Saturday, October 27, 2007

Bob Herbert's strawpimps

Those who wish for prostitution to remain illegal don't have logic on their side, and so must constantly imply that those who think it should be legal are somehow in denial about the exploitation of women and the international slave trade. Bob Herbert:
Those who think that most of the women in prostitution want to be there are deluded. Surveys consistently show that a majority wants very much to leave. Apologists love to spread the fantasy of the happy hooker. But the world of the prostitute is typically filled with pimps, sadists, psychopaths, drug addicts, violent criminals and disease.

Jody Williams is a former prostitute who runs a support group called Sex Workers Anonymous. Few women want to become prostitutes, she told me, and nearly all would like to get out.

“They want to quit for the obvious reasons,” she said. “The danger. The physical and emotional distress. The toll that it takes. The shame.”
More at the NYTimes
Just who are these people "who think that most of the women in prostitution want to be there"? Bob Herbert doesn't say - probably because very few people would make such a claim.

The real problem for those who want prostitution to remain illegal is, as Jody Williams says "the shame."

Workers are exploited all over the world. Herbert & co. don't use that as the reason for suggesting that work itself should be made illegal. When it comes to non-sexual work, they are able to think clearly. They are against the workers being exploited, not the work itself.

And that's what it comes down to. The anti-legalization people have a problem with prostitution because it is about non-marital sex, far more than they have a problem with the exploitation of women and children. It's about "the shame" because the workers being exploited are doing sex work. There is no shame in being expoited as a fruit-picker, although conditions might be every bit as horrendous.

Women and children aren't only exploited through prostitution - young girls are sold or coerced into marriage in places all over the world. And traditional marriage is based entirely on the idea of women selling men sexual services in exchange for food and shelter. It still happens all over the world. I think that's a horrible exploitive situation - and so I think the exploitation should end. I am not calling for the criminalization of marriage.

Bob Herbert demonstrates that when you throw non-marital sex into the picture, some people's brains just go haywire.

And why doesn't Bob Herbert write a column about all the men who create the demand for prostitution - and don't care whether the prostitute they're screwing is a sex slave or not? Surely a few of them read the NYTimes. I'll wager some of them write for the NYTimes.