essay, human right, human rights, human trafficking, prostitution, rants, sex industry, sex worker rights, Uncategorized

I re-wrote a previous post of mine as a cause and effect essay for school. I have edited it for grammar and some content, and think its a better read than before.

 

18 October 2016

Cause and Effects of the War on Sex Trafficking

Hollywood’s contribution to causing this war can be most obviously seen in the movie, “Taken,” in which we see a beautiful innocent girl kidnapped and sold as some kind of sex slave. Then Lifetime picked up the torch, creating made-for-television afterschool specials about human trafficking, watched by millions. The stereotypes sex workers have been fighting against for years are easy to accept, to pick up and embellish, which of course the media and politicians wasted little time in doing, although this is not a new issue. However, the hype was encouraged, the media became outraged, and stopping this horrific crime became the darling project of political activists, prostitution and pornography abolitionists, police departments, and religious groups around the globe.

The war on sex trafficking has become a modern day crusade, with politicians and lawmakers riding into war to fight a battle that is often of their own creation, and driven by ideals that are rooted in personal moral values now being forced upon others. These people have created an industry that may have begun with good intentions but has grown into a monster. This is not to say that trafficking and exploitation in the sex industry does not exist, it certainly does, but this so called war has forgotten or willfully cast aside the variable that is individual human thought.

This war has created a rescue industry hell bent on “saving” women that may not in fact need saving. These crusading knights in shining armor arrest those they claim to save, and then label them “victim”, ignoring any opposition they may attempt. As a woman, this is a direct violation of the rights my sex fought so hard for, to be treated equal, to be assumed unless proven otherwise to possess the mental capacity to be aware of my own victimization, or lack thereof. The war that police and anti-prostitution activists claim is saving women from coercion and exploitation is itself coercing and exploiting these women, yet believing itself justified, because the women in question are not viewed as human beings with capacity for individual choice, but as victims.

This over-hyped crusade has created even more dangerous working conditions, and has imprisoned hundreds if not thousands of innocent people in our country alone, simply for being associated with a prostitute, and has denied millions of women’s rights as citizens of this free country.

The police and the prosecutors are potentially wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money and distorting facts while trying to find the elusive “victims” of a crime that is being grossly over prosecuted: promoting prostitution (which can mean profit of any amount being in the possession of anyone other than the sex worker, or providing any assistance whatsoever to the sex worker, including transportation). Boyfriends, friends, anyone that a girl might have depended on to be able to call in an emergency, are now being charged with a heinous crime, which in turn causes the sex worker to work alone, or without any resource should she run into a dangerous situation.

Police departments around the country receive grants from the federal government to fight sex trafficking. So it stands to reason, that when they don’t find any “forced against their will” prostitute victims, they make them up, so that they won’t lose funding. Many women are not forced into prostitution, they are willing and want to do this type of work, and some go out of their way to do it. It is a vast sum of fast, easy money, and you don’t need a degree or a green card to earn it.
But the government has created an enticing incentive for a demographic that is often preconditioned to accept victimization, especially when it can be so obviously beneficial. All a girl has to do is say someone forced her to do it (a favorite excuse since we were children, but not a valid one until now) and she can avoid criminal charges. This is often the beginning of the end of an innocent person’s freedom.
For example, if an illegal alien is the “victim”, all she has to do is lie and, based on the U.S. anti-traffic prostitution laws: She does not have to go to jail or be arrested; she gets to stay and live in America; the U.S. government will provide her with housing, food, and education;
she will be considered a victimed refugee, and can become an American citizen.

And for the independent, self-sufficient, smart, working girl in the world, trying to stay safe as she tries to put food in her belly, there is no one to whom she can turn should a client become violent, without putting that person at risk of prison. She cannot give her mother money for groceries or to help her pay rent, without jeopardizing her mother’s freedom. She must drive herself to any appointments, alone, or risk the other person in the car going to jail. If she does not want to risk the danger in driving alone to a strange man’s home, she must still receive her client somewhere without anyone else present, even another working girl, or risk the other person potentially being charged with a crime.

Prostitution is already the second most dangerous job in our country, second only in death rate to a convenience store clerk. Yet since this war has become nearly a hysteria, whatever minimal security may have saved her in the past, is no longer a viable option if nobody she knows is willing to take the risk involved by any association with her. So how long until the sex industry takes first place?

The effects of this war continue to grow, and the coercion and injustice is unceasing. Its underlying causes are truly tragic, and those involved should be punished accordingly, but there absolutely must be a better way to investigate and separate them from the rest. This modern day crusade is a clear violation of the freedom that our country stands for.

