Preferred Terminology for Sex Trafficking and Prostitution
Click Here & Upgrade Expanded Features PDF Unlimited PagesDocumentsComplete Preferred Terminology for Sex Trafficking and Prostitution Terms Not to Use & Why Terms to Use & Why Sex work, sex workers, commercial sex Prostituted persons, prostituted work, commercial sex workers, adult women/children, women/children in services provider, adult sex provider prostitution; prostituting; sex industry survivors: • These terms have been in use for the • Those who view prostitution as a form of last thirty-plus years. The term violence and as inherently exploitative originated in the early 1970’s from a advocate for the adoption of terms such mix of libertarian activists and sex as those above. While accurately industry profiteers (Leidholdt). conveying the activity that is occurring (i.e. prostitution), the terms neither label • Carol Leigh (also known as Scarlet the the person involved with a pejorative Harlot) a prostituting woman and term, nor normalize prostitution as just pornographer claims to have coined the another form of work. They are term “sex worker" (Leigh). indicative of prostitution as an experience, not a state of being. These • The term “sex work” and its derivatives terms help express the idea that persons have but one purpose –to normalize in the sex industry are caught up in the prostitution, cast it as an occupation exploitive system of the prostitution like any other, one that any woman can industry. choose as freely as she may choose to become a teacher, lawyer, or doctor. • “. . . abolitionists conceptualize Sadly, the pro-prostitution movement prostitution as an institution has succeeded in getting this fundamentally based on men’s sex right, terminology popularized in the that is, men’s entitlement to demand vernacular of popular culture, public sexual access to women (Miriam, 11).” health, social service, and even anti- trafficking sectors. This change has • “The ‘sex work’ model of agency occurred without difficulty since the obstructs the reality that it is men’s one truth in their rationale is that the demand that makes prostitution term “prostitute” contributes to and intelligible and legitimate as a means of exacerbates the stigma, discrimination survival for women in the first place and violence experienced by persons in (Miriam, 9).” the prostitution industry. • “Given conditions of extreme poverty • The “sex work” model obscures and for women, pro-sex-work advocates normalizes the physical, psychological, claim that women choose prostitution and spiritual harms of prostitution by
Click Here & Upgrade Expanded Features PDF Unlimited PagesDocumentsComplete to survive, and that recognition of this treating them as “on the job” hazards. choice as a form of labor is essential to • Children used in prostitution should the goal of securing health and safety never be referred to as “child standards for women in an industry prostitutes.” Children cannot give that otherwise remains unregulated legitimate consent to commercial sex and unprotected, leaving sex workers acts; therefore, any use of a child for particularly vulnerable to such ‘work commercial sex – irrespective of hazards’ as violent assaults, rape, and supposed consent – is a form of child sexually transmitted diseases (Miriam, sexual abuse. The appropriate 4).” alternative phrase is “prostituted child” which accurately conveys that • “Applied to prostitution, then, the prostitution is an abuse which happens stigmatization of prostitutes – rather to the child, and that the child is not “a than the structure of the practice itself prostitute.” – becomes the basic injustice to be redressed by pro-sex-work advocates who now construe prostitutes as ‘sexual minorities’ (Miriam, 7).” Sex sector, state sex economy: Organized sexual exploitation, prostitution industry: “The State facilitates and regulates on behalf The phrase “organized sexual exploitation” is of the client and operates as a a good substitute for referencing sex in terms facilitator/pimp in ensuring the supply is of economy. It more accurately conveys continued under the guise of protecting the what the “sex sector” is – a massive rights and health and safety of the victims. organized system for the exploitation and The State profits from the industry. Legal commercialization and profiteering from sex. and illegal collusion of State and State officials continues. The State cannot be Additionally, the phrase “prostitution ‘neutral’ in this matter. If it legalizes and industry” is useful, since it names the sex regulates prostitution, it promotes industry for what it is: prostitution in prostitution and protects the consumer not assorted formats – whether pornographic the victims (O’Conner and Healy, 5).” material (recorded prostitution), virtual prostitution (web-based prostitution), or Sector can be used to mean part of or a indoor and outdoor prostitution venues. division of a national economy. When used as “sex sector,” the sexual exploitation inherent in organized sexual exploitation is obscured and absorbed into mainstream economic interests of the state.
