would encourage everyone to look at her site and evaluate it on their own.

        1. Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

          Read the Feministe thread for multiple examples.

          The two issues I recall the most clearly are that McNeill blames women for their husbands cheating on them, because wives should (a) look the same at 50 as they did at 25 and (b) be willing to do anything in bed in order to keep their mayyyunnnn; and she engages in some truly foul stereotypes about black men and violence.

          If you’re one of her regulars and you think she’s swell, you and I will not have much to talk about, because I will have no respect, quite bluntly, for your ability to perceive bigotry.

          1. Dana Gower

            Again, I would say show me one of her posts from her site. I am not one of her regular readers. I have seen her analysis of trafficking and under-age prostitution, which is well thought out and has been shown to be much more accurate than the popularly thrown-around figures. I have skimmed through her site, and while there are posts that are not for the squeamish, I still disagree with your characterization of it. And, no, I would not be surprised if we had little in common.

  17. 17
    Rike

    Taslima, if I were to hang out at a bar every night, have a drink with different men and leave the bar with different men and have sex with them without any money changing hands, what would you call that?
    Now, if the same thing happened, but the men would pay me, what would you call that? And what would be the difference?
    I think the biggest problem in the difference of our opinions is that many of us feel that if prostitution was legal, there would be no need for pimps and women could be their own agents, have the law on their side and so be able to have legal protection when needed.

    Nobody disagrees with your view about children or slavery or other forced acts. Your point of view is also well taken for many poor countries where, as you say, women often do not have a choice. That is where action is desperately needed. However, that still must leave room for every woman to be allowed to decide on her own how to use her body.

    I also believe that if prostitution was legal, eventually it would lose its stigma (not in our lifetimes, no…) and prostitutes would not have to lie about their work any longer. What would be wrong about a woman being able to say “I’m a prostitute, and I’m good at it”?

  18. 18
    meandmine

    I get the feeling that many people have never thought about this well enough to have an opinion. Such is the case with me; probably encouraged by the fact that I’m a man. Thank you for presenting me with what seems to be a well thought argument. It has definitely shaped my opinion on this matter.

  19. 19
    Natalie Reed

    So by your own data at least eight percent of sex workers are not actively attempting to escape it, and therefore have made this decision of their own volition. Therefore sex work is not INHERENTLY sexual slavery, or coercion. End of story.

    1. 19.1
      bspiken

      BAM!

      (Not trying to incite a war or anything, but really, that comment shots down the whole argument)

    2. 19.2
      michaeld

      To go a step further if we grant your position that some of them are lieing for what ever psychological reason or have muddled view on it is there any reason to think that this applies to all of that 8-10%?

    3. 19.3
      Annie

      Now hold up, sister.

      Do we compromise on the age-of-consent law when a 45-year-old has sex with a 17-year-old, even in the rare case when that 17-year-old insists they’re in love? No. Even though we all agree “readiness” is really not a matter of age in our real life, gray-shaded, world – regardless! – relations with those under 18 are still outlawed because for the single-digit percent of teens that might very well want to be in a mature relationship with another person polite society…may frown upon…there are the rest with whom this is simply a situation of outright exploitation and where action need be taken to secure their health and well-being. The fact that 8% of sex workers aren’t visibly demoralized, degraded, and trapped in their situation, doesn’t mean we ought to enable a system in which 92% of those involved are.

      Honestly, what kind of reasoning is that?

      1. Andrew G.

        You do know that the age of consent is less than 18 in most of the world, yes?

  20. 20
    Ace of Sevens

    Like battered women, women in prostitution may deny their abuse if they are not provided with safety or meaningful alternatives.

    This sounds like an argument for providing safety and meaningful alternatives. Cracking down on johns provides safety like shutting down a factory makes things safer for the welders who worked there.

  21. 21
    SallyStrange

    If 90% of women don’t choose prostitution, then logically one must conclude that 10% do choose it. (Are we ignoring male sex workers still?) 1 in 10 women is more than enough to invalidate your previous thesis, that it was impossible to choose to be a prostitute and that all prostitution is inherently degrading and violent.

    I must continue to disagree with your stance: criminalizing prostitution, like criminalizing drug use, causes more problems than it solves. I sympathize with your vehement anger about the continued victimization of vulnerable women. It’s just that the evidence you’ve provided here is not enough to convince me that making prostitution illegal will solve the problem of sexual exploitation and human trafficking, without creating more problems than it solves. In addition, I hold the right to personal bodily autonomy to be foundational to my humanist values. Criminalizing consensual sexual exchanges violates those principles. Non-consensual exchanges are the problem. Ensuring that all exchanges of money for sex are consensual seems like a more reasonable goal than abolishing the exchange of money for sex.

  22. 22
    thewhollynone

    Sexual slavery has to be the worst way in the world for a female to earn a living; I don’t imagine that it’s much fun for males either; it is absolutely horrible for children. Most people– women, men, or children– would not submit to it unless they were threatened with lethal force, or unless they were trained to think they had no other choice short of slow death by starvation, or unless they were taught that it was normal for them to deserve no better treatment. Unfortunately for females, most of them have been trained to think that very way by our patriarchal cultures where they are routinely denied any other way of making a living.

    1. 22.1
      Natalie Reed

      MOST is not the same thing as ALL. And MOST doesn’t justify prescriptive moralizing.

  23. 23
    SallyStrange

    Also, this:

    A small number of women say they choose to be in prostitution, especially in public contexts orchestrated by the sex industry. I am very curious to learn why they like to have sex with strangers everyday. Kate Millett, the author of ‘Sexual Politics’ said, ‘Prostitution, when unmotivated by economic need, might well be defined as a species of psychological addiction, built on self-hatred through repetitions of the act of sale by which a whore is defined.‘

    reeks of ad hominem.

  24. 24
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    There exist women who had an abortion only to later regret such a decision. Of these women, there are most certainly those who regret it because they were directly or indirectly coerced into it.

    Taslima, your argument has convinced me.

    I am now pro-life.

  25. 25
    Divinity33372

    It’s ok Anthony. I have my comment documented here
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftnkIgVhvmM

  26. 26
    Stacy

    I’ve submitted a couple of comments as “replies” to other comments and been held in moderation–just wanted to point that out in case there’s a glitch somewhere.

    Thanks.

  27. 27
    stann

    “Even I give opponents a chance to prove themselves, you know”.

    Sure Anthony. Thats unless the said opponent happens to be pointing out the contradictions of people you constanlty pander to and have your head wedged so far up their ass. Then you are just as censorship happy as the rest of the “free thinkers”.

    1. 27.1
      Anthony Kennerson

      Really, Stann?? Funny, but I actually GIVE my opponents the chance to defend themselves and offer real discussion rather than talking points. Which is more than any of you offer.

      Interesting how my comments get purged, but responses to my comments stay. Yet, I’m the censor??? SMH.

      1. stann

        It’s amusing that both Divinity33372 and AnthonyJKenn from Youtube are complaining about being censored. Given that BOTH of them use censorship aswell.

        Divinity33372 has a very long history of blocking people who offer any criticism, usually dismissing them as “having no substance” and the classic “I’m bored now” and even resorts to false accusations that the person personally insulted her in order to back out of a debate. And add them to her HUGE block list. Also a keen user of the “disable comments” and “comments pending approval” options on Youtube.

        She has also shared peoples Private Messages sent to her out publicly, yet complains the moment someone reads out one of HER abuse filled private message that she sent to someone. She uses the “without my consent” arguement in order to make herself appear like a victim. Divinity33372 has a habbit of playing victim. She always complains about anti-sex worker activists not debating with people like her (former sex worker)but when one does try to debate her she berates and blocks them pretty swiftly. In a pretty snarky immature manner aswell.

        AnthonyJKenn, her poodle, refuses to acknowledge any of this hypocritical behaviour and even resorts to removing comments and blocking anyone who dares speak negitivly about his “goddess” Divinity33372. Even when its presented to him in a non-insulting and constructive manner. He then uses censorship to the MAX.

        In short, both Divinity33372 and AnthonyJKenn are here complaining about the very same thing they they do. And thats the joke. Because if Taslima Nasreen was to go to their channels and engage in any kind of constructive debate, she would find herself on their block list very fast.

        Pathetic.

  28. 28
    hall-of-rage

    I think you make a great point, talking about battered women. As far as I know, sex work is not a free choice, though a few people have the privilege of being exceptions. But that’s not the same thing as “slavery”. People don’t like being called “slaves”, and talked about as if they can do nothing for themselves.

    It is hard to talk about realistic solutions to the problems of sex work, and the associated economic problems and rape-culture causes, if you focus only on calling it “slavery”. It *is* stigmatizing to say that someone is powerless, or even disempowered. It is invalidating to be told your whole life is lived as a victim of the system, especially when you’re not simultaneously handed better options.

    Also, not all former sex workers who have been very much endangered want to get rid of sex work. Georgina Beyer, for example, had some life-threatening experiences as a sex worker herself; she was instrumental in getting sex work decriminalized in New Zealand.

    1. 28.1
      hall-of-rage

      I was being too PC or something: they were life-threatening *rapes* of course.

  29. 29
    Iamcuriousblue

    And I think the stance you’ve taken is not that you’ve taken a wrong or “politically incorrect” opinion, but that it has been pointed out that you many of the “facts” you base your opinion on simply wrong, that you rely on sources that are dubious, and that when you have these factual errors pointed out, you respond by shouting the same rhetoric even more loudly and holding to your position ever more dogmatically. Now if you were just garden-variety blogger, that might be all well and good. Blogging is often quite often simply glorified ranting anyway.

    However, you are not simply a blogger, you are somebody using the platform of FTB to claim the mantle of “rationalist” and “skeptic”. And yet the way you’ve dealt with this entire issue represents a massive failure of skepticism on your part. You have not engaged critically with the facts, nor even tried to strengthen your position by being sufficiently critical of your sources.

    And in that way, I think in your own way, you’ve made a significant contribution to the cheapening of skepticism. You give fuel to those critics who would say that skepticism no more valid that creationism, because when push comes to shove, the skeptic is just as incapable of critical examination of those sources that support *their* opinion as any creationist is toward their own.

  30. 30
    Phillip Helbig

    Cherry-picking. You quote people who agree with you and ignore those who don’t, even though many references have been given in the comments on your blog. You can’t understand that, even though they might be a minority (and minorities deserve protection, right?), there are actually people who think differently than you do. Your method of argumentation is similar to those who say that no-one really chooses to be homosexual. Read some fundamentalist religious blogs. There you will find testimonies from “cured” homosexuals.

    Just because some prostitutes had bad experiences doesn’t mean all do.

    You are essentially equating voluntary organ donation with organ theft.

  31. 31
    Rose

    What people are trying to express is, I believe, twofold:
    (1) Prostitution has happened for many years, despite efforts to legalize and eradicate it, and a lot of this prostitution is harmful to those involved, where it be from abuse by pimps or johns, lack of access to condoms, or from not having a choice when they were place in this situation. We can all agree that children being sold to brothels is bad, as is the fact that there are people who turn to prostitution because they see no other option and then cannot leave, and so on. Absolutely, there are many very important problems with prostitution as it stands. However:
    (2) There are a non-negligible subset of people who would enjoy having sex with strangers, as long as they would be safe and had choices regarding both the work (this john is creepy; I won’t accept him as a customer. I am not feeling well today; I won’t work), and when to leave it. There are already some sex workers who have these kinds of benefits, such as in quality brothels in Nevada, and those that do work such as dominatrixing on their own terms.

    As far as I can tell, proponents of legalizing prostitution believe that (a) illegalizing prostitution has not in any way stopped it and (b) by legalizing it, we can better monitor it, allowing us to provide safer environments and work on issues regarding trafficking, and (c) those that would choose freely to engage in sex work have a right to personal autonomy, and should be allowed to do so.

  32. 32
    Stewie

    What you seem to do is make a very compelling case against poverty, not against choosing sex work as a full or part time occupation. Perhaps a case against poverty and lack of access to education. You shouldn’t fall into the trap of painting every sex worker in every country with the same brush. It makes little sense (to me) to target it as a cause (celeb), but like baling water out of a sinking ship. You are simply demonising those who need or want the services and stigmatising those who make a choice to offer such services. Stigmatisation denies them the right to work safely and to organise themselves to drive out pimps and abusers, well meaning though you might be. It really annoys those who organise themselves into Collectives.
    I’d agree that tackling poverty, real poverty, not the fake comparative poverty we bandy about in Europe, is so daunting that taking up the consequences seems more manageable. Unabated communism drives all into poverty. Unabated capitalism drives some into poverty. Globalisation of capital and production is driving people down to a LCD.

  33. 33
    Re-Enlightenment

    I was pretty much with Greta on this yesterday, but this post has really made me think.

    The organ donation analogy is useful but there’s still a difference of degree. Removing a functioning body part and selling it is different to hiring out your body.

    1. 33.1
      Phillip Helbig

      You missed the point. In this very rough analogy, I am comparing voluntary prostitution to signing an organ-donor card and having my organs removed after I am dead to help someone waiting for an organ transplant as opposed to kidnapping someone, sedating him and harvesting his organs to sell them for money. I think it is perfectly reasonable to support the former (at least as long as it is a voluntary choice) and oppose the latter. I also think that encouraging the former will make the latter easier to stamp out, but that is a minor point here. Similarly, it is perfectly reasonable to support voluntary prostitution and at the same time oppose sex slavery. In this case, more voluntary prostitution makes sex slavery less lucrative and easier to combat, but also one shouldn’t oppose people’s rights to do something voluntarily. It doesn’t matter if most prostitutes are voluntary are not (this depends on where one is).

      Sure, there are husbands who beat their wives. In many countries, it might be the norm. Taslima is advocating outlawing marriage (but only for men, not for women) as a solution.

      1. skeptifem

        only a dude could compare being penetrated every day by strangers with signing a card.

        1. Phillip Helbig

          I think Greta Christina and many others would disagree with you. Or are they now, by (your) definition, “dudes”?

  34. 34
    NuMad

    A choice that is dictated by immediate necessity and by a limitation of options is still a choice. Denying the agency of sex workers, going so far as to suggest that those who have vocally disagreed with absolutely negative assessments of the very nature of their profession are suffering from a psychological disorder, is genuinely disempowering. Which is not something that anyone needs more of.

    The argument that sex work is not a choice because it’s most often dictated to some degree by economic necessity and therefore should be abolished is wrongheaded. It’s conjuring up the cause as a witness to condemn the symptom. The way to put a stop to situations were people are pushed and kept into prostitution by economic necessity won’t be a “solution to prostitution,” it will be the same solution that will put a stop to wage slavery in general.

  35. 35
    Sigmund

    Living in Sweden I have to question the effectiveness of the anti-prostitution laws here. Is it really working or is it making things worse for the most vulnerable women in this society?
    You do not see prostitutes walking the streets here, that is true. Instead there has been an enormous proliferation of ‘massage parlors’ in recent years that you cannot miss. There must be hundreds if not thousands of these places opened up in the past decade, mostly staffed (although probably not owned) by groups of desperate looking asian women that you can see as you walk by, lined up on chairs awaiting ‘clients’. Some of them even have signs that state they are ‘genuine thai massage’ parlors.
    But there are no native Swedes working as prostitutes.
    So it’s OK.
    Instead you have very poor foreign women who are dependent on the immigration laws here (they are allowed to stay and work so long as their boyfriend sponsors them – it is notorious that some Swedish men use this provision to force foreign women to comply with them for years, only to abruptly withdraw consent when they get tired and want a replacement.)
    Perhaps this is more a case of non-enforcement of the law about clients of prostitutes rather than an inherent failure of the law but I think it is better to admit that the Swedish situation is not (at least not currently) an ideal model to emulate.

  36. 36
    Mattmon

    The question is being a prostitute… versus what other job? I think people would “choose” to be prostitutes, in the same way that people would “choose” to work at McDonalds flipping burgers all day for minimum wage. It’s just that one is considered a “real job” and the other is considered by some not a “real job”. You can make the same argument about “choice” for any other menial job out there. Would people “choose” to be prostitutes versus working in some of the other menial jobs? I think some would.

    1. 36.1
      skeptifem

      If you really believe that then stealing a hamburger is the same as raping a prostitute. After all, rape becomes theft of services when sex becomes “just a job”. You don’t really think that, do you?

      1. Phillip Helbig

        No, he doesn’t, but then he didn’t say it. You put the words in his mouth. Just because two things are both crimes doesn’t mean that they are equally bad.

      2. Thorne

        By this logic, slavery becomes a simple “theft of services” for the same reason. After all, it’s “just a job.”

    2. 36.2
      Liz

      A lot of people here are pointing out that “choosing” prostitution over other low-paying menial jobs that do not provide a living wage is a legitimate choice – and it is in that very limited context – but the argument misrepresents the Nordic model philosophically and functionally.

      If sex work is work like other work, then where are all of the men and women who are leaving unionized jobs with benefits to work in prostitution because sex work is just like, but preferable to, delivering mail or working for public transit?

      Sex work is consistently compared to sub-standard exploitive work. This does not make a compelling argument for legalizing the buying of sex as a step towards a non-exploitive egalitarian society where women do not have to fear male sexual violence.

      And for heaven’s sake, please stop characterizing sex-work critiques as being supportive of criminalizing the selling of sex. That is not the position taken by this blogger.

      1. Phillip Helbig

        This seems to be false-dichotomy day: either it is sub-standard work or everyone must flock to it in droves. Compare it to, say, being a rock star, being a funeral-home director, or being a brain surgeon. These are rare professions which not everyone is capable of doing. You probably don’t even know anyone who has one of these professions. But is that a reason to say they are somehow inferior?

  37. 37
    Tina Hunting-Lake

    I am a prostitute from Finland and yes, I chose this. I have education but still can’t find a proper job so I rather do this. If my cousin came up to me and said she’s thinking of becoming a prostitute I wouldn’t right away object to it. This is a personal thing, a personal choice that no one else can do for you. But please note that whereas I wouldn’t actively promote prostitution as a future career, neither would I do so with so-called legitimate jobs such as telemarketing or cleaning. I don’t find either of those examples loathsome (well, maybe telemarketing sometimes, speaking from experience) but I cannot dictate someone else’s work choices on my preferences.

