PROSTITUTION: THE MYTHS AND REALITIES

by Norma Jean Almodovar, [former L.A.P.D. traffic officer and callgirl]

This was created by Norma Jean Almodovar back somewhere between late 1990’s and early 2000 and posted on the ISWFACE.org site.  The laws for prostitution are different in each state, and their various counties and cities.  There are some states with counties such as Nevada where prostitution is legal and regulated.  There are some states and counties where the laws are more lax than others.  This question- answer article below was authored from a retired call girl/escort who was a police officer at one time, she speaks with authority and with firsthand knowledge having been on both sides of the fence. 

If you want to know what the laws are in your state or city with regard to prostitution please Google the information and look it up online.  Below I have inserted my own opinions and comments (highlighted in blue) peppered throughout the article below.   


[If you cite any of this material in your research, please give credit to the author]


WHAT IS PROSTITUTION?

In most states, it is 'any lewd act for money or other consideration.' 'Lewd' is defined as the touching of male genitalia and buttocks and female genitalia and breasts for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.

It is no longer an exclusively female crime; men can and are being prosecuted for being prostitutes, although the number of arrests of male prostitutes is disproportionately less than female prostitutes. 

[It has been my experience that transgendered person’s as well as women of color are more likely to become a target of law enforcement and are prosecuted with bias and prejudice far more often]

There are several reasons for this.  First: because it is considered less of a social problem then female prostitution, and second: because male police officers are reluctant to pose as homosexuals and potential customers of male hustlers.
Customers of prostitutes are rarely prosecuted because, "(1) it would expose the culpable patron to shakedowns, extortion and blackmail; (2) it would make the prosecution of prostitutes more difficult; (3) it would hamper vice squad activity in controlling prostitution; (4) it would not act as a deterrent to the men seeking paid companionship; (5) prosecution would threaten the stability of the home and family with public exposure, damage to reputation, disgrace and divorce; and (6) prosecution would induce men to seek other, potentially more harmful, sexual relationships, for example, incestuous alliances and the use of force and violence." 

These justifications for NOT arresting or prosecuting the clients were given by a law enforcement official in response to questions from the media regarding the obvious arrest and prosecution bias toward the prostitute.

[Although occasionally you may see in the media various men who have been caught up in stings, having their faces plastered all over the newspaper or internet news, the truth of the matter is that does not happen very often, and most times the stings are conducted on the streets in poor areas or areas where the population is generally of color.  In Houston they had a huge sweep of local Brothels  and Spa’s back in November of 2003-2004.  Many of the men who were actually caught in these places at the time of these raids, were only asked for their identification,  then let go while the women [even those who were not even caught in the act of prostitution] were arrested, interrogated , put in a holding cell for 48 hours or longer, in the attempt to get information and statements regarding the brothel owners.  The purpose was to get them to testify and make statements against the owners.   Even after being released some of these women were continually harassed by law enforcement.   In the case of one brothel they had credit card receipts and paperwork (even video surveillance) of men who patronized the prostitutes, yet law enforcement never went after these men, nor filed charges.  The fact remains that there is still a double standard when it comes to arresting the male patrons of prostitutes.  

A few years ago in California, a new law was enacted that amended the penal code to allow a police officer to legally entrap a person suspected of prostitution. Prostitutes' Rights' groups often call the new law a 'use a smile, go to prison' law, because the law says, "A person agrees to engage in an act of prostitution when, with specific intent to so engage, he or she manifests an acceptance of an offer or solicitation to so engage, regardless of whether the offer or solicitation was made by a person who also possessed the specific intent to engage in prostitution." In other words, no longer are words are necessary to commit this verbal crime, facial expressions (smiling, winking) or body gestures will do!

WHAT IS PANDERING?

Pandering is defined as merely 'encouraging a person..... by schemes, devices and promises..... to commit an act of prostitution.  In many states this is not criminal activity, except where force, coercion or fraud is involved. In California, it is a felony with a mandatory prison term of three, four or six years on the first offense, with no prior convictions.

In administering such draconian punishment, no distinction is made between coercive, juvenile prostitution and non-coercive adult prostitution.

Pandering can be the act of two prostitutes who work together, who simply exchange clients, or arrange a 'double date' with a client. Giving out a phone number of one prostitute to a potential client (or undercover vice officer) is sufficient to be charged with pandering.

