September 17, 2009

Oh Happy Commerce, or, "I felt like I was forcing myself on a 40+ year old fat sex slave"

Justin Katz
"Where the hell else is a middle aged man gonna hook up with a young sexy hot sex slave in real life? Like the old saying goes, we want a ***** [whore] in the bedroom but a lady in the kitchen. Just don't expect you gf [girlfriend] to be as whory as the real whores. You'll be disappointed. Even though we have plenty of sex, I still crave that AMP [Asian Spa] experience just for the fun of it, and I doubt if I'll ever get over it. So beware what you're getting into, it can be very addicting."

Thus do the patrons of Rhode Island's prostitution industry speak of their experience, as related by Melanie Shapiro in a Citizens Against Trafficking review of johns' online commentary (PDF). Note that the misogyny extends even to personal relationships.

Advocates for legalized prostitution like to present the image of a clean-cut client looking for a little release by turning to a fully self-aware young woman using the occupation as a stepping stone to build a better life. That's a fantasy. The objectification of the prostitute and the corruption of the culture is the reality.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

"Note that the misogyny extends even to personal relationships."

Again, that's not the worker's fault, that's the man's issue.

Don't blame the prostitutes if the people purchasing their services hate or disrespect women.

Group x of people have a real problem with and hate group y of people. Who's problem is that? Group y's?

Posted by: Patrick at September 17, 2009 10:11 AM

I don't think most people are naive enough to think that prostitution is actually empowering or that the johns are great guys. The question is how to best focus our resources on the most obvious problems. Busting every spa that offers happy endings is probably not the wisest use of our taxpayer money. Overcrowding jails with prostitutes while violent criminals get early release is not a smart move either. Warrington Faust recommended simply enforcing current laws against human trafficking (the Mann Act), which evidently is rarely used to actually helped people who are enslaved. If the concern is human trafficking and forced prostitution, then let's go after the people who are doing this to women. That makes more sense than arresting every girl who gives very special private dances at one of the seedier strip clubs or adds little extra to the massage.

Posted by: Tabetha at September 17, 2009 10:11 AM

"Advocates for legalized prostitution like to present the image of a clean-cut client looking for a little release by turning to a fully self-aware young woman using the occupation as a stepping stone to build a better life."

I am an advocate for legalized prostitution. Right here. I have never said anything even remotely to that effect, nor do I care whether the client is clean-cut or slovenly, or whether the prostitute is using the occupation to care for her young child or to fuel her own drug habit. As long as nobody is being violently harmed or defrauded (a substitute for violence), I have no problem with consensual conduct between adults, however distasteful those choices may be in my own opinion. I am free not to associate with such people or engage in the behavior myself.

"That's a fantasy. The objectification of the prostitute and the corruption of the culture is the reality."

So you are saying that misogyny on an individual level is heinous enough to warrant government interventionism and the attention of law enforcement? Would you support the same for the purpose of prohibiting any forms of what the elite consider "racism" or "homophobia" as well? Whether the charges would be warranted or not, your blog wouldn't last 10 minutes under such a system. This is why respecting free choice and individual liberty is so important. You are never really solely deciding what liberty should be given to X, Y, Z subsets of a society, you are actually deciding what liberty all individuals within a society have.

Corruption of culture is a nebulous and subjective concept which has been used toward evil authoritarian ends for as we can remember. Sorry, unless there is a clear victim, legislation of such morality, or culture as you call it, is not a proper function of government, as you would certainly agree if the progressives took control and sought to impose their own morality and culture upon you. In fact, isn't that what you are constantly complaining is occurring within the state right now and how horrible it is (for the record, I agree with you)?

Posted by: Dan at September 17, 2009 10:50 AM

I've been quite vocal about keeping the current law. Your statement about advocates characterizing the individuals as a "clean-cut client looking for a little release by turning to a fully self-aware young woman" is not correct. There are likely individuals of all types engaging in these activities.