    Something worth noting on prostitutionresearch.com’s ad. That is a description of sex slaves, victim’s of human trafficking. It’s important to make the distinction between that and prostitution based on one’s choice. This also includes children that cannot make a choice for themselves in this matter and are therefore automatically part of the human trafficking category. The things listed there, such as being tied up or penetrated anally or inclusion of animals (which in many places is also illegal) or filming, are not the “usual” package for the great majority of my kind of choice-prostitutes. These are things one can choose whether or not to perform for money. Just because we are paid does not mean we give all control to the customer who can do whatever they can imagine. In reality, myself and the client negotiate and try to find common ground in the things he/she would like to do and what I am comfortable with. Also, most choice-prostitutes without additional problems demand the use of condoms in all tissue contact. Probably I’m more cautious of STDs than non-prostitute women and thus safer.

    Depending on the country and circumstances, there may be no pimps involved. I don’t and it’s mostly foreign-born prostitutes or drug-addicted prostitutes that have pimps or madames. I don’t know which researchers claim that most prostitution is paid rape, nor do I know what they involve in the definition of prostitution (again, choice vs. human trafficking). The whole point of negotiations I have with my clients is to find the point of my consent. Money changing hands does not negate that consent. I also don’t find my job harmful or traumatic in any way. If I do, I find another job. This is also no justification, as many other jobs can be harmful or traumatic, such as policing, firefighting, healthcare and so on. Adding a source in these kind of sentences would be something you may want to consider in the future.

    Finally, as a citizen of Sweden’s neighbouring country, I’d like to note that prostitution in Sweden hasn’t gone away with the introduction of the law you mentioned. It has only driven it to other countries but mostly underground. This is against the very thing anti-prostitution people argue for: the well-being of women. By driving them underground and pitting them against the authorities, they have only enabled the pimps and human traffickers. Also, victims of either can no longer go to the police for help as it may or may not (not that extensively familiar with Swedish practice on this one) be that they will be prosecuted for prostitution. And as legal recourse has been taken away, so has been the women’s control over their bodies. Personally I also think that instead of legalising prostitution and bringing it to the daylight, anti-prostitution people only enforce the sub-human value of prostitutes as well as the idea that prostitutes cannot be raped.

    That’s probably long enough already. My apologies for not being able to squeeze it in any further. :)

    1. 37.1
      Stewie

      As a human being, thanks for your incredibly valuable personal insight. If the world was sane people like you would be making the legislation, or arguing that no legislation is required.

      As a Libertarian I find the Swedish example appalling, authoritarian and despicable.

    2. 37.2
      Liz

      “I have education but still can’t find a proper job so I rather do this.”

      So are you saying that you would have chosen other work if it had been available to you? With respect, why is prostitution not your first choice?

      1. Phillip Helbig

        What sort of a question is that? Most people probably work at a job which is not their first choice. Neither are they victims nor do people ask them why their job is not their first choice. In other words, your question implies a false dichotomy: either prostitution is so bad that only people forced into doing so would work as prostitutes, or it is so good that no prostitute should wish for another job if one were available, she had better training etc.

  38. 38
    michaeld

    Isn’t there a bit of the argument from incredulity in what you’re saying? That you can’t imagine how someone could be satisfied being a prostitute so anyone who says there is must be self hating, or too deep in and won’t acknowledge the abuse and want to leave.

  39. 39
    bubba707

    Keep in mind that in Nevada there is legal prostitution in some places by local option. As it happens I knew a woman that worked in a house there and used it to finance her college education when the alternatives were no college or a huge debt on graduation. Now, I can see Taslimas points but legalizing and regulating prostitution strictly can at least eliminate most of the risk to both the woman and her customers. Idealism is wonderful but reality is, prostitution will always exist so I think it’s better to get it out of the realm of criminal organizations.

    1. 39.1
      skeptifem

      well bubba, why don’t you think about what happens when the johns want to do things the legal prostitutes won’t agree to. Like a man who wants to beat up or rape a prostitute, say.

      Do you think that guy just goes home when he can’t find what he wants legally? I doubt it. It just shifts more crap to the poorer women being pimped out illegally. There is still illegal prostitution in las vegas because the demand for violent or degrading sex acts hasn’t gone away.

      Legalized prostutition only reduces harm when the johns all want to be nice. All the prostitutes who are assaulted, raped, or murdered demonstrate how unlikely it is that johns will ever stop being violent.

      1. Phillip Helbig

        Raping a prostitute is illegal even if prostitution is legal. Making prostitution illegal won’t convince rapists to “just stop”. Maybe they’ll rape some other woman rather than a prostitute. Is that any better?

      2. Thorne

        There are illegal prostitutes in Las Vegas because prostitution is still illegal within Las Vegas. It’s legal in Nevada, generally, but no necessarily in all communities.

        Violence and rape scenes are rather common fantasies, even among married men and women. And believe it or not, there are women who enjoy the [i]fantasy[i] of being raped. Believe me, if there are enough men out there who want to do it, there will be some women who will be willing to sell it to them. But in a legal bordello, there will be safety protocols that a street hooker can not rely on.

        Sure, there will still be illegal prostitutes, but virtually all of them will be virtual sex-slaves, if not actual sex-slaves. In our current legal climate, these sex-slaves can be hidden by the general run of street hookers. With prostitutes working from safe bordellos, these illegals will stand out much more easily, and therefore be much easier to control. And those trapped there by slavers will be easier to locate and rescue.

        There’s no reason that a legal bordello couldn’t be set up to act as a safe house for the illegals, those who want to get out of the life as well as those who just want more control for themselves, without their pimps. Once in such a place they can be safe while the slow wheels of the system work to make them safe on the outside as well.

      3. Thorne

        Oh, and why, as you seem to be implying, is it better for those violent johns to rape and beat a prostitute rather than a housewife? Aren’t they women as well? Don’t they deserve the same level of security as any other woman in the world?

  40. 40
    Jean K

    Taslima, I think Greta & Co. are thinking about a very tiny minority of prostitutes in progressive enclaves like Amsterdam, and you are thinking about the vast majority all over the world. They are talking about a philosophy problem–is there anything inherently wrong with selling sex?–and you are thinking about a real world problem. As for the tiny minority and the philosophy problem, I like your point about what we want for our daughters. No one–no one!–would mention prostitution as a good career choice, in a discussion with their daughter about all the possibilities. I believe a lot has to have gone wrong for someone to decide their best option is to make money by selling sex to strangers. It’s good you’re here, adding a different voice to the mix.

    By the way, a great article on prostitution was in the NYT recently. 90% of prostitutes in Spain are trafficked! With numbers like that, it’s really not in the best interests of women around the world for comfortable, affluent people to keep the focus on philosophy problems and the tiny subset of (possibly!) self-respecting, happy prostitutes. Here’s the article–

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/07/world/europe/young-men-flock-to-spain-for-sex-with-trafficked-prostitutes.html?pagewanted=all

    1. 40.1
      BonnieLB

      I agree completely with Jean K.

    2. 40.2
      argentreivich

      I lived and worked in Cambodia and Cameroon, so yes I advocate against trafficking and exploitation but some women do choose to turn to prostitution and some of them even manage to turn it into genuine community service. The life in Phnom Penh is different from the life in Sydney.

      Please see:

      http://www.touchingbase.org/

      and the documentary on this organisation and its initiators:

      http://www.scarletroad.com.au/trailer/

      BTW the woman featured is a doctor and has no intention to renounce prostitution.

      Are we talking of an extremely small minority of sex workers here? Yes. But to legislate against all form of prostitution?

      Take the Swedish Laws: they had the opposite effect to the one desired by pushing prostitution indoors making it less visible but also less subject to control.

      There are no easy solutions here.

    3. 40.3
      mynameischeese

      Funny you should mention Amsterdam as it is one of the top destinations for human trafficking: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_the_Netherlands#Human_trafficking

      All the legalising and regulating didn’t really help the position of women forced into prostitution, even though it possibly helped the few middle class women who chose it.

    4. 40.4
      Andrew G.

      The opposition to the Steinem tour mentioned in the original post is not by any means confined to privileged Westerners. There are alternative viewpoints within India too:

      http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/this-lady-doth-protest-too-much/1/183454.html

      http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3287109.ece

    5. 40.5
      NuMad

      There’s nothing in the discussion so far that reduces the question of prostitution to a philosophical problem more than Taslima quoting Steinem essentially substituting the symbolism of penetration to the real risks and problems of prostitution.

      As of this post there is an emphatic attempt to make a case against prostitution in an absolute, universal and quite philosophical sense.

    6. 40.6
      hall-of-rage

      Reading Greta’s blog on occasion, I usually come off with the sense that she avoids focusing on the harms of sex work, or pornography, and this is no exception. But Natalie Reed, who’s on the same side as Greta in this debate, had already written about how to take a practical position on sex work.

      From http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/03/13/thinking-through-the-sex-trade/ , a summary of why the philosophy matters too (in the context of talking about practical solutions and harm reduction):

      “The problem here is that entrenched concepts of both our old biases about sexual morality AND the imposed dichotomy of “sex-positive” / “sex-negative” present an oversimplified comprehension of an intensely complex element of human life and society. Under both we’ve got pressures influencing us to prematurely shut down dialogue and thought, or assume a particular over-arching position on something that may work completely differently under different circumstances. What is of primary importance, I believe, rather than championing such positions is simply being able to foster a healthy discussion of these issues. Jumping too quickly to slut-shaming or accusations of “sex-negativity” or otherwise reprimanding someone just for trying to think or talk about an issue related to the sex industry prevents us from being able to ever arrive at a meaningful discourse about it.”

  41. 41
    Walton

    My comments are still in moderation. Please could you approve them?

  42. 42
    OverlappingMagisteria

    I was wondering how many people who claim that women choose to be prostitutes encourage their beloved daughters to be prostitutes. Even prostitutes do not want their daughters become prostitutes.

    The same could be said for an occupation such as a janitor, or a cleaning lady. There are many jobs that fall below the expectations of parents who have the highest hopes for their children. That does not make those jobs wrong.

  43. 43
    murci3lag0

    Taslima, dont feel persecuted by the post of other FTB bloggers. I find the discussion very enlightening with good arguments in both sides. I’m for one that has never given a careful examination of the prostitution problem as I have never been part of it. So reading the position of each one is a good way for me to form an informed opinion.

  44. 44
    daviddurant

    I am disappointed that your choice of language includes such phrases as “I feel suffocated”, “it looks like a war started against me”, “politically incorrect”, etc. Such emotive phrasing is more commonly used by non-rationalists to try to shut down conversations they disagree with. This site is for the free exchange of ideas and I hope we can do this without making disagreements personal.

    That said – I agree that the *vast* majority of prostitution worldwide is done for terrible reasons of violence and poverty. However, in some affluent places some women *do* actively choose this as a way to make money. It can be a safe and profitable way to earn a living. I personally know two women who have chosen this option (I know them as friends, not professionally).

    I agree that much should be done to root out the causes of why most women become prostitutes. However, to say that it is impossible for any woman to make a positive choice to become one is simply incorrect.

  45. 45
    Steve Schuler

    Hey Taslima!

    Thanks for your initial article on this topic and this follow-up post in response to the backlash that your original article generated amongst several other Free Thought Bloggers.

    I share your perspective that prostitution is a business that should be eradicated and I applaud your willingness to counter the politically correct position on this issue.

  46. 46
    Tim Groc

    But it looks like a war started against me on FTB because I said something politically incorrect.

    You won’t be the last Taslima.

    There is a clique among FTB, and they can turn into bullies when they have a target in the crosshairs.

    However, I suppose they have every right to critique your article, but remember to stand up to them. They have it in their minds they can trample over all and sundry.

    1. 46.1
      roland72

      Show me a comment where someone has tried to bully Taslima. I haven’t seen one.

      1. Tim Groc

        I didn’t say someone had bullied Taslima.

        Learn to read properly.

        1. roland72

          So your remark “There is a clique among FTB, and they can turn into bullies when they have a target in the crosshairs” (which incidentally I read perfectly well, thank you) had nothing to do with what you meant to say. Since what you write and what you apparently intend to mean are unrelated, I will ignore any further comments from you. Thanks for the heads-up!

    2. 46.2
      Tony! The Queer Shoop

      Tim,
      I have to take issue with the way you’ve phrased your post. I don’t think anyone has Taslima in their crosshairs, prepared to bully her. No one is trampling over her.
      What is happening is simply an exchange of ideas by many people with their own opinions on a subject. Some of the bloggers here disagree with Taslima. And they’re voicing their opinions. Just like many of them do frequently when discussing religion.
      I happen to feel that it is wrong to criminalize prostitution, as bodily autonomy is important to humanism. I oppose the human rights abuses, such as coercion, brutality and rape that are aspects of working as a sex worker. That doesn’t mean I think being a sex worker is wrong.

      1. Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

        Tim’s still licking his wounds from being called out on his race-baiting over on Black Skeptics the other week. He’s also trolled heavily in defense of Elevator Guy. His comments are passive-aggressive jabs at people who won’t put up with his crap.

  47. 47
    WithinThisMind

    I worked my way through my first stint of college cleaning toilets at Disneyland. A friend of mine worked her way through stripping at a club.

    She made more money, worked fewer hours, and has fewer horror stories. I can pull the guts out of a chicken without flinching because friggin nothing grosses me out anymore.

    The moral?

    Some jobs suck. I wouldn’t encourage my kid, male or female, to do any of those jobs and am trying my best to ensure they never have too.

    Right now, the sex industry is one such job. Factory work used to be one, now people line up everytime there is an opening around here because worker’s rights movements improved conditions. The sex industry could benefit from the same.

    But if I choose to sell my body, you do not have the right to tell me I can’t. If I choose to waggle my luscious ass on a bartop so people can stick dollar bills in my underwear, you don’t have the right to tell me I can’t. My body, my choice.

  48. 48
    Gregory in Seattle

    Short answer: Yes, some do. And even, sometimes, men chose to be prostitutes as well.

    Ms. Nasreen, the main objection that has been raised to your earlier post is the assuption that ALL prostitution, everywhere, involves trafficking and exploitation. While there is indeed a lot of overlap, they are different things: “undocumented” foreigners are trafficked to be farm and factory workers in many countries, and there are many kinds of inhumane, degrading exploitation.

    I am familiar with sex work: I did it myself, for three years while in college and for two years right afterwards. I did this willingly: I was making more money in 10 hours a week than I could possibly make working 40 a week at any of the “normal” jobs that were available. As a 22 year old college student with tuition and rent, taking difficult courses — BS in applied mathematics with a minor in computer science — the extra money and the extra time were very important. As is the case in any service industry, some of my clients were nice and some were jerks. Usually, though, it was just work.

    It may be worth noting that there is a lot of sex work that does not involve actual prostitution. One of my friends is a respected dominant in the S&M trade: he doesn’t have sex with his clients, he helps them out in other mutually consentual ways (the details are probably not important.)

    As far as HIV and other STDs, you can bet that I was cautious. I am quite aware of the risks taken by gay men in the sex industry, and most of my clients were, too. For the five years that I was in the trade, the worst that happened was one case of lice, which was easy enough to deal with. I am now HIV+, but that happened 9 years after I left the business, because of a boyfriend of three years who had lied about being monogamous. Sex workers who are there voluntarily — and there are a lot of us — can and do insist on safer sex practices, and will refuse to work with any client who objects. Among those who willingly enter the industry, the incidence of STDs is lower than it is among the population as a whole.

    There are risks, as with any job: one of my neighbors works as a physical therapist and masseur (ie NOT a sex worker), and he has been cheated and even robbed when doing out calls. In developed countries, though, where cells phones and the internet have become ubiquitous, much of the sex industry has left the steets and is no longer controlled by pimps. There are quite a few self-employed entrepeneurs, like I was.

    My own experiences are why I support full legalization of prostitution. Give sex workers legal avenues of reporting trafficking and exploitation, and quite a lot of those problems go away.

    Ms. Nasreen, I would like to direct you to the Nude Photo Revolutionaries Calendar championed by your fellow Freethought blogger, Maryam Namazie. These women were not trafficked or coerced into making the calendar; they are not being exploited. Quite the opposite: the women are standing against coercion and exploitation by refusing to remain covered up. For some, sex work is liberating in a very similar way. The cornerstone of feminism — of freedom itself — is the doctrine that “My body is my own, and my happiness is my own. If it makes me happy to pose naked in a culturally subversive calendar, or have sex for pay, then I will be happy.” We should be fighting together to maximize happiness, not force others to behave as we want them to behave: that is the mindset of the theocrat. We should be fighting together to make sure that those who enter the sex trade do so because that is what they want to do and not because they are being forced into it.

    I will close by saying again that yes, there is a lot of sex work that is exploitive and involves human trafficking, and yes, exploitation and trafficking should be fought and ended. However, it is incorrect to assert that all sex work involves trafficking and exploitation, just as it is incorrect to imply that all trafficking and exploitation involves sex.

    1. 48.1
      Jessica Hollis-Brown

      Wow. What a brutally honest, fascinating, and extremely well-written response. Thanks for that. And I agree with you completely. Think of it as Prohibition. Prohibition did not work; it conversely, perversely, created more crime, vice, violence, and cost more money than lives “saved” from the evils of liquor. Now, alcohol is taxed, regulated, quality controlled, and easily available. Yes, alcoholism and alcohol-related problems are still around, but the fact is, people will always do what they want to do, even if it’s bad for them or morally frowned-upon. Although prostitutes and their bodies are not commodities and sex isn’t booze, the principle is the same. By de-criminalizing prostitution, you make it possible for sex workers to have greater access to health and legal services, help diminish the social stigma, and probably bring revenue to the state.

  49. 49
    daviddurant

    Hmm, I already submitted a long comment but it doesn’t seem to have arrived. Maybe it’s in moderation…

    Anyway:
    >> But it looks like a war started against me on FTB because I
    >> said something politically incorrect.

    > There is a clique among FTB, and they can turn into bullies when
    > they have a target in the crosshairs.

    This thread is in danger of quickly disappearing down an ad hominem hole already. This site is for calm rational discussion of topics. This ceases as soon as people make things personal.

    To paraphrase my missing post – yes, the vast majority of people who are prostitutes do it because of violence or poverty. However, this does not mean that it cannot even be a valid choice for some people.

    In the end, given freedom of choice, who are we to say what people do with their bodies?

  50. 50
    Martyn

    I have to agree with everything Jean K says. She certainly spoke for me!