According to this definition, theoretically, a client could be charged with pandering when he offers to give a prostitute money (or other consideration) in exchange for sex, because he is 'encouraging a person to commit an act of prostitution'. However, as noted above, the cops and prosecutors are more interested in the 'supply side' of the business.

Pandering is such a vague statute that at one time, it was applied to the makers of explicit adult material (pornography), since any lewd act for money or other consideration is prostitution, whether done for one client or for a camera. Fortunately, the Supreme Court overturned this use of the law.

WHAT IS PIMPING?

Living off the earnings of a prostitute, whether in full or in part.  Legally, a 'pimp' need not be a man with a string of girls, who drives a 'pimpmobile' and wears gaudy, flashy clothing, the man that the public [or that the media often portrays] sees as forcing young women onto drugs and into a life of prostitution.  A pimp can be the bank, the grocery store, and in my case, it was the Los Angeles Police Credit Union (when I made my car payments to them after I left the police department). Anyone who receives money from a prostitute... from her earnings as a prostitute is legally 'guilty' of pimping.

This law is often applied to, or is threatened to be applied to, a prostitute's landlord, in attempts to get the landlord to evict the prostitute from his/her apartment. In some cases, it is also used against a prostitute's mother or father, brothers and sisters, when it can be proved that the prostitute contributes any money to them [including husbands or boyfriends].
This law was originally intended to protect the prostitute, because often the prostitute was perceived as a victim of an unscrupulous man, who would take all of her money and leave her destitute. As with most 'protectionist' legislation, it is more often used against the 'victim' than against those who would victimize her.

Should there be laws to protect the prostitute from individuals who want to take her money against her will?  Yes, and there should also be the same laws to protect secretaries, waitresses, actresses, artists, writers, and everyone else who earns a living.  And I do believe such laws already exist so there is no need to enact ‘new’ or special legislation designed to protect individuals in one profession over another.

DO YOU THINK MEN ARE SILLY FOR PAYING A WOMAN TO FULFILL THEIR SEXUAL FANTASY?

No.
I think men who see prostitutes are more honest about themselves and what they want. They admit to having a need and are willing to pay someone to help them fulfill it, rather than force someone who does not want to do it. Now, if you ask me if I think some men are silly, yes.  And so are some women.  But to each, their own.

WHAT KIND OF MEN SEE PROSTITUTES?  Married? Single? Blue collar workers? Politicians? Preachers

All of the above.  Any man who is not dead is a candidate to seek the services of a prostitute, and a growing number of women see prostitutes, too. Sex is the second basic human drive, and everyone who engages in it is a candidate to see a prostitute at some time in their life. 

[ I have met with ministers, politicians, CEO’s, Judge’s, High ranking executives, Lawyers, Doctors, Dentists, even TV media celebrities, Veteran’s, the disabled and so on.  I even had my next door neighbor’s husbands paying me visits.  The point is, there is no one type of man that patronizes prostitutes, most have at one time patronized an escort or call girl]

AREN’T YOU AFRAID OF CATCHING A VENEREAL DISEASE?

Frankly, I was in more danger of catching a disease when I was having sex with the cops for free. Until I became a prostitute, I did not even know what venereal diseases I could catch, or what their symptoms were. When I started working as a professional, I learned about safe sex practices, and how to take care of myself. 

[Prostitutes are more conscious and more aware of this than the average woman and are more likely to use protection and get themselves regularly tested.    It is very rare to see a Prostitute forego the use of condoms.  According to the CDC the highest incidences/cases of STDS are among persons 25 years of age, with 3 million teenagers being infected annually.  The CDC has also reported that the elderly have had an increase in STDs over the years.    CDC.Gov Publication  CDC 1989 publication ] In other words it isn’t any more rampant among prostitutes than it is among the general populace who do not patronize prostitutes.]

That doesn't mean, of course, that one is completely safe from the threat of disease, but as I always say, sexually transmitted diseases don't acknowledge cash transactions. They spread with or without money, and they are spread by ignorance and lack of safe sex practices.

The issues concerning the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, are brought up in a report called "The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society" which states, "Of course, a state has an interest in protecting the health of it's citizens, and the spread of venereal diseases is a serious health problem.  In light of the statistics which show that prostitution contributes very little to the problem, however, a general prohibition of prostitution on that basis is overbroad to achieve the legislative purpose, and should be re-evaluated."