My guess is that Melanie Shapiro took a sampling of the worst examples from one website, then used this small group of hand-picked people to make broad generalizations. Let's not forget that she chose which comments to use, used one website, and is focusing solely on "Johns" who self-report their behavior. The review might be a good characterization of the experiences of men on that one site, but not necessarily of men and prostitutes in general.

By the way, did you notice how the report says one "John" won't go to a particular spa because the women "think they are elite". I wouldn't think that women who are being trafficked would have such a high opinion of themselves.

I also noticed that she brought up the possibility of some prostitutes being under the age of 18. As Ms. Shapiro probably knows, it is already illegal for minors to engage in prostitution, whether it occurs indoors or outdoors. So with repect to minors, Joanne Giannini's bill wouldn't change anything. It's just another way for them to confuse the debate.

Prostitution can obviously have negative consequences, that can't be denied, but there are many legal activities that can also be detrimental. As long as that activity takes place between consenting adults in a private location, it shouldn't be any of the govenment's business.

Posted by: Damien Baldino at September 17, 2009 3:35 PM

You should hear the misogynistic, racist, and lewd things I hear out of people's moths at Job Lot, Wal-Mart, Pawsox games, on the street, and everywhere else. Who cares what a john thinks of a sex worker? How it it relevant to the issues of the budget, macroeconomic well-being of the state, or the health and safety of the people involved?

The answer is that it's not.

I suggest you go see 'Happy Endings?' where a local woman actually spent time inside the AMPs and interviewed the workers. You'll see that the job isn't much different than any other, and at least in Rhode Island the women are working willfully (that's right, they -moved here- and -signed up- to do this). In other states, women are trafficked and sex slavery is -more- prevalent because it's impossible to 'hire' people.

Think about this:

Imagine that you want to open a brothel in your town. Would you 'traffick' women in at great expense and risk to yourself, then maintain their enslavement with security and copious amounts of expensive illegal drugs if you could just hire them? The answer is -no-, but there are only two states where owners have that choice, Rhode Island and Nevada. Everywhere else, you -have- to play dirty.

The same goes for the ever-present 'mafia connections' to Rhode Island's prostitution. There aren't mafia connections here -because you don't have to pay anyone off to stay open-. If indoor prostitution is banned, only a portion of the AMPs will close, and the ones that stay open will be the ones that pay off the police.

My estimates are that the economic footprint of sex work in Rhode Island is about the same as the Agriculture/Fishing/Forestry sector, and that the industry employs about 1,000 people. Do the supporters of the criminalization think that Rhode Island is 'missing out' on over $100 Million in business or 1,000 jobs because of this little oddball-factoid about the state?

How about this:

1. Enforce zoning rules to keep commercial sex out of residential buildings. Also zone the AMPs and strip clubs as 'adult entertainment' so the local zoning boards can manage their whereabouts.

2. Require sex workers to check-in annually to a non-profit that can interview them, make sure they're healthy, and remind them that they are responsible for their taxes as independent contractors. They'd be issued an ID card with a number and a picture only, and a one-year expiry date. Also, make them pay a registration fee that covers the operating expenses of the non-profit.

3. Police -could- arrest those with expired cards.

There you go, I just saved RI 1,000 jobs, several million in enforcement, and $100M annually in commerce at -zero cost- to taxpayers, while allowing communities to set their own standards about where these businesses should be. I also solved the 'human trafficking' issue.

Posted by: mangeek at September 17, 2009 5:44 PM

I'm thinking through a further response, but I very much would like for Dan to describe for me an act of "racism" or "homophobia" with the degree of specificity of "prostitution," which can be defined as "the sale of sex."

