Anti-Prostitution Voices on the Harms of Prostitution

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Anti-Prostitution Voices on the Harms of Prostitution



I request that people who favor decriminalization of johns, procurement, and bawdy houses etc. not post in this thread.

This thread assumes that posters are against laws that criminalize prostitutes but are in favor of laws that criminalize johns and 3rd party involvement.

I hope the focus can be on discussing the harms caused by the industry to individuals, minority groups and humanity.

The intent is to provide a space that will not be interrupted by back and forth arguments concerning legalization although the conversation may consider the connection to different legal frameworks in which the harm occurs.

The home link for this site was provided by Martin D. in another thread:

  "I am still dealing with the aftermath of being in prostitution. I suffer nightmares, flashbacks and am triggered by numerous things – scents, sounds, groups of people… I find it difficult to trust people, particularly men, and still struggle massively around sex. I still dissociate, and feel like I split off from myself.

I still define myself by these experiences and it tears me apart when programmes like ‘Diary of a call girl’ etc are on tv. It devalues my whole experience, makes me feel less able to speak about the reality. It makes me feel hopeless and utterly and wretchedly alone, drowned out by the vast noise of the sex industry and its all-powerful lobbying.  At times I have felt suicidal with it. Prostitution is not empowering, fun, a free choice. It is soul destroying, degrading, painful.

When I was working, I had to join in the lie and say I liked it and I chose it, and I think that that is what upsets me the most now. This lie is all pervasive, with the mainstreaming of pornography and even comedy like Friends making light of it, but the reality is much darker. Only now that I am out of it am I free to tell the truth and have a voice" . Angel

A more complete account from Angel is here:

“I’m not yet 30 years old, from a middle class background, successful academically, and never dreamed I’d end up in prostitution.

It is important to recognize that middle-class women are not immune to the harms of the industry even though disadvantaged women are over-represented.

peasant woman

Hi all. I have worked in front-line anti-violence work, anti-poverty and mental health for twenty years now. No longer do this full-time, as I have returned to school. I hope i will always be a feminist activist. It's a relief to see this thread on babble, i was away for a couple of weeks, and return overwhelmed by the proliferation of pro-prostitution threads. While it is quite possible to find women who are presently involved in prostitution or other aspects of the sex industry who say they enjoy what they do, it is my experience that this is a self-protective stance. The women I know who are in prostitution speak of the men who buy them with contempt, and with a kind of compassion as well. They may say now that they don't mind what they do, that they are fine, but they do not want their children doing this, they do not want this for their mothers or aunties or friends. And of the women I know who used to dance in strip clubs, work as escorts, or sell sex from street corners, not one of them says "oh yea, that was a great job. So glad I had that experience." Nope. if they talk of it at all, they talk about the harms they sustained, the damage that the men who bought them did to them. It is important that we pay attention to the research, pay attention to who is bought and sold in prostitution and continue to challenge the inequality that leaves women with the impossible choice between 'the devil and the deep blue sea.' Thank you for starting this thread, Infosaturated.

remind remind's picture

continue to challenge the inequality that leaves women with the impossible choice between 'the devil and the deep blue sea.'

Apparently, there are divisions occuring along the lines of class and race in this regard, too bad really.

But not surprising, in the least.



Lee Lakeman

Both the article from the Uk and The posts that follow from remind and from peasant women are part of the world wide picture of the new age of prostitution harms under globalization. 

The more than a dozen women who came here last year, at the inviatation of VRRWS from around the pacific rim to talk in Vancouver about the relationship between prostitution in Vancouver and trafficking around the pacific were very clear in their indictment of the men of the first world: those women said that the call of men to buy sex on demand in Vancouver fuels a horrible machine with consequences that have been discussed in many threads. 

