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Statistics on women in prostitution

(88 Posts)
ProperTeaPortfolio Sat 28-Oct-17 10:33:42

I lurk a lot on this board and wondered if you had some advice for me?

Had an interesting conversation with a friend. He is a good guy, would describe himself as a feminist. We disagreed about prostitution. He feels it is an advantage (mostly) women have that enables them to earn when they are otherwise unqualified. I feel it is distressing that this is their only ‘choice’ and that the majority of women in prostitution would not choose to be there if they had any other option. I know it’s almost impossible to have accurate data on this issue but I just wondered if anyone had come across any helpful data on this issue- eg percentage of women in prostitution who were trafficked...
I know some sex workers feel empowered by their profession but I am certain this is a small minority.

CeeBeeBee Sat 28-Oct-17 10:40:50

Watching this with interest, as I also had a conversation with male colleagues how I wasn't comfortable with the normalisation of buying access to a woman's body for make sexual gratification. One of them said I shouldn't object to another woman's right to sell her body. When I tried to say that most of the time it's because it's the only "option" and they're often at risk of abuse, he dismissed it as stereotyping. I admit that I don't have direct experience or know anyone who has been involved in prostitution so, where is the best place for data and research in this? Thanks.

CeeBeeBee Sat 28-Oct-17 10:45:18

Op, why does your friend think it's an advantage that men don't have? There are male escorts which may include male prostitution. It's just sexism to call them escorts rather than prostitutes, I think.

DJBaggySmalls Sat 28-Oct-17 11:16:13

He's capable of googling the risks associated with prostitution, but doesnt want to.
Point him towards

The Nordic Model group;

Prostitution in Amsterdam, Germany, Australia and NZ have ended in an increase in criminal activity, child abuse and human trafficking.

DJBaggySmalls Sat 28-Oct-17 11:18:34

PTSD is more common among prostitutes than among troops who have seen combat duty.

Some advantage.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sat 28-Oct-17 11:32:45

We could rent our wombs as well! Yay, lucky us!

SpookghosttiAndMeatboos Sat 28-Oct-17 11:34:17

One of them said I shouldn't object to another woman's right to sell her body

Of course he really means that you shouldn't object to men's rights to buy women's bodies.

He knows he's unlikely to ever be in that position. Putting his health and safety at risk.

I'll support prostitution just as soon as it follows basic health and safety requirements. The requirements that a person cleaning the room after would have to follow (protective wear, liability insurance etc.) until then, it's exploitation, and should be banned, just as paying someone for their blood or a kidney is illegal.

CeeBeeBee Sat 28-Oct-17 11:36:25

spook the colleague who said that to me is gay and has been since very young, so he's almost certainly not a punter.

Inkandbone Sat 28-Oct-17 11:37:07

I think some women would choose prostitution.

Whether that choice makes it morally acceptable or not is another matter.

CeeBeeBee Sat 28-Oct-17 11:42:21

Would choose prostitution over what though? If the other option is poverty then it's not really a choice is it?

SpookghosttiAndMeatboos Sat 28-Oct-17 11:45:17

spook the colleague who said that to me is gay and has been since very young, so he's almost certainly not a punter.

TBH, in my experience, that can mean that he has even less empathy with women who might be forced into that position, and certainly doesn't mean he's not going to be thinking about this from a misogynistic point of view regarding the rights and wrongs of buying women.

Inkandbone Sat 28-Oct-17 12:35:23

Absolutely, but generally most aren't prostitutes selling their bodies from piverty in the classic Victorian sense, pushed onto the streets in desperation for food and shelter. Something inside you is different. You don't feel anything because you've learned never to feel anything. It's not just a thickening of the skin, its a distortion of life itself.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 28-Oct-17 12:46:05

Hasn't Julie Bindel got book out with a lot of research about prostitution?

Inkandbone Sat 28-Oct-17 12:47:25

Has she? Be an interesting read, I imagine.

