• Ken Morris

    While offering prostitutes (and others) training opportunities that enable them to pick up some extra work as judicial facilitators on behalf of themselves and others is a reasonable idea, the general campaign to empower so-called “sex workers” is not.

    The difficulty is in determining who is and who isn’t a “sex worker,” and then foisting that label onto many who prefer not to adopt it.

    In Nicaragua, as in Costa Rica, tens of thousands of women (along with a smattering of men) earn money through what the experts now like to call “sex work.” However, the vast majority of them only engage in so-called “sex work” part-time and sporadically, don’t consider themselves prostitutes, and often even fudge their activities by referring to the money they receive as “help” rather than a “fee.” Indeed, some latch onto only one partner, with whom they go out to dinner and occasionally even marry. More than this, most see their activities as an extension of gender roles in which women attempt to please men in exchange for men’s financial support.

    Although most of these people admit that they occasionally compromise their values by engaging in sex with someone they wouldn’t otherwise choose because the person is a source of income, not many of them view themselves as “sex workers.” And the majority would take the label as an insult.

    Suppose your neighbors went on periodic vacations and asked you to care for their dogs while gone, offered to pay you, and you agree. Would this make your occupation “dog walker” (or worse, “poop scooper”)? Similarly, suppose you decided to moonlight by delivering pizzas on the weekends for a few months. Would this make your occupation “pizza delivery boy”?

    It’s the same but worse for those who get labelled “sex worker” by those who claim to be looking out for their welfare.

    And if you look at the photos of the self-identified “sex workers” pressing for rights, you can’t help but notice that not one of them is young or frankly sexy enough anymore to have a realistic chance of earning much money as a “sex worker.” Did someone forget to tell them that so-called “sex work” isn’t a viable lifelong career, or did they simply not listen? Is society–including the taxpayers–now obligated to assist them after having made such a dumb career choice? Are the younger people who periodically exchange their charms for a little financial help supposed to accept the label of “sex worker” as a dumb lifelong career for themselves too?

    Of course, full-bore ageing sex workers exist, and I don’t mind them banding together to pressure for a better deal. Neither do I mind them undergoing paralegal training or anything else that improves their occupational prospects. But I do mind it when they try to foist a label signaling their bad choices onto the majority who don’t consider themselves “sex workers” and really aren’t.

    • Yeims

      Really insightful commentary, thanks

    • expatin paradise

      Ken, you got that right. There’s a fine line between being a “prostitute” and a “good girl” who simply “dates for dollars” here, If you were to call the latter group “prostitutes”, they would become indignant.

  • richard schlinder

    Isn’t it interesting,just the other day i commented on how making prostitutes legal workers with benefits could also help police agencies become aware of illegal operations in C.R.

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