And I say that women who collude with them in creating that demand deserve to be corrected

Children for sale on the street and in brothels without interference both here and in Asia, knee jerk cost free "sympathy" for women facing poverty and abuse instead of aid, forced global and regional migrations of women exploited and ghettoized in the largest and richest cities of the world, willful blindness of the media and consequently of the community to the physical harms to vulnerable women and the spread of communicable diseases to them,  the raising of a generation of men who believe they have a right to sexual satisfaction in whatever form they want from whatever source they please at whatever cost to all, and quasi sympathy to men in the forms of offering up other women's lives and well being for any man deemed needy by virtue of being other than a sterotypical macho (the lonely depressed friendless alienated, disabled single dads)

The young man Andrew Evans who killed Nicole Parisiene, even in his trial this month for murder, was never told outright even in his trial even for the benefit of other young men "You are not entitled to insist on sexual satisfaction.  You could take it into your own hand or make yourself desirable but you are not entitled to use your power whether it is the power of athletic strength, a bullying tongue or a pocket full of cash to force other people, in this case women to satisfy your sexual wants".  Instead his expectation his sense of entitlement set him up for an explosion of rage that made him guilty of murder

But of course it was Nicole who paid the price and it tonite will be some other young woman because of the bankruptsy of political spirit that says we can't end sexual slavery or says we best not interfere with the entrepreneurial spirit that sells body parts, children and access to mentally handicapped girls and creates the "industrial vagina" for the mythical good guy john to buy

I too wish to praise Infosaturated for her almost relentless clarity, composure.


Thanks for this, InfoSaturated. I have recently changed my thoughts on this subject, due to the material I've read on babble in the last few weeks. Not long ago, I felt that laws against prostitution were all about sexual repression. Now, I am against full decriminalization and legalization for reasons that others have gone into at length. The website at Demand Change also gave me lots to think about.

As a woman who has lost a child to adoption, I count myself among those of us who have had our sexuality used against us for the gain and pleasure of those with much more in the way of power and choice. Full decriminalization and/or legalization with be saying that it's OK and will result in many women being victimized and abandoned by society, as is what happened and still happens to many "birth" mothers.

martin dufresne

Rabble will regain some credibility in my eyes if and when Infosaturated if reinstated. She was bitterly insulted and suspended until further notice for simply reminding us of our obligations to abused children. A shameful call!



You'll have to get over it, Martin - the decision stands, backed up by the moderators and the publisher.  If rabble has no more credibility in your eyes, you are welcome to find another site to frequent.  And I would caution you against using this as an excuse to continue badgering Susan Davis about the situation she described.

peasant woman

Hey. I see that Martin questioned your judgment, Michelle, he did not "badger" Susan Davis. I, too, question the decision to suspend Infosaturated. I note that there are several posters, including moderators who have crossed the line from disagreeing to insulting, and they have not been sanctioned. Seems to me that the abolitionist voice in these threads is the one silenced for arbitrary reasons. Info's contributions are thorough, sound, and respectful. unlike those of several others I could name. Rabble has a potential to foster an interesting, if heated debate, but this kind of moderating does not serve to encourage respectful engagement.


There seems to be a clear difference in view and in interpretation here, in terms of badgering and the reasons for the suspension.  Not surprising I suppose given how polarized the debate had come.  The moderators decision was necessary and will stand.


I have been reading Babble for many years but stopped commenting about four or five years ago. What caused me to revert to and stay in lurk mode was Michelle's (and moderator Audra's) decision to ban a prostituted woman who had been respectfully arguing against legalizing prostitution.

The woman's intelligent, passionate words seemed to send Michelle into an uncharacteristic fit of defending her right to watch porn and wear thongs, and when Michelle banned the woman for specious reasons that were never explained, I and another frequent poster to the feminism board shared a few private messages about the unfairness of the prostituted woman's banning.

I didn't remember my old password so I signed up for a new one just to say I am so, so dissappointed at the Babble leadership right now. The Susan Davis Forum is a travesty but at least by allowing others to read it people like Loretta can make up their own minds. The silencing of a prostituted woman's voice happening AGAIN here is the tipping point for me and I will no longer read these boards, one of the very first places I started reading online once I got internet access what seems like decades ago but is only really a couple of years. The internet has grown since then, and I'm genuinely saddened to see Babble is in the same censorious place they were five years ago.


What was your username then?  Just curious.

Anyhow, as oldgoat says, the decision is final.


Is babble a place where, like with other "givens" (no sexism, no racism, etc,), it is now a given that we must accept the paradigm that susan davis purports around sex work/prostitution? I can get behind respecting her point of view but disagreeing with it, that seems fair. It seems very inappropriate that rabble/babble would take the position to support that paradigm for a number of reasons. Those reasons include the inherent sexism in sex work/prostitution, the fact that the poor are without true choices, the fact that many of those involved in the sex trade were abused as children and the fact that to do so would be to support a "business owner" financial model.