IfNot Sat 28-Oct-17 13:00:21

Ask him if he would like his daughter or his mother to have that "extra choice"?
I only have anecdotes, not data, so not helpful really, but I have known several sex workers ( strippers, escorts) and never known one who didn't have some kind of story of childhood abuse.
So, to my mind, prostitution is just a continuation of abuse, in the sense that the perception of these women about their own bodies has long been warped. They have the ability to disassociate to a shocking degree.
Also, there are stats about the average age girls enter prostitution. It's very very young, and a disproportionate number are care leavers, which supports the notion that it's abuse that sets them on that path in the first place.
It's why I can't support state sanctioned prostitution- this is not a level playing field where we'll adjusted grown women make grown up choices. The myth of the clever girl paying her way through college by lap dancing/escorting is just that-a myth.
A myth that men love to believe sadly.

IfNot Sat 28-Oct-17 13:02:38

Oh, and I used to be "liberal" and believe in legalisation. But that was before I knew anything about that world. I'm a total pragmatist, not an academic , and what I have seen has informed my view. Many well meaning people are extremely naive on this issue.

hingedspeculum Sat 28-Oct-17 13:14:40

I don't think women are able to make a free choice to sell sex under patriarchy. Often, underneath that perception is that there is some sort of entitlement for men to have access to female bodies for sexual expression and if the woman wants to provide that service, then so be it.

If his opinion is formed on the above then I don't think any stats or data will sway him. You can direct him to the trafficking, abuse, poverty, mental health and addiction intersects with prostitution, but people argue that those things need to be tackled and it's not the selling of sex itself that the issue. I don't think agree under patriarchy that it's possible to reduce all those concepts out from it. It's the difference in terms of prostitutes/sex workers vs. prostituted women.

ProperTeaPortfolio Sat 28-Oct-17 13:20:15

Thanks, all. I’ll check out the links once I get a moment. I also have glancing experience of sex workers in abuse situations due to my work but my anecdotal evidence is not enough for him- I only come across the terrible end by definition of my role.
He doesn’t think it’s exclusive to women (but let’s face it, it’s mostku women) but sees it as a ‘choice’ when you have no other choices. I guess his point is, poverty is inevitable, abuse is inevitable, at least they have a way to potentially feed themselves when they have no other options.

I lose any sense of being articulate I ever had when I get angry/upset so I probably failed to make my points effectively as well.

hingedspeculum Sat 28-Oct-17 13:36:57

Yeah, he's not a feminist.

CeeBeeBee Sat 28-Oct-17 14:02:51

Probably, Spook. He also didn't get why I thought it was a safety issue for trans women to go into women's prisons as "women rape too". Sigh!

ProperTeaPortfolio Sat 28-Oct-17 14:44:52

I think he is, or he wants to be. He’s just a bit confused. He’s been listening to an female academic who is a feminist who has a similar argument.

Brugmansia Sat 28-Oct-17 15:03:06

There was a recent Louis Theroux documentary on trafficking on BBC. It's probably still on iplayer.

I thought it was very good. He spoke with quite a range of women who were mostly with pimps. Some were trying to leave. He made it pretty clear how vulnerable the women were and how exploited they were by their pimps.

Maybe suggests he watched that?

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 28-Oct-17 15:05:17

anecdotal evidence is not enough for him He's one of those types of 'feminist' is he? The lived experience of women isn't good enough for him.

I asked DH if he was a feminist the other day. He said, "no, but then I actually know what a feminist is". He's an ally, but understands the structural and socialisation issues issues that prevent men from actually being feminists. In the same way I can be an ally to PoC or LGBT people but do not live their experience.

I once sat with a heroin addict who was crying because she had to work that night and desperately didn't want to. She needed money and knew what she was going to do to get it. Weeping, red-eyed and shaking. But someone still had sex with her. She's dead now. If your friend doesn't give a shit about that, he's not even an ally.

hackmum Sat 28-Oct-17 15:53:55

Here's my suggestion. Tell him to read Julie Bindel's new book, The Pimping of Prostitution: abolishing the sex work myth.

Refuse to talk to him until he's read it. Once he's read it, ask him if he still thinks that being able to work as a prostitute is an advantage for women.

If he does, then he is clearly terminally stupid and you should feel free to hit him over the head with the book.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 28-Oct-17 17:01:34

He feels it is an advantage (mostly) women have that enables them to earn when they are otherwise unqualified

I am not sure I could be bothered continuing a conversation with someone who said something as stupid as that.

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