We rely on advertising to keep the lights on.

Please consider adding us to your whitelist.



Advanced search

Should the terminology to do with forced prostitution change to describe what it really is?

(32 Posts)
Creeping Fri 10-Jan-14 23:09:50

Somehow, when I read this today, it dawned on me that the terminology to with sex trafficking and forced prostitution is all wrong. The use of the terms prostitution and sex is I feel a euphemism for what is really happening, possibly enabling society to close its eyes to it. Isn't it time to change the terminology?

Forced sex is rape. It's as simple as that.

I think if we used terms like "organised rape", "rape ring" instead of "sex ring", "rape trafficking" instead of "sex trafficking", "rape slavery" instead of "sex slavery" it would become a whole lot more difficult to ignore what is really happening and it would gain more of an urgent, serious crime association when we read about it in the media, thereby possibly helping an attitude change towards these crimes.

Thoughts? Which terms are "wrong" and what would be better?

horsetowater Mon 13-Jan-14 09:36:51

The trafficking bit refers to the 'trade' that takes place when a pimp 'buys' one of his slaves?

Following the word 'sex' with 'abuse' would cover it in all eventualities.

The dear media still haven't got to grips with seperating the words 'child' and 'sex' yet - there is no such thing - it is in all cases 'abuse'.

StyleLife Mon 13-Jan-14 12:38:43


The legal definition clearly states the use of force/threat/coercion or similar has taken place for the purpose of exploitation.

Thus while running a brothel is not legal in the UK, any women working there on their own free will are not trafficked.

StyleLife Mon 13-Jan-14 12:41:43

Owners of a brothel in the UK are guilty of running a brothel. Whether the prostitutes working there are trafficked or not is a separate matter.

Beachcomber Mon 13-Jan-14 12:52:57

StyleLife, the definition of trafficking is actually much more subtle than you claim. I posted the official definition upthread.

The definition does not specify anything to do with the will/consent of the prostituted person - I can only imagine that this is intentional because it is such an easy get out of jail free card for pimps AKA traffickers.

Trafficking is when a third party becomes involved and forces, coerces, manipulates, etc in the selling of a sex act that another will perform. So, for example, if a pimp preys on a young woman's vulnerability (such as homelessness, inability to feed her children, damage to her self esteem due to abuse, rape, DV, etc) and he pretends to be her boyfriend and then convinces her to prostitute, he is a trafficker and she is trafficked. Even if she consents to the sex acts.

This is one rare area where the highly problematic nature of the concept of consent is recognised in women's rights politics. Thank God.

A woman who consents to a commercial sex act because she is afraid of a third party or manipulated by a third party is trafficked. See above official definition. That definition applies to most of the women in prostitution and it applies to all minors who work for a third party.

It also applies to a great deal of women in porn.

Beachcomber Mon 13-Jan-14 13:09:01

And it is entirely possible that a woman working in a brothel now of her "own free will" has been trafficked in the past.

Which leads to the question of what we really mean by free will.

We are all products of our society and our experiences. The number one factor in the risks of entering prostitution is that of being a girl/woman in patriarchal society. Being born female is not a life choice or a matter of will. Neither is living in patriarchal society.

insuburbian Tue 11-Mar-14 14:05:05

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

GarthsUncle Tue 11-Mar-14 18:57:05

I missed this at the time and am glad it got bumped so I can read Beach's posts et al.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now