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Feminists take opposite stands on prostitution: DiManno

susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

just a snip it as per babble policy. a new set of intervenors have joined the charter case!!

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/04/14/column_feminists_take_opposite_stands_on_prostitution_dimanno.html

By: Rosie DiManno Columnist, Published on Sun Apr 14 2013

“The Ontario Court of Appeal overturned some parts outright and with others they overturned some aspects,’’ says Jane Doe, the women’s rights activist who made history by successfully suing Toronto Police for failing to warn about the “Balcony Rapist’’ in the mid-80s. Jane Doe was violently raped in her downtown second-storey apartment by Paul Callow. Her identity remains covered by a publication ban.

“The biggest problem was the court said yes to bawdy house, yes to procuring, but not to communicating. You can do those things, but don’t communicate them. That’s insane. It makes no sense at all.’’

Jane Doe is the Type 2 feminist. She rejects outright the moralizing quotient and maintains that keeping solicitation on the books, in fact, furthers violence against women, particularly the most marginalized prostitutes who will continue to work on the streets.

This is the counter-argument contained in an affidavit filed last week by Jane Doe on behalf of the “Feminist Coalition’’ — a clear broadside against the Women’s Coalition assertion that they speak for all women in the country — requesting intervener status in the Supreme Court case.

“Our coalition is entirely new,’’ Jane Doe told the Star on Sunday. “There’s been no one like us. What we’ve seen is everyone saying prostitution is violent and prostitution is responsible for all violence against women, but especially sexual assault. It’s very moral in tone — you’re bad girls but we’ll help you.’’

As the Feminist Coalition’s factum puts it: “The simple fact of making a sexual act dependant on a monetary transaction does not in itself create violence or exploitation.’’

Jane Doe notes the similarity of tone between the Women’s Coalition and religious groups that have asked for intervener status, along with the conservative organization REAL Women, which has also applied. About a dozen parties have given notice they wish to be heard.

“Our position is that we support full decriminalization and the human and labour rights of women who are sex workers,’’ explains Jane Doe, who is downright contemptuous of the orthodox feminism that informs the Women’s Coalition.

“There’s a massive rift in feminism,’’ she acknowledges. “We differ in that the other group is very much based in anti-sex, anti-sex workers, and a morality position that supports those of religious organizations that are also intervening, which we find very problematic. Our position is around equality rights for women, and that includes all women. It’s about your equality right to choose to do what you want to do, to have full protection of the law to do it, and to have labour rights to do it.’’


Comments

susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

no comments? i am shocked.....


JulieG
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Joined: Aug 2 2010

rabble let the house-abolitionist mouth off in an article that is total garbage.  again.

 


DaveW
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Joined: Dec 24 2008

you are right, Susan, many people hold contradictory views on prostitution -- which amount to both accepting it and prohibiting it -- when they say women should make their own choices, but in an ideal world  the sex trade would not exist, so we need to repress/ban it

... because some women/men are forced into prostitution, does not mean all are


susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

what ideal world? prostitution has always existed. older than any religion.....

why do you feel the sex industry has no role in the world? we provide comfort to the sick and dying, support to those who are isolated or depressed, avenues for those xploring their sexuality....

who will fill our role? why does an "ideal world" always exist without prositution?

 


susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

JulieG wrote:

rabble let the house-abolitionist mouth off in an article that is total garbage.  again.

 

are you refering to this article above? i am unclear what the meaning of your comment is....


Halq’emeylem
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Joined: Jul 15 2011

The vast majority of "prostitutes" are FN women, pulled into that sordid "lifestyle" due to racism, drugs, and racism. For you to strut around spouting off about the "liberating" aspects of the trade is to spit in the faces of all FN communities. There!


Bacchus
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Joined: Dec 8 2003

Maybe in your area but not in Toronto thats for sure


JulieG
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Joined: Aug 2 2010

The majority of sex workers are not FN.

 

And Susan - the house-abolitionist article i was referring to is this: 

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/feminist-current/2013/04/this-journalism-response-to-dimanno-and-toronto-star%E2%80%99s-falsi


susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

Halq’emeylem wrote:

The vast majority of "prostitutes" are FN women, pulled into that sordid "lifestyle" due to racism, drugs, and racism. For you to strut around spouting off about the "liberating" aspects of the trade is to spit in the faces of all FN communities. There!

many first nations people take part in our projects and work....contribute to the actions we propose.

you spit in the face of those first nations people who work in the secx industry and who fight for rights and justice at our sides....

of course i am must be strutting about, i am whore, that's what whores do right? strut around in stillettos with sex toys, doing ourselves...or is that i am strutting about wrecking homes....in my sordid life style and all....

what the hell kind of response was that?

i am not a "prostitute" i am a human being.

get your head out of your ass and realize you are part of the problem. you clearly did not read the article or anything else written here....and why would you....a whore wrote it....

