EDITORIAL: I second this letter with a resounding AMEN!!
First and foremost, people need to understand that most prostitution is a scam run by organized crime and their low level criminals and funded by sex/porn addicts, most who are aggressively misogynistic males who don’t care if they hurt females in pursuit of their own selfish sexual gratification. Their networks are huge and in every corner of the World thanks to the internet. Pimps, pornographers and predators are no different than any other scam artist except, it’s your mind, body and soul (in that order) that they’ve stolen when their scam is complete. The cost to the victim is so much more than money!!
I often say, think about if someone came up to you and said, “Give me your money or your daughter or I’m gonna kill you”. Any normal, healthy person would hand over their money in a second and run away with their daughter in hand. When a pimp or pornographer or predator comes into your life, he doesn’t ask first. You don’t even realize he’s there. He cons your daughter slowly away from your home and family. He runs a scam on her heart and her mind and then steals her body and soul before you even realize what happened.
We know con men are smooth talkers, charismatic and appear to be good looking. Many have the gift of Satan’s glamor. Ever think someone was a real quality person until you were away from them for a while and then you realized, ‘What was I thinking’? You may have been under the spell of ‘glamor’. They also are known for studying psychology so they know how all the tricks of the mind work. Con men and actors who can’t make it in entertainment are naturals at scamming their way through life. They know EXACTLY how to cast glamor so you don’t see their evil ugliness until it’s way too late.
Is it really so hard to understand how and why a girl/teen/young adult would fall for these seasoned, expert criminals and their tricks, lies and scams? Ummm . . take a look at the millions of dollars lost by ADULT investors who fall victim to fraudsters and con men everyday all around this world.
WHY is it any of YOU expect girls, teens and young adults to know more about avoiding an experienced con when SEASONED ADULTS hand their hard earned cash over to criminals every day buying into ‘get rich quick’ schemes and deals too good to be true?? When we have media and entertainment pimping sex slavery 24/7 as a cool career choice for girls and the TRUTH/FACTS about how easy it is to fall victim to sexual exploitation are being HIDDEN by media and government leaders, why do you continue to think vulnerable youth could possibly protect themselves?? YOU sure aren’t protecting them!!
Being sexually exploited is NOT work, a job or a career. Being sexually exploited is a crime. Prostitution is a crime. Crimes create Victims. If there’s victims, it’s never a good thing.
Stop telling our children it is!
KUDOS: A Huge Thank You to all who signed this letter and work FOR the victims and survivors. Here’s one more victim/survivor who stands by every single one of these words below.
300+ Human Rights Groups & Anti-Trafficking Advocates Worldwide Weigh in on “Sex Work” Terminology In Media – It’s a Crime, Not a Job!
CATW International November 4, 2014 USA
TO GET THE FULL VERSION OF THIS LETTER CLICK “DOWNLOAD ATTACHMENT“.
October 31, 2014
The Associated Press (AP)
450 West 33rd St.
New York, NY 10001
Dear Mr. Minthorn:
We, the undersigned, are leaders of frontline human rights organizations, survivors of the commercial sex trade, advocates, and allies working to end human trafficking and provide services to victims. This letter responds to both the public invitation from the Associated Press (AP) to submit comments for its Stylebook 2015 edition and the online campaign calling on the AP to replace the word “prostitute” with “sex worker.”
We strongly oppose the terms “sex work” and “sex worker” and urge the AP to use alternative vocabulary as proposed below. These terms were invented by the sex industry and its supporters in order to legitimize prostitution as a legal and acceptable form of work and conceal its harm to those exploited in the commercial sex trade.
Expert studies and testimony of survivors demonstrate that the commercial sex industry is predicated on dehumanization, degradation, and gender violence and causes life-long physical and psychological harm. Approximately 2 million children are exploited in the global sex trade and as many as 325,000 American youth are at risk for sexual exploitation. Between 65 and 96 percent of people in prostitution have been sexually assaulted as children; 60 to 75 percent have been raped by pimps and sex purchasers; and between 70 and 95 percent have been physically assaulted in prostitution. The vast majority suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The average age of mortality of a person in prostitution is 34 years old.
The chasm between the meaning of the word “work” and the lived reality of the average prostituted or trafficked person is too vast to be ignored. The term “sex worker” wrongly suggests that the person in prostitution is the primary actor in the multi-billion dollar sex trade. This renders invisible and unaccountable its true beneficiaries – the traffickers, pimps, procurers, brothel and strip club owners, and the buyers of sex. These exploiters prey on vulnerable individuals marginalized by poverty, homelessness, racial and gender discrimination and histories of sexual abuse.
