Sex, Soccer, and New Words for Hooker


The Independent Women's Forum discovers sex work:

The new politically correct word for prostitute is "sex worker"—on the theory that prostitution is a job just like any other job, so let's make it legal. Indeed, in "The Vagina Monologues," the "sex work" profession is presented as downright empowering in the feminist sense.

Sorry, but count me out on that one. Everything I've read of (and seen, via ho's [sic] on the street) suggests that unless you look like a supermodel and can command an exclusive, expensive clientele, it's nasty, exploitative, and dangerous. And if you look like a supermodel, why not be a supermodel and earn your money legitimately?

It's hard to know where to start here; let's try the second word. Via Nexis, the first reference I found to "sex work" was dated 1984, courtesy of some loony left, alterno-outfit called the "Associated Press." And here is a recent reference by the P.C. police over at National Review. We'll ignore the Vagina Monologues bit, since it is house style over at IWF to include a mention of said play in every post. And so the analysis we are left with: Legalization advocates think prostitution is "just like any other job." But it's not like any other job! In fact, it's "nasty, exploitative, and dangerous." Take that, legalizers!

Now, I don't actually know any pro-legalizing types who think prostitution is a job "just like any other job." Most people who support the legalization of commercial sex in the U.S. will have noted that the practice is, in fact, illegal. That obviously limits the access prostitutes have to law enforcement. And being cut off from legal recourse might have something to do with the "nasty, exploitative, and dangerous" side of hooking.

That's news like "sex work" is news, but it bears repeating given recent talk about human trafficking at the World Cup. Prostitution is regulated in Germany, and the authors of this Wash Post piece blame a suspected surge in trafficking on tolerance for sex work:

The traffickers support legalization because they know that "regulation" has, in practice, meant a thin layer of regulated commercial sex businesses that have opted into the system, resting on top of a far larger group of illegal operations. The underground dealers have correctly calculated that greater profits can be generated through not paying taxes, ignoring basic safety standards for women and engaging in trafficking of children. Without a commensurately large, and politically unrealistic, apparatus to meaningfully monitor and police the thousands of underground operations, the increase in demand under a legalized system dramatically drives the expansion of this sector of sex trafficking.

I have no idea whether legalized prostitution drives demand for enslaved women, and I don't know how the authors know, given that numbers on trafficking are fantastically unreliable. But they have a point about Germany's system: It sucks. The regulatory scheme includes zoning, high income taxes for hookers (relative to other occupations), advertising prohibitions, etc. The costs of going legit are way too high. That's not a critique of sex work; it's a critique of a moronic regulatory structure coupled with half-hearted law enforcement.

Most disturbingly, the authors casually conflate the consensual and the coerced, commercial sex between adults and child slavery. Is it really "politically unrealistic" to crack down on child slavery? Is it really impossible for Germans (or Americans) to fight the buying and selling of human beings while permitting adults to compensate one another for blow jobs? Apparently so. So here are your two options, Independent Women of America: Either let the traffickers tell you when to put out, or have the government do it. And then blame The Vagina Monologues.