Dr. Charles Winnick, a member of the American Social Health Association and Professor of Sociology, City College of the City University of New York, has stated, 'We know from many different studies that the amount of VD attributable to prostitution is remaining fairly constant at a little under 5%, which is a negligible proportion to the amount of VD that we have.'"

Later studies indicate that VD from prostitutes is now about 3%. The majority of sexually transmitted diseases comes from high school and college age young people, about 75%, and the remainder from non commercial sexual encounters. Woman at bars who wouldn't dream of charging for their favors! 

[Read that again folks.. STD’s and VD only account for 3% of cases from prostitutes, whereas the majority of cases are from non commercial sexual encounters]

WHAT ABOUT AIDS?

Again, because prostitutes have lower overall incidents of STD's, they also have a lower percentage of testing positive for the HIV II. Unless a woman who is a prostitute is an IV drug user, or has a bi-sexual partner, she is not at a higher risk than other women in the community who are not engaging in commercial sex. To date, in the United States, there has not been one documented incident of a female prostitute spreading the virus to her male client thru sexual contact.

Most prostitutes have been practicing safe sex for years, since it is in their own self interest to do so. Women in the massage end of the industry most often manually bring a client to orgasm. Many women on the street use condoms with their clients and are only having oral intercourse with them. Many call girls have clients who are into fantasy sex. This involves safe sexual practices which do not include intercourse. Activities such as cross dressing, verbally acting out fantasies, mild B and D, shoe fetishes and erotic massages, are all very safe and do not spread diseases of any sort.

WHAT ABOUT THE PROSTITUTES WHO DELIBERATELY HAVE SEX WITH THEIR CLIENTS KNOWING THEY HAVE AIDS?

Just as in other professions, there are bad employees, so there are in prostitution. There are bad cops, there are bad bankers, there are bad actors, and many other people in many other professions who are very irresponsible. The more a client knows about his or her Sex Care Provider, the better off everyone is.

The theory of 'one equals all', if applied to every other profession, would mean that if one cop is bad, then all cops are bad and we must outlaw police work. If one banker embezzles a bank, all bankers must do that, then we must close the banks. If one actor knocks out a photographer, then all actors will certainly do that, so outlaw acting.

Obviously, these suggestions are not serious, and it would not a any kind of a solution. The point is, in legal professions, those who are irresponsible are more easily dealt with than those in an underground profession. People who behave irresponsibly should be prosecuted for their behavior, not the entire profession.

PROSTITUTES MAKE A LOT OF MONEY, BUT NEVER SAVE ANY OF IT

Prostitutes can make very good money. Not all of them do. As for saving their money, well some do and some don't. But then, some waitresses and actresses and secretaries and even traffic officers don't save their money. The wise ones that do, usually invest it in real estate, or in another businesses for their later years. 

[I find this funny because these silly assumptions are made based on typical stereotypes concerning prostitutes that they are all irresponsible with their money.  I have known men and women in all professions who were careless with their money and who did not adequately save.  This is not just associated with the men and women in the profession of prostitution.  Gee, look at all the famous actors and actresses who went from wealthy to destitute from not managing their financial affairs, or the famous athletes.   I personally know of a Dentist who made a crap ton of money and still mismanaged all that he made and had to file bankruptcy twice.  It is unfair to continue to peg a woman or man in the profession of “sex work” as someone who is always irresponsible with the money they make from the profession.]

IT’S REALLY A SHORT TERM CAREER FOR YOU WOMEN.  WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR LOOKS FADE AND YOUR CLIENTS WON’T SEE YOU ANYMORE?

A career in sports is also a short term career. No one ever promised that life was fair. When a woman gets too old and out of condition, she cannot work anymore.  And neither can a baseball player, or a football player, or a tennis player, etc. etc. Just like other people in short term careers, prostitutes should make long term goals and alternative career plans, but that doesn't always happen.

[Again this is assuming that someone who is old (whatever your definition of old is) can’t still make money in sex work.  I have known women in this profession who were well into their 60’s still servicing clients and making money at it.  There is a niche for every type of women or man out there in the profession of sex work.  Everyone in any type of work should consider aging and retiring as inevitable and save for that retirement period.]

WHAT ABOUT PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS?  IS IT TRUE THAT PROSTITUTES CAN’T MAINTAIN A LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH ANYONE?  WHAT ABOUT WHEN YOU GROW OLD, WHO WILL YOU FIND TO LOVE YOU

There is no guarantee for anyone in any profession that a man or a woman can or will find a love relationship with anyone else. Maintaining love relationships is difficult for all human beings, because of their nature. Prostitutes can and do maintain any and all kinds of relationships that other people do.