 


susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

JulieG wrote:

The majority of sex workers are not FN.

 

And Susan - the house-abolitionist article i was referring to is this: 

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/feminist-current/2013/04/this-journalism-response-to-dimanno-and-toronto-star%E2%80%99s-falsi

ok, i hadn't seen that yet......i will read it.....ugh.....


susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

god, she even calls us "fucks".....what the hell is wrong with people?

i simply don't understnad how this kind of anger is supposed to make me feel "supported" by abolitionists. its so contradictory and dismissive....asif the utopia she seeks actually exists....i mean the things she calls for are nowhere near becoming reality. in the mean time, how about giving us our rights?

 


Meghan Murphy
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Joined: Nov 18 2011

susan davis wrote:

god, she even calls us "fucks".....what the hell is wrong with people?

No Susan. I don't do that. Not anywhere.


susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

my apologies...

this is what i was refering to...

It’s high time (and by “high time,” of course, I mean: Clearly none of you give any fucks about accuracy) people stopped misquoting Dworkin on this non-point. You could try actually reading her work, or you could do a quick Google search for: “Dworkin ‘all heterosexual sex is rape.’’’

i also note that instead of linking to legitimate research you are referenceing a news article about the so called disasterous legalized brothels in holland...

i find that fairly hypocritical considering your call for "accuracy". where has any real research shown that working indoors in brothels is more violent or increases human trafficking?

citing a news article which claims to have consulted with some un named politicians does not constitute a disaster for sex workers as a result of legalizing brothels....

maybe you could take your own advice and stick to the facts, accurate facts, when writing about your opinion on these issues.

and for the record, every time you call me a prostituted woman, i am offended. you clearly have no regard for the way sex workers feel about you promoting your opinion the way you do. your article clearly outlines your desire to achieve some idealogical goal of a world where women are free from capitalism , poverty, and patriarchy... honorable.

the problem is, we are no where near reaching those goals of ending poverty, etc and as such what do you propose we do in the mean time? you propose the sink or swim approach where we have no safer indoor jobs and a person choosing to do sex work must work alone with no one to teach her any safety techniques, in isolation...

how does that address the immediate needs of sex workers who are ones impacted by your goals of ending prostitution? how does your wish for a utopian society take into account the real lives of sex workers today? how does it address violence against sex workers, right now?

please, enlighten us about all of the complex plans you have developed to address stigma, police violence, societal violence or to address any violence at all?

for the record, making the man who pay us criminals does not qachieve this goal. it simply makes us more desperate and allows the bad ones opportunity to hurt us. unloess you feel all men are violent and that all sex work is violence....

do you even have any plans to address the people who kill us?

you try to come off as in support of sex workers but still refer to us a prostituted women, you try to say there is no divide in feminism, you try to say that aboilitionists are working to help sex workers....well i say bull shit.

where have you ever helped any sex workers? when have you worked volunteering or otherwise to improving the lives of sex workers? your promotion of your opinion as fact does not qualify in this regard....

when have you gone to a sex worker organization and ever asked what you could do personally to help?

meghan, i am really tired of your constant attacks on my community and way of life. there are some simple things you could do that would change my opinion of you as a whore hater.

you could respect that we define language being used about us, you could engage with and respect the ideas of the people affected, you could stop promoting debunked research as fact and finally you could stop promoting yourself as some kind of expert in this field. you are not.

you are a person with a strong opinion and a platform from which to promote it, not an expert. if you actually listen to sex workers you could actually help in our fight for rights as equal citizens. if you could see past your own ideology, you could actually do some good.

you could stop cherry picking through the data to support your opinion.

if you wake up and understnad that while your goals of freedom from capitalism and poverty are noble, they will not be here/ achieved for a long time. we need solutions now. not promises of uthopia for later with our lives as the price to be paid to achieve it.


