miércoles, 8 de abril de 2015

When prostitutes speak by themselves

"Prostituirse no esta bien. Es vender tu cuerpo. Hoy en día parece que hay que ver todo como si fuera normal pero bajo todo eso hay un poso de amargura y deterioro moral".
"Being a prostitute it's not good. It's selling your body. Nowadays it seems that you must accept everything as it were normal but under all that there is sadness and moral damage".
Enrique J. Diaz, Presidente estatal de Hombres por la Abolición de la Prostitución
National president of Men for Abolition of Prostitution (Spanish NGO)

"I have learned from research and my first-hand contact with women in the sex industry that the reality of prostitution is not a romantic fantasy but a tragic horror story".
Laila Mickelwait, activist for the abolition of prostitution

"Prostitution is not a fairy tale. “Pretty Woman” normalizes something that destroys lives. It glamorizes prostitution and creates an illusion that prostitution is a voluntary, desirable occupation. The film suggests that prostituted people are knowledgeable and have other options they might have chosen. The reality is that prostitution and sex trafficking make up a harmful, pervasive, illegal, and violent criminal industry involving pimps and traffickers who are tied to gangs, drugs, and street violence".
Donna Gavin, head of the Boston Police Anti-Human Trafficking Unit

“La prostitución es la reducción de un ser a tres orificios: la vagina, boca y ano. Y su trabajo consiste en permitir que alguno de esos orificios estén (sean) penetrados por el pene de una persona, o por cualquier otro objeto, una vez, y después otra vez, y después otra vez, y así decenas de veces en un día”.
"Prostitution is the reduction of a human beign to three holes: cunt, mouth and ass. And their work is about let any of their holes beign penetrated by the penis of anyone, of any other object, one time, and then again, and again, and so on dozens of times every day".
Peter Szil, psicoterapeuta y "especialista en relación de géneros y masculinidad"
hungarian psychotherapist working in Spain, "specialist on masculinity and gender relation"

"This initiative isn't about glamourising sex work. It's mythbusting the "voiceless faceless victim" meme. We have faces. We have voices".
Luscious Lani, prostitute

"Being ignorant about my life, doesn't give you the right to 'rescue' me from it".
Jane Green, prostitute

"Why do u fight so hard against us having the same labour rights as you? what are u scared of?".
Tilly Lawless, prostitute

"The most harmful thing to the sex working population is the effect that stigma has on us (...) we just want people to see our industry for what it really is. (...) In my career as a sex worker, I’ve never heard of an account of sex trafficking in Australia. I’m not going to say it doesn’t exist, but that in my substantial experience, I’ve never heard an account of it, despite what the media would like to portray.".
Madison Missina, pornstar and prostitute

It's not common for me to write in english, but this time the occasion deserves it. As I'm going to speak now about an event happened in Australia I hope people from there can understand me because the issues that affect them there also affect us here and to almost any person involved in prostitution everywhere.

I like to match sentences of people who dislike prostitution with the actual words coming from real prostitutes because its a wonderful way to show how different their perceptions of this reality are. Usually it seems that the politically correct is to say that prostitution is horrible, in fact we are used to ONLY hear this "official version". But slowly prostitutes and their allies are begin to break what I call the "wall of silence" that has prevented us from beign heard. For so many time others have spoken instead of us, creating an image of prostitution that is not just false but also reinforces the stigma we suffer, justifies the repressive politics aimed against us and prevents prostitution for beign recognized as an actual job.

The story of today begins with an article written by Laila Mickelwait called "The tragic reality behind the inspiration of Pretty Woman" in which she denounces that films that "glamourise" prostitution like Pretty Woman are luring children into a dark, brutal, undesireable world. This article was deleted due the complaints received, but Laila posted it again on her blog so here u have it under another name:

Today marks 25 years since the film Pretty Woman was released, and the cast has reunited for the first time to reminisce about the making of a film that has become one of the most popular love stories for a generation of moviegoers.

I have to admit that as a teenager, I too loved the story of Pretty Woman. However, as I journeyed down the path that led to my life’s work and my passion for advocating for women trapped in the prostitution industry, I have often looked back on my approval of that film with a sense of regret. I have learned from research and my first-hand contact with women in the sex industry that the reality of prostitution is not a romantic fantasy but a tragic horror story. Sadly, in my work with Exodus Cry, my colleagues and I have encountered young women who have told us that Pretty Women lured them into the sex industry by leading them to believe that prostitution was glamorous and romantic. We interviewed one such girl for our documentary about sex trafficking. Stephanie was sexually abused as a child and entered into prostitution underage. She was dominated by an abusive, controlling pimp and trafficked for sex. Her experience was extremely brutal. She told us, “I watched the movie, Pretty Woman, and I was like, well gosh, look at her, she’s beautiful, she’s making money, she’s meeting guys, and she fell in love with this guy, and she’s living in this nice hotel suite, and has everything she wants, and she’s fallen in love, man I need to become a ho. That’s what I thought, so, that’s what I did. I experienced nothing like Pretty Woman, it’s totally, totally different. I’ve been held hostage at gunpoint, raped, robbed, strangled, beaten up, everything, by customers.”