I happen to be married to a man that I love deeply, and have been with him for many years. As in any relationship between people, there is always the outside chance that the partner might leave (divorces occur even between ministers and their spouses), and even die, leaving the other partner alone.

There are no guarantees for any one to find someone to love, for long term relationships, or for growing old together. Not for Presidents, not for ministers, not for prostitutes. 

[In my experience more than 30% of prostitutes or those who are in any kind of sex work are married or have long term relationships.  I was married for 10 years, after my divorce I had two long term relationships that lasted over 7 years.  Don’t always assume that everyone wants to be in a relationship either.  Some people are perfectly content with living without a partner.  Many people do]

ISN’T IT TRUE THAT PROSTITUTES OFTEN USE FALSE NAMES IN THEIR WORK SO THAT CAN CONFUSE THE POLICE ABOUT THEIR TRUE IDENTITY

Some prostitutes do use aliases, because they are in a currently illegal profession and do not wish their family and friends to learn of their secret life. However, most of this is protection against intrusion of their private lives by their clients.

There is nothing illegal about using a 'stage' name, since it is certainly customary for actors/ actresses, and writers. Prostitutes who do assume different names for their profession are in good company.... John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Marilyn Monroe, Charles Bronson, Tony Curtis, Cary Grant, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Mark Twain, George Sands, O'Henry are just a few well known aliases that these people assumed for their profession. 

[This question cracks me up, because if the police want to know who you are they are not hampered by a fake name.  The primary reason in most cases for a fake name is to keep the “nutjobs” out there out of your life who are “stalkers, or religious fanatic’s intent on outing you to family, friends, or your employer if you are working a regular job and “dabbling in prostitution”.]

ISN’T IT DANGEROUS TO BE A PROSTITUTE?  AREN’T YOU AFRAID OF GETTING HURT BY ONE OF YOUR CLIENTS

There are some levels of prostitution which are not as safe as being a call girl/escort. One of the basic reasons that the women are in danger is because in an illegal profession, they are not able to go to the police to report crimes against them, by either their 'johns' or pimps. And by the same token, a man who is robbed by a woman who is impersonating a prostitute cannot report it, either.

[There have been countless incidences all over the country of  police arresting a woman who is a prostitute,   reporting a violent crime perpetrated against her.   They arrest her, instead of going after the rapist, or mugger.  Often times police interrogating her will verbally reprimand her, or judge her publicly when she goes to report a violent crime against her.]

Some people use the excuse that prostitution should be kept dangerous to dissuade women from prostituting.  This makes as much sense as making police work illegal for the same reasons. I was in far more danger when I worked at night in Hollywood, alone, in the wee hours of the morning. While in uniform, I was attacked by a businessman. 

No one wanted to arrest and imprison me then for having chosen a potentially dangerous career, 'for my own protection', because as an adult, I had chosen that profession, and I knew the possible danger I might be in.

As an adult, I also chose to become a prostitute. I did not suddenly revert to being a child that needed some kind of perverse protection (arrest and imprisonment). 

What prostitutes really need is to be able to work in an environment where they can get the same police protection as a man or woman employed in any other profession, including work as a traffic officer.

When several prostitutes are murdered by a crazy serial killer, the public responds by suggesting the police make more arrests of the poor girls, to get them off the streets. When a police officer is killed, the police rightfully spend their time and energy looking for the killer. The public would never suggest that we lock up the police officers for their own protection.

I worked as a call girl, and the Madame for whom I worked knew all the clients to whom she referred me. The men I saw were all very safe men, who had been seeing prostitutes for many years, and certain patterns develop.  These clients were all very well trained, and safe.
Other occupations which have inherent risks, (but for which no one want to arrest those who engage in such occupations): Police officer Traffic Officer... Fire Fighter...Airplane pilot... Airline Stewardess, Coal Miner...Test pilot... Astronaut...Circus Performer... Lion Tamer,  Animal trainer... Construction Worker... Taxi Driver... School teacher in ghetto areas.. President of USA... Diplomats (in danger of being held hostage or assassinations)...Soldier (in times of war)...And many more.

DON’T SOME PROSTITUTES ROB THEIR JOHNS

No. Prostitutes have sex or other lewd acts for money or other consideration. Thieves rob people. Some men and women impersonate prostitutes and rob men who think they have hired a prostitute. He/she may even have sex with the "client" first, but, this person is not a prostitute; he/she is a thief. And in addition to being arrested for theft, it is my opinion that he/she should be prosecuted for impersonating a prostitute.

