Sex Work, Decriminalisation & Exploitation
First off, fuck off SWERFs. Great, now we’ve got that out of the way I’ll begin.
I’m a whore. I do a bunch of different shit in the sex industry – prostitution, camming, selling videos,making porn, the occasional dinner date. I pick this work because I’ve tried working in an office before and it felt like a fucking hellhole and it made me dread waking up in the morning, I much prefer sucking dick. I work independently, which means that I can choose my hours, I choose who to fuck and I choose what videos I want to upload. Some people would have you believe that nobody chooses sex work and that it is so degrading that no one can willingly partake in it.
Of course, not everyone does choose sex work, there are many who are forced into this type of work through circumstance,poverty and there are those who are trafficked (usually by men). Some people seem to believe that the way to combat this is to criminalise sex work, in the hope it will eradicate the problem. Not only does this undermine sex workers their agency, but this ideology is fundamentally flawed as it simply makes working conditions for those who are forced into this line of work more difficult, lacking in protections, more prone to violence and feelings of isolation with little support network available to them. If these people actually gave a shit about people who are forced into this work then maybe they would start looking at the material conditions of why this is happening, instead of prosecuting those who are simply trying to afford to live.
Suggestions have been made,including by those on left (hint hint Labour Party, The Morning Star), that we embrace what people refer to as the ‘Nordic Model’ which criminalises only the buying, not the selling of sex. This comes with a number of issues – often it means sex workers are harassed more, and it also means that they can be pressurised into testifying, which itself can be dangerous and there are often few safety nets in place. Of course, one of the fundamental issues with this idea is that, instead of helping those who are coerced into sex work, it simply pushes the industry further underground; clients are less likely to give contact details to workers and will want to meet in isolation for fear of arrest. If people are fearing arrest, it tends to deter those not wanting to commit crimes (as opposed to those who are more likely to abuse sex workers), which also means there is more competition for clients, which leads to less bargaining power, and clients will be more inclined to engage with third parties, as opposed to workers directly. For those of us who are in the industry out of choice, this only serves to make working conditions more difficult.
Other suggestions arise when we look at anti-trafficking legislation –again this comes with its own set of problems, and often it ends uppenalising those who form support networks or share premise, as this can be seen ‘pimping’. I’m not even going to bother explaining how fucking stupid the idea to outlaw online platforms is. I’m really not sure how anyone could think moving sex work purely to the street, where workers can’t vet clients, would improve conditions for anyone. It actually blows my fucking mind that someone would think this is a good suggestion.
Prostitution and sex work will continue whether it is legal or not. Criminalising it will only making working conditions more dangerous and those who are most vulnerable will face the consequences – namely POC, trans, disabled and migrant sex workers. Yes sex work is exploitative, just as all work is exploitative, that’s the fucking joy of the shithole capitalist hell we live in. Until we abolish wage labour, let’s start with decriminalising sex work.