It has to be said that the wider women’s movement still excludes sex workers and even actively campaigns against them. Always in the fictional framework of fighting trafficking. Which, as we know, really is not the issue that people make it out to be. Horrific when it happens, but just not that common.
Society will have to find ways of changing their attitudes and legal approaches to the broader sex industry. But logic is unlikely to have any place in the conversation. Politicians do not act on fact. Except in Switzerland, where Geneva escorts work in a safe legal environment. They act on what they perceive to be the public’s opinion; which is demonstrated by who shouts loudest and threatens their re-election or promotion chances. A single example will demonstrate the point.
A loophole made sex work, practiced behind closed doors, legal in the State of Rhode Island between 2003 and 2009.Baylor University economist Scott Cunningham and his colleagues found that during those years the sex trade grew. But Cunningham points to some other important findings: During that time period the number of rapes reported to police in the state declined by over a third. And gonorrhea among all women declined by 39 percent. Of course, changes in prostitution laws might not be the only cause, but Cunningham says, “the trade-off is if you make it safer to some degree, you grow the industry.”
Rhode Island made sex work illegal again in 2009, in part under pressure from some anti-trafficking advocates. That’s the thing; the debate about sex work always gets linked to trafficking, and always with no facts or facts made up on the spot from a sample of one. Facts will not sell society or politicians. And politicians will not move ahead of society.
But society is moving rapidly toward the acceptance of prostitution and sex work. This can be seen easily in the volume of big budget and high profile television programmes and films centring on or featuring sex work; The Girlfriend Experience (film and TV), The Client List, The Deuce, Hung, Harlots, Secret Diary Of A London Call Girl, Game Of Thrones, Tipping The Velvet, Cathouse, West World, After Porn Ends, Hot Girls Wanted and Hustlers.