    Greta & Co. are indeed thinking about those safe little clubs in San Franscisco where a woman wielding a whip, wields the power.

    These here on FTB’s are focused on sex-positivity when all environmental and safety conditions are right.

    Ignore them.

    When all environmental and saftey conditions are NOT right – which is an environment MOST prostitutes have to ‘work’ in – they have nothing to say.

    Let’s be honest here. They have read your article that explicitly mentions TRAFFICKING and they go off on a tangent and defend the sex and porn trade using, yes, their trademark term, sex-positivity.

    Well, there is nothing positive about ‘selling’ yourself, to be beaten and raped on a daily basis and if Greta Christina’s sycophants were to stop themselves in their tracks for just a moment they would realise that you are speaking about what the majority of prostitutes experience. Not the minority in safe suburban homes.

    Anyway, Taslima. As Jean said before me, you are offering an alternative view of the sex work industry through your writings here on FTB and it is refreshing.

    Keep up the good work. You ARE doing well, and thank you.

    1. 50.1
      One Brow

      When all environmental and saftey conditions are NOT right – which is an environment MOST prostitutes have to ‘work’ in – they have nothing to say.

      You must not read Greta Christina/Natalie Reed much, or not understand what you read. i don’t think either would disagree that most prostitutes work in an unsafe environment. Their solution would be to make the environment safer and emulate the safe enclaves, not make it more dangerous by increasing arrests (even if only johns are arrested, the resulting seclusion forced on the johns will be shared by the prostitutes, meaning they will still be endangered).

    2. 50.2
      h. hanson

      Martyn you look the words right out of my mouth.
      I think it is great to have Taslima here and am looking forward to much more from her.

  51. 51
    Riptide

    Yes, you were being silenced by a “clique of bullies”, every single one of whom prefaced their critiques with how much they like and respect your work and how they just have a specific disagreement with this one thing you said. If that isn’t the height of witch-hunting inquisition, I don’t know what is!

    Oh, and the answer to “Do women really choose prostitution?” is “Some of them do, yes.” Next question.

    1. 51.1
      BobChaos23

      If by “silenced” you mean, “criticized and chose to run away from an opportunity to actually address points meade”, then yeah, she sure was “silenced”…

      =D

  52. 52
    John Wilson

    But it looks like a war started against me on FTB because I said something politically incorrect.

    Say what? The blog posts I read disagreeing with you were disagreeing with the substance of what you wrote. If you think their arguments were wrong, then say so. They weren’t arguing that you were politically incorrect: just incorrect.

    T over at Crommunist pointed out the various problems with the Swedish system of ‘criminalize the customer’. If T’s criticisms of the Swedish system are accurate that is because their are issues with the Swedish system (define ‘sex-worker’, define ‘customer’, does it even work). If T is inaccurate, then address the inaccuracies.

    I’ve never known Greta Christina or Natalie Reed to be anything other than thought provoking, and I would hardly describe either as being politically correct; yet they both discussed sex-workers who they had met and talked to who were not unhappy with their lot. Greta also mentioned male prostitutes. These are hardly arguments of “political correctness”, and to dismiss them as such is… well, odd.

    And in this post you equate prostitution with child sex-trafficking. Now, I have no particular views on prostitution (actually, more accurately, I had none until I read you, Crommunist, Greta and Natalie, and I’m sorry, I’m with them) But I do have problems with child sex-trafficking, and I do have problems with peadophiles who go to other countries to escape domestic child-sex laws. But reading that association really put me off your entire line of reasoning: if you want to make the argument that adult sex-work is exploitation, then make that argument; muddying the waters in your first article with slavery (“all prostitution is slavery”) and in the second with peadophillia, is pretty poor.

  53. 53
    Blattafrax

    I hope we all Free-thought bloggers believe in freedom of expression. [...] But it looks like a war started against me on FTB because I said something politically incorrect. I feel suffocated because I am opposed by a group I proudly belong to, a group of atheists, secularists, humanists, rationalists.

    Please don’t feel oppressed. This is _free_thought blogs and we have to have disagreement to know we are free to think. Your writing is a pleasure to read whether I agree with your views or not.

    I wrote a long comment on the last thread disagreeing with your position – for similar reasons to most other commenters. Then deleted it before submitting. Mainly because I read the statistics on trafficking (thousands of women), drug abuse (~10%) and coercion in the highly regulated Amsterdam prostitution industry. No matter what my rights to do what I want with my body should be, it’s not acceptable to pay for it with that amount of misery.

  54. 54
    One Brow

    They did not decide they want to be prostitutes instead of doctors, engineers, lawyers, pilots. Instead their ‘options’ were more in the realm of how to get enough money to feed themselves and their children. If prostitution were really a choice it would not be those people with the fewest choices available to them who are disproportionately in prostitution.

    This is just a bad line of argumentation. I could say the same thing aobut working as a fast food cook at McDonalds in the USA. No one makes a career out of being a fast food cook instead of being a doctor, engineer, etc. They are fast food cooks because they need money to feed themselves and their children. The people with the fewest job choices are the ones that become fast food cooks.

    Of course, being a fast fod cook is at least legal, and you are protected by the government to a large degree while performing your duties. On the other hand, you won’t pay for college doing it.

    ARe there valid arguments to be made about prostitution as it is practiced? Absolutely, and I agree with much of what you say. However, this particular liine of argumentation is a bad one. Someone committed to critical thinking stops using bad arguments.

  55. 55
    dorfl

    Taslima: what should Greta, Natalie and any others who criticised your post have said that would have made it clearer that they have an immense respect for you and the work you do, but they happen to disagree with you on that one particular issue?

  56. 56
    Brad

    The problem is that your claim
    “no woman chooses to be a prostitute”
    can be refuted by showing even one individual who has, in fact, chosen this profession voluntarily.

    The problem is compounded when you appear to be telling that person (several of whom posted in your prior thread) “you are either lying or deluded”, which is, you have to admit, insulting and dismissive.

    There are so many other claims that are more defensible, and are worth focusing our attention on:

    “Sexual slavery is a huge problem in (country)”
    “(specific law) in (specific country) has led to an (increase/decrease) in sexual slavery”
    “Despite reports to the contrary, the life of sex workers in (country) is actually more like (description)”
    “Most prostitutes in (cited study) have claimed they entered the profession for (cited reason)”

    So many in this community hold you in very high regard, and I hope that you will continue to find support and love, but you have to know that you will also be challenged on your claims, especially those that others find unfounded.

  57. 57
    Tim Groc

    Alyson Miers

    Freethinkers, pretty much by definition, expect to have arguments amongst themselves.

    Depends on the subject. There are some subjects the FTB crowd are too scared too discuss – such as the recent “calling out racism” thread over at Black Skeptics.

    It was pretty much ignored across FreeThoughtBlogs because the author (Winterwind) was bringing up examples that might have embarassed bloggers at FTB.

    So it was left to me, muggins, to demolish his argument and point out the hypocrisy of their thread and posters.

    1. 57.1
      StealthBadger

      Ooo, I totally missed that, and even missed the original post! I spend too much time on YouTube. *goes to see*

      1. Tim Groc

        It’s an interesting thread with a lot of good comments. It’s worth checking out.

        I did have a chuckle when someone posted examples of equivalent “racist” comments from Pharyngula, and the cognitive dissonance went into max-mode, even forcing the author to ‘umm and ahh’ and state that he was aware that there was probably a problem with “perpetuating racism” at FTB as well!

        He was well and truly called out.

        Anyway, I will repeat what Jesse says: “I think the argument could be most decisively and usefully settled if both sides would appeal to statistics a little more, and rhetoric and anecdotes less.

  58. 58
    bubba707

    I think many are looking at this from different directions. Let’s not start hostilities over it, let’s talk instead. My position, having seen quite a bit in my life, is the licensed, regulated and inspected house model is workable and eliminates most of the problems associated with prostitution. When it comes to trafficing and street work the harshest sanctions should be used not only against the women (if they’re not held as slaves), but especially against those promoting and using said “services”. IOW, nail the johns hard too. The reality is prostitution exists, has existed as long as humanity, and will continue to exist. The question is how to deal with it fairly, rationally, humanely and intelligently. Before the issue can be dealt with we all need to get on the same page.

  59. 59
    Joe

    I think the argument could be most decisively and usefully settled if both sides would appeal to statistics a little more, and rhetoric and anecdotes less. Both of the latter, while emotionally moving, and useful for illustrating a point, are not the point itself, at least while we claim to be freethinkers.

  60. 60
    charlesbaer

    Ms. Nasreen: Greta Christina and Natalie Reed are NOT the voice of skepticism! Not when it comes to trafficking women and children for sex! You are that voice!

    In response to their amazing(!!) opposition to your well-researched and undeniably-ethical position, their blogs have attracted posts from numerous self-described “happy” hookers. You are correct to discount these.

    The reason we don’t listen to the “pro-sex” pleas of such “voluntary” prostitutes is obvious: Their thinking is clearly impaired by their victimization. It’s the same reason we don’t listen to beaten women who so “love” their abusers that they don’t want them jailed.

    But even that assumes that we’re actually hearing the voices of trafficked women. There’s good reason to believe otherwise.

    In the 1980s, feminists Catharine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin, and Robin Morgan would appear on U.S. TV talk shows to debate the undoubted evils of prostitution-fueled pornography. But they refused to appear with porn “stars” or representatives of COYOTE (for “Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics”, a supposed union for prostitutes). The reason, as given by MacKinnon: “We want to debate the pimps, not their puppets.” The (now un-regrettably late) Bob Guccione of “Penthouse” did appear opposite them a few times, as did sleaze extrordinaire Larry Flynt of “Hustler”. (Hugh Hefner never did.)

    COYOTE was later unmasked as a pimp-funded organization which extorted “dues” from prostitutes in Nevada, the only U.S. state where the U.S. government refuses to prosecute sex traffickers. So every opponent of the feminist position was making money over the bodies of women. (See “Not for Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography”.)

    I wouldn’t doubt that at least some if not all the responses to Greta’s and Natalie’s posts are likewise from victimizers, not victims.

    Going back to the TV shows, of course there the porn-masters said that all their victims were happy, happy, happy, and that the feminists were there only because they hated the idea of sexual freedom or a free press.

    MacKinnon and Dworkin instead brought facts and figures and some of the victims onstage with them such as “Deep Throat” star “Linda Lovelace”, who told of being raped in every scene of that movie. Guccione’s response? Lovelace “voluntarily” had sex with dogs!!!

    Dworkin herself had also been a victim of prostitution and rape, so she knew about these problems first-hand.

    Ms. Nasreen, I believe you should follow MacKinnon et al’s example in your blog. Self-described “happy” hookers and other apologists for trafficking, prostitution and rape should not be allowed to post here. Freethought Blogs really needs at least one voice that actually favors protecting women and children, and a safe place for them to speak out.

    Thank you!!!!!

    P.S. Jean K’s linked story @9 is so sad. How can anyone with a soul say this is not pure evil?

    1. 60.1
      BobChaos23

      Well, at least you didn’t dismissively say that anyone who disagrees with you is evil and immoral and probably a liar who should be able to speak out or criticize anything said ever.

      =P

  61. 61
    Dana Gower

    I tried to post a comment last night, but it wasn’t accepted. Maybe this will be better.
    First, prostitution and sex trafficking are not necessarily the same thing. Second, there are many people who believe sex trafficking doesn’t occur in nearly the numbers that are sometimes quoted.
    There is a Web site, http://www.maggiemcneill.wordpress.com, that is written by someone who claims to be a former escort. I think people should read it just to get a different perspective. But she also has done serious studies of sex trafficking and under-age prostitution that deserves some serious thought. This is a small part of one of her recent columns:

    http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com

    Held Together With Lies (April 2nd, 2012)
    The UN has released its latest “estimate” of “human trafficking victims”, and though it’s less than 9% of the popular figure popularized by fanatics, it’s still both unsubstantiated and inflated by at least two orders of magnitude:
    The U.N. crime-fighting office said Tuesday that 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any one time, and 80 percent of them are being exploited as sexual slaves. Yuri Fedotov, the head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime…said $32 billion is being earned every year by unscrupulous criminals running human trafficking networks, and two out of every three victims are women…According to Fedotov’s Vienna-based office, only one out of 100 victims of trafficking is ever rescued…
    In other words, Fedotov can only support 1% of his claim, or 24,000 people in the entire world. That’s a lot more believable, but it wouldn’t generate the necessary panic so fanatics multiply it by over 1000x, then refuse to produce even the most tenuous evidence in support of the exaggerated claim.

  62. 62
    wytchy

    Hi Taslima!

    I read both your previous post and this one, and there are points in both I’m not totally on board with but I first wanted to say that I’m glad you are posting, and I hope that the discussion that happened in the comments of the last post don’t discourage you. It’s better that people care enough to discuss the issue from differing view points, and I really hope it doesn’t come across as people trying to gang up on you or snuff you out. In other words, please keep posting! :)

    As for the issue, I think this post is much more clear about your position than the last one, and I definitely can agree with you on what you’re saying. I do think that we need to do more than just criminalize sex workers and their clients. As already pointed out, poverty and lack of opportunity are the major forces driving women into sex work, and until those issues are adequately addressed there will continue to be prostitution, regardless of its legal status. Because of that, I do think it’s important to legalize and regulate, to the best or our ability, the sex industry. This would bring it out into the light and make it less easy for people to use abducted, trafficked women for sexual slavery. It would also provide some protections and health care access. It’s not a perfect solution, but I think that, combined with increasing social equity for women, and fighting human trafficking, will work towards the desired result in the end.

    It’s going to be a long journey to end human slavery, including sex slavery. We need to continue having bright minds attack the issue from all sides and view points if we hope to overcome it.

  63. 63
    Cthandhs

    Taslima, You are not alone in your opinion, as should be obvious at this point in the comment thread, but you have stumbled into a hornet’s nest in internet feminism between “radical feminists” and “sex-positive” feminists, the core argument of which seems to be whether porn and prostitution are ok “if it’s the woman’s choice”.

    I found that this post was very helpful for me in defining my own opinion, and generally a great read. http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2012/01/31/a-few-lite-thoughts-on-rape-and-prostitution/

    My opinion is similar to yours, prostitution is not something that a woman would choose to do, if she had the same choices as a man, any more than a man would choose to do it, there may be a few, but they are far between. In the U.S. we have a prevalent fantasy of the woman who is putting herself through Medical school by stripping or prostituting herself, and women in the sex trade sell that fantasy because it makes money. The media sells that fantasy because we want to think that we’re not rapists, and that prostitution is victim-less. The reality is, that these women were little girls who were told all their lives that they would amount to nothing, that they were morally corrupt by virtue of their gender and that the only positive trait they could ever hope to have is their looks and their sexuality. Some got this from parents and family, but we have all been told this by our churches, our classmates, our TVs, our teachers. Even for us wealthy westerners, is it really a choice? No. We just want to think it is.

  64. 64
    amethystt

    I really appreciate you bringing this topic to FTB. I just wanted to say thank you for continuing this discussion (and thanks to commenters sharing their views and experiences).

  65. 65
    Arakiba

    It’s good to see someone speaking out about this…no matter what the naysayers are spouting, the overwhelming majority of prostitutes do not want to be prostitutes.

  66. 66
    Perry Bulwer

    I spent several years working in and living next to the poorest neighbourhood in Canada. It is the neighbourhood where dozens of street sex workers were murdered by a serial killer because the police and the community didn’t give a damn about them. I volunteered as a citizen advocate along with other progressive citizens to try and protect those women, who were being pushed into a dangerous industrial area by NIMBY residents with the help of community police officers. My involvement in that issue led me to law school where I began to work on related issues, such as setting up North America’s first drug injection facility, Insite. So I have grass-roots, front line experience with this issue of prostitution.

    The status quo approach to prostitution is not working and will not save women (or men) from that practice, just as the so-called war on drugs does not protect anyone but causes more harm than good. The war on drugs is actually a war on people, especially minorities and the poor. Similarly, when there are crackdowns on prostitution, it is the poor street workers who get targeted. That’s what happened in Vancouver. The serial killer’s victims were all street workers, a disproportionate number of whom were indigenous women. For a hundred years or so, the Vancouver police have shuffled street prostitutes from one neighbhourhood to another. Residents protest and picket to push street prostitutes out. Meanwhile, massage parlours, escort agencies, etc., get licensed by the city.

    It is one thing to oppose prostitution as oppressive to women (and men), but what solutions are being offered to end it other than legislative and enforcement measures that are proven failures? Until an effective way is found to end the practice, harm reduction must be instituted, in the same way harm reduction is a crucial step to ending the disastrous war on drugs.

    Here’s a blog article I wrote about sexist attitudes in the RCMP and their failure, along with the Vancouver Police, to catch a serial killer because his victims were prostitutes and drug dealers:

    “Sexual harassment in the RCMP and the failure to catch a serial killer”

    http://chainthedogma.blogspot.ca/2011/11/sexual-harassment-in-rcmp-and-failure.html

  67. 67
    Tyler Overman

    Taslima, you could do a lot more to support your case than these two recent articles. Many times, you conflate sex trafficking with willful prostitution. These are two very different things, and it becomes very difficult to understand just what your point is when you fail to make such important distinctions. Are you saying that there is no such thing as willful prostitution? What about the women who say they do it because they enjoy it? Are they lying?

    Also, there is a lot of sloppy scholarly work throughout your articles that no one should tolerate. Many of your “truths” in the original article are provided without so much as an explanation. They are merely declared to be so. Why should I believe you? Where is your evidence? Furthermore, there are four lengthy quotations you provide without any citation whatsoever.

    And to top it off, you rely on several vacuous concepts to support your argument. What is the “dignity of the body?” Do all activities that “involve penetration” have “an inherent risk towards violence against women?” What about consensual sex? There may be some profound truth to discover in these statements, but if that is the case, they will need to be explored far more thoroughly than the quick glance you give them.

  68. 68
    Thorne

    While I may disagree with SOME of your statements, that doesn’t constitute an attack against you, just a difference of opinion. Add me to the list of those who respect you for your efforts, but don’t necessarily agree about everything.

    Your articles have made me stop and think, I’ll have to say. Some of my opinions about this may have to be revised. But I still think that legalized, licensed, controlled and inspected brothels, owned by the women themselves and not by some pimp, could be a legitimate source of safe sexual activity for those paying for it, as well as a respectable job for those who want to do it. And there are some who do enjoy the work.