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

susan, you are welcome to debate these issues on babble and I am happy to have your perspective on board. You also have a right to challenge Meghan Murphy's articles here and in the comment section of her blog -- but the tone of the debate as it happens here on babble is affected when you attack Murphy's person rather than her politics. I sympathize with the charged nature of this debate, but please try to make this debate less personal, at least here on babble.


susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

ok, but she personally attacks people i know and respect. terry jean bedford for example, did not engage in the charter challenge for herself, out of some self centered fight for her own personal gain....as is portrayed in the article.

she is one of the bravest women i know and stood up for all of us. to see her actions diminished as they were by meghan's article is about as personal as it gets. the attacks by abolitionists on terry jean at the charter press conference are another example. screaming in her face, raising their hands and blocking her exit route...

i have also endured these kinds of attacks by abolitionists who supposedly want to be my ally, to support me...screaming at me, advancing towards me agressively, photographing and filming me...yeah right, i really believe a person who in one breath tries to say "we're on the same side! we support you!" and then in the next breath says that one the bravest women i know is only out for personal gain.

also, i prefer not to answer in the comments section of her article as it then bumps it up/ makes it popular/ puts it at the top of the reading on rabble. i would rather comment here where there is other info for readers to grasp the broader issues and to see that not everyone who is feminist believe what meghan believes.

i often refer to our cooperative which was formed in 2008. the kinds of mis information that are continually published by meghan and other abolitionists has contributed to the continuation of violence against sex workers, of the 10 members of the cooperative development team 6 are dead....

how much more personal could it be? these women were my friends, my cohorts....

as a sex worker, everytime i read mis information or ideals held up as fact or debunked unethical data....i am attacked. i feel attacked.

it would be one thing if abolitionists had any actual foundation to back up their assertions. upon close scrutiny, none of their research holds up. i read the links in the articles and see the cherry picking that goes on.

in short, rabble often contains material which falls into this catergory when it comes to this debate. i have never published anything here which does not meet the criteria for ethical research. i simply feel my only way to continue combat these attacks on my community is by constantly challenging every piece that is put out.

why are personal attacks like the one on terry jean bedford allowed but when the author is challenged the discussion is deemed unacceptable?

 

 


susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

ha! i guess nothing i ever write is short is it....?


Rebecca West
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Susan, the discussion is very much acceptable, but the tone is not. The "he/she started it" defense doesn't wash and, being the intelligent and passionate woman that you so clearly are, I'm surprised that you'd go there, especially since you are articulate enough to write around personality-driven arguments. Yes, everything on rabble and babble is open for challenge and debate, but we try very hard to keep the debate attached to issues and not people.

susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

that's my point rebecca, i felt that the article did just that. attacked a person, or 2 people really. i understand however and will respect this. i hope that my counter part in this story will do the same.


grainfedprairieboy
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susan davis wrote:
you spit in the face of those first nations people who work in the secx industry and who fight for rights and justice at our sides....

 

Back in the mid 1980s I was a volunteer with a group called Exodus house which was a halfway house for prostitutes. I was nothing more than a volunteer trying to help keep up the maintenance of the facility but it sure did open my eyes to prostitution and the terrible destruction it causes these women.

 

While some women simply have a kink for hooking and some others clearly find it liberating, the vast majority of women in prostitution are ultimately not there by choice. For Indian girls, prostitution is more about slavery then liberation.

 

 


Bacchus
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All the more reason to legalize it and bring out into the light of day so the scum find it harder to exploit others and women that wish to take this route can do so in peace


pookie
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Joined: Dec 13 2005

Just a couple of comments on the rabble article quoted above:

On March 26, 2012, the Ontario Court of Appeal struck down the bawdy house law, upheld the law criminalizing communication (the law that, in essence, criminalizes women working the streets), and found the “living on the avails” law should apply only in “circumstances of exploitation” (so no real change there as that is, after all, the point of that law).

At this point, the impact of this decision is nil (and would have only had immediate impact on Ontario’s prostitution law, as the laws are decided on a province-to-province basis) and the judgment was appealed and is going on to the Supreme Court of Canada (scheduled for hearing on June 12th, 2013).

I disgaree that the change to the living on the avails law amounts to nothing because exploitation was the point of the law.  Yes that was the purpose, but the law used an economic relationship as a proxy for exploitation.  This made it grossly overbroad and open to abuse by authorities, as well as inhibiting attempts by women to control their own work. 

Also, there are no "Ontario laws" on prostitution.  The laws at issue are federal prohibitions in the Criminal Code which apply nationally.  What is true is that the Ontario Court of Appeal's ruling would have binding effect only in Ontario, though you can bet that its analysis would be closely studied by courts and Crowns in other provinces.  Now, of course, the SCC will tell us what the deal is, and that ruling will have binding effect everywhere.

 


susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

grainfedprairieboy wrote:

susan davis wrote:
you spit in the face of those first nations people who work in the secx industry and who fight for rights and justice at our sides....