Click Here & Upgrade Expanded Features PDF Unlimited PagesDocumentsComplete Forced prostitution, voluntary Prostituted Persons, Commercial sexual prostitution, forced trafficking, exploitation: voluntary trafficking, migrant sex workers The result of splitting prostitution into so- called forced and voluntary prostitution is “Pro-sex-work advocates press for the the creation of two classes of prostitution: distinction between “free or voluntary” and A) bad prostitution (i.e. forced) and B) good “forced” prostitution.” They conflate sexual (or less bad) prostitution (i.e. voluntary). trafficking and labor trafficking on the Members of Class A are viewed as deserving premise that sex is a form of work (i.e. “sex of aid and assistance since they are work”). From this perspective, only cases of considered “innocent” and as having no “forced prostitution” are considered sexual culpability in their exploitation. Class B trafficking, and women who “choose” to persons however, are often viewed as “sex engage in prostitution, it is said, should be workers” – individuals exercising sexual allowed to “migrate for purposes of sex autonomy. work” or to engage in “voluntary prostitution” or “voluntary trafficking.” These assessments are often made with little to no knowledge about how an • These terms overlook the individual came into prostitution, with no dehumanization of persons inherent to consideration of prostitution as a system of prostitution. exploitation, or of prostitution resulting from a lack of choices as opposed to a variety of • They shift the burden of proof from the viable options. traffickers to their victims. All a trafficker need do is to produce a “The argument that women choose to be in consent form signed by the victim, and prostitution is not an acceptable way to he’s off the hook. dismiss the harm of prostitution. We do not dismiss rape and battery by saying that • They contribute to false and restrictive women choose to walk down the street interpretation of trafficking victims as alone at night. Or, if a woman chose to get being only those persons who have married, we do no dismiss battery that suffered such things as kidnapping, occurs within the marriage by saying she brutal beatings, being held at gunpoint, chose to be with him (Stark and Hodgson, being chained to a bed or locked up in 27).” hidden rooms. However, traffickers routinely use subtler forms of coercion. The “forced-voluntary” split is false Professionals in the fields of torture, dichotomy maintained by: domestic violence, child sexual abuse, and commercial sexual exploitation 1) those unaware of harms of know that torturers, abusers, pimps prostitution and the techniques used and traffickers use these coercive to recruit people for prostitution; methods to groom and reduce their victims “to the condition of slavery.”
Click Here & Upgrade Expanded Features PDF Unlimited PagesDocumentsComplete • “One cannot have the right to violation. 2) proponents of the sex industry, from One only has the right to be free from sex industry moguls, pimps and violation (O’Conner and Healy, 12).” national governments, motivated by the desire for profit; • “Consent is not a good divining rod as to the existence of oppression, and 3) consumers of commercial sex who consent to violation is a fact of must rationalize their behavior; oppression. Oppression cannot effectively be gauged according to the 4) human rights advocates and pseudo- degree of “consent,” since even in feminists who assert that women have slavery there was some consent, if a right to prostitute and that women consent is defined as inability to see, or gain power and agency in doing so; feel entitled to, any alternative. If, for and example, consent was the criterion for determining whether or not slavery is a 5) persons who are more concerned violation of human dignity and rights, about the culpability of each woman in slavery would not have been prostitution than with the systems of recognized as a violation because an inequality and injustice that thrust the important element of slavery is the majority of women into this lowest acceptance of their condition by many caste of society. slaves (Barry, 1995).” The veneer of choice embedded in term • “There is a virtual dictionary of lies that “voluntary prostitution” enables society to conceal the harm of prostitution: blame the women, label them as whores, voluntary prostitution, words that imply and look the other way. that she consented when in fact, almost always, she had no other survival options than prostitution. The redundancy of the term forced trafficking insinuates its opposite that somewhere there are women who volunteer to be trafficked into prostitution (Farley, xvii).” Client, customer, hobbyist: Prostitutor, purchaser, purchaser of These words are frequently used to describe commercial sex acts, john, curb the male buyers of commercial sex acts. crawler, punter, perpetrator. However, use of these terms normalize their role in commercial sex – as if buying sex is These terms do not mask or normalize the as normal and legitimate an activity as nature of the male role in the purchase of buying a car, or dining at a restaurant – and commercial sex acts. obfuscate their true identity as abusers and perpetrators.
Click Here & Upgrade Expanded Features PDF Unlimited PagesDocumentsComplete Kathleen Berry, The Prostitution of Sexuality, (New York: New York University Press, 1995), quoted in Monica O’Connor and Grainne Healy, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women [CATW] and European Women’s Lobby [EWL], The Links between Prostitution and Sex Trafficking; A Briefing Handbook (2006), 12. <http://ewl.horus.be/SiteResources/data/MediaArchive/Violence%20Centre/News/handbook.pdf> Melissa Farley, ed., Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress, (Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma Press, 2003). Dorchen A. Leidholdt, Demand and the Debate, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, (2004). <http://action.web.ca/home/catw/readingroom.shtml?x=53793&AA_EX_Session=a681f2a6d92c0502936da6d23 bc3e212> Carol Leigh, The Scarlet Harlot, http://www.t0.or.at/dolores/tales/leigh.htm. (26 July 2006). K. Miriam, “Stopping the Trafficking in Women: Power, Agency, and Abolition in Feminist Debates over Sex- Trafficking,” Journal of Social Philosophy, (Spring 2005), Vol. 36 No. 1: pp. 1-17. Monica O’Connor and Grainne Healy, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women [CATW] and European Women’s Lobby [EWL], The Links between Prostitution and Sex Trafficking; A Briefing Handbook (2006). <http://ewl.horus.be/SiteResources/data/MediaArchive/Violence%20Centre/News/handbook.pdf> C. Stark & C. Hodgson, “Sister Oppressions: A Comparison of Wife Battering and Prostitution,” in Prostitution, Trafficking and Traumatic Stress, ed. Melissa Farley, (Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma Press), 2003. Chart developed by Lisa L. Thompson, Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking, The Salvation Army National Headquarters, for the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAAST), copyright 2006.