Discussion on prostitution

The only reason sex for money between consenting adults is still a crime in the 21st century is because it threatens women’s sexual power over men.


Wow. This…statement…has been up almost a full day and nobody has…questions? Cuz I do.

Let me see if I got this straight. You’re saying that the decriminalization of prostitution would result in a net loss of [clears throat] “women’s sexual power over men”?

That means - if I’m following your logic - that women benefit and implicitly support illegal prostitution because it cements their “power” over men.

Moreover, men - who inform and implement 95% of the legislation AND enforcement around the world - are complicit in a legal double-bind situation that criminalizes their sexual desires AND empowers the women over which they purport to hold complete and total sway.

Now, perhaps I’ve got this the opposite of your intention. Perhaps you mean prostitution is still illegal in order to mitigate the “women’s sexual power over men”. I still can’t shake that phrase. “Women’s sexual power over men.” Hmm. That’s an original fuckin’ concept in a world where reproductive rights are challenged and revoked on a daily basis.

Again, “women’s sexual power over men.” That’s fuckin’ ridiculous, Winston.

Here’s what I think, and it’s a generalization, not a personal attack. Anybody who thinks women have any sort of “power” over anybody has either been: (A) scarred for life by repeated disappointment in relationships; or (B) has deep-seated insecurities and feelings of powerlessness coming straight out of the gate. Does that kind of input support or refute any issue in a discussion about a hostel fronting as a brothel?

Anyway, for the record, Taipei Guest House, as others have chimed in, is not a traditional brothel in the sense of what you’ve seen in The Hangover or any other Hollywood movie. It’s like buying fish from a monger instead of a supermarket. The transaction is completed in a very different way, but you still get your fish. Think about that. Take all the time you need.

[EDIT: typo]


The insipid, 19th century paternalism that sex workers need to be “protected” by self-appointed rescuers is what is truly ridiculous. In the 21st century there’s no place for anyone criminalizing sex between consenting adults and the only ones who are are doing it because sex is power.

[quote]Hello everybody,

I am Kthi Win from Myanmar and I am a sex worker. I manage a national organisation for female, male & transgender sex workers in Burma & I am also the chairperson of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers. Until now, organising anything in Myanmar has been very difficult. And people ask, “how did you set up a national programme for sex workers?” And my answer to them is “Our work is illegal. Every night we manage to earn money without getting arrested by the police. We used to work and organise together, so we use this knowledge in order to work out how we can set up the National Network without making the government angry”.

This topic is about transforming economic power. I want to say to you, that when a woman makes the decision to sell sex, she has already made the decision to empower herself economically. What we do in organising sex workers, is we build on the power that the sex worker has already taken for herself – the decision to not be poor.

Like other workers, we gain more economic power by organising collectively and demanding our rights.

The key demand of the sex worker’s movement in Burma, in Asia and all around the world is simple. We demand that sex work is recognised as work.

But we have one OTHER key demand, specific to certain parts of the women’s movement.

We demand that we are not treated as victims. Sex work is work! Sex work by definition, is NOT trafficking. Treat us as workers and not as passive victims.

For me and for sex workers movement in Myanmar, the thing that changed us the most and inspired us was to meet other sex worker activists and to become part of the broader sex workers rights movement through APNSW.

We organised for members of APNSW to come to do a workshop in Myanmar and we met other sex worker activists and learned about how they organised and how they can do things for themselves.

Until then we thought that we would be led by and learn from non sex worker experts in other NGOs. But what we learned and what made the change was that we realised, that instead of having to do what other people told us, we could do it ourselves and become more powerful by being part of a regional and global movement for sex workers rights.

Many people always assume that sex workers have less power than our customers. They assume that because customers are men they have all the power. But who pays whom?

Who makes the money?[/quote]

1 Like

The women smuggled into UK and UE to work as sex slaves may disagree. No amount of consent can fix that thousands are tricked into signing contracts to work as anything from nurses to maids and models, but end up chained to a bed, abused, battered and terrified.

The pimp is the one making money. And there is always mafia control, even when legal. In the ol country, prostitution is legal… so they have a very profitable trade of minors for US customers. Again, is not sex, it is power, as you say, but power never rests with women.

Can you you mention some examples about the revokation of reproductive rights?

I can’t think of any countey practicing daily eugenism, or do you mean someyhing else?

All the usual 19th century canards rolled out to continue justifying criminalizing all sex work. Meanwhile:

Less than 6% of migrant sex workers had been trafficked by deception or force (UK). As trafficking often frames the debate surrounding prostitution, research on this topic was especially welcome. Professor Nicola Mai’s survey of 100 migrant sex workers found only 6% had been trafficked by deception or force. Research presented on lap dancing clubs found no evidence of trafficking.