Back in the mid 1980s I was a volunteer with a group called Exodus house which was a halfway house for prostitutes. I was nothing more than a volunteer trying to help keep up the maintenance of the facility but it sure did open my eyes to prostitution and the terrible destruction it causes these women.

While some women simply have a kink for hooking and some others clearly find it liberating, the vast majority of women in prostitution are ultimately not there by choice. For Indian girls, prostitution is more about slavery then liberation.

simply have a "kink" for "hooking"? nice..... that is so dismissive and wrong i don't know where to begin....

your experiences seem to be related to street level or survival sex workers and you don't seem to have been exposed to this discussion much yourself so i guess i can forgive you not understanding that to call us hookers is derogatory....

10 to 20% of workers are working on the street, that was what you witnessed. the result of the closure of the places where we work. anti brothel laws forced workers onto the street. no one bothered to address livable welfare rates and supports for retraining outside of sex work. instead closed brothels, arrested and humiliated us, throwing us in prisons and seizing our children....this is ongoing.

the 80% of workers who remain indoors are facing this ongoing expulsion to the street under the current criminalized status of our lives. in other words, we all face death if something is not done to prevent it.

while i appreicate your feelings about what you witnessed and feel the same way about how hard the street is on a person having worked outside myself, i do not agree that some women have a "kink" for hooking and that the majority of women are not in the industry by choice.

choice is relative and for some it is choice they make to feed their children for example. should she have to choose this way? no. should the government be actively trying to reform supports for people in this country? yes.

does criminalizing any aspect of prostitution help to achieve these reforms? no. but it does creat an extremely dangerous environment for people who do make this choice.

i am assuming you are not a first nations woman, describing aborigional women as "girls" infantalizes their lives and experiences. i am also not first nations so will not speak for the experineces of first nations women in the sex industry.

if you care to learn more about these issues please feel free to read through this forum and its posts. there are all kinds of interesting articles and links that describe what sex workers believe will best address the barriers and issues we face.


susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

pookie wrote:

I disgaree that the change to the living on the avails law amounts to nothing because exploitation was the point of the law.  Yes that was the purpose, but the law used an economic relationship as a proxy for exploitation.  This made it grossly overbroad and open to abuse by authorities, as well as inhibiting attempts by women to control their own work. 

Also, there are no "Ontario laws" on prostitution.  The laws at issue are federal prohibitions in the Criminal Code which apply nationally.  What is true is that the Ontario Court of Appeal's ruling would have binding effect only in Ontario, though you can bet that its analysis would be closely studied by courts and Crowns in other provinces.  Now, of course, the SCC will tell us what the deal is, and that ruling will have binding effect everywhere.

 

while i agree that exploitation needs to be addressed, the criminlize the industry approach has done nothing to address it. the living off the avails provisions mean we cannot work for an agency or parlour, it makes our work place, a sex industry business, illegal. it also makes hiring security guards/ drivers illegal and makes being the significant other of a sex worker illegal.

sex workers don't have lovers/ partners/ husbands/wives (men and trans people are sex workers too) we have pimps.

because of the bad construction of this law it opens sex workers up to all kinds of unbalanced enforcement. if a police member doesn't like sex workers, they can apply it in terrifying ways.

one friend of mine was the victim of a raid by police in which her, her husband, her son and the other women working there were all thrown on the ground with guns pointed at them...she often speaks of seeing her son with a gun pointed at him and the fear she felt....

there are plenty of laws against human trafficking, slavery, unlawful confinement, sexual assault, sexual interference of a minor...i could go on....why can the police not use these laws to protect canadians? why do they continue to arrest us for our own good etc?

because its fun. because its fun to humiliate beautiful, semi naked women by hand cuffing them, degrading them and being generally violent towards them.

whatever the intention of these laws, it has failed...miserably. the canadian public should be aware of what their tax dollars are used for in these terms. we should demand more of police. we should hold them accountable their role in the harms caused and help them to move forward towards better protection of vulnerable people in this country.


susan davis
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Bacchus wrote:

All the more reason to legalize it and bring out into the light of day so the scum find it harder to exploit others and women that wish to take this route can do so in peace

thank you bacchus, you made me feel better.


pookie
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Joined: Dec 13 2005

Susan, I have no idea why you directed that torrent of analysis at my post.


susan davis
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it wasn't intended as a torrent of analysis....i am sorry if you felt i was directing something at you.

i was commenting on the living off the avails provisions....


Meghan Murphy
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Joined: Nov 18 2011

susan davis wrote:

ok, but she personally attacks people i know and respect. terry jean bedford for example, did not engage in the charter challenge for herself, out of some self centered fight for her own personal gain....as is portrayed in the article.