Mickelwait managed to upsed australian prostitutes showing this image in which she compares Maria, an allegedly real prostitute, with Julia Roberts.

How many young, naive, and unsuspecting women over the last 25 years were deceived by the fairy tale of Pretty Woman and led into a life of abuse, trauma, and slavery? We can only estimate the role—however big or small—that this film played in adding to the vulnerability of young women at risk for being coerced into the industry. As such, the cast today should be issuing an apology to those women and raising awareness about the plight of girls trafficked in the commercial sex industry, as well as the inherent and serious harms of prostitution. You see, Julia Roberts’ teethy smile is not the true face of prostitution. The real face of prostitution is the battered and bruised face of Maria, an actual prostituted woman in Eastern Europe who is depicted in this award-winning photograph. Maria, like 75 percent of women in prostitution, has been raped. Maria, like 95 percent of women in prostitution has been seriously physically abused and battered. Maria, like 68 percent of women in prostitution suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder due to her “job” (as its shown in the study “Prostitution and Trafficking in Nine Countries: An Update on Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” by Melissa Farley). Maria most likely entered into prostitution as a child after a history of sexual abuse, as most women in prostitution do. And Maria is probably under the brutally abusive control of a pimp, as most women in prostitution are. Maria is a victim of sex trafficking. Julia’s role was indeed a fantasy. The reality isn’t pretty. Don’t believe the myth.

In the same way, Donna Gavin criticizes this film assuring that reality of prostitution is far away from beign a "voluntary, desireable occupation". According to this woman, WHO WORKS IN THE POLICE, we hardly can find anything so destrutive as prostitution.

By Donna Gavin 23/03/2015

Across the country, followers of pop culture are marking the 25th anniversary on Monday of the movie “Pretty Woman,” and recalling the unlikely romance between a businessman played by Richard Gere and his hired escort, played by Julia Roberts. Television networks are airing the movie, one of the most successful romantic comedies of all time. The movie’s Los Angeles hotel is commemorating the film with a “Pretty Woman for a day” experience, complete with a Rodeo Drive shopping spree.

Let me assure you that the tale that unfolds in “Pretty Woman” is fiction. As the head of the Boston Police Anti-Human Trafficking Unit for the past five years, I know that the experiences of young women in our own neighborhoods and across the country who are involved in prostitution couldn’t be more different.

Without a solid education and family support, and with limited options, it’s easy for young girls and women to get lured into the sex trade. In Boston and other cities across the country, the vast majority of prostituted women are involved in pimp-controlled prostitution and sex-trafficking.

Accordingly to Gavin, the majority of prostitutes have been trafficked. They show us quite impressive images to illustrate the conditions these women are. But... do they look real or just seem publicity?

These pimps have criminal histories that include rapes, violent assaults, and firearm and drug convictions. They have moved their criminal business into the sex trade. Bad guys know that selling vulnerable young women as commodities is very lucrative because of high demand. Selling these young women brings less risk than carrying around firearms and drugs for sale.

Women in prostitution experience violence at rates much higher than the rest of society. Prostituted women are 40 times more likely to be the victims of homicide than women who are not. Seventy-three percent of the women in prostitution experience physical assault.

While the Julia Roberts character is concerned about making her rent in the opening scene of the movie, three-fourths of women in prostitution have been or are homeless. In addition to violence and homelessness, and often as a result of prostitution, many young women also suffer from addiction, disease, and emotional trauma.

Prostitution is not a fairy tale. “Pretty Woman” normalizes something that destroys lives. It glamorizes prostitution and creates an illusion that prostitution is a voluntary, desirable occupation. The film suggests that prostituted people are knowledgeable and have other options they might have chosen. The reality is that prostitution and sex trafficking make up a harmful, pervasive, illegal, and violent criminal industry involving pimps and traffickers who are tied to gangs, drugs, and street violence.

Take, for example, Jaclyn, a 20-year-old woman from a town just north of Boston. At a young age Jaclyn found herself caught up with violent traffickers. Through our work at the Boston Police Department we were able to help her get away from the dangerous situation. Jaclyn identified several other victims as well helping us to arrest her pimp and his co-conspirator. As a result, several buyers were identified, subpoenaed, and compelled to testify before a grand jury. Ultimately, we were able to piece together a case that interrupted many layers of violence and other related crimes