Paulina Nicol (ECP) described having to defend sex workers caught up in police raids which
were supposed to be saving victims of trafficking. Yet few victims were ever found, those that
reported abuse didn’t get help and migrant sex workers working consensually were targeted for
deportation. Similarly, prosecutions for brothel-keeping made no distinction between premises
with exploitative management and those where sex workers were working collectively.[/quote]

What’s truly telling is those who profess the belief that all sex work should remain criminalized because all sex workers are slaves or under aged raise nary a peep when those same sex workers are arrested and hauled off to jail. That seems to be fine with them.

Meanwhile sex workers themselves beg to differ with those self-appoing dogooders who want to continue imposing their 19th century paternalism on them and their chosen work:

[quote]This is what the International Prostitutes Collective stands for
Posted on March 4, 1997
Los Angeles Conference 1
4 March 1997

All sex workers must be decriminalised whether they work on the street or in premises.

Scrap the prostitution laws: they criminalize sex workers, divide us from our families and friends, make us vulnerable to violence, and set us apart from the rest of the community — separate is never equal.

An end to police brutality, corruption, racism and other illegality against sex workers: police who break the law should be prosecuted.

Protection from the police and courts against rape and other violence, whoever is the rapist.

No zones, no licensing, no legalised brothels which ghettoize sex workers; we oppose all forms of apartheid.

An end to racism and other discrimination within the sex industry.

Sex workers must be recognized as workers with rights like other workers, including the right to pensions, the right to form and join trade unions.

Free/low cost, high quality and flexible childcare for all children regardless of their mothers’ occupation or ‘lifestyle’.

Free, accessible and non-discriminatory health services for all: no mandatory health checks or HIV tests.

The right to legal aid.

Autonomy and self-determination for prostitute women and other sex workers. Sex workers must decide how we want to work: we oppose any form of legalization which gives powers to police, local authorities, pimps, madams or other managers to regulate our wages and working conditions and censor what we demand so that they and those they work for can profit from our work. Workers must decide, not the industry.

Prostitute women must have the right to organize independently from men, including male sex workers.

Sex workers must organize independently from pimps, police and those who are managers in the sex industry. Unions are for workers not for bosses.

Viable economic alternatives to prostitution: no woman, child or man should be forced by poverty into sex with anyone. People who want to leave the sex industry should get the help and resources they need.

Shelters and economic resources for runaway children and adults so they don’t have to beg or work as prostitutes in order to survive. Children must be protected from violence and abuse — they must not be criminalized.

No rehabilitation schemes which force women back into low-paid jobs.

An end to extortionate room rent and other overcharging in red light areas.

The right to freedom of movement within and between countries.

Implementation of the Final Report of the San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution, 1996, which recommends decriminalization, the recognition of sex workers as workers and the diversion of funds to protect sex workers from violence[/quote]

You’re oversimplifying.

What’s truly telling is those who profess the belief that all sex work should remain criminalized because all sex workers are slaves or under aged raise nary a peep when those same sex workers are arrested and hauled off to jail. That seems to be fine with them.

To give just one example, in Taiwan the Legal Aid Foundation does not accept illegal foreign workers, with one exception: victims of human trafficking.

How about another example to clarify who’s really oversimplifying about whether all sex workers are either sex slaves or minors.

[quote]Activists from the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters (COSWAS) yesterday demonstrated in front of the Taipei City Hall to decry what group members called the Taipei Police Department’s “flawed policy implementation” for using a sting operation to arrest a prostitute for soliciting on the Internet, for which she could face a three-year prison term or a NT$1 million (US$29,579) fine. . . .

Hsiao Yi-ting (蕭怡婷) said that authorities should not target prostitutes, who are often financially disadvantaged workers.

She said that during Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) first year in office, police officers arrested 1,500 prostitutes for sex offenses, and that at this rate, Ko’s administration would arrest 4,500 more prostitutes before the end of his term.

The city government’s inaction and perfunctory attitude toward legalizing prostitution has led some prostitutes to operate relatively unbothered under the guise of massage parlors or nightclubs, which intensifies competition and puts older prostitutes not affiliated with such businesses at a disadvantage, Hsiao said.

Most prostitutes who have to work on the streets have developed a system to avoid causing residents near them trouble; for example, they avoid occupying pedestrian space by waiting for customers in alleys instead of on the sidewalk or under arcades, they try not to litter and they decline to serve married men, Hsiao said.

A prostitute who uses the pseudonym “Miko” said she was prosecuted last month for trying to solicit a police officer pretending to be a boy under the age of 16 on the Internet.

She said it was the first time that she had been arrested in a sting after almost 30 years in the business, and that she found it difficult to understand it, as she had not committed any major offenses.[/quote]

So what greater injustice could there be than arresting and prosecuting the victims of human trafficking? Maybe next time there’s news about sex workers being arrested in Taipei the self-appointed do-gooders will overcome their normal reticence and speak up about the gross injustice as loudly as they do whenever the issue of decriminalizing sex work comes up.

I don’t have time to debate every controversial item that comes to my attention, Comrade Smith, and I am not taking a stand on the issue of whether or not sex work should be legal. But your claim that (all) people who think it shouldn’t be legal don’t care about those who get arrested for it is not credible.