    As for those who feel trapped in it, there are people all over the world who feel trapped in their jobs, no matter how respectable those jobs might be. They can’t find other work, they can’t afford to quit, but they hate what they are doing. And they could be factory workers, salesmen and women, secretaries, nurses, any kind of work at all.

    Yes, no one should ever be forced into performing such work against their will. And those who do force them are the lowest form of scum, worthy of the worst possible punishments. But who’s to say that all of them are forced? If you grow up in a mining town, you may find when you are old enough that the only available job is to go down in the mines! Are you being forced into it? You could leave the town, find someplace else. But that might mean leaving your family and friends. And it would take some money. But it COULD be done! So the only one really forcing you into the mines is yourself.

    Even your own quoted statistics show that 8 – 10% of those questioned apparently did NOT want to escape. And that’s in a situation that is both high in risk and socially stigmatized. If those respondents were in situations that were legal, safe, protected and NOT socially unacceptable, how many would choose to stay?

    So yes, come down hard on the traffickers, on the slavers, on the parents who would sell their children. And come down just as hard on those who would use such people, too. They deserve all of our wrath. But at least think about the possibility that there are some people out there, men, women, transsexual, who just might enjoy the idea of selling their services in a safe environment.

  69. 69
    Tsu Dho Nimh

    Taslima – You are getting a lot of flack because you are using broad generalities with an audience that does not share your cultural baggage, and it’s an audience that is used to precise definitions.

    You are free to express yourself, other FTB bloggers and commenters are equally free to tell you that they don’t agree with you.

    Here’s an example of your rhetorical style that is causing such a problem, straight from your post: “Most feminists believe prostitution or sexual slavery must end.”

    Please define “feminist”, preferable in a way that doesn’t fall into the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

    Please specify how many are “most”, and how that number was acquired.

    Please define both “prostitution” and “sexual slavery” so that we can understand where you draw the line between them.

  70. 70
    Perry Bulwer

    I just want to correct the last sentence in my previous comment (still waiting moderation)

    I wrote, “…. because his victims were prostitutes and drug dealers:”

    I meant to say drug users, not drug dealers. Some of them may have been dealers, but that was not my point. Drug users are considered less credible, and in fact, the current Missing Women Inquiry has heard evidence that one of the reasons charges were dropped against the serial killer five years before he was finally arrested and convicted, was that the witness against him was a prostitute and drug user so she could not be trusted. After he was released, he went on to kill many more women before he was finally stopped.

  71. 71
    grannysue

    Sure people can do with their own bodies as they please. A person could sell a kidney for college tuition too. But it’s nothing I could stand behind.That would be at the bottom of my list for a healthy free society.

    1. 71.1
      Tony! The Queer Shoop

      Wow.
      People that have the option to sell their services for sex in a safe environment is at the bottom of your list of a healthy FREE society?

      It would be at the TOP of mine. Not specifically the choice to become a sex worker, but more the freedom to be able to choose that occupation.

      Sexual slavery is wrong. Trafficking is wrong. Coercion and intimidation of men and women is wrong.

      That doesn’t make prostitution wrong.
      Again, I ask, if one can use other parts of their body to sell their services (say a dentist, for instance), why can’t you use the sexual organs?

  72. 72
    Andrew G.

    (This comment sat in composition overnight, so it makes no attempt to respond to previous comments, of which there were none when it was begun.)

    I hope we all Free-thought bloggers believe in freedom of expression.

    Absolutely. Also the freedom to criticize.

    My opinion on prostitution is nothing new.

    Yeah, and that may be part of the problem; you’re not giving us anything more than recycled ideology from Dworkin or Hughes or Farley.

    There are, as I see it, essentially two different questions in play:

    1) Can consensual sex work ever be considered acceptable? (It is common ground between everyone in this discussion that forced trafficking, child prostitution, and coercion of any kind are not acceptable; so please do not equivocate these things with the concept of sex work itself)

    2) What policy approach will, as a matter of fact rather than ideology, produce the best results from the point of view of women’s welfare?

    Your position that the answer to (1) is “no” does not seem to be backed up by any analysis or valid logic; just an attempt to lump the whole spectrum of prostitution (from outright sexual slavery through survival sex work through fully consensual sex work) together as though it was a single phenomenon.

    Your approach to (2) likewise is backed up by only selective reference to the facts, in accordance with the same ideology. Have you read and understood any of the criticism of the Swedish claims, or are you just dismissing it?

    Most feminists believe prostitution or sexual slavery must end.

    I think it’s reasonable to assume that they all believe that sexual slavery must end.

    But there’s clearly a deep divide between the anti-prostitution feminists exemplified by the names mentioned above, and many feminists in the sex-positive camp.

    It’s also worth noting that there are women working specifically in the field of preventing human trafficking who oppose the attempt to treat all sex work as a trafficking issue, or even to confuse voluntary migrant sex workers with forced trafficking victims. The divide mentioned above seems, from what I am now reading, to extend deeply into the entire field of anti-trafficking work, with the anti-prostitution camp unwilling to cooperate even on human rights issues on which there is full agreement, and instead using the prostitution issue as a lever to bring in support from those well-known feminists the Religious Right in order to get policies written their way. The evidence of this can be seen in the effect on US policy.

    I do not want to be misunderstood. But it looks like a war started against me on FTB because I said something politically incorrect.

    I don’t think it’s really a question of political correctness. Though you did rather cross a line in your responses to some of the comments.

    And thinking of it as a “war” is dangerously wrong. It’s a disagreement. Disagreement can be a good thing since it can help both sides to re-examine their assumptions and logic, and update their beliefs to match the evidence. (Though of course it’s not a given that both sides will change their position even slightly; that would be the fallacy of false compromise, or “argument to moderation”.)

    A lot of the pushback you’ve received has been the result of presenting only ideological and emotional arguments, and biased and unsatisfactory evidence. Also your denial of any voice to the sex workers who have spoken out in disagreement does not help.

    And please start taking a more critical view of your sources – and not just the ones that disagree with you. Look for independent research, or multiple perspectives, or check the source and reliability of quoted figures. (If I can refute Ekburg’s inflated figures for Danish prostitution in only a few minutes research, then so can you.)

    1. 72.1
      ktnevl

      This is a well thought out and reasoned response. This is why I read the comments on FTB.

  73. 73
    fort nerd

    My idea is that prostitution, as well as pornography, is not intrinsically wrong if the persons involved in the industry have willingly chosen it. Or, to be more precise, prostitution and porn would be okay IF we lived in a vacuum, but we don’t – we live in a patriarchal culture that categorizes women on the basis of their usefulness for sex, and considers their every other trait as secondary. We should be very much campaigning to stop prostitution, because the very, very big majority of prostitutes are not willing nor able to quit it.

    For the men who purchase the services of prostitutes, wouldn’t it make more sense if they were all willful participants and therefore more likely to actually enjoy the act, and NOT be lying about it? Well, unless the client specifically prefers to rape/humiliate the sex worker, but why should we care if those people aren’t catered to. They should be either in jail or in therapy anyway.

    Taslima, FtB isn’t waging a war on you. You are our hero. That bit about the war was kind of strange.

  74. 74
    StealthBadger

    Yes, we do believe in freedom of expression.

    That being said, the emotional appeals you list as to the essential nature of prostitution being violence and exploitation (even though it was indeed exploitative in the specific examples you mention), reminds me of another saying that’s often heard in the free-thinking community:

    “The plural of anecdote is not data.”

    Also, one other thing by way of concrete example:

    Just because I’m an atheist doesn’t mean I get to speak for all atheists.

    Just because there are a group of atheist bloggers here doesn’t mean you get to speak for all atheists.

    Just because there were a lot of atheists at the Reason Rally doesn’t mean the rally speaks for all atheists.

    The trend applies to prostitutes as well.

  75. 75
    northstar

    Taslima, please, please keep speaking out about sexual slavery, trafficking and prostitution. It is easy for comfortable Westerners to imagine “owning” one’s sexuality when it is a choice; hard for them to imagine it when whoring is the only choice. Here in Detroit we see a lot of impoverished eastern European women, very young, trafficked to the strip clubs with promises of big money and good jobs in America. The reality is they must submit to prostitution along with stripping to repay their “debt” and fees. There is more than one way to keep an uneducated young woman in control: beatings, drugs, fear of the law now that they are “criminals”, peer pressure from the other women, language barriers, lack of other employment — no chains, but it is still coercion and slavery. One will occasionally “escape” the life and tell the story of what is going on, but it seems no one cares.

  76. 76
    hobbitwife

    Yes, slavery in all forms must be abolished. And, yes, many if not most of the men and women who become sex workers do not have much of a choice in their involvement. The people who are forced into sex work need our help, need legal protection, education, medical care, counseling and rehabilitation services.

    However. People sell their bodies and skills all the time and it has nothing to do with sex. If I take a job doing landscaping, I am selling my body, my physical strength and endurance, my knowledge of plants, regional weather and geology. If I take a job doing modeling, I am selling my body. If I take any job requiring my physical presence, I am selling my body. If I take any job, I am selling my skills.

    Why is it different for sex workers? Oh, yeah: because sex is involved. And we, especially women, have been told throughout history that sex is BAD, unless it is with the one person we are married to. Why can’t I take a job selling my body and skills, if those skills are of a sexual nature? Why can’t I receive education and training in sexual relations, intimacy, sexual healthcare? Why can’t I register for a professional companion’s license? A professional lover’s license?

    Because SEX is BAD, therefore sex work is bad, and good people would never willingly engage in sex work (because it’s BAD), therefore people who sell sex could ONLY be forced into it. Therefore ALL sex workers are slaves and rape victims. This is apparently how you see it, and I feel sorry for you.

    Speaking as a rape victim, and not a sex worker, I think SEX BETWEEN CONSENTING ADULTS IS GOOD, whether one party is paying for it or not. We can be legally paid for writing about sex, teaching about sex, counseling about sex, manufacturing sex toys and equipment, performing sexual acts on film, printing pictures and stories of the sexual act, providing a sexual surrogate for therapy, but it is illegal (and according to you, always rape and slavery) for two (or more) people to come to a private, mutually satisfying agreement to have sex if money changes hands?

    Rape and coercion are the problems, not the sex work. Slavery is the problem, not the sex work. People of all ages who are forced into sex work, whether by literal abduction and violence or by economic circumstances, ARE being raped and coerced, and we should be doing everything we can to help these people. But sex work in and of itself is not bad, it is not slavery, it is not shameful, and it doesn’t have to be dangerous. If we make it legal, make it a profession with licensing and education, legal protection and responsibilities, support and health coverage, it can be better and safer.

    And to those of you who ask, “Would you want YOUR daughter to be a sex worker?” I would say this: I want my children to be safe, happy, and fulfilled in their career choices. If my DAUGHTER OR EITHER OF MY SONS could go to college and train for sex work just like any other licensed profession, be protected under the law like any other licensed profession, receive support and healthcare like any other legally employed person, AND was made happy and fulfilled by a career in sex work, I would encourage him or her to do so, in the same way I would encourage her or him to pursue a career in medicine, law, professional transport, teaching, nature conservation, theater, etc., if that was what made my child happy in his or her career.

    Because I will teach my children that sex between consenting adults is not shameful, is not bad, and is not slavery.

    1. 76.1
      Tony! The Queer Shoop

      This is a beautiful example of clearly thought out points on this subject. I completely agree with you and hope the manner in which you’ve laid everything out will show others that sex work is not inherently a bad thing.

      1. emma robertson

        There’s nothing well thought out about conflating physical presence at work with hiring out one’s body as a sex toy.

        Sex is not work. Since when does the relief of somebodies physical urge count as a skill? How is it anything other than an expression of male entitlement to expect that a whole “profession” be devoted to helping men masturbate.

        Prostitution is the embodiment of male entitlement – it enacts the idea that if a man has a sexual urge then it is the job of a woman to satisfy that urge. As long as men believe it is their right to purchase the use of a woman’s body for sexual gratification, as though it were a thing there can be no true equality between the sexes. Since this is the goal of feminism it makes no sense for women to claim both to be feminists and willing prostitutes.

        1. Mikey

          If you think all men only want women and/or sex workers to be a masturbation tool, then you bought the patriarchal line that men are dumb sexual brutes. I spent half my life trying to free myself from the alpha male, men must fuck anything that moves bullshit and don’t appreciate you reenforcing the idea.

          Women free from gender roles also means men will be free from gender roles and that’s a goal I fight for.

  77. 77
    kia

    Thank you for these posts, Taslima. It’s nice to see another perspective on the sex industry on FtB. There were some posts in support of anti-pornography protests on the Black Skeptics blog space this past March 7th and 10th, which also drew negative comments (mostly contained to that blog at the time) and showed little familiarity with the feminist arguments against these industries.

    1. 77.1
      kia

      I mean to say many of the comments showed little familiarity with the feminist arguments; the blog posts were quite familiar with them.

      1. Tim Groc

        Kia, did you find the environment at Black Skeptiks ignorant and intolerant?

        I’ll get Winterwind on to it straight away! “Calling out sexism at the Black Skeptiks site” would be a good title. I jest.

        Anyway, with regards to this issue, I think many are presupposing that because you support the right of Western women to sell themselves, then they are ignorant of the pressures that women elsewhere feel themselves under. This is not actually the case, as many people in the West recognise the different situation women elsewhere face. We know it is different for women everywhere, so the blanket presupposition that Westerners have a narrow-minded view on the subject is not always true.

        1. Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

          “Black Skeptiks”? Nice, especially given the historical pattern in the U.S. of Ku Klux Klan–owned businesses changing initial “C”s in their business’s names to “K”s.

          Don’t you have some John Derbyshire–related thread to be arguing in, lamenting how “political correctness” will end up with poor beleaguered white menz in gulags?

          1. Tim Groc

            Ms. Daisy Cutter, paranoia is not healthy, and it is generally frowned upon here at FreeThoughtBlogs.

            Now, excuse me, while I look up who John Darbyshire, sorry Derbyshire is, and find out whether it has any relevance to this thread or your point.*

            Next time, try responding to the points, instead of trolling.

            *It won’t, of course.

          2. ik

            The KKK only did that to the beginnings of words.

          3. Tim Groc

            ik,

            Indeed. Where I come from it was always ‘sceptic’. Those racist Americans, eh? Slipping all those ‘ks’ in!

          4. Mikey

            Because poor literacy is kewwwwwwl!

  78. 78
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Jean K @9:

    No one–no one!–would mention prostitution as a good career choice, in a discussion with their daughter about all the possibilities.

    -I find this strange though. Why does this stigma exist?
    There are many professions where intelligence or critical thinking or analysis are important.
    There are professions where experience in physics or mathematics is essential.
    There are professions where medical knowledge acquired through higher learning is essential to improving the quality of life of others.
    There are occupations where physical strength is essential.
    There are occupations where endurance is highly prized.
    The skill sets above are part of the individuals in that profession. They’re part of their minds and/or bodies. They’re making money off their intellect or their physical capabilities.
    So why is it that when it comes to prostitution, it’s automatically considered ‘wrong’?
    The act of taking money for sexual services-services utilizing your body in ways that are not different than using your brain to teach-should not, in and of itself, be seen as bad/wrong/immoral.
    Why is it we can use our brains (scientists), our hands (writers), our legs (pretty much any sport), our mouths (translators) and more to make money, and *that’s* ok, but when you want to accept money for someone to perform oral or penetration sex with you, it’s wrong?
    I actively condemn any act of violation of an individual. I am firmly against any and all negative aspects of prostitution. I wish more opportunities were available for people so they don’t feel the ‘need’ to become a sex worker. That said, I think if freely chosen by the individual, there is nothing wrong with selling ones’ services.
    Is it possible that this attitude towards prostitution is leftover from religious attitudes toward sex? Sex being sacred. Sex being for baby making. Sex for the purpose of consummating a marriage. Even for those of us who are humanists and atheists, it’s entirely possible that some religious attitudes are retained. Depending on the culture, it can be hard to rid oneself of all religiously derived concepts.
    That one can be raped, beaten or brutalized in situations involving the selling of ones’ services doesn’t inherently mean that the very act of taking money for oral sex (for instance) is wrong or should be outlawed. Rape and brutality are inexcusable. Those who commit and provide support for such actions should be condemned and brought to justice.
    I do not believe, however, that there is anything wrong with an individual of sound mind and body choosing to sell their services to meet the sexual desires of others.

    1. 78.1
      emma robertson

      The difference between all the occupations you mention and sexual activity is that they all have non-personal goals. Even in the caring professions such as nursing you don’t have to know or like a person to offer them care and it will be the recipient who is physically compromised not the care giver, which is why they need care in the first place. Also the recipient of care does not have the right to specify who or what category of person is to perform the role of care giver, or to specify what form the care should take. These considerations will be dictated by the nature of the incapacity and the care giver will use their professional assessment of the recipients needs to determine the nature of the service, not the personal whims and demands of the recipient themself.

      Sex itself has no such goal. It has no motive other than to satisfy an urge. In consenting sex both participants have the same urge. In rape and prostitution only the man has the urge – the woman is simply the means to the man’s satisfaction. She has no claim to her own desire or otherwise,.

      This has nothing to do with religion, in fact the attitude that a woman can perform sex acts for men as a professional duty and taking pride in giving “good service” has far more in common with religious attitude that sex is something that a woman does as a “wifely duty” regardless of her own feelings. Both models give absolute precedence to the sexual needs of the man and disregard the sexual agency of the woman.

      1. richard pearce

        In consenting sex both participants have the same urge.

        Not necessarily, consent only requires that all parties consent.

  79. 79
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Rike @16:

    Taslima, if I were to hang out at a bar every night, have a drink with different men and leave the bar with different men and have sex with them without any money changing hands, what would you call that?

    -This. A thousand times over.
    I’ve long argued how ridiculous it is that you can have consensual sex with a stranger at a bar and as long as no money exchanges hands, it’s perfectly legal*. Yet the minute you try exchanging money, it becomes illegal. Makes no sense to me. I used to strip at a gay bar for several months back in 2000. On one occasion I had sex with a guy and got paid for it. I don’t regret it. I find nothing wrong with accepting money for my services. I make money with my skills and services as a bartender. Why can’t I make money with my skills and services as a sex worker?
    I know the conversation about sex workers and prostitution tends to focus on women, but fundamentally, there’s no difference between the sexes when it comes to a desire to sell ones services for sex. How everything plays out after that is where the differences come into play.