Interestingly enough, in California, jail sentences for theft and robbery are not as severe as for prostitution. If the problem that some people perceive with prostitution is theft, when a person commits theft, then by all means, arrest and punish the man or woman for theft! That makes sense to me!  

[Gee.. don’t some bank executives rob their customers?  What about the Judges or elected officials who have been caught robbing the community?  Robbers, thieves come in all professions all walks of life, and most are what I call “opportunists”.]

PROSTITUTES IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD ARE ALWAYS THROWING USED CONDOMS IN MY YARD.  THEY ARE HAVING SEX WITH THEIR JOHNS RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE.  WHAT CAN THE POLICE DO

The fact that people throw condoms in your yard does not make them prostitutes, it makes them litterers, and there are laws other than prostitution that allow people to be charged with littering, such as trespassing, and of course, littering. The same goes for public sex acts. If a man/woman is not charging money for sex, would that make his/her other acts legal? No, and it is those other acts which he/ she should rightfully be charged with. Arresting people for prostitution does not solve the real problems, against which residents rightfully complain.
Prostitutes are generally forced into residential areas when police stage 'sweeps' of the areas where (street) prostitutes naturally congregate...near adult motels, and movie theatres. In other countries where prostitution is legal, male and female (street) prostitutes have their own areas of the city to congregate, and their clients know where to find them.  

[Most prostitutes would rather be in a safe discreet place to ply their trade.  If they are out in your neighborhood or your front yard it is because the police have taken away their “discreet safe place”.  Every time there is a raid on a brothel or spa where do you think the prostitutes are going to go?  They migrate to the streets, to residential areas, to apartments, to hotels/motels.  This would not be a problem if prostitution were legalized and regulated and the men and women had a “discreet safe place to work” out of the public eye.]

ISN’T THE MOB INVOLVED IN PROSTITUTION? (Another excuse often used to keep prostitution illegal).

The Mafia has had its hand in some forms of prostitution, yes. And Organized crime has been accused of being involved in unions, in the cable industry, in the construction industry, and other 'legitimate' businesses. 

We do not ban those businesses when the mob is found to be active in them, rather, we prosecute those who are involved in coercive activities.  The reason that it has been able to get involved at all with prostitution is because of the illegal status of the profession.  Just as during the prohibition of alcohol, the mafia was able to gain control over its sale and distribution, not because of the nature of alcohol, but because of the corruptible nature of human beings, so too, it is the illegal status of prostitution that allows any organized criminal element to move in and control areas of prostitution. But for the most part, because prostitutes are highly independent, they are hard to organize. Most men and women operate independently of organized crime, although many do end up paying for police protection, which is equally 'organized crime' even if the extortion is carried out by a governmental agency.

In a memorandum filed by Hon. Gerald Adler in the case of Cherry Vs. Koch, et al. Kings County, New York, Hon. Adler says,"It has long been recognized that commercial sex has many attendant evils." Quoting from Commonwealth v Dodge, he asserts, "Prostitution is a source of profit and power for criminal groups who commonly combine it with illicit trade in drugs and liquor, illegal gambling and even robbery and extortion. Prostitution is also a corrupt influence on government and law enforcement machinery.  It's promoters are willing and able to pay for police protection; unscrupulous officials and politicians find them an easy mark for extortion...."
Looking at every point this makes, it seems clear that it is the illegal status of prostitution that causes these problems, not the act of prostitution itself. All of the problems involving police corruption and extortion would be eliminated if prostitution were decriminalized, since there would be no need for the prostitute or madam to pay off police officers in order to stay in business.

SINCE PROSTITUTION IS ILLEGAL, WHY DID YOU ENGAGE IN IT?  YOU KNEW YOU WERE BREAKING THE LAW

I have always believed that my body belongs to me, and not to the government; city...state or federal. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and I believe that the Constitution protects my rights to own, use and enjoy my body in any manner that I deem appropriate for me.  As long as I do not violate the rights of others. I have a right to make moral decisions for my life and my property (my body) that others may find disagreeable or disgusting.

“The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed...."

"Such an unconstitutional law is void, the general principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it...