 



Hi Susan,

My comments about Bedford don't constitute a "personal attack". My comments are factual and relevant in terms of what's behind the Bedford case, which is often misunderstood/misrepresented. Regarding the accusation that my aims in writing about these issues are "self-centered" and for my own "personal gain", I fail to see how I either "gain" from making the arguments I do and how making said arguments benefits me, specifically (i.e. how my arguments are "self-centered").


susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

you said terry jean only cared about herself and her brothel being raided, i wasn't refering to you. i was refering to your insults dircted at a woman who is a hero to us... you said she was self centered

what do you mean "behind" the bedford case? that it's the "proprostitution lobby"? or some how "organized crime" profiting from the charter challenge? yes, we've heard it all....yawn.

you reframe terry jeans comment about how she felt she was treated at the hands of police and under a criminalized regime during the raid of her studio and her arrest, twisting it to make it sound as if she only cared about herself....

and she is a woman of color and modest means.....

and it is extremely personal, as i described. your words affect our lives. how much more personal could it be? you name her outright. you quote her and claimshe is only out for herself...? how is that not attacking her?

what was the last thing your article said? oh yes.....SHAME

edit: it is a bit self centered however to make arguements to achieve your goals in spite of the will of the people affected...your goal being criminalization of the places where we work and the people who buy our services.....


Meghan Murphy
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Joined: Nov 18 2011

susan davis wrote:

you said terry jean only cared about herself and her brothel being raided, i wasn't refering to you. i was refering to your insults dircted at a woman who is a hero to us... you said she was self centered

what do you mean "behind" the bedford case? that it's the "proprostitution lobby"? or some how "organized crime" profiting from the charter challenge? yes, we've heard it all....yawn.

you reframe terry jeans comment about how she felt she was treated at the hands of police and under a criminalized regime during the raid of her studio and her arrest, twisting it to make it sound as if she only cared about herself....

and she is a woman of color and modest means.....

and it is extremely personal, as i described. your words affect our lives. how much more personal could it be? you name her outright. you quote her and claimshe is only out for herself...? how is that not attacking her?

what was the last thing your article said? oh yes.....SHAME

edit: it is a bit self centered however to make arguements to achieve your goals in spite of the will of the people affected...your goal being criminalization of the places where we work and the people who buy our services.....

 

I see. I misunderstood your comment. Nonetheless, I don't personally attack or insult Bedford -- I quote her: "Bedford herself is quoted as saying: “I was mainly concerned with winning the bawdy house law because of what happened to me at Thornhill” (Bedford’s “Bondage Bungalow” in Thornhill, Ontario was raided in 1994 and she was charged with keeping a common bawdy house, which is what lead her to get involved in this case)."

What I mean by "behind the Bedford case" is exactly what I say in the article -- that the priority is to legalize brothels. Sometimes I feel like you don't read my articles before attacking me over them, Susan? You add words and meanings that aren't there.

And yes, I end with "shame" -- because I think that DiManno should be ashamed for publishing outright lies that are intended to manipulate the reader.

I don't think the feminist movement is self-centered at all. My goal is to create a feminist, socialist, world with my brothers and sisters.


susan davis
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Joined: Aug 1 2009

you do the same thing and are doing it again....

why do we not deserve places to work? why should we be faced with only industrial areas or logging roads to work in? how would you feel with no toilet at work?

the priority IS to ensure we can work in safety, in brothels....?

you make it sound once again as if brothels are bad. they are not and greatly increase our safety. once again you posted her quote and have no understanding of what a raid is like. its violence, police violence. caused by the kind of rhetoric you promote in your articles....yes i read them.....

i am always so surprised that abolitionists don't understnad the impact of their work...

brothels are not all controled by "organized crime" brothels are not full of underage sex slaves....brothels are where we work and what makes us safe....

no amount of you posting debunked data or news articles proclaiming brothels are bad will change the facts proven by legitimate research....

i know its hard to imagine that what you are doing is contributing to violence against sex workers but it is. that is why i take it so personally. how many of YOUR friends are dead?

you do not care who is impacted by your goals as described by your articles. you are wishing for a world where we all get to choose our perfect employment and where no one has to worry about money, poverty or how they will keep a roof over their heads. noble.

but not here yet and in the mean time we are not willing to be the slient casualties in the little social experiment known as prohibition. we are not your martyrs for the greater goal.

we demand our rights as citizrns and human beings...can't you understnad that?

that's why i say shame.


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