Sex Work

How to Tell if You're Being Sex Trafficked

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Artist unknown/Wikmedia

"Everybody's trafficked by something." That's how Police Lieutenant Jim Gallagher, who runs a series of controversial sex work stings/salvation missions in Phoenix, Arizona, sees it. "People that enter into a life of prostitution typically don't do it because they want to. There are circumstances in their life that lead them to what is typically a really bad circumstance." 

I like Gallagher's statement because it succinctly captures the mindset of the nouveau anti-sex-trafficking brigade. Because all things being equal some sex workers might prefer to be secretaries or astronauts, they are "trafficked" into it. Voila! All prostitution is sex trafficking! That's easy. 

Artist unknown/Wikimedia

Sex worker and writer Tara Burns nicely challenges this idea by adopting the rhetoric of Buzzfeed. "Are you being sex trafficked?" she asks today at The New InquiryTake this short quiz to find out

"Being a sex worker means that people constantly try to explain to me that I'm a victim who doesn't know what I'm doing to myself," writes Burns in the quiz's intro. "It's exciting to think that women in the sex industry are forced into sexual bondage by evil men, but the boring reality is that most often we have to go to work to pay the bills, just like everyone else." 

So what are you waiting for? Go find out if you, too, might be a victim of sex trafficking!

Pretty sure you're not? The real point of the quiz is to spark conversation about "the complexities of choice, coercion, agency, and sex work."