Feminist Friday: Sex Workers should be treated with respect.

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Today is international sex worker day, something which many people won’t discuss. There’s still a taboo in many countries over sex work. The women who work in this industry are often called ‘sluts’, often dismissed as having personal issues or needing rescuing. Something which I don’t think is true.

Of course, there are complexities with the sex industry. We know that there are young women and men who are forced into this life in a criminal and exploitative way, but what about the men and women that choose to live and work in this way? What about the porn stars, models, escorts and prostitutes who choose this life.

I understand questions that come up about how women are treated in this industry and in some circles there definitely are problems but I think we have a bigger problem. Prostitution is illegal in the UK and US, those who offer sex as a service can be prosecuted, however, those who wish to purchase sex do not face prosecution. Huh? It takes two to tango and yet only one is classed as legally responsible.

Now, there are a lot of problems with this, one of them being that because of the illegality attached to sex work means that it is difficult to protect sex workers. If they are badly treated or abused they cannot go to the police for fear of prosecution. There is a distinct lack of protection and respect for sex workers and blame put on them.

Sex workers need to be respected and treated like the rest of us. If we regulated sex work, were more open and honest, because let’s face it this is something that has been happening for thousands of years, there would be protection for those in the industry.

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