Besides, I think Icon’s point is not that sex work per se should be illegal but that the ultra-libertarian approach you seem to favor would result in even more human trafficking. She can correct me if I’ve misunderstood her.

Criminalizing sex work and thus forcing it into back alleys where criminals operate is what leads to human trafficking. Common sense, not “ultra-libertarianism”.


You’re using a false dichotomy. (I would say that’s common sense, but… :roll:)

It’s not ultra-libertarian to regulate things. Do you hold that regulation is of no value in the fight against human trafficking because human trafficking doesn’t exist (which is how your above posts come across, frankly), or just because regulation of the sex industry would probably do more harm than good?

Really? Let’s just stick with the ‘you’re too busy to debate every controversial item’ approach and let it go at that.

The tone of your posts tends toward fundamentalism.

This is not intended as an insult. Imagine a debate between four people on any controversial topic. Let’s pick the prohibition of alcohol.

A: Alcohol is the Devil’s blood and should be banned entirely.
B: Alcohol is a dangerous drug but has some legitimate uses.
C: Alcohol consumption should be a matter of choice but requires regulation to prevent drunk driving etc.
D: Alcohol is proof God wants us to be happy, and the state has no business even caring about it.

If A uses the same argument against B, C and D, and D uses the same argument against A, B and C – in other words, B and C are wrong because D/A is wrong – then A and D both come across as fundamentalists. B and C may also fall into this trap (especially if they’re American :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:).

As a self-proclaimed libertarian rather than an anarchist, you presumably would fall somewhere between C and D, but if your arguments against B and C mostly come down to “prohibition (A) was tried and failed miserably”, are you honestly surprised if you come across as a D?

Back to the sex industry:

A: Sex work should be illegal, period.
B: Sex work should be tightly controlled (red light district only).
C: Sex work should be generally free but subject to regulation (you need a license to operate a brothel just like you would to operate a restaurant).
D: Sex work should be legal, period.

My perception is that you’re simply saying A is wrong, ergo D is right.

It’s not that people in other positions don’t make similar oversimplifications, just that you are using a false dichotomy, and apparently not proposing anything other than an extreme libertarian approach to the issue. Correct me if I’m wrong.


Maybe for clarification I should note: The proposed American Health Care Act, which just failed, would make Planned Parenthood “ineligible for Medicaid reimbursements or federal family planning grants”.

Not a lot of calculus involved. However, perhaps “revocation” is too strong a word. Denied due access to reproductive rights?

Moreover, another subject that doesn’t get discussed enough is the (de)criminalization of gender-based violence (sexual or otherwise).

To be honest, I could probably spend 30 minutes finding more concrete examples akin to the AHCA deal.

At this point, I don’t really feel like I have a dog in the fight.

so what you mean by “reproductive right” is abortion rights?

same old propaganda technique used successfully by the left since 40 years, like lately for illegal immigrants becoming refugees…

Icon believes as a woman and coming from a fourth world country that painting prostitution as a choice is preposterous and saying women have power due to it ridiculous.

As a note, remember when Taiwan had one of the biggest brothels in the world…stocked by women accused from robbery to just standing outside the street at night. We also have a new museum on comfort women that could be enlighting.

As someone who has seen real war and refugee camps and so called illegals blown to bits while crossing borders, on wars fed by war machines for profit, comments on refugees also tight my stomach.

It is always the most vulnerable who get crushed under the prostitution machinery. In the ol country, gay people are discriminated so badly they can’t find jobs. They end up prostituting their bodies to eat. Many get killed and no one claims their bodies because their families have rejected them.

Yep, some people may engage the business as a choice. But they are not the majority nor they last as long. And they can always leave as a choice.

But the attitude against women like saying “you always pay for the sex in one way or another” stinks of misogeny. Same with reproductive rights same as abortion meaning end of discussion…

1 Like

So continuiong to arrest and prosecute sex workers in Taiwan is fine by you, judging by your silence on the issue?

Also worth mentioning that those who do work by choice tend to skirt around that grey area the Japanese call “compensated dating”, or they work as high-priced escorts and are picky about their customers. It’s a slightly different ball game.

Winston, seriously, it does sound like you have, um, issues. Sex is not some sort of public resource which women have monopolized in order to take over the world.

Except it’s 2017, and I’m neither a tool of propaganda nor a consumer, but I’m thinking about a 14-year-old girl who gets raped and subsequently knocked up in - say, Texas - and is denied any sort of opt-out program. No, in Oklahoma.

Reproductive rights = The right to do WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT TO DO with your body. End of.

P.S. Enjoying your buyer’s regret over there in Trumplandia? Right wight, left wing. The wing is my least favorite part of the fuckin’ bird. Buffalo, and/or otherwise.

Those who have issues about sex are those who want to continue to criminalize it or can only talk about it using ad hominems or framing it as slavery or pedophilia.