    *I’ve spoken to so many people at various bars I’ve worked at (typically these are adult men) and a *lot* of them joke that it’s not always free when you take someone home from a bar. Typically there’s at least purchasing drinks for them. Sometimes there’s also buying them dinner.

  80. 80
    nocleg

    Hello, fellow, im 100% agree with you!

  81. 81
    Ace of Sevens

    I don’t have a daughter, but I’d be way prouder of my sister if she were a prostitute instead of a strategy consultant for the navy.

    1. 81.1
      greenstone123

      Wow, that is a pretty terrible thing to say! Really?

      1. uncephalized

        Well, one of those professions makes money by making people feel good, and the other one makes money by planning the most efficient way to kill people. So I can see his point.

      2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

        I’m with uncephalized. I think it’s gross that you would even consider the possibility that aiding in killing people for money might be more noble than exchanging sex for money.

        You can call me idealist, but I can imagine a world with people but no war – I can’t imagine a world with people but no sex. And even if I could imagine both equally, I would rather spend my efforts working toward the first than the second.

        Now if the choice was between my child being a human trafficker v. a naval strategy consultant, I’d certainly opt for the latter, but that’s not what was on offer in the original comment. Although national defense establishments can and do kill people in ways that do not “defend” a nation, a strategy consultant could conceivably work on only noble, defensive projects. There’s simply no ethical trafficking in which one might engage, however, so this comparison goes to the navy strategist.

    2. 81.2
      ik

      All things being equal I’d prefer for a daughter to have some less stigmatized profession, but it is more the stigma than the profession that drives my preference.

    3. 81.3
      ginmar

      I’m a soldier. Or I was. The military gave me what hooking would not and will not: strength. The Army was the first place I met men who treated me as a human being, unlike a lot of faux liberal guys. I know a couple of guys who liberalized their views just because they served alongside women. One of them was a Marine battalion commander.

      Comments like the one above are so stupid and so classist I really don’t know what to say. Where were you when I was working $4.25 an hour at two full time jobs and getting most of my sleep on buses? I guess changing an institution from within doesn’t exist in your special shiny world. You’re pimping out your sister. Does your sister have any say in this?

      It’s shit like this that make me think we need two liberal groups, one for disconnected asshats who like to call soldiers baby killers, and one for people who understand that these days sometimes the only choice up and out is the Army. Of course, YOU might prefer your sister fuck for money…..

  82. 82
    Suresh

    WOW…..

    My comment was also gone !!!

    I did not curse, I did not even arguing against you, but I was suggesting why other people disagreeing with you, and asked you not portray them as misogynist, but now my comment is gone Tsalima, What an irony, a dissent , exile from Bangladesh, India, now acting this way ?

    Is this how you respond to your critique Tsalima ? or is this sub-continent culture ?
    Goshhh,…. I was so proud about you before, now , wow …..

    1. 82.1
      hall-of-rage

      Calm down! Taslima just got here, so she has to moderate *everyone’s* posts, of which there are a lot and I bet many are attacks, and she has a life. She’s allowed plenty of dissent here. Your comment might’ve been delayed, misperceived, or deleted in a hurry.

  83. 83
    Rose

    Thank you Taslima. Thank you so very much for these posts. Don’t back down and don’t let them intimidate you. You are not alone.

  84. 84
    FeministWhore

    You’re wrong about Shared Hope, they are faith based.

    http://www.sharedhope.org/WhoWeAre/StatementofFaith.aspx

    Statement of Faith
    We believe the Bible to be inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
    We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
    We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
    We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
    We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
    We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
    We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
    We believe that people of all faiths and no faith are precious to God and we are called to serve them without discrimination.

  85. 85
    WilloNyx

    I am just going to say thank you for releasing comments out of moderation. I was wrong to assume that perhaps it was done to suppress dissent. I still disagree with your position and the fact that you have completely insulted people who have disagreed with you by misrepresenting their position and equating willing sex work with pathological behavior and/or addiction as well as calling everyone who defends willing sex work either a misogynist or a masochist (as an attempt to insult). I consider both of those statements petty attempts to make a point when those who criticized you went out of their way to pay you deference in the outset.

    While I am not above being petty myself, I typically resort to pettiness if my argument has started to fail me. If you have a strong argument make it without dismissing anyone who disagrees with you as a misogynist or a masochist.

    That is all I plan to say here on this subject as I have posts of my own to write on this.

  86. 86
    Karl

    I’ve been reading this discussion with interest. Personally I haven’t formed a final opinion – I’m too afraid of my own ignorance to venture doing that, let alone sharing it. I have felt influenced by the many well-put arguments of those advocating a woman’s right to choose prostitution for a career if she wants (cf. Greta). But I am left pondering the following.

    Suppose that before prostitution law reform a small percentage of women (or men) engages (illegally) in prostitution, and many (probably most) of them do that because they are forced to: brutalised, maltreated, enslaved or at the very least not doing it because they want to but because there are no better options around for them. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that if prostitution law reform comes in after that, that there will be many more prostitutes after the law change and also that in general the conditions of prostitutes as a whole would improve. Also, the proportion of those engaging in prostitution because they want to would surely be much higher.

    The absolutely key question to me though is, after prostitution law reform, will the raw number, not the proportion, of those engaging in prostitution who don’t want to have risen or fallen? Apologies to those who want to be able to do it legally, but I have to be mostly concerned with those who do not.

    If that raw number, the number of women forced, enslaved, trafficked, given no practical choice out of it decreases after prostitution law reform then I have to say I’m, on balance, in favour of it. Conversely, if the raw number of women ending up as prostitutes who don’t want to be increases, I can’t see how that can be anything but a disaster, despite any number of people now happily choosing the profession who previously couldn’t, and regardless of what the percentage of contented prostitutes ends up as.

    Help me out here, there seem to be a lot of claims and counter-claims. Are there any reliable studies to look at out there?

    1. 86.1
      Karl

      Whoops – my comment is in moderation, and it strongly needs it! I said:

      I have felt influenced by the many well-put arguments of those advocating a woman’s right to choose prostitution for a career if she wants (cf. Greta)

      I meant Greta’s not Greta!! Greta’s argument not her career!!!

    2. 86.2
      hall-of-rage

      Well, the idea is for decriminalization to improve practical options for the women who *are* forced into it. I’m confused about the evidence on this. I think New Zealand would be a good place to look at. Georgina Beyer (wow, I cite her a lot) was an MP in 2003, and had been a sex worker, and argued passionately in favor of decriminalization so she could’ve gone to the police after being raped at knifepoint, and in favor of regulations to decrease risk. Decriminalization happened; and I’ve been given two references about how the law change has affected NZ, but I was confused by them and concluded that either no real change had happened, or the writers hadn’t looked for much evidence. I should research more.

      1. Karl

        the idea is for decriminalization to improve practical options for the women who *are* forced into it

        Practical options to get out of it? Or only options of choice of evils for those that have to do it? I can’t be in favour of decriminalisation, whatever its intent, if the number of women forced (via brutality, economics, or for really any reason) into it increases as a consequence, even if conditions improve for forced (and unforced) women as a whole. I’m sure you can think of analogies with slavery.

        Studies on this seem sorely needed.

    3. 86.3
      Taslima Nasreen

      ‘We need to de-criminalize the victims — and the rare but real independent seller — and criminalize and prosecute those who sell the bodies of others. The huge difference between legalizing the sex industry — which is what its profiteers want — and de-criminalizing the victims and the few but real women or men who sell their own sexual services, and criminalizing those who sell others as well as educating the customers and changing the culture. That’s the Third Way, the feminist way, and it’s the only way that has diminished prostitution in Sweden etc.’

      1. Andrew G.

        Uh, what? The Swedish way involves criminalizing the clients, not educating them. So that quote is contrary to the facts.

  87. 87
    scenario

    Many women are forced into prostitution because they have no other marketable skills.

    I compare this to coal miners in China. On average,6000 miners a year are killed in coal mines in China. A high percentage of the coal miners dies before age 40 of black lung and other diseases. Why do people choose this career? Because in many parts of China this is the only job they can get to feed their families.

    Many coal miners in China are in the same situation as prostitutes in India, a dangerous job they cannot quit because they have no other options. Should we make coal mining illegal? Or should we encourage China to take steps to improve the safety of their mines?

    People in poor countries are forced into a lot of needlessly dangerous jobs because they have no other options that pay anywhere near as much. Why do we pick just this one job to ban? Why not all of them? The workers have no more realistic choice in careers than the prostitutes did.

  88. 88
    bharath

    I agree to the most part of the article but one question left unanswered probing me is “I STRONGLY OPPOSE PROSTITUTION” but, what if a widow(male or female) want to have sex just for a cool night what can he do if prostitution is not there he can’t marry again only just for sake of sexual happiness?
    what I mean is prostitution can still exist the REAL EVIL lies in the MINDS of some evil people who exploit everything in this beautiful world.

    1. 88.1
      Caravelle

      … have a one-night stand ? There are websites for finding others interested in no-strings-attached sex nowadays.

      Alternatively, masturbation ?

      Alternatively, the same thing I do with my desire for a million dollars, a male sexbot who looks like Leonardo Di Caprio, and five children : understand I can’t have everything I want, and if I can’t get something through ethical means I’m not necessarily entitled to get it through unethical ones ?

      Alternatively, since I posted it once in this thread already :
      http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/buyers_and_sellers

  89. 89
    ik

    1. You can’t just steamroll over everybody’s lived experience and personal desires with “research shows.”

  90. 90
    ik

    Also, seriously, “like to be raped every day?” Has it ever occured to you that fairly privileged Westerners have free will and that people are capable of consenting to things?

  91. 91
    emma robertson

    Taslima, commercial access to women’s bodies and religious control of women’s bodies represent two sides of the same coin – that of male entitlement. Please don’t be discouraged from speaking out against all forms of male entitlement just because a few misguided and self interested individuals are attempting to promote their narrow agenda.

  92. 92
    Ace of Sevens

    I think this is the clearest way to put it: Saying sex work is inherently degrading is itself a way of degrading sex workers. It’s like pitying those poor cosmetologists who couldn’t have to work with people’s hair because they didn’t have the opportunity to go to a real college or those janitors who are stuck sweeping floors instead of doing anything important. It’s patronizing. There is dignity in all work, even if you personally wouldn’t enjoy it.

  93. 93
    The Nerd

    Thank you. I am glad you are part of FTB. Please continue sharing your important messages.

  94. 94
    ginmar

    Ah, the privilege of unrealistic hopes and impossible dreams—–as well as completely ignoring the reality of poverty. There will always be war, yet wars are not waged every day, and it takes nine soldiers in the rear, so I’ve heard, to support one in the field. You want to condemn those nine and peacetime soldiers as well, while consigning your sister to constant rape and exploitation. Well, some people have no way up and out but the armed services, which offer jobs and college to people who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance.

    It’s always so moral to force your morals on other people who lack your options.

  95. 95
    Gorbachev

    Taslima,

    I think the root of this is a difference in how both men and women and subgroups of men and women see sex.

    For some people, sex is a special, unique thing that is different from, say, eating or going to the gym or sleeping. For others, many others, it’s just another human activity.

    The feminist sex wars in the 1980′s with Mackinnon and Dworkin on one side and the “sex pozzies” on the other, were inconclusive. What did seem to happen was a general appreciation for freeing women from oppression, but that one side viewed sex as something distinct from other human activities.

    The groups resistant to prostitution:

    - A tiny but vocal number of women opposed to general heterosexuality, including many radical feminists; ample quotes from prominent women at the time indicate a generalized hostility to men and to women who voluntarily associate with men.

    - Women who were or were not “feminists”, but were opposed to prostitution for the very real social reason that it provides men an escape. Traditional women often used sex as a means to control the men in their lives. It sounds misogynist to say it, but it’s still true; ask any group of men even today. Prostitutes represent a serious risk of “strike breakers” allowing men an out. Women who would don’t care about many issues will care about social control of those people in their lives, including their men. Women are just as controlling as men are, especially when they’re emotionally invested in them. A unifying human quality.

    Given the much higher male sex drive (viz: prostitution and philandering), using sex to control men is a no-brainer. Prostitutes are an annoying break to this rule of female power.

    The cheapening of sex in western dating means that women who don’t sleep with new boyfriends lose the boyfriends to women who do – so ironically, sexual liberation has inevitably re-framed most dating in terms of free access to sex without concomitant commitment, something that clearly favors a low-investment high-variety experience of sex from a male perspective.

    Traditional-minded women who don’t want to go to bed with new boyfriends, certainly not right away, often complain about women who do as “strikebreakers” who reduce the social price of sex – thus ruining it for those who want to hold out for more relationship investment from men.

    This is the same anger directed at prostitutes in this perspective.

    I would suggest that he bulk of the prostitute-hatred that masquerades as concern for women is in fact middle-class resentment of other women for providing an outlet for their men.

    This is why so many women sound concerned about prostitution but are really unconcerned with the fates of prostitutes.

    - Many resist the idea of prostitution for spiritual or religious reasons, where sex is seen as different from other human activities.

    The only thing I can say to this is: Very nice, but one person’s moral and religious views can’t be applied to others. If you think sex or food must be treated differently, fine – but don’t assume all or even most women think this way.

    - Women who practice semi-prostitution trying to distinguish themselves from others and make themselves feel better. Women who date only rich men, who seek food, gifts, etc. for dating or engage in vaguely compensated dating are, as many feminists point out, little more than prostitutes who refuse to admit this is their trade.

    - Women who are uncomfortable with sexuality in general.

    - MEN

    Many men oppose prostitution because:

    -It’s easier to control prostitutes when prostitutes have nowhere to turn for help

    - It’s easier to control women by disassociating them from “dirty whores” – slut shaming is an aspect of this

    - Many men are uncomfortable with their own sexuality, and see prostitutes as a dirty reflection of themselves.

    - Men who are uncomfortable with sexuality in general.

    What’s interesting is that among men, it’s generally conservative men bent on controlling prostitutes who punish whores and their customers. They shame other men on purpose. It’s part of their game.

    - Those concerned with human rights.

    - Men who detest female power. Prostitutes in fact, when things go well, have far more power than the men they serve. Who is paying? Who sets the price (in a free market)? Who decides to serve or not?

    Men usually feel weak and intimidated. It’s always a seller’s market in prostitution. Men often lash out at prostitutes because they feel weak.

    If women thought about it more, they would realize that sexual agency gives almost all of the power in our society to a few alpha males and the bulk of the females; sexual desire renders most men weak.

    Buddhists knew this years ago: men are far more weakened by sexual desire than women.

    Supportive of prostitution:

    Those who are in favor of equal rights and civil rights

    Libertarians who view all adults as essentially free

    Women seeking sexual agency

    Women seeking their own sexual agency

    Women who need a job and don’t favor what options society provides to them (why work behind a desk when you can work far fewer hours and get much more money?)

    Women and men without many hangups and who see sex as less a spiritual or intimate matter.

    Many, many feminists

    Feminists who seek to maximize female power (also over men)

    Feminists seeking to normalize female sexuality

    Feminists opposed to straightjackets on female sexual expression

    The differences are not male-female, but questions of style and personal views of sex.

    This is why it’s complex.

    Some people have random sex with strangers all the time. The modern feminists movement has done much to remove the stigma from this.

    You should be able to sleep with whoever you want to, so it goes, without the slightest bit of social judgment. Social judgment is social prison.

    If this is true, then how is one party handing money (or dinner or a nice gift or anything) over to the other changing the equation?

    This is why many whores call non-prostitutes “amateurs”. They do exactly the same thing – on the continuum of female behavior – but they don’t take money. This is the definition of “amateur” – not a professional.

    A whore is a sex professional. A college girl sleeping with new men every week is likely having as much random sex – just not getting paid for it.

    How is she any different? Does money or do gifts change this equation so much?

    When you balance it all out, only the attitude towards sex in general remains as a differential.

    And in a civil society, we’ve already decided that sex should not be legislated.

    There are no more sluts, no more playboys, no more philanderers: we should be free to explore our sexuality in any way we can conceive, so long as it’s all consenting.

    A prostitute consents. Don’t reduce her to imbecility by saying it’s Stockholm Syndrome (in which case all heterosexual relations are terrorism), that economics force her (economics force me to work, too, often in jobs I detest, but I voluntarily sign contracts), and don’t remove her agency. She is an adult.

    Above all else, don’t presume to judge other peoples’ sexuality. This was a major goal of feminism. You can’t hypocritically say that women should be sheltered from their own sexuality because they can’t be trusted.

    A slave does not consent.

    By all means, fight slavery.

    But be careful that you’re not forcing your brand of sexual puritanism on others.

    It’s far too easy to do that.

    1. 95.1
      Phillip Helbig

      “This is why many whores call non-prostitutes “amateurs”. They do exactly the same thing – on the continuum of female behavior – but they don’t take money. This is the definition of “amateur” – not a professional.”

      Is there any other context where “amateur” and “professional” are both insults? :-)

      1. Laura24lb

        Is there any other context where “amateur” and “professional” are both insults? :-) -THANK YOU! I hate the label “amateur” in regards to non-prostitutes and won’t use it. It’s patronizing at the least. The people that push it also push these disgusting blanket statements and stereotypes: non-prostitute women are literally too risky to see because we love home wrecking and we’re going to fall in love with you and revel in destroying your marriage (gloom and doom is alive and well along with assumptions); we’re full of STD’s; we have too little and/or no self-esteem and self-respect; we’re literally crazy (terms like “daft” are used about us); we’re literally and/or willfully too stupid to specifically charge for sex and we’re just not dependable enough to provide the SAME services that prostitutes do. It’s really hated by some that we can provide the same services at no literal cost. While we do the same things, there’s differences in HOW we do things. We’re needed for men who don’t want to see prostitutes and for the men who are poor that don’t want to stay in sexual frustration while saving up money to see a prostitute. I’m tired of people being put in what I call “safe little category boxes” in the sexual area. I’ve never had an STD and never wrecked a home. I won’t see married men PERIOD even if they’re separated and if they have a girlfriend who isn’t OK with them having sex with someone else I won’t see them either. If they tell me their girlfriend is OK with them seeing others and I find out they’re lying then I cut off all contact for good. I’ve been very dependable and stable in the above also. Thanks for speaking up with the comment above.