"No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it."
Even the government (or at least those who write the law books) is conceding the issue. According to the California Criminal Law Manual, prostitution may not even be a crime. It notes, "In view of the legislature's recent repeal of certain sex laws which previously made certain sex acts a crime, some legal scholar’s feel that prostitution may also no longer be a crime. They submit that if the performance of certain sex acts by male and/or female consenting adults in private is no longer a crime, prostitution (which is performed by consenting adults in private) may be a noncriminal act."

Another point I would like to make is that when I was a member of the Los Angeles Police Department, oral copulation was a felony in the state of California, even between consenting adults, until about 1976. Every cop I knew broke the law, and was, under the law, a felon. They may not have been good felons, but under the law, they were felons. I didn't think then, nor do I think now, that the government has any business in my bedroom, monitoring my sexual behavior or any other kind of behavior.

AREN’T MOST PEOPLE IN SOCIETY IN FAVOR OF KEEPING PROSTITUTION ILLEGAL?

No. They may not want to be prostitutes themselves, or frequent prostitutes, but most people do not think the government should prohibit private consenting adult behavior.
On every talk show where there has been a poll of the audience, both phone and studio audience, nearly 75% are in favor of decriminalization of prostitution. They are tired of the government spending so much money and manpower on peeking into the private bedrooms of adults.

Certainly there are those who feel it is immoral, and under no circumstance want prostitution to be legal or decriminalized, but they are the very vocal minority. In a free country, there should be room for everybody. And in a free society, no one would force those who oppose prostitution on moral grounds, to become prostitutes, or engage in prostitution.

ISN'T IT TRUE THAT PROSTITUTES HAVE LOW SELF-ESTEEM?

"I read in Cosmopolitan that women who become prostitutes have low self esteem. Is that true?" (*Cosmo. January 1987, "The World of the Middle-Class Prostitute", by Robert Karen. "A crippled self-esteem, profound anger toward men, reckless disregard for danger, and desire for easy cash- such is the sickness and the need, that drives educated women into a profession that ravages body and soul.")

Well, I can't speak for all men and women who become prostitutes, but no one has ever accused me of having low or a 'crippled' self esteem. Other than a profound anger towards (some) cops, I have no profound anger towards men, since all men are not cops. If I have a 'reckless disregard for danger', perhaps that is what impelled me to become a law enforcement officer.

Is it a desire for easy cash? 

 [By the way it is a misconception that prostituting is easy, there is nothing easy about it, and it involves running it like a real business to be successful just like any other business.  Those who jump into prostitution thinking it is easy are quickly educated about how much work is involved in the process of attaining good safe clients, maintaining a clientele base, advertising, and set up, etc.]  

Probably, since cash is what pays the rent and other necessities of life. Other than the fact that everyone who is not independently wealthy or married to a talk show host has the same 'need' to earn a living, I don't see that the desire to earn a living that is above average for fewer hours than others work, is a 'sickness'. 

[In my opinion if a prostitute has low self esteem it may not have been directly related to the profession of prostitution.  In addition the laws against prostitution and most who view prostitutes in a negative stereotypical light are more the cause of the low self esteem since many prostitutes become isolated and have to keep their profession a secret from family and friends.  If society is calling you names, treating you with disdain, disgust and ostracizing you because you chose to work in the field of “sex work”, then one should not deny that a low self esteem could occur as a result.  We need to change the way we think about the men and women in the profession of sex work and stop with the judgmental, stereotypical, stigmatizations toward these individuals.  I have personally known women in the profession that were more independent and had higher self esteem once they were able to make a better than average wage from the profession.  It lifted some out of poverty and gave them opportunity to afford college or technical training.  As opposed to working for minimum wage at Walmart or McDonalds where one is in a perpetual cycle of low income, stagnant wages with no opportunity for a higher education due to lack of funds.]

ISN’T PROSTITUTION A DEGRADING AND DEMEANING ACTIVITY

I suppose that really depends on the individual involved, or how one views sex. It was not degrading to me, because I think that sex is a positive, nurturing act between people, and whether it is given out of love, or done as a service, as long as it is a consenting act, it is still a positive one.

On a scale of the pain/pleasure human beings can inflict/induce upon each other, if murder/rape/torture are the worst, than certainly giving another person an orgasm must be among the best. I cannot fathom how one could think that making another human being feel good- for a fee- could be degrading or demeaning, unless it is degrading to make other people feel good. I don't think it is.

