There has been SO much media coverage lately about the sex industry. Everything from the Rentboy raid to the CEASE Network to increased funding for End Demand. Seattle recently received $1.5 million to fight the very nebulously defined “trafficking.”. Just a day or so ago, Time Magazine published an article focusing on End Demand statagem (http://time.com/sex-buyers-why-cops-across-the-u-s-target-men-who-buy-prostitutes/). In a horrifying tact, they talked to police from one of the most repellant departments in the US – Cook Country in Chicago. This is home to (play Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries here) the The Infamous Tom Dart.
In the brief accompanying video, I came across a woman speaking that absolutely blew my mind. She stated, “One day God sent an angel in handcuffs to rescue me.” Now please keep in mind, this woman was not a 12-year old immigrant being kept in a basement chained to a radiator that spoke not a word of English. She is an African-American adult woman that had a serious of abusive boyfriends she later termed as “pimps.” Since I don’t know her full story, I am in no position to pass judgment. However, a couple questions do come to mind. First, as an adult woman seemingly capable of making informed, coherent decisions, if she wasn’t happy working in the sex industry, why didn’t she stop? And, second, I can understand the cyclical, unhealthy nature of an abusive relationship. It is always easy for spectators to say, well why didn’t you just leave? I empathize. It isn’t always that easy. In harmful relationships, there are almost always multiple forms of abuse. Be it physical and verbal, or verbal and psychological… Or, all of the above. One caught in the web, having no confidence, no money, and no place to go, it can seem like you are stuck with no options. It is terrible, but it happens. What I question is that she mentions a string (which I interpreted to be more than three though I do not have enough information to say this as a fact). That, to me, is a bit suspect. If this woman was so unhappy in the sex industry, why was she going from relationship to relationship dating guys forcing her to work? There is something off about her story.
Even more troublesome is the idea that she was “rescued” by an “angel in handcuffs.” Oddly, my own interactions with ladies that have been arrested in the sex industry (and, thankfully, I have no first-hand knowledge), is that the experience is uniformly negative. It varies from cops being insulting/degrading to physically abusive all the way to officers demanding and claiming to be entitled to sexual gratification because the these woman are just whores anyway. Moving beyond that, once arrested, I don’t know anyone that claims jail is an outstanding experience they can’t wait to repeat…although I suppose this country’s sky high recidivism rates would indicate jail does have it’s appeal. Nevertheless, women that have been arrested for prostitution then face social stigma, familial issues, and then, should they leave the sex industry, have the anchor around their neck of applying for any job in the future with a prostitution charge on their record. Not exactly the stuff of angels.