  96. 96
    Gorbachev

    And as far as objectification goes, men and women objectify each other all the time.

    It’s the nature of sexual attraction. It’s the nature of mating. Women objectify men in every way possible. They do this every minute of every day.

    Almost every interaction between sexually active members of the human species involves objectification. This is the nature of human and all sexuality. The other person may be a unique individual, but the person also represents a means to an end for others, too.

    Sexual desire that involves others absolutely objectifies people all the time. Not all (or even most, or even a large percentage of) sex is spiritual connections between unique souls. Most is animal rutting for reasons of raw sexual attraction, duty or opportunity: Mating for babies, mating for company, mating for money (prostitution and regular marriage, for that matter), and mating for fun or out of boredom.

    Sex is objectification. It’s animal. It’s not sacred.

    To ask men to not objectify women, you need to do the same to women. A quick evaluation of the question from that perspective would give you this:

    Unless your motive is purely spiritual bonding, no sex should be permitted.

    Don’t notice how attractive or unattractive your partner is. Don’t be aroused by anything but their mere presence.

    This is impossible.

    We objectify other humans all the time, in every way possible, as a matter of course.

    A sad fact – but sex is not special. It’s not a special activity. Eating, sleeping, defecating, walking, working, sex – there’s nothing unique or special about sex.

    I suspect that you think sex is somehow a uniquely defining feature of the human experience. This may be the root of the differences you see in your opinions compared to many of those debating with you.

    That’s fine for you – more power to you.

    But it’s wrong of you to impose those personal standards on others, to judge others for their sexual behavior, or to decide social norms based on what’s solely appropriate for you.

    There’s no amorphous “womanity” that’s being offended by prostitution. There are only individuals.

    By all means, save enslaved individuals.

    But why not free all slaves – children working in factories against their will, laborers in kitchens being forced to work, child soldiers, sex slaves?

    The offence is not sex. It’s slavery. Sex being involved does not make it special or unique. The fact that it’s sexual is irrelevant.

  97. 97
    Gorbachev

    Do I really choose to do (insert not optimal job here)?

    One of the consequences of full agency is being required to take responsibility for the choices available to me and the ones I assume.

    A woman, like Stella Mar, who chooses to be a prostitute, and has a bad experience, nevertheless chose that profession.

    I can choose to work in a microchip factory or not.

    If it turns out to have been a bad career, that’s not the fault of the factory, the industry or consumer electronics.

    Sexual liberation demands taking full possession of sexual agency.

    1. 97.1
      anonion

      (Note: I am an equality feminist, and reason as such).

      Well, one argument that might work against that is that sex should be completely irrelevant. We should be treated like individuals – as we could not choose our sex, that is, individuality should supersede anything.

      Therefore jobs should not depend on the merit of one’s sex alone.

      Therefore one should not be able to choose the sex of one’s prostitute.

      This argument is completely unrelated to Taslima’s original post though. (After all, considering the current situation, otherwise you’d have a disproportionate larger chance to ‘be’ a prostitute when you’re born female, rather than when you are born male. This would obviously be unfair, as considering some would choose it, they would not have the opportunity, whereas others would not, but would be disproportionately ‘have’ to do it (just like accepting any other non-optimal job).

  98. 98
    Gorbachev

    All of this reminds me of 1988, when Dworkin and Mackinnon were at their ideological best.

    Since then, most of their arguments have been dissected and discarded; whole new waves of feminism have largely stepped over them; and philosophically, modern feminism has passed this by.

    What sounds strange is to hear Ms. Nasreen use arguments that were suspect in the 1980′s, but that even those on her side of the fence no longer use.

    Study after study has shown, for example, that porn reduces the incidence of rape, not increases it. Dworkin and Mackinnon were precisely wrong. They could not have been more wrong.

    What strikes me is how archaic this argument is.

    I suspect this is just a case of different views of what sexuality is all about. Alas, on this score, I’d have to posit:

    It’s dangerous to legislate anything at all.

  99. 99
    Nathan

    I wish to preface my post with the acknowledgement that I understand that there are people in situations of slavery, which is abominable. I do NOT condone slavery in any situation or circumstance. However, I do find error with the implication of a particular statement made in the article above. This may have been a case of accidental word-choice, but I find it worth pointing out:

    The very edifice of prostitution is built on the lie that “women like it.”

    …the LIE that “women like it.”

    I will start by confessing that I currently have a fully-disclosed, non-overlapping, sexual relationship with three women. Of these three women, I initiated the sexual aspect of our relationships with precisely none of them.

    Your statement that is a “lie that ‘women like it,’” is, in my experience, patently false. In fact, due to the nature of my relationships, I find that women “like it,” and “want it,” every bit as much as men. Human beings evolved by the same selective pressures as every other creature on earth. The desire to reproduce is hard-wired in us. Sure there are exceptions, but people, like members of every other species, like to fuck.

    “Women like ‘it,’” is not a lie.
    “Men like ‘it,’” is certainly not a lie.
    “People like ‘it,’” is a veritable certainty.

  100. 100
    anonion

    (Not having read previous comments I wrote the following reply:)

    I have a few criticisms on your post:

    1) You frequently mention researchers this, researchers that, but I have not seen one reference to a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

    2) You make blanket statements (e.g., 90% of …), and then fail to realize that apparently the 10% does not agree.

    3) What about male prostitutes?

    4) You compare making use of to the permanently removing of organs. This does not seem like a proper analogy.

    5) You seem to be under the impression that noone would have sex with someone they do not know, not for any amount of money. This is simply false.

    While I am not as presumptuous to not grant you the premise that the vast majority of individuals in prostitution are there not of their own full volition. Many are likely forced, and many do it for economic reasons (although this latter be true for most jobs). However, how do these numbers fare when comparing nations with fully legislated legal prostitution – those nations where prostitution truly is a job, and where prostitutes can call the police for help?

    I highly doubt rates remain constant pending these circumstances.

    I am also a bit baffled by – at least what I read into it – your inability to comprehend that at a certain income level, anyone would be a prostitute.

    That, and to be honest: sex is highly overrated as some kind of be-all, end-all.

    As a final note I would also like to comment that the next generation is quite a bit more free with the whole sex thing: they seem to be having it with whomever, wherever, whenever they like it.

    1. 100.1
      anonion

      As a small followup on my previous reply: Basically I feel you are unjustified in your tangling up of the existence of involuntary prostitution, and how it relates to equality and choice.

      I do feel we need to take better and more action to make sure prostitution is taken away from those who would do harm, but I do not agree that all prostitution must necessarily be involuntary.

  101. 101
    jefflewis

    Sex Trafficking and Prostitution are NOT the same thing.

    Prostitution is a business between adults and in our society adults are responsible for themselves. Sex slavery is just that, slavery and it’s non-consensual.

    “To equate the two is to say grown women aren’t capable of being responsible and making decisions for themselves. That is pretty insulting to women don’t you think?”

    Adult women are not children.

    There needs to be a distinct separation of

    1. Forced Child sex trafficking

    2. Adult consensual

    prostitution.

    They are not the same.

    Woman in the sex industry, have made a clear decision to work in that field. They are not “passive victims” in need of “saving” or sending back by western campaigners. So called “victims” of Sex Trafficking never identify themselves as victims. Because they are not victims to begin with.

    Sex Trafficking Sex Slavery is used by many groups as a attempt to outlaw all adult consensual prostitution around the world by saying that all women that have sex are victims even if they do it willing. This hurts any real victims because it labels all sex workers as victims. This is done by the media, aid groups, NGO’s, feminists, politicians, and religious organizations that receive funds from the government. There are very strong groups who promote that all adult women who have sex are victims even if they are willing, enjoy it and go out of there way to get it. These groups try to get the public to believe that no adult women in their right mind would ever go into the sex business unless she was forced to do so, weather she knew it or not. They say that 100% of all sex workers are trafficking victims. They do this in order to label all men as sex offenders and wipe out all consensual prostitution. Which is what their real goal is. There is almost no one who challenges or questions them about their false beliefs. Therefore, the only voices you hear are of these extreme groups. These groups want to label all men as terrible sex offenders for seeing a willing adult woman. These groups even say that all men who marry foreign women are terrible sex predators who take advantage of these “helpless foreign women wives”.

    These groups believe that two adults having consensual sex in private should be outlawed. Since they believe that it is impossible for a man to have sex with a woman without abusing the woman in the process.

    Adult Women are NOT children.

    A key point is that on the sidelines the prostitutes themselves are not being listened to. They oppose laws against prostitution. But no one wants to listen to the prostitutes themselves. Only to the self appointed experts that make up numbers and stories many of which have never met a real forced sex slave. The media and government never ask the prostitutes themselves what would help them in terms of laws.

    Media coverage of trafficking and adult women’s migration and sex work is confused and inaccurate. The media wrongly uses the terms ‘sex work’ and ‘trafficking’ and adult sex work and child sex trafficking synonymously, as if they were the same. perpetuating stereotypes and stigmatization, and contributing to the violation of women’s right to free movement and livelihood options. They assume that if any woman moves from place to place for sex work that they are being trafficking. The media, politicians, aid groups, feminist, and religious organizations does not take into account that she may do this of her own free will. Too often women are treated like children. Prostitution is a business between adults and in our society adults are responsible for themselves. Sex slavery/trafficking on the other hand is non-consensual. To equate that the two are the same is to say grown adult women are not capable of being responsible or thinking for themselves.

    Many anti-prostitution groups use false exaggerated made up stories of underage girls being forced. While we all agree that minors should not be having sex, the truth about the statistics and if the minor was forced or not should be known.

    If a prostitute is 17 and under the age of 18, she can not give legal consent to sex. So, she could have wanted to be a prostitute, and given consent for sex, but since she is underage, she can not give legal consent, so legally she was “forced” even if she gives total consent to sex and it was consensual – she was “forced” according to the court and justice system. There is a BIG difference between being legally “forced” and truly being physically forced against someone’s will. So, the media will always report that she was “forced” for no other reason then being under the age of 18.

    This gives the impression that all prostitutes under the age of 18 are “forced” when they have not been. They never identify themselves as victims, because they were never forced If fact, if two people who are both 17 years old have sex, they both are legally considered to be victims and sex predators at the same time. http://bebopper76.wordpress.com

  102. 102
    Vitalia

    Don’t waste your time philosophizing how prostitution could be a legitimate career. Go out there and become a prostitute and tell everyone how you feel after 365 days of it…you might have a firmer grasp of the reality of the job as opposed to sitting on your cushy safe asshole free from paying clients while home entertaining the idea that a woman would want to sell her holes and integrity, so it’s okay. Maybe you’ll have earned your first year of school already debt free by doing so! What an accomplishment to sell your very core over and over again for a fucken degree. Was it really worth it? Are you worth less than a 6 year degree? No amount of education or higher level job is worth selling your body for. Get a loan, work harder, buy less clothes, apply for grants, make sacrifices, start a side business, work 110 hours a week and earn your degree with your spirit intact. The only way to change this world is for us to get off our high horses and realize that women having to do this to survive is NOT okay and we must protect each other. Some women end up down the slippery slope of prostitution from just starting out as a waitress at a strip club (I’ve seen a friend slip away this way), they see how easy it is to get money from men who “love” women’s bodies enough to make them equatable to a movie to purchase or a painting to be hung, they take tips from these men whose eyes graze on their breasts, they get a little thrill at the attention, the cash, the instant feeling of being valuable and head down that slippery slope addicted to the easy cash and eventually lose sight of what was once important to them, lying to themselves to keep the lifestyle up. They so slowly lose sight of their morality that they don’t even notice the very erosion of it. To justify doing something that fundamentally feels wrong to you and your body or health in any way to gain monetary value will never be a legitimate job, it will always be a job that leaves you hallow and slightly less of a person. As some people on here have commented by rationalizing that prostitutes who get raped and murdered deserve it just a little bit more because they are somehow less of a woman than a regular house wife or daughter. We were all born the same as women but in different situations (good and bad) BUT we all deserve respect and love, so rationalizing prostitution as a job, is a poor way to value your sisters by saying it’s okay if they agree to sell their bodies, or maybe they’re just poor and not part of the society you live in anyway, or maybe they’re just sick mentally…how does that justify them to deserve less love and respect than you do. If you are so privileged to not have to sell your body, take the time to make a difference rather than feeling better about it by lying to yourself that it could possible be okay for “someone else”.

    1. 102.1
      richard pearce

      Don’t waste your time philosophizing how prostitution could be a legitimate career. Go out there and become a prostitute and tell everyone how you feel after 365 days of it…

      See previous posts by people who have.

  103. 103
    Britni Surkamer

    An fascinating dialogue is worth comment. I think that it’s best to write more on this topic, it may not be a taboo topic but typically individuals are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  104. 104
    Tristan

    I worked in the escort business for 4 years. I owned a small company that marketed escorts and booked appointments for them. I didn’t know why women want to do this work. I think culture has changed. Girls that were born in the late 80′s and 90′s are very sexual and don’t have shame. They sleep around in school alot. If you go to http://www.sexyjobs.com you can find so many beautiful women wanting to get hired to work as prostitutes. And they are very aggressive. I know many many escorts and porn stars. Some women are the top escorts in the USA. They book for $400 per hour. And before sex work they worked in office buildings doing finance or other corporate work. They have degrees. I met many escorts that had master’s degrees. There were the young and ambitious girls that would cheat and lie to you and do anything for money. Then I met some other very nice well rounded women that simply liked offering pleasure and affection to lonely men. I met so AMAZING women that had such big hearts and warm souls. I couldn’t understand how they could sell their bodies to 3-5 clients per day. But they can and they do. And they enjoy it.

    Our agency received applications daily from all over the USA and other countries. Some women were married. About 30%-40%. Their husbands don’t know about it. Some are muslim. Some were married to pastors or church officials. Some were very active in their church. The more I saw the more I am shocked. But after working and seeing everything, I have found most women are open to prostitution. I have many female friends from all types of backgrounds. And once they talk about it deeply, and see the money, they are very interested.

    The talk of sex slaves is ridiculous. If an escort doesn’t provide a GFE (girl friend experience) then she will not have many repeat clients. She will also get bad reviews. And reviews from websites like http://www.theeroticreview.com are critical to an escort’s business and income. So if they are forced into something they don’t want to do, their performance is not going to be good. And they won’t last. All the women that want jobs as escorts online are out there begging for work. Just like strippers.

    It’s sad. But women today have loose morals. Money is god.

  105. 105
    Thorne

    @ Tristan:

    It’s sad. But women today have loose morals. Money is god.

    Why is it sad? These women only have loose morals by your standards, not by their own, or by mine. One of the great things about progress is that things like morals can change over time, to fit in with the culture. Sure, 50 years ago such behavior would have been considered immoral, mainly because it was dangerous. But now, with modern contraception, condoms, and antibiotics, such actions are far safer than ever before. And if women enjoy such work, enjoy giving pleasure to others, who are you to say that it is immoral for them. And the fact that you admit to running an escort service, basically providing the contacts for these women to meet men for sexual purposes, makes you the immoral one in my book. As you yourself pointed out, if they were only doing it for the money, or being forced, they wouldn’t last very long, as their customers would recognize such things and quickly move on to someone else. You, on the other hand, were apparently ONLY doing it for the money. I see nothing in your post that even hints at a concern for the pleasure of your customers or for the benefit of the women you dealt with. You should look into your own motives, and judge yourself before you judge them.

  106. 106
    bush

    “Do women really ‘choose’ to be prostitutes?”

    I flip burgers for a living, did I choose to be a burger flipper? I would much rather be a president of the united states but circumstances forced me to be a burger flipper so perhaps some influential people might wanna consider to abolish burger-flipping since the profession potentially degrades individuals whose true aspiration in life is to become a potus or an astronaut yet forced to resort to burger-flipping for a living, you know what I’m saying?

    Do people really choose to pay tax? Let’s hold a referendum on that and abolish tax if that’s what the people want, vox populi vox Dei.

  107. 107
    Sine4x

    Taslima
    I have paid for the services of women 100s of times, in many countries. Recently I have had reason to read up on prostitution (pro and con) and have changed my opinion of the industry entirely. I agree with everything you said in the article.

    When I read Dworkin, my eyes were finally opened. Prostitution is a gender equality issue, it commodifies women. As a man who has bought women, I can no longer see women as full equals, each has a price. The price of a woman is based on her race/ethnicity, her age, her weight, her looks and finally her intelligence. That anyone would pay $1000 for a night is beyond me, a woman of equal or better quality is readily available for $100.

    Sex-positive feminism has done millions of women a gross injustice by equating prostitution with sexual liberty. They are not the same. Feminists arguing that selling sex is an expression of agency and the pinnacle of liberation are delusional. From a sex-buyer perspective, the bickering amongst feminists over prostitution is laughable. As a recent convert to the cause of gender equality, it is saddening that some feminists cannot see what I have seen.

    In 1927, Havelock Ellis quoted an Indian Brahmin “It is the crime of your civilization. We have never had prostitutes. I mean by that horrible word the brutalized servants of the gross desire of the passerby.” I have seen some “brutalised servants”, and it is not a pretty sight. A quick web-search for “Bangladesh brothel” would be very enlightening for some of your readers.

    Prostitution is a blight on the face of the earth. It is a global issue because it is a global industry that preys on marginalised women and girls. All feminists should fight against its existence. The alternative is to work towards a world where prostitution becomes noble work, a dystopian future where the government has a legal right to force people into prostitution (as Germany has, but does not yet exercise), a world of true inequality.

  108. 108
    israel escorts

    I agree with you and also appreciate to your thoughts. But what you think why women choose this prostitution job while they know all about it. That is not her own mind setup to be a escort girl, all are their need that forces to be a prostitute. I my sight it is not a bad or abused job as every one have their own life and reasons or they can live it by their own wish. thanks.

