Sex workers spread #FacesofProstitution as a rebuttal to the rescue industry

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      Nothing riles some sex workers more than the suggestion that they need to be saved from their occupations.

      Contrary to what Canada's justice minister, Peter MacKay, might think, there are sex workers who like how they make a living.

      If he's in doubt of that, he should read Wrenna Robertson's 2012 article in the Straight entitled "Healing power of sex work".

      Now in Australia, hundreds of sex workers are going public with their opposition to the way they're often stigmatized in the media.

      In their view, they're not victims and they've had enough of journalists invariably presenting them in that light.

      Using the hashtag #facesofprostitution, they're rising up against a blog post that was reprinted in Mamamia magazine. It purported that sex work is far worse than it was shown in the movie Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.

      Of course, Canadians in the trade are less likely to participate in the campaign in light of MacKay's new antiprostitution legislation because it criminalizes the sale of sexual services.

      "Let us be clear about Bill C-36's ultimate objective: that is to reduce the demand for prostitution with a view towards discouraging entry into it, deterring participation in it, and ultimately abolishing it to greatest extent possible," MacKay told a Commons committee last year.

      In an astonishing bit of verbal dexterity, the Conservative justice minister even suggested that driving the sex trade underground will actually make things safer for sex workers.

      Of course, that hasn't sat well with academic experts who study the issue.

      "C-36 will not only fail to protect sex workers but goes many steps further toward exacerbating the negative effects of criminalization on sex workers' health, safety, and human rights," UBC associate professor of medicine Dr. Kate Shannon told the Straight last year.



      Bottom line

      Apr 3, 2015 at 2:51pm

      What two adults do consensually between each other is no business of government.


      Apr 3, 2015 at 4:57pm

      It's a tricky subject, obviously, for those of us who would have no interest in doing sex work. I took a criminology course back in uni, which took a feminist perspective and it certainly drilled the idea into our heads that most women in the sex trade are doing it because they have no other options, and/or had tragic childhoods (insert some form of abuse here) or are addicts. I'm not a mother, and frankly doubt if I will ever want to be one, but I'd be lying if I said that I would immediately be okay with the idea of my hypothetical son or daughter actually said that they wanted to work in that field. The current legislation certainly wouldn't help either, but maybe I'd be more okay with it if society, lawmakers, government dealt with it so that the employees were not being punished for making a living and so that the consumers are held accountable for things like bad date behaviors.


      Apr 4, 2015 at 7:52am

      I don't understand this need for a unified discourse when it comes to sex work. It's a spectrum that spans women (and men) who make more an hour than most do in a day to those who are barely scrapping by in pure desperation.

      It seems to me that the prostitutes posting on Twitter aren't the same ones that wonder if they'll ever make it back after getting into the car...

      Marina R

      Apr 4, 2015 at 11:00am

      I'm sorry, but I'm not a sex trade worker, yet I do at times get approached by johns thinking I am & I'm fucking sick of that.
      But then again I guess that's okay with #FacesofProstitution.