We also reject the term “prostitute” because it stigmatizes and conflates the person in prostitution with the criminal activity inflicted on her or him. Instead of “sex work,” we suggest “sex industry,” “sex trade,” or “prostitution.” In lieu of “sex worker” or “prostitute,” we recommend “person in prostitution” or “prostituted person” or “commercially sexually exploited person.” The terms “teen prostitute,” “teen prostitution,” and “child sex worker” have no place in responsible journalism.
Attached are the words of survivors addressing the harm of the terms “sex work,” “sex worker” and “prostitute.” These courageous individuals are leading a global movement to end commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. We urge the AP to engage with these survivors as policy experts.
We commend the AP for its commitment to unbiased and independent reporting. You are a leader in the field of journalism. As such, you bear a responsibility to ensure that the language you use in reporting does not inadvertently contribute to misrepresentation and deny conditions of oppression.
We thank you for taking our concerns into consideration and invite you to meet with us to continue this dialogue about prostitution, trafficking and terminology. Please feel free to contact Lauren Hersh at Sanctuary for Families ( firstname.lastname@example.org; 212-349-6009, ext. 332) or Taina Bien-Aimé at the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (email@example.com; 212-643-9895) with any questions you may have. You may also contact the individuals below whose names are asterisked.
SELECTED QUOTES OF LEADERS FROM THE SURVIVORS’ MOVEMENT ON THE TERM “SEX WORK” AND “SEX WORKER”
“We reject the colonial terminology of ‘sex work,’ as it hides the racist, sexist, and classist realities of prostitution. ‘Sex work’ masks the violence that our sisters struggle against on a daily basis and repackages that violence as a form of freely chosen labour.”
Members of the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network (AWAN), CANADA
“There is no such thing as ‘sex work.’ It is really damaging to a survivor and all survivors worldwide to use this terminology. You are implying that there is something about it that is regular work. If you keep the harms and damage of prostitution right up front, what you come out with is that it’s not a job. ‘Sex work’ has nothing to do with work. It has everything to do with harm.”
Autumn Burris, Founder and Director of Survivors for Solutions, California, USA
“Prostitution is based on acute economic inequality: being driven to ‘choose’ prostitution because of poverty is force, coercion…This ‘victimless crime’ leaves a devastating impact on its victims … There is a sexual war against women and children in this world. It has been going on for a long time. This war has managed to disguise itself as ‘the oldest profession’ when, in reality, it is the oldest oppression.”
Vednita Carter, Founder and Director, Breaking Free, Minnesota, USA (in Sisterhood is Forever)
“I personally will never stop describing prostitution as prostitution, for the same reason I will never stop describing rape as rape. We have never, thankfully, gotten to the point in history where we started labelling rape victims with the name of the crime done to them, but we did that with prostitution, and we did it a long time ago. We will not reverse this by pretending prostitution is not prostitution; we will reverse it by insisting and demanding that women are not that which is done to them.”
Rachel Moran, author of “Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution” and Founder of SPACE International, IRELAND
“The term ‘sex work’ is offensive. The indignity and the abuse inflicted by the men who paid to violate me could never be considered ‘work.’ Prostitution was not a ‘choice’; prostitution chose me.”
Bridget Perrier, SexTrade101, CANADA
“The term ‘sex work’ is completely inaccurate… It is used to put a veil and disguise crimes against women, against women’s lives. Because it is not work, it is not a choice you can make. It is not any kind of career. It is not a behavior. The term is a disguise they use to hide a crime.”
Beatriz Elena Rodríguez Rengifo, ASOMUPCAR, COLOMBIA
“Using the term ‘sex work’ justifies the sale of a person’s body. It hides abuse by turning it into a ‘job’ while rationalizing the offenders’ behavior. The phrase ‘sex work’ becomes yet another way to implicitly support a caste system that traps the prostituted, while defining a way to measure ‘good girls’ against them. This is systematically as disempowering as we can get.”
Beth Jacobs, Founder of Willow Way, USA
“Our 177 sex trafficking/trade survivor members never referred to prostitution as ‘sex work’ while trapped in that ‘life.’ When reporters use ‘sex work,’ we feel like they’re putting a stamp of approval on the terrible things we endured. The phrase masks the exploitation of the young, poor and vulnerable by the richer, older and more powerful. We know that the vast majority of people end up in prostitution because they have no other choices. The untruth that this abuse is ‘work’ only serves to stigmatize the sexually exploited and empowers their traffickers and abusers.”
Stella Marr, A Founder of Sex Trafficking Survivors United, USA