  109. 109
    timidlady

    I was raped not too long ago and since then I thought it might be an interesting fun thing on the side. When this guy was on top of me he told me to spread my legs some more and instantly I became aroused. I thought, sure with anyone but you. Everyone but you, if I could. Later, he came to the store I work at and asked me for a dollar. I was so offended. While I realize that it might be a better indication of my worth that I have things taken from me, it might feel better if I’m paid instead. Besides this man took something very sacred from me and that was my fidelity to my husband. He left me five years ago and I have been faithful every since. But now I realize that my fidelity makes my husband a great big deal and I have to think about, do I really want this rapist to be the last man I ever touch? He is a giant because I have been with so few men. If I slept with many men he would be so tiny. And if I were paid it would feel like someone gave something to me instead of take, take, take. It is my favorite sexual fantasy by far, although I have never done it. I know that makes me seem like I’m advocating rape to men who like women who sleep with men. But it really was devastating to me. I cry an awful lot and I just need some soothing I guess.

  110. 110
    Sofi

    I don’t understand the people who feel the need to advocate for prostitution, especially women. Reading some of the comments, they seem to think that legalizing prostitution will make trafficking magically disappear or greatly decrease and it will be very difficult for pimps or drug gangs to operate illegal prostitution. That is simply not true. A lot of pimps manage to escape prosecution with strict laws against prostitution what makes you think that they will not when laws allow prostitution, after all prostitution is about profit and these pimps will not get as much money when the women gets to keep most or half of it. Rebellion from prostitutes against pimps will most probably result in death or a life of hiding to escape the gang members that are more than willing to kill you.
    Moreover, prostitution dehumanizes women and girls and equates them to items that can be purchased or rented for pleasure of men. Women have always been judged on appearance, age, and receive messages from society and especially men that the most important thing about them is their sexuality and women also tried very hard especially in the late 19th and still in the 21st century to focus on other things when it comes to women like intelligence, personality. Prostitution on the other hand is far from liberating it is putting women right back in misogynistic society where they are judged on appearance, age and sex. Pro-prostitution people try to down play these sides when they are the main qualities of the trade.

  111. 111
    Thorne

    All valid arguments, Sofi. And I agree that ILLEGAL prostitution, involving pimps and gang members, will likely not be stopped by legalizing it. Just like legalizing alcohol did not stop moonshiners. It does make it less profitable for them, though, and also frees up legal resources to actually go after the gangs and pimps and traffickers rather than the exploited women and girls.

    But why do you think that allowing women to use their bodies would make things worse for them? To one degree or another everyone is judged on their age and appearance, and yes, even on their sex. Anyone who works for a living is selling his or her body for money, whether it’s for physical labor (selling your muscles) or bookkeeping (selling your mind). If you have a body which others find attractive, and IF you enjoy showing off that body, and IF you enjoy using it to please someone else for money, why should you be prohibited from doing so?

    No one here is advocating forcing women into prostitution. Where advocating not punishing those who WANT to sell themselves. How can that be wrong?

  112. 112
    Sofi

    Thorne: Pimps and gang members abuse humans mainly women when it comes to prostitution, moonshiners make illegal alcohol its not comparable. On the contrary, illegal prostitution especially with under-aged girls is very profitable, with laws that allow prostitution, legal brothels can serve as a front for trafficking. A 15, 16 or 17 yr old can pass as an 18, 19 or even 21 year old girl, they will be controlled and prostituted under the cloak of legality. This scenario is already happening in 3rd world countries and even in developed countries. How will the clients know the difference? Most clients usually men walk in to pay for the “service” of sex and walk out, they do not care for any thing else they are here to “enjoy” their time. This is also another underlying problem that drives prostitution and trafficking, the failure of societies to put healthy constraints on male sexuality, historically males were allowed to rape the enemies’ women, have sex with female slaves, generally get away with a lot when it comes to promiscuity, this has not changed in the 21st century. The sexual demand of men drives prostitution, trafficking and sexual slavery. When talking about prostitution we should not just include the women who profit from prostitution but also those who has been wronged by it and its effect on society and especially women and girls. I strongly believe that it has more disadvantages than advantages in the long term for women because it reinforces a lot of misogynistic notions that are inherently harmful to women and girls and I truly care for my self, my sister, my mother and my fellow women so I am against it. Also, I have never heard any man that would love to marry a prostitute and make her the mother of his children, yes have sex with her and sex only, a prostitute is a sex object. This how a lot of men see prostitutes either consciously or sub-consciously and so do other women and society as a whole, for such thinking to change societies around the world need a cultural and intellectual revolution and it is a process that takes many long years and unity of both men and women on such subjects.

  113. 113
    Thorne

    Sofi, all of your concerns seem to point out the necessity for legalizing, controlling and inspecting brothels. Instead of making the ACT of prostitution a crime, make the promotion of illegal prostitution the crime. Don’t arrest the women, arrest the pimps. Arrest those persons who use illegal prostitutes as felons, while providing medical and psychological support for the prostitutes.

    But I do agree, we need to make major improvements in stopping the rape culture which is pervasive around the world. Stop blaming the victims and prosecute the rapists as hard-core felons. I have seen small time drug dealers get longer prison sentences than hard core rapists! That’s not right.

    But the biggest thing we can do is to demystify sex! Stop thinking of the sex act as dirty, something to be hidden, something we don’t talk about. Teach our children, and ourselves, the good and the bad things about sexual activity, what is right (consent) and wrong (rape). And make sure that those who have become victims of a sexual crime are treated as the victims, not some kind of dirty enabler. Prostitution has been illegal (except for the mistresses of the wealthy and powerful, of course) in most cultures since the invention of religion, without making a dent in the proliferation of illegal prostitution. Maybe it’s time to try a better way.

    As for how men see prostitutes, that’s something a woman who decides to become a prostitute should be made aware of. Which is another argument for legalization. Women wanting to enter a brothel could be counseled on the risks and problems to make sure they understand what they’re getting into. But it would also, perhaps, add a touch of respectability to the profession, eventually. Once we can get rid of the religious/moralistic baggage that is foisted upon it now.

    Personally, I see no difference between a person who enjoys sex and sells his or her body and skills, and a person who enjoys painting and sells his or her art. They’re just different ways of making money. As long as it’s safe and consensual, why should it matter?

  114. 114
    Sofi

    Thorne : My point is that legalizing prostitution does not solve problems. It does not stop trafficking of women, trafficking of under-aged girls, sex with children, the existence of pimps and pimp like organizations, forcing women/girls into prostitution by drug gangs and other gangs, so what’s the use of legalizing it? It only serves these women that don’t have pimps and are profiting anyways either by legalizing it or not, legalizing however offers a legitimacy to what there doing other than that does not solve any problem but rather normalizes the purchase of sex, which is not good for those who are trafficked. ” religious/moralistic baggage” are not the only things that are sexist towards women, I have met atheist men who are more misogynist and sexist than any religious man I know. And you don’t need to be counseled to know the risks and how society looks at prostitute, just living in any society you get that message. Inspection of brothels does not guarantee stopping forced prostitution, pimps don’t exactly identify themselves to the police and prostitutes don’t run to the police to tell on their pimps. Inspection of brothels, offering protection to prostitutes from pimps, responding to inappropriate behavior of men in brothels towards prostitutes all of these things cost police time that should be put towards other things like child prostitution. On the other hand keeping prostitution illegal, gives police a wider range of people to arrest a wider chance to identify those who may be trafficked and also arresting anyone who tries to prostitute keeps it more under control and makes it harder for pimps because their means of getting money, the prostitute is arrested and can’t get them money. It also discourages women from prostituting themselves but rather look for another type of job and as a result it’s more unlikely to fall for a pimp. No matter how many times you try to make prostitution seem normal, I can assure you it won’t, this has been tested throughout history. Prostitution will always have more disadvantages than advantages for women and most will refuse to engage in it.

  115. 115
    Thorne

    Sofi: I realize that legalizing prostitution will not stop trafficking. I doubt there is anything short of an act of a non-existent god which will stop it. But legal prostitution MIGHT reduce it. It should reduce the profit in it, since most men would likely use legal brothels, which are clean and safe, than illegal prostitutes, which are far more risky. Legal brothels should also free up police resources, which are currently spent chasing down streetwalkers and their johns, and let them concentrate more on the illegal brothels. Making it a felony to use an unlicensed prostitute or brothel will push even more men towards the legal ones.

    And I agree, there are atheist misogynists and sexists. But most atheists come from religious backgrounds, having had the misogynistic teachings of those religions pounded into their minds from birth. There are misogynistic women, too, for much the same reasons. Many of the reasons that society looks upon prostitution as being so bad come from religious points of view that women, in general, are bad. One way to change those views is to legislate penalties for those who will not treat women as equals. But when it is the government which mistreats them, things get even tougher. Legalizing prostitution, while unlikely to be popular with religious communities, is one step towards making prostitution, and eventually even the religious view of women, more accepting.

    No matter how many times you try to make prostitution seem normal, I can assure you it won’t, this has been tested throughout history.

    I disagree. There have been cultures around the world which accepted prostitution. Not every culture had the puritanical view of sex that modern cultures, twisted by Christianity, have developed. And even in modern cultures, it’s not uncommon for wealthy men to have expensive mistresses (which are nothing more than high-priced prostitutes, after all.)

    Prostitution will always have more disadvantages than advantages for women and most will refuse to engage in it.

    I suspect you may be right about this. Being a man I can only speculate. But even if you are right, SOME will want to participate. I would rather see them participate as respected, protected, members of society than as hunted and despised streetwalkers.

    The primary disadvantages for women of prostitution, though, have always been disease, pregnancy and physical abuse. A legal bordello could seriously reduce every one of those problems.

  116. 116
    Jeannette

    I was a prostitute on/off for many years. I do not know why. Sometimes I enjoyed it, sometimes it made me suicidal. It did feel like I was orchestrating my own rape, it’s just that I enjoyed “being raped” on some days. It felt like an addiction, yes. I wish I was different, that I had married and had children. I have been in therapy to try and find out why I became a prostitute. I have never been in a loving sexual relationship. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Thanks for reading.

    1. 116.1
      Thorne

      Jeanette, I hope you can find the help and peace you’re seeking. It’s my understanding (for what it’s worth) that your feelings are not uncommon among women who went into prostitution by their own choice.

      For what it’s worth, even a regular 9 to 5 job can cause large swings in mood. Some days you love it, some days you hate it. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt suicidal about my job, though.

      And it’s also my understanding (again, for whatever that’s worth) that it’s not uncommon for women to have rape fantasies, with the emphasis on fantasy. Your claim that you did enjoy it, sometimes, does imply that there are some who will enjoy it, perhaps more than just sometimes. Especially if it were in a controlled and safe area.

      And like you, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But it’s my position that legalizing and regulating prostitution, and removing the social stigma that accompanies it, would be better for those who do enjoy it, as well as for those who want to frequent prostitutes.

      1. Jeannette

        Thanks for the reply. I think you are missing my point here. I think many “voluntary” prostitutes like I was chose this “occupation” because they have a sex addiction. They “enjoy” the sex in the way that a meth addict “enjoy” getting high. But ultimately the addiction is a symptom of an illness of the soul which the addiction is an attempt to self-medicate, a distraction from the pain and emptiness. I imagine that many sex customers come from this angle too. The problem is this this addiction, again like other addiction, send people into a spiral of self contempt, in the case of sex addiction this is emphasised because of the connection between sex and shame, and even more so for female prostitutes because of the judgement that most societies place on promiscuous women.

        With all respect I don’t think you know what you are talking about. Or, maybe you are not in touch with the side of yourself that holds the innermost longings for unity and love. I was there myself, but I’m trying to get in touch with my true feelings. No person opens their vagina, mouth or anus to stranger after stranger without being or becoming psychologically damaged. It is not a job, which some people enjoy or some people don’t enjoy. It is self-harm, a lie, a very unhealthy life style.

        Lastly, I want to say that I have had many other jobs, proper jobs, thank you, so I know that working is not always enjoyable. But the intense feeling of despair that I felt when I “worked” as a prostitute on the days where my body did not want to be touched by strangers – and for any human such days are frequent – I have not felt in any other situation, work or otherwise.

        Christ sake people, stop intellectualizing and start feeling. We are all the same.

        1. Thorne

          in the case of sex addiction this is emphasised because of the connection between sex and shame, and even more so for female prostitutes because of the judgement that most societies place on promiscuous women.

          This is the main point of my position! One of the first changes that need to be made is to eliminate this connection between sex and shame. There is nothing shameful about sex. It’s completely natural, and for most people it’s enjoyable.

          With all respect I don’t think you know what you are talking about. Or, maybe you are not in touch with the side of yourself that holds the innermost longings for unity and love.

          You could be right. It wouldn’t be the first time I didn’t know what I was talking about. I certainly don’t know what YOU are talking about in that second sentence, about “innermost longings”. Sounds like psychological gibberish to me.

          Christ sake people, stop intellectualizing and start feeling. We are all the same.

          No, I think you’re wrong here. People need to stop relying so much on feelings and start relying on their intellects. Feelings tell people that sex is bad, it’s wrong, it’s dirty. These feelings come from our upbringing, more often than not. Our intellect tells us that sex is natural, not shameful. What we need is more people using their brains instead of their hormones.

          And we are not all the same. It is our differences which define us.

          1. Jeannette

            You ridicule my use of words. Perhaps “innermost longings” is a bit fluffy. I was trying to make the point that we humans are pack animals, and despite all the exiting individual differences we all have basic needs for belonging and acceptance – I called it “love and unity”. When people are not in touch with those needs, or they are not fulfilled at crucial stages in life, addictions are developed as a substitute. Sex addiction is one example. Anyway, why ridicule? It is not honest or constructive.

            So according to you it is not relevant how I feel and felt about selling sex, or how you yourself would feel about selling sex. The heading of this article is “Do women really ‘choose’ to be prostitutes.” So how an ex-prostitute feels about her own “choice” to become a prostitute is clearly relevant. OR is this debate only for people with theoretic opinion, and contributions from people with actual experience are less valuable? I speak from a point of personal experience and from empathy towards my fellow human beings – I think that is a healthy starting point for developing politics, no?

            At the moment, you are arguing for legalising prostitution; you want it to become a legitimate occupational choice. Do you think that you or people you care about would be happy in prostitution? Your answer would perhaps be “No, but that’s because of society’s negative views on sex”. I disagree, I think there are psychological and philosophical issues here. I don’t think sex is bad. But I think sex for money with strangers as a “job” is bad.

            I speak for myself and the many women I have met in prostitution. We are all, without one single exception, pretty fucked up. Yes, generally more fucked up than women who are not prostitutes. We had problems from the start which made us become prostitutes, and these problems became worse in prostitution. Some of that negativity is caused by society’s views on women and sex, I agree with you there. But on physical, yes EMOTIONAL and philosophical levels, prostitution involves giving people intimate access to yourself. These are by default people who you do not want to have close to you, which is why they pay for the privilege. So the money acts as a compensation for ignoring your natural instincts of who you want to have sex with. But money can NEVER compensate for breach of personal boundaries. And that is why I think that prostitution should not be treated as a job, because the basic principle of payment for time and effort doesn’t apply. It is too personal, too close. Some things should not be for sale.

          2. Thorne

            You ridicule my use of words. Perhaps “innermost longings” is a bit fluffy.

            I assure you, no ridicule was intended. I really don’t understand what that term is supposed to mean.

            despite all the exiting individual differences we all have basic needs for belonging and acceptance

            Basic needs, perhaps. Some have those needs more than others, though. Personally, I don’t have any needs for anyone else’s acceptance, nor a need for attention. Some people seem to require both acceptance and attention. Because we ARE all different, with different needs and requirements.

            So according to you it is not relevant how I feel and felt about selling sex, or how you yourself would feel about selling sex.

            Certainly your feelings are more relevant to you than they are to me, as my feelings would be more relevant to me than to you. Nothing strange about that. I’m certainly not denying your right to have those feelings, or your opinions. I’m just saying that we are all different, and what you are feeling, and have felt, is not necessarily what others would feel.

            you are arguing for legalising prostitution; you want it to become a legitimate occupational choice. Do you think that you or people you care about would be happy in prostitution?

            Me? No, I wouldn’t be happy in that occupation. Just as I wouldn’t be happy as a coal miner, or a tailor, or a host of other occupations. As for people I care about, I can’t honestly say. I suspect most would not even consider it, for their own reasons. All I am saying is that, if prostitution were legalized, controlled, licensed and regulated, there WOULD be some people, women and men, who would be willing to at least try it, and I suspect, though I can not prove it, that there would be some who would enjoy it, at least as much as one can enjoy one’s work.

            I speak for myself and the many women I have met in prostitution. We are all, without one single exception, pretty fucked up. Yes, generally more fucked up than women who are not prostitutes.

            I obviously can’t speak to this aspect, not having any experience nor knowing anyone who has had such an experience. But in all of those cases, you and the other women you’ve known, were any of them involved in legal prostitution? How many of them were addicted to things other than sex, using their bodies just to provide the next fix? Or, as in your case, addicted to sex itself?

            But on physical, yes EMOTIONAL and philosophical levels, prostitution involves giving people intimate access to yourself.

            I understand that. I’m not denying that. I’m simply saying that, given the choice, there are some who would not be bothered by that.

            Some things should not be for sale.

            If I were an artist, using my talent to paint beautiful pictures, investing a large part of myself into that act of creation, would you think it wrong of me to actually sell my paintings? I worked in an office, using my skills with math and computers to make money for my employer, and myself. Should I have refused to prostitute myself for money?

            I see legalized prostitution in the same way: a means for someone to use his or her skills and talents to make money. Will everyone want to do it? No, of course not. I think most people would not want to even think about it. But there will be some who do want to sell themselves. Maybe some will find it’s the wrong decision. Maybe some will find it’s the right one. For THEM.

            There are some religious groups who denounce music as evil, who claim that singing is an affront to their god. Should we ban all singing to satisfy the religious prohibitions of these groups? Prostitution is the same, in my view. There are some people who will want to sell their bodies, for whatever reason. Why should we deny them the right to do so based on some outmoded religious mores?

  117. 117
    Sofi

    Thorne: As you admitted that legalizing prostitution will not stop trafficking, there is no further discussion needed there. Not just illegal prostitutes that have STD’s but legal prostitutes too, as a matter of fact STD’s can be generally seen in promiscuous people that is why it’s sexually transmitted diseases. Continuously having sex with strangers can never be safe and no legal brothel will decrease that. Further more, it doesn’t make sense to screen prostitutes for STD’s but not the johns.

    The police will always have something to do. Once prostitution becomes legal identifying the licensed and unlicensed prostitute will become blurred, but keeping it illegal won’t. I said this before and I will say it again legal brothels need a lot of money to keep that type of security and address all the points that I mentioned before they will need the help of the police, so police will still be involved one way or another. There is nothing wrong with police arresting prostitutes that is there job.