I wish to ban a particular commercial transaction. There is no logical necessity for that to allow somebody else to ban an act of speech to which they apply an erroneous interpretation.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 17, 2009 9:24 PM

My point was that some of your policy viewpoints are also shared by racists and homophobes. While you personally might have legitimate reasons for being against, say, affirmative action (which I agree with you on) or gay marriage (which I do not agree with you on), the fact that some racists are against affirmative action and many homophobes are against gay marriage also would be sufficient justification for discounting those viewpoints under the reasoning you employ here. While it is true that some people who hire prostitutes may be misogynists, others may use them simply because they are awkward with women, or lonely, or have sexual problems or fetishes, or simply enjoy it for what it is (I saw a show once about legal prostitution in Nevada in which the prostitutes talked nonchalantly about all these types of clients). But your net is so broad sweeping that you would ban all of those people just to frustrate the few misogynists for social reasons. That is why I said you have to respect the individuality and liberty of others, because otherwise your opponents could, on just as much footing, unfairly accuse you of facilitating racists and homophobes through the policies you support ("we have to have gay marriage/ban hate speech or the homophobes win" etc.).

Posted by: Dan at September 17, 2009 10:44 PM

Misogyny is only one symptom of the cultural corruption that is my central target, here. But you're evading the argument.

I am not seeking to ban all activities that contribute to the abstract notion of misogyny. I'm seeking to define a particular service as non-salable. Your shorthand that I'm "banning... people" is dangerously reckless. The people can be and say whatever they wish. They just could not trade sex for money.

On practical considerations, your slippery slope is completely inverted. The more libertine acts our society legalizes and normalizes, the more grounds the left has to declare that my views are so beyond the pale that they must be considered to border on illegality. How many prostitutes would have to be murdered, after explicit legalization, for anti-prostitution advocates to be cited as the cause — fostering hatred and such?

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 17, 2009 11:04 PM

Justin, you're lumping all prostitution together, which isn't realistic in practice at all.

Show me an -indoor- sex worker who's been abused by a client or a pimp in Rhode Island, and maybe your point would make a little more sense.

I could argue that the 'Craigslist Killer' was caught (after killing a woman in Massachusetts) by a Rhode Island couple working together who felt that they could call the police. The difference in outcomes between Massachusetts and Rhode Island is your murdered prostitute.

You ask how many need to be abused for us to determine that the entire profession needs to be banned, and I'm saying that -fewer- (none in Rhode Island so far) are at risk because working in an indoor, legalized context empowers the women to call the police when there's something wrong.

As for misogyny.... What do you think will foster more of it, willing women working behind closed doors making tens of thousands per month off of customers paying upwards of $300 for an encounter, or black-eyed, drug-addicted street-walkers willing to 'go' without protection for as low as $20?

So far the police in Providence have arrested hundreds of indoor AMP workers and found -zero- drugs on the premises and -zero- signs of abuse. Obviously, our model is working better than the national average already.

As for 'sex workers talking nonchalantly about performing fetishes, etc.', I would argue that the women are -doing their jobs- and are more likely to be able to say 'no' here than under the illegal context. Janitors talk 'nonchalantly' about cleaning up others' vomit and feces, something I wouldn't dream of doing, nor wish on my children.

Posted by: mangeek at September 18, 2009 8:54 AM

I always find it interesting that this group that is for throwing the women in prison uses random quotes from a chat board to say men are pigs, and because men are pigs we have to arrest the women who are selling them sex so that they might turn against the men.
I see things on the internet everyday, racist things and I don't attribute it to all people who are Republicans. I think the internet gives people freedom to say things that are over the top because of anonymity, just like the board that these select quotes come from.
Also, I wonder where the police fit into all of this? They were taking money from the spas, and that is not on chat boards, that is the truth.

Posted by: Happy Endings? at September 26, 2009 1:58 PM

"But you'll never be able to read Browning again 'all by yourself'," beetle's foot o'er the Basil crawl? they funny? Look just like mites of young pigs. We'll have to kill 'em

Posted by: forexbroker at September 4, 2012 9:33 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.