Giving someone a safe place to discuss their point of view in this matter is one thing, it's another to ban those who don't agree and challenge it.


I personally do not have a very evolved position on the prostitution/sex worker issue, and I found the debates here recently to be of diminishing value in helping form one.  Michelle and I do however moderate behaviour.  Given how polarized and emotional things got, I'm not surprized some may have a hard time with recent events, but we were and will continue to do our jobs.

remind remind's picture

As the Amnesty International newsletter used to put it in talking about some prison guards - "We are gods here"


....and this goes back  to my stating in another thread about the false paradigm that moderators were "co-babblers"  they cannot be, they are the face of rabble babble and thus speak and act to the owner's viewpoints.


Just as all the employees do at other media sites, there is no democracy, it is employment parameters.


Not that I disagree with the reality of this, or anything,  just indicating it is so...




Loretta, control over our own bodies is also a feminist issue. Feminists also support decriminalizing women and men who do sex work. There is no consensus among feminists outside of babble, why would we expect one here?

You can't label someone in the criminalize/abolutionist movement feminist and completely ignore all of the other aspects surrounding sex work or prostitution. That would be discounting the many feminist voices who do not believe the way to a healthier society is to make women criminals or to take the choice away from women who participate in this work.

There are two camps on the left - one who wishes to see women retain control over their bodies, and those who wish to have them criminalized, as they are now.  The people posting from both sides are feminists, and believe in feminism.

It is also not fair to suggest that any of the abolutionist voices have been silenced. Have a look at the threads and you'll find many many posts by these people. Babble is a progressive forum and the fact is, some progressives believe in choice and maintaining control over our own bodies. We are still feminists.I believe in this Charter Challenge. I am a feminist.

What is puzzling to me though are the many voices here that suggest that the decrim or legalize it side are not feminist. Or that we do not understand the dynamics. We do. Both sides agree that exploitation, trafficking, child prostitution etc. should be stamped out. But we also believe in a woman's right to chose how she uses her body. Why can we not come up with something that protects those who are forced into prostitution and also maintain the right to control our bodies? I think we can.


remind remind's picture

stargazer wrote:
There are two camps on the left - one who wishes to see women retain control over their bodies, and those who wish to have them criminalized, as they are now.  The people posting from both sides are feminists, and believe in feminism.


I reject this statement and the false conceptual framwork that is trying to be built by it,  and find it extremely offensive...and indeed baiting, so am not going to  say more, especially in this thread


I really do not care what you reject remind. I'm not kissing your ass anymore.

remind remind's picture

Stargazer wrote:
I'm not kissing your ass anymore.

Wasn't aware that you ever did...LMAO...

nor that I ever expected such from anyone...


....have every right to reject your framing of who I am....especially given that it is incorrect and slanderous...don't know why you are so offended by my rejection and offense taken at being labelled  falsely


and this thread is after all for anti-prostitution voices...which makes it baiting....


remind wrote:


and this thread is after all for anti-prostitution voices...which makes it baiting....

Info is not allowed to dictate who can post and who can't post in threads. 


remind wrote:

and this thread is after all for anti-prostitution voices...which makes it baiting....

This thread is for anti-prostitution voices?

What next... threads for pro-NDP and anti-NDP voices?

The amazing tolerance of babble is such that no one actually challenged the arrogant statement in the opening post: "Don't post in this thread if you disagree with me about prostitution!"

To Loretta: I have very conflicted views about prostitution, even though I personally decided long ago that the current criminal laws are harmful. But to suggest that babble moderators have limited the abolitionist viewpoint here is really untenable. Just check out the volume of debate over the last two months alone.

And Stargazer, kudos for your post above where you state the obvious - that feminists are not unanimous on this question, and they don't have to be, because the discussion continues. I say "the obvious", but over the weeks, it had started to get so much less obvious that differing viewpoints were acceptable. Let's hope that climate of discussion can return.



I think I'm going to close this because it isn't really on topic anymore, and the banning (yes, we've decided not to reinstate her) is not up for debate.

Topic locked