 

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essay, human rights, human trafficking, prostitution, sex industry

Addressing the matter of Human Trafficking …near me

I am a lifetime resident of our county, and am writing to express my concern about the way that the Pierce County District Attorney’s office is handling the issue of human trafficking, and specifically its charges against my fiance. I am involved directly in this case, as a voluntary witness for the defense, and involuntarily as one of the alleged “victims”. The lack of objectivity on the part of the law enforcement officials and the prosecution as a whole is a matter of concern that I feel is a clear violation of the basic understanding that an American citizen has a right to the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.

The Washington State code of ethics states that a prosecuting attorney’s duty to be fair is as important as his duty to the general public to actively prosecute violators of the law. Charlton, 90 Wn.2d 657. 110

What so many well-meaning people don’t seem to understand is that the tough-on-crime approach to sex-trafficking is not legitimately helping sex trafficking victims (legitimately helping people means paying attention to what they actually need, not threatening them with arrest if they don’t testify against others.) Law enforcement, with the cooperation and financial backing of anti prostitution activists and our elected officials,  have become the new entity that is now also exploiting these women to further their moral crusade. Freedom is supposed to be what this country is about. Not forcing our moral values on each other.

This issue has directly lead to the arrest and charges filed against Steven Webb.  The police and prosecution as a whole, simply refuse to acknowledge sworn and signed statements that both alleged victims are in fact independently and voluntarily working in the sex industry, and that he is not nor was he ever their pimp.  Instead of acknowledging that these girls have the right to decide whether or not they believe themselves to be victims, these officers of our justice system insisted that they must simply be deluded into believing themselves independent. A victim’s advocate for Pierce County Ms. Dougherty, when asked by the alleged victim she is intended to advocate for, why her own statements were being ignored, asked, “So, are you telling me that you are not a victim here? That you do this work voluntarily?” To which the reply was a vehement yes, that is exactly right, and to which reply she then advised this alleged victim that it is the job of the prosecution to prove she is a victim, and any issues she has with that should be taken up with her own attorney.

How is that in any way furthering the rights of any woman in this so called free country? Lawmakers in our own state have stated the opinion that prostitution is an inherent form of gender based violence and they  accuse anybody who acknowledges the existence of consensual sex work of denying the existence of human trafficking altogether. The issue of human trafficking is real but has become contaminated by moral panic and misguided heroism. This may protect a few victims, but how many will they create? It is crucial to distinguish prostitutes who work of their own free will from victims of sex trafficking. And it is even more crucial that in prosecuting these cases, the law is followed to the letter, and that the investigation be meticulous.

A prostitute is not a victim automatically just because she is in fact a prostitute. Abortion is legal because a woman has a right to decide what to do or not to do with her own body. Should a prostitute not also have the right to do or not do what she wishes with her own body? Is the moral high-mindedness in our country so above reproach that human rights are violated without question, as long as it’s a prostitute who’s rights are being ignored? But only when said prostitute has the audacity to declare herself as independent, and therefore having no need of rescue or information or knowledge that can be used to find any real instance of human trafficking.

What actions are being taken to address issues that have already and will continue to be created by the government’s fanatic lack of planning, investigation, or time? The sex worker community, ranging from affluent and successful high end escorts to street walkers and drug addicts, has been given a solid “get out of jail free” card, which considering that the most often targeted and therefore in need of which would be the drug addicts, street walkers, and various others at the lower end of the totem pole, can and does result in a violation of the freedom of innocent lives, being named because of a grudge, or borrowed money , maybe an unrequited crush or one night stand – who knows?

From a girl living on the fringes of society, addicted to drugs, or just trying to survive, handcuffed alone in a room full of cops and facing jail, a lie, even one of great magnitude, is not entirely surprising. Particularly if she knows by her own experience this has worked before. What is surprising, what is disturbing and should chill the average American citizen right to the core, is the enthusiasm with which this lie is received, and the speed with which a subsequent arrest is made and charges filed.

Why was there no investigative police work? Why didn’t they believe another prostitute, the same day, who said it was not true? The information available by simply purchasing a few court documents online is more than adequate to convince even the most casual observer that there is nothing in this case against Steven Webb that conveys even the faintest idea that he should be prosecuted, but more that the state’s witnesses should in fact be investigated for misleading and contradictory statements, and the state itself should perhaps be questioned for it’s foolish reliance on the statements of two girls who allegedly gave two completely different statements and one who obviously stood to gain directly from her statements, and subsequently also contradicted herself, after of course, she was no longer in jeopardy of losing her own life to prison.

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