I’ve said this somewhere in my blog before, but there has never been a little girl (or boy for that matter) who dreamed of being a prostitute, selling her soul and body over and over again, when she grew up. So where do these practitioners of “the oldest profession” come from then? Sure, some get lured in or kidnapped through human trafficking, but some of these women (and men) have chosen this profession for themselves, right?
That is what people tell themselves in order to ignore the plight of these people, in order to overlook the wrongful stigma placed on these people, and in order to not have to admit that we have more control and responsibility in ending this than we want to take on, and in order to not have to realize that these are people.
I read Escaping the Devil’s Bedroom by Dawn Herzog Jewell several months ago and though much of the book haunted me, something that really stood out was when a couple took notice of young women who “voluntarily” prostituted themselves (from page 26). “They lacked other viable options for supporting themselves and their families. Many women told Mark that they chose prostitution, but, he says, ‘When you ask them what their choices were, they had only one choice.'” Survival, fear, and trickery are the most common drives for women to prostitute themselves. Then once they are in they don’t know how to get out and many are controlled. They are existing, but they’re not living. They do it out of necessity.
And who do we blame for the existence of this profession? Most blame the prostitutes, not the men who purchase sex. But it’s a simple supply and demand. If nobody purchases sex, sex will no longer need to be sold. Then changes can begin to take place. And you may ask, what then will these women who have nothing else to offer do? That is why we need to not only end human trafficking and the demand for the flesh trade, but offer more to these women (and men) as a means to support themselves. We are such a creative people and there are many organizations and growing companies out there offering change. We need to invest more into them, with money and our hearts. We cannot change the world overnight. I realize that. But we can begin to change it in small ways, as long as we admit that we can.
How do we drive down the demand for sex? That seems like an impossible obstacle to overcome, but turning the way we currently do things in the US (and all over really) upside down can make a huge impact. I learned by watching an incredible documentary on human trafficking, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, that Sweden has done just this. About ten or so years ago they switched the law around. Prostitution is now legal, but the “johns” who purchase sex are arrested. Demand has quickly taken a dive and pimps and traffickers aren’t interested in doing business in such a high risk setting. What if we did that worldwide? Change has happened there already, so we have proof that it works. Also, according to this article I found, Cook County, Illinois has been putting this idea into action to see how it works. Also, Houston and Harris County, Texas have outlawed the johns. Good for them. Let’s keep it up and let it spread.
Take the stigma off the prostitutes and place it where it belongs, on those renting and ruining human souls.