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to feel sick every time I hear someone say

(55 Posts)
FocaultOff Fri 15-Feb-13 21:47:35

child prostitute. Is it just semantics to prefer prostituted child? I'm reading all these news articles from both current day and the 1980s and 1990s and it really seems to be that the children being described are first and foremost prostitutes, secondly they happen to be children - when surely it should be that they are children first, who are being prostituted. So far I think I've only read one article in the Belfast Telegraph that made the distinction.

Is it splitting hairs or does it indicate perhaps why vulnerable children in care find themselves being abused if the society in which they live then defines them as a prostitute?

MrsWolowitzerables Fri 15-Feb-13 21:49:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hassled Fri 15-Feb-13 21:49:56

I'd never actually thought about it before but I think you're absolutely right - they are prostituted children, not prostitutes. Whether a change in terminology would actually change the mindset of those involved, though, is another matter.

CarlingBlackMabel Fri 15-Feb-13 21:53:43


I think these things affect people's image. If there is any risk whatsoever that phrases like this encourage peple - like the police in the Rochdale case who declared that a 12 or 13 year old child had adopted prostitution as a 'lifestyle choice' - to think that a child is ever actively a prostitute rather than the object, then people should be more careful.

And if professional writers, as journalists are supposed to be, can't be expected to use language accurately, then what hope is there?

FocaultOff Fri 15-Feb-13 21:53:49

I can't remember the precise wording the reporter bylined for the Belfast Telegraph but it really struck me when I read that article. I'll try and find it and post it here and I'd be interested to see whether anyone else is struck by the difference in language in the same way.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 15-Feb-13 21:56:29

Yep, you're right. Consider that recent case in, was it Rochdale? Where young teen girls in care had been allowed to spend time and have sex with men who were grooming them for prostitution, because it was their culture, their lifestyle choice. Prostitutes before being children, in the minds of professionals charged with their care no less.

kirstys23 Fri 15-Feb-13 21:58:04

YANBU. A prostitute is somebody who engages in sex for payment. No child would ever choose to do that.

Similarly I don't agree with how crimes against women who are also prostitutes are reported. Headlines like 'Prostitute murdered in City Centre' infuriate me. Being a prostitute be the defining aspect of the crime or take away from the tragedy of it.

SanityClause Fri 15-Feb-13 21:58:05

No, you are right. And remember those poor girls in Rotherham, where police and social workers did not rescue them, as they were seen as prostitutes, and not children.

WilsonFrickett Fri 15-Feb-13 21:58:26

YANBU. However I had never thought of it before so thank you for posting.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 15-Feb-13 21:59:02

And, let's not forget the the men who use these children are child abusers, not Johns, not clients, they are child rapists.

SanityClause Fri 15-Feb-13 21:59:03

Oh, x post with lottiegarbanzo.

SanityClause Fri 15-Feb-13 22:00:09

Absolutely, MrsTerry.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 15-Feb-13 22:08:43

Btw, extending the concept, you must have read about exactly this linguistic / conceptual confusion by conflation amongst the police working on the Yorkshire Ripper case? Joan Smith wrote a powerful chapter about it. He killed prostitutes, so they didn't think of connecting his first victim, a woman student, with the later ones, though they were killed in the same way.

yaimee Fri 15-Feb-13 22:10:16

Yanbu, its an important distinction, the difference between a perpetrator and a victim.

CarlingBlackMabel Fri 15-Feb-13 22:11:22

Also so called 'honour killings' used without " " marks, ditto "ethnic cleansing". There was a time when these terms were used as if they were an accepted activity.

Sometimes I say 'enslaved people' rather than 'slaves' too - but I think the hearts and minds acceptance is that slavery is always bad and unnacceptable, so that's possibly a little 'PC GORN MAD'.

FocaultOff Fri 15-Feb-13 22:13:08

Claims of Tory child sex ring examined
Hickman, Martin. Belfast Telegraph [Belfast] 18 Jan 2013: 7.
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In the Commons in October, he urged Scotland Yard to reopen its files on Peter Righton, a former childcare consultant who was convicted of importing illegal gay pornography in 1992.

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SCOTLAND Yard has launched a full criminal inquiry into allegations that Conservative MPs were members of a paedophile ring that abused children in care in the 1980s.

Operation Fernbridge will centre on alleged abuse at Elm Guest House, in Barnes, south-west London.

Residents of a nearby care home run by Richmond Council claim they were sexually assaulted at the property by a network of prominent individuals, including Tory MPs, who used their connections to escape justice. The claims are as a result of information given to police by Tom Watson, a Labour MP.

In the Commons in October, he urged Scotland Yard to reopen its files on Peter Righton, a former childcare consultant who was convicted of importing illegal gay pornography in 1992.

Last night, the Yard confirmed their initial inquiries into the claims had passed "the threshold for a criminal investigation".


Copyright 2012 Belfast Telegraph Newspapers Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Word count: 147

ouryve Fri 15-Feb-13 22:13:33

You have a point there, OP. It's something that's done to them.

StuntGirl Fri 15-Feb-13 22:15:29

I noticed a lot of media calling them 'supposed honor killings' instead. I like that it makes the distinction that no, there's not actually any honour in it.

gordyslovesheep Fri 15-Feb-13 22:17:48

child prostitute isn't used by most people working in crime or safeguarding

it's child abuse - they are an abused child and the 'john' is an abuser as are those facilitating it

Honour kills as well is a phrase I dislike - it's domestic violence and murder

CheerfulYank Fri 15-Feb-13 22:25:46

I hate the phrase "child porn". It's filmed child rape.

gordyslovesheep Fri 15-Feb-13 22:26:26


FocaultOff Fri 15-Feb-13 22:31:01

that was the article I read that made me think mention of brothel, or gay sex parties which until then I suppose had been the general tone of other articles I'd been reading. Hmmm...this is the chap who wrote that M for Murdoch book with Tom Watson I've realised while trying to re-find the article. I was connecting him with consumer stuff he usually writes on.

Also the other thing about all the 'gay sex scandal' I've seen in reporting by the press on this elm geust house stuff just absolutely misses the point so I tend to think that's pretty irresponsible reporting.

Paedophile rights activists hid behind gay rights activists groups in the late 70s/early 80s with child love newsletters and a contacts sheet and all the lobbying and campaigning for "children's rights for sex with adults". Gay rights groups spent about a decade trying to shrug them off and separate themselves off from these people when it became clear their only real point to lobby was the right of children to have sex with adults from the age of four .....and yet describing parties where children were fed alcohol and then sexually abused doesn't really sound like a "gay sex party". Is that semantics too?

Jeez. The british press are on their knees and yet it's hard to feel sympathy for them when they churn this shit out it really is.

FocaultOff Fri 15-Feb-13 22:41:02

yes exactly cheerful yank - that as well

i know it sounds daft (duh - am not usually so naive honest!) but it just struck me that words are very powerful they not only describe, they define and they form the parameters of the debate, the seriousness of the crime,

does anyone know any media professors? I'd love to know their views on how the media are currently reporting this - is there an organisation that does this kind of review/press reporting analysis?

NoTW vaults and The Sun vaults must brimful of never published articles, photos, videos etc about some of this stuff (even those who are dead) and still they'r enot going to publish now are they? Not with Leveson hanging over them and aggressive libel actions

CheerfulYank Fri 15-Feb-13 22:45:25

Why from the age of four, ffs?

FocaultOff Fri 15-Feb-13 22:59:04

here this article explains better about the Paedeophile Information Exchange and their lobbying of the home office at the time:

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