    You said “And I agree, there are atheist misogynists and sexists. But most atheists come from religious backgrounds, having had the misogynistic teachings of those religions pounded into their minds from birth. ”
    So how do I know that you promoting legalizing prostitution does not come from misogynist and sexist religious back ground or from living in such societies?!

    Those cultures that allowed prostitution are within a very small minority, most cultures oppose it that means even those that are not twisted by Christianity. Not all rich men have mistresses, and a lot of these rich men are misogynist and sexist towards women and think because they have money they are entitled to do that. I also reckon that a lot of men want to be like these rich men again one of the main causes that drive prostitution , a lot of it is as a result of patriarchy and also misogyny and sexism.

    It does not matter that some women want to participate in prostitution, the fact is that the majority of women does not want to participate in prostitution and a lot of women in prostitution are trafficked. Trafficking, child prostitution are some of the bad sides of prostitution. Historically women have prostituted themselves because of patriarchal societies that left them with little other options, today most women who are in prostitution site the same reasons. People should be more dedicated in providing women/girls with more options rather than allowing prostitution that brings many disadvantages.

    As a women who works hard to make a living and involved in a lot of women’s issues, I have no interest in legalizing prostitution. The way I see it legalizing prostitution benefits the little minority of women who are prostitutes and men. I know that me and the rest of women are not the point of interest. So why vote for it? In reality, prostitutes make it harder for other women, especially to have relationships, as they are willing to have sex with any man including married and those in relationships, yes its not the prostitutes fault but she still carries a part of the fault along with the man. Prostitution is just the other bad side of a misogynist society.

    1. 117.1
      Thorne

      As you admitted that legalizing prostitution will not stop trafficking, there is no further discussion needed there.

      That’s just silly. That’s like saying that putting up traffic lights won’t stop every accident, so there’s no point in even trying to control the traffic. Legalizing prostitution won’t stop trafficking, but it would reduce the demand for illegal prostitutes and reduce the profit in trafficking. Plus it would free up police resources to target the traffickers.

      Continuously having sex with strangers can never be safe and no legal brothel will decrease that.

      I disagree. Legal brothels would require their customers to use condoms, greatly reducing the risks of transmitting STD’s. Regular, frequent tests of the prostitutes would also be required, also reducing the risks.

      Once prostitution becomes legal identifying the licensed and unlicensed prostitute will become blurred

      If the legal prostitutes are all working out of licensed brothels, then it’s not a problem identifying the illegals, is it?

      So how do I know that you promoting legalizing prostitution does not come from misogynist and sexist religious back ground or from living in such societies?

      No secret there. I was born and raised in the Catholic Church, spent 13 years in Catholic schools, and pulled my way out of the much of religion primarily because of the sexism and misogyny which permeated the church. I’ve worked hard to avoid being sexist and misogynistic, and most times I believe I succeed. I think my own motivation for advocating legalized prostitution is because I believe that all people, including women, should have the right to do whatever they like with their own bodies, as long as they aren’t harming someone else. If a woman, or a man, enjoys selling sexual favors, I believe they should have that right. But, like driving a car or owning a firearm, I believe society has the right to make sure that person is doing so safely! Thus regulating and taxing the industry. And I have never bought the services of a prostitute, nor would I be likely to if they were legal. Not because I think it’s wrong, or immoral, but just because I don’t think it’s worth the cost to me.

      As for your other concerns, we already have those problems without legal prostitution. How would legalizing it make them worse? Of course, it would help if we could make significant strides in eliminating the stigma of sexuality. In American society, at least, men who are sexually active with multiple partners are looked on as almost demi-gods, heroic icons of masculinity. Women, on the other hand, are considered whores and sluts. That needs to change. Ideally, for my tastes, somewhere in the middle would be the optimum. Neither heroes nor whores, just normal people.

  118. 118
    Stewie

    It’s hilarious that you ignore all the men who chose to work in the sex industry.
    But as you are a thinly disguised bigot it isn’t a surprise.

    Some people chose to work in the sex industry. Some people chose to buy services from the sex industry. As is their joint natural right.

    It’s a short journey from your arguments to “women should not have absolute rights over their body and Abortion should be restricted” and then to “some Abortions are illegal so they must all be criminalized”.

    Deal with trafficking by targeting Traffickers.

    Misogyny? deal with it by stamping out Islamism for a start and work down from there. I see little or none of it where I work in the UK NHS, nearly the world’s largest employer.

    1. 118.1
      Thorne

      Stamping out Islam, or any religion, won’t stop misogyny. As noted in several posts above, their are misogynists in the atheism movement, too. And the best way to do that is to make sure that ALL people, regardless of race, creed, color, or sexuality, are treated equally. Removing the influence of religions, ALL religions, would be a step towards that goal. And while I wouldn’t mind seeing religious thoughts and practices die out through attrition and irrelevancy, “stamping” them out is the wrong answer. Laughing them out of existence works much better, with far less violence.

  119. 119
    Sofi

    Thorne: I’m really tired of trying to deliver you the reality of legalizing prostitution.

    1. Legalizing prostitution does not reduce the profit in trafficking or the demand of illegal prostitutes.
    2. Not all legal brothels require customers to use condoms as a matter of fact its left for the prostitute and customer to decide. That’s is how LEGAL prostitutes get STD’s.
    3. As I said before there are illegal prostitutes and under-aged girls in LEGAL brothels.

    There is no society that is completely free otherwise we’ll be living in a jungle. Yes, it is up to individuals to decide for themselves as long as it is a healthy decision and not harming others. I believe that prostitution is not a healthy decision and will always harm others. As for the double standard, yes I believe they are wrong, but prostitution is not the right way to address it. It is harder to demand and implement constraints on male’s sexuality, is it why some people opt for prostitution let the women do the dirty work! Why don’t men have self control its easier to point fingers on women and legalize prostitution than address the real issue.

  120. 120
    Kareem Schnopp

    likes is quite quick, do not avoid above steps and save your Facebook Webpage Likes. Also check out Here you can check how to divert your Facebook Web page traffic to you Site Connect with TricksWindow on

  121. 121
    A-Male-Confession

    “Do women really ‘choose’ to be prostitutes?” Yes and No — emphasis on “and” … meaning both realities. There are two conceptions, concrete realities, that define “choice”:

    1. Those who create their options — choices.

    2. Those who don’t create their options (choices) but can only pick (choose) from options created for them.

    If one accepts this multi-level/multi-dimension definition of CHOICE or CONSENT, then one could agree that all human beings (adults, teens, and kids — excluding babies) have relative-power to exercise #2 but only a few human beings have the dominant or disproportionate (most) power to exercise #1 — create choices (options) for themselves and many others.

    For example, a woman can choose to DIE or beg or any other options rather than enter a male-controlled and male-consumer sex industry — or what few LGBT sex industries exist to avoid sex with males. But within the context of a patriarch society (world-wide), few women control the sex industries, although many women participate as workers, managers, traffickers, along with males … are duplicitous. The same exist for RAPE, one can choose to DIE (if possible), to not exercise the self-preservation most human beings exercise, even if doing such means choosing to be beaten, shot, murdered in brutal fashion. I don’t joke about these choices nor speak of them in some irrational abstract theoretical sense. Human beings always have #2 choice, even if the #1 choices are worst-case versus unfathomable-choices. In contrast, if one most females (heterosexual) had a choice between working in the sex-industry or becoming married — would not many opt for the latter. But then is the institution of marriage (within the context of patriarch) not also a form of male-centered-prostitution, under the ideological-pretext of procreation and love (family and husband — the latter bringing home the bacon for the stay-at-home-wife … who has the option of earning extra income outside in other patriarch jobs?) Doesn’t the husband get to “penetrate” his WIFE (aka legal-married-prostitute) often, frequently) … and also cheat on her with other women (whom we pejoratively call “sluts”) … put her at risk of STDS … and rape her, domestic abuse her, and perhaps also rape-incest the kids and abuse them …versus provide the Cinderella Complex happily-ever-after fairy-tale.

    In short, I tend to concur with Gayle Rubyn’s “Thinking Sex” perspective that human beings create our institutions, our ideologies, our meanings … and thus how we define, interpret, and give meanings to our human behaviors including sex, with whom, doing what acts, and under what conditions and contexts. I also concur with Taslimina that our sex-industries are gender-sexuality exploitation in many if not most forms for the consumption of mostly males. I disagree, however, that any and all commercial sex, whether male or female, adult or certain-age teens, is inherently sexist/injurious — that human beings (in this case women) cannot create pro-sex-positive, non-injurious, meaningful, high-paid sex-jobs, ones that serve women and males. To argue such, because gender-sex relations within the context of patriarchy are brutal, exploitative, and male-centric, only validates and perpetuates the male, religious, and secular ideology that sex is bad, naughty, sin unless done under certain conditions, with certain persons, and only in certain ways — and whom will decide this … for all women only or for both males and females …. and is not the latter a more fundamental issue related to the power-issue involving choice/consent (#1 and #2 above) … not just in the abstract but in the concrete, daily?

  122. 122
    bobster

    I came across this site in doing more research on prostitution. Your article was and is extremely informative. The part about ” I ask you to think about your bodies,etc…” was gut wrenching at least for me. I have lived with prostitutes and worked with them, and then later as a professional I worked with them as well in recovery. And no I never had the desire to have sex with a prostitute. I saw it and still do as slavery of women. Many of my questions as a boy and young man were answered after became a professional in the field as to why some women are prostitutes. There are many reasons, too many to list here. But pimps and men who make women into prostitutes know what they are looking for in a potential girl/woman. Pimp handbooks are easily available to such sick men, and women too. Women who have been sexually abused as children, women with emotional disorders, women who become addicted/alcoholic, the list goes on and on. I only watched some pimps break in some runaways once, and that was enough. I drove a taxi and drove the girls at times, and waited at the brothels for the Johns and or girls to go back out. Some would use the taxi, I got out until they did their thing. I saw girls beaten repeatedly by pimps and tricks, I saw girls forced to crawl like animals, and call their pimps Master while denied the basic things we all take for granted. I saw girls so terrified that their minds broke, and they were then the “perfect Ho”. Pimps and other sick men and some women know all this and use it to their advantage. I had women tell me’” This is all I am good for is to sexually please men, and do as men tell me to do.” I heard Johns say”yea I know she is being made to do it, but that’s not my problem.” I heard from women how they spent hours on the mattress learning all the tricks of the trade with pimps, and other men all night, I also saw it. How they had to learn all the “whore speak”,
    “Did I please you baby?, Was I good baby, Was I good enough to get a tip baby?, You can hurt me baby, I like to be hurt., they have a lot to learn during training in other words. And I have dealt with the long term consequences of prostitutes, the shame, so bad that some girls took their lives, and feel totally worthless as a human being. Prostitution is sexual slavery, period. And I am still blown away when I hear so called educated men and women say its a good thing. And as a taxi driver in one of the most corrupt towns there were no police to call, most of them got kicks backs and free sex from it. Even the women cops. I have see corrupt politicians from all parties taking money and free sex from it, men and women. And its still going on today, right now and even the small towns. We will never be rid of that type of abuse unfortunately as long as we have greed for power and control, greed for money, sex and drugs, and evil people who take advantage of those weaker than them. And yes I do believe in evil. I have stared it in the face. Am I capable of evil as well? Of course. I am a fallible human being. But thank God I have a conscious, and feel guilt, and shame both which help to keep me human in the right quantities. But we do need more education for our children. Thanks for the article, and the other references you listed. I got long winded, but someone very dear to me is suffering from her years as a prostitute, and who had, has a mental illness.

  123. 123
    Milkshake

    why is prostitution such a bad or taboo word? why do people use degrading and exploiting women? why are young and pretty girls chosen not old and ugly women? think of it.. if a man pays you means you are worth it. because you look good and you are young..

  124. 124
    Deon Martire

    Awfully enlightening many thanks, It appears like your current readers could possibly want even more blog posts similar to this continue the great effort.

  125. 125
    MA OF UNIVERSE

    THE ROOT CAUSE OF SELLING YOUR BODY DUE TO ECONOMIC AND ABUSIVE FACTORS NEED TO BE CHALLENGED. SADLY MEN HAVE WORSHIPPED THE VAGINA SINCE THE FIRST VAGINA THEIR MOTHER EXIT AREA IF BORN NOT OF STOMACH OR TEST TUBE LABORATORIES, IN THE MOST VULGAR WAY DUE TO PORNOGRAPHY ACCESS AND SOCIETY NURTURE FROM MEDIA TO ENSURE MAXIMUM DAMAGE TO MALE PSYCHE. THIS THEN HAS UNTOLD DAMAGE FOR LIFE. WHERE ALL LIFE IS SUBJECTED TO PAIN. A FEMALE AND MALE WERE PRECIOUS ONCE UPON A TIME…NOW ITS NOT A HAPPY EVER AFTER STORY. THE UNITY OF FEMALE AND MALE NEEDS TO HAPPEN AGAIN TO ENSURE LIFE. THE PATRIARCHAL WORLD HAS DONE SO MUCH DAMAGE TO US ALL THAT THE BALANCE IS TIPPED IN NO FAVOUR OF LIFE AS A UNIT. ONE DAY SOON ALL THESE ATROCITIES WILL BE CHALLENGED. WHERE THERE IS NO DEMAND THERE IS NO SUPPLY. SADLY FOR ALL OF US THE DEMAND NEEDS TO BE MET WITH SUPPLY. SEX BETWEEN A LOVING COUPLE IS THE MOST WONDERFUL GIFT OF SCIENCE UNDERSTANDING WITH LOVE AS THE FOUNDATION IN ITS SCIENCE. BUT IT GOT HIJACKED BY POLITICAL, SOCIAL, EDUCATION, TECHNOLOGICAL CONTROL METHODS USED AND ABUSED. WE ARE ALL NOW SUFFERING FROM THIS DEMISE TO LIFE.

  126. 126
    Kevin Stricland

    5 years from brotherls is this true what is the world comin to (smh) cant

  127. 127
    Remco Meijers

    Yeah, now we can say, No country for Women :(
    They are helpless. We should help ‘em immediately. Please stop abusing women.

  128. 128
    donna jines

    i did not read the whole article,but i can answer the question from personal experience. absolute no. women do not choose to be prostitutes and strippers/sex workers,etc…..from my experience, the woman i could have been was taken from me as a child. child sexual abuse,and child sex trafficing changes the childs life FOREVER. they are never the same. this is why we should all have compassion when we see a drug addict,prostitute,stripper,or any one the world judges and spitefully treats them.we should stop and think, why they are who they are…….theres always a story behind why they ended up where they are.

  129. 129
    Hyderabad Escorts Services

    Hello dear thanks for give to prostitution definition Prostitution is not labor, it is paid sexual exploitation .This is true line.

  130. 130
    Sgt Rock

    Let’s think about this socially and economically. Let’s say a woman works as an accountant. She brings home about $400 per week after taxes after forty hours of work at a job she probably doesn’t enjoy. After living expenses, debt payments and so on, there isn’t much money left over to do much of anything. But sell yourself as a high dollar escort to a restricted type of clients and that same woman can make $400 PER HOUR!!! Right. It’s a choice. This is supposed to be a man’s world, find me a man who can make that much money in one hour without a PhD or a family inheritance. Right again. Certainly, there are a large number of exploited women but in contrast, there is a high number of women who know exactly what they are doing out of their own free will. As long as our society and feminism discourages men from even looking at them sideways let alone approaching women, men will continue to use prostitution. It’s not about exploitation or power over women. It’s about a temporary relief of loneliness with a woman who under most conditions wouldn’t even give most men the time of day. I’m the first person to cry out “DOWN WITH TRAFFICKING!” But I’m also first to shout out, “LEGALIZATION! REGULATION!! ENFORCEMENT!!!”

    Hope this helps.

  1. 131
    No, a blog should not be like Wikipedia « The Hypothetical Bus Stop

    [...] Nasrin has written a couple more pieces to follow up on the one I linked a couple days ago. One is responding to the criticisms of the first article. The other is about porn. Sadly, they’re pretty similar to the last one. [...]

  2. 132
    Sharing the love « The Lady Garden

    [...] people. I (Deb) think that all three pieces are worth reading, as is Taslima Nasrin’s reply: Do women really ‘choose’ to be prostitutes? I’m very sympathetic to the pieces by Greta Christina and Natalie Reed, no doubt because the [...]

  3. 133
    A Study In AntiPorn/AntiSexWork Paternalistic Idiocy: A Response To “Nikolay” | Red Garter Club Blog (Version 3.2)

    [...] started when “abolitionist” activist and writer Taslima Nasreen decided to post some blog blasts decrying what she called “sex slavery’ and endorsing the “Swedish [...]

  4. 134
    Conversation with Joseph Zhang | Atheism, Music, and More…

    [...] of sex workers to maintain their anti-sex work positions. Hell… look at Taslima Nasreen on FTB. She’s a prime example. But just because I disagree with those specific feminists does not mean I throw out [...]

  5. 135
  6. 136
    Adianta School Student Blogs » Tea+blogs;bliss!

    […] Pankaj (the to-be revolutionary) shared one on prostitution and how women ache to escape its shackles.( http://freethoughtblogs.com/taslima/2012/04/11/prostitution/) […]

  7. 137
    Desprotegidas: como a legalização da prostituição falhou | Amazonas e Icamiabas

    […] Do women really ‘choose’ to be prostitutes […]

  8. 138
    Project Unbreakable | My name is Sangita.

    […] These kids, like me, are wondering how people walk by us not even curious as to why we are alone in the dark, crying…why isn’t anyone doing anything about it? We actually feel like no one cares because no one bothers to ask or recognize the red flags of rape victims or trafficked victims. People just judge them and think they have “chosen” this lifestyle. When prostituted women were asked if they ‘had the chance to leave the sex trade industry, would they?’ 92% said ‘yes’. This statistic was prevalent in a 5-country study. (Source: http://freethoughtblogs.com/taslima/2012/04/11/prostitution/) […]

  9. 139
    Tell The Government What You Think About Prostitution | Canadian Atheist

    […] for money is somehow inherently exploitative and/or degrading. It’s not all that hard to find avowed atheists who object to prostitution, and Sweden, Norway and Iceland (not exactly hotbeds of religious […]

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