There are numerous jobs I can think of which I think are degrading, but there are plenty of people who engage in these professions, and sometimes make a great deal of money. For example, garbage collectors, sewer service cleaners, etc. No one attempts to outlaw those careers on the basis of their degradation, real or imagined.

And if the reason that society would arrest men and women who engage in prostitution is because is it 'degrading', then perhaps someone could tell me how going to jail, being stripped searched, checked for lice, undressing in front of dozens of insensitive guards and inmates, etc. somehow cures this problem? I found jail and prison to be degrading, but not prostitution.

 [Not everyone will find the activities of prostitution attractive, and everyone has their own personal feelings as to what they think is a demeaning act.  If you are highly religious then you might find this demeaning.  If you have hang ups with sex or certain sexual activities you might feel this line of work demeaning.  Not all women in the sex work professions feel that what they do is demeaning, and some actually enjoy some of the activities along with the income.  It is wrong to assume that all women would find this line of work demeaning.  If you find sex work demeaning then don’t get into sex work, period.  It is just that simple.]

ISN’T IT IMMORAL TO SELL ONE’S BODY?

Again, morality is in the eye of the beholder. I don't consider it immoral, no.  Everyone who works 'sells' one or more parts of their body. Athletes sell their body; without it they couldn't play sports. Actors and actresses 'sell' their body. It is their body that gets photographed and it is their 'body' that others pay to watch. You sell your body because that is what is needed to engage in physical work. An artist needs his/ her hands to paint. Construction workers, chefs, etc. it would be very difficult to engage in any profession without the use and therefore 'sale' of one's body.

Perhaps it is because it is the genitalia that is involved that people object.  In a free society, people should be able to engage in behavior that others find immoral or objectionable, as long as no force or fraud is involved.  As an adult, I feel confident that I can make my own moral judgments. For me, it is not immoral to make other people feel good in a sexual way, for pay.
All any of us can do is to make moral choices for ourselves, and not for others. In the end, we are only responsible for whatever decisions we make for ourselves, anyway.

AREN’T ALL PROSTITUTES HOOKED ON DRUGS? (often used as an excuse to keep prostitution illegal)

No. This is another myth. There are men and women in the profession who use drugs, and certainly there are people who go into prostitution just to support their drug habit. But the percentage of prostitutes who use illicit drugs is about the same as people in other professions who have access to higher incomes, such as baseball players, football players, other athletes, rock stars, actors and actresses, singers, musicians, writers, movie producers, stock brokers, lawyers, doctors, judges, even police officers.

If we are going to use the use of drugs as an excuse to continue to prohibit prostitution, then perhaps we ought to consider outlawing professions in sports, the theater, music, etc. on the outside chance this will prevent the use of drugs among these groups!

What's the difference between legalization and decriminalization?"

Legalization means that the government enacts new laws which put the control of prostitution in the hands of the police, or the state. The police department has no business running or regulating prostitution, anymore than it should run restaurants or grocery stores or the movie industry. These are all businesses, subject to business regulations, which are run by private enterprise. Prostitution is a business, a service industry. It should be run as a business, subject only to the same kinds of business laws and regulations as other businesses.
Decriminalization would allow that to happen. It would remove all criminal laws from engaging in non coercive adult commercial sex activity, and related areas, such as management and personal relationships. There are already plenty of laws which prohibit the use of force and fraud against people. Those laws could be enforced against anyone who violated them, just as they are now, when force of fraud is used in any other profession.

[Prostitution should be legalized, regulated reasonably, and taxed like any other profession.   What should not happen is the exclusion of the men and women who work in sex work, when shaping those laws and regulations.  Just as you would have doctors be a part of the formation of laws and regulations governing their profession, (AMA), the same should be allowed for the sex workers.  Nevada is a terrible example as they did not allow the sex workers to be a part of the formation of the laws and regulations.  Therefore you see that those who are in elected positions have interest in the brothels and corruption is allowed.  Do not believe all the smiles and partying you see on cable TV such as the Cathouse on HBO.  If you interview any woman who worked in some of these Nevada Brothels (privately, with a candid interview) you will find they were not always treated in a fair manner.  Some are not allowed to leave the premises at all while under contract, and that is simply not healthy to a woman who would need time for herself and to take a break from the job.]

IF PROSTITUTION WAS DECRIMINALIZED, OR LEGALIZED WOULDN’T THAT ALLOW YOUNG WOMEN TO BE FORCED INTO THE LIFE?

It is and still would be illegal to engage in sexual activities with minors. [It is illegal to force anyone into any labor of any type, sexual or otherwise] 
 Decriminalization of prostitution would not change those laws. Because the laws against prostitution and related activity makes no distinction between coercive and non coercive activity, a person who is willing to use force is at no more risk than a person who does not use force. The result is that law enforcement is spread thin, trying to entrap men and women who are engaging in consensual adult behavior, rather than going after men and or women who are using force against others.

Decriminalization would leave the police with more time and manpower [And more funds] to go after those who would hire underage girls/boys. Men and women in the profession would be able to report acts of violence or force used against them to the police without being subjected to ridicule or the threat of imprisonment themselves.

We would all agree that there are some abusive husbands and even some abusive wives, who deserve to be arrested and punished for their behavior. But no one would even think to suggest that as a way to solve the problem of battered wives/ husbands/ abused children, that we outlaw marriage or prohibit people from having children. On such matters, it is logical and rational to think that when a husband/wife/ parent commits some form of violence against their spouse or child, that is when they are charged and punished for their acts, not before such acts have been committed.

PROSTITUTION IS LEGAL IN NEVADA.  IF YOU WANT TO BE A PROSTITUTE SO MUCH GO WHY DON’T YOU GO WORK THERE?

Prostitution is legal is some counties in Nevada, but that's the problem it's legalized, not decriminalized. The sheriff runs the business, in effect, because he makes all the rules.
For instance, in some of the houses (or brothels), the sheriff won't let the women let their customers wear condoms; because he thinks the customers won't like it.

Another problem I have with working in a house is the lack of flexibility of one's schedule. When you are working in the house, you are on call 24 hours a day, and you may not pick and choose the customers you want to see. You cannot go out to dinner with them. Part of the work I enjoyed the most was being able to spend time with my clients at dinner.

Another regulation that most of the sheriffs impose on the women is that the women are not allowed to have a relationship with anyone in town. Their husbands, boyfriends and children may not live in the town where they work!

The women are required to be in off the streets of the town at a certain time, so if they don't get their shopping done before that time, they must wait until the next day.
These are not regulations that make sense, or help 'control' prostitution. They are ridiculous rules made and enforced by the government, who should not be involved in prostitution in any way, except to protect the women and their clients as they do with all persons in other businesses.

 BUT IF PROSTITUTION WERE LEGAL OR DECRIMINALIZED, YOU WOULDN’T MAKE AS MUCH MONEY!

 Prostitution is the only service I know of where the 'product' or service is already available to men for free, but they still pay for it.

If prostitution were decriminalized, men would still pay about what they are already paying, if they want to buy sex. In Nevada, were it is legal, men are still willing to go miles out of their way and pay almost as much as they do for women who are convenient and "illegal".

Anyway, if decriminalization did make the price decrease slightly, the cost of doing business would also decrease. A prostitute would no longer have to set aside money for bail, or to pay a lawyer to defend her (which takes up lots of her money). She would not need to pay law enforcement officers not to bust her. So, her overhead would decrease.

IF YOU LIKE THE GOOD LIFE, AND HAVING MONEY SO MUCH – INSTEAD OF BECOMING A PROSTITUTE, WHY DIDN’T YOU FIND A RICH MAN TO MARRY?

The law defining prostitution as a lewd act for money or other consideration does not qualify the act as being only outside marriage. Women or men who marry for money are just as much prostitutes as a person who sees many people in exchange for money or other consideration. They are just not honest. I would rather see a variety of clients, openly admitting what I am to all of them, than to lie to one man, tell him I love him and marry him for his money.
There is no shortage of available rich men, if one is really looking. Certainly, in the short run, it would have been a much easier thing to do. I would not have been arrested; I would not be facing all of the legal and financial problems I have now.

In the long run, I could not live with myself, if I had chosen to do that. I had several offers of marriage from several very wealthy men, so I am not talking in the abstract. It was an option I had. I chose not to take that option because I am in love with Victor, and all the money in the world without him to share it with would not make me happy.

When I began working, I did not know if I were going to make a lot of money. Per hour, it was certainly more than I was making when I worked for the police department, but it was an uncertain business. I did not know from week to week if and when I was going to work. Since I turned down so much business, in order to do many of the other things I wanted and needed to do, I did not make nearly as much money as I could have.

I hope someday to make a lot of money with my writing and artwork, but there is no guarantee. If I am successful, or not, I will still have the man I love. That is what is important to me.


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