This post is long, but absolutely worth the read. It is a nuanced, convincing piece about how criminalization does not help sex workers, and how the harm caused by criminalization is real and tangible, and putting sex workers at risk.
I couldn’t help thinking about it in terms of Measure B, another legislative measure that is supposedly for the benefit of the people it impacts, but does not take into account their own concerns about how it will increase their risk (link NSFW).
“If you drive it underground so no one can find it, it wouldn’t survive.” – Rhoda Grant, 2012
In many ways, Dana fits the profile. She’s a twentysomething woman with a drug addiction. She was abused in childhood and her partner is occasionally violent towards her. They’re in and out of homeless accommodation, and she works on the street to fund both their habits. You could hold her up as an example of someone who does not want to do sex work, and you’d be right. You could score points with her story. You could insinuate that anybody who rejects total eradication of the sex industry simply doesn’t care about her. And that’s pretty much what the campaigners were doing when they lobbied for the criminalisation of her clients.
It’s late 2007, and the Scottish Parliament recently passed the Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Act, outlawing kerb-crawling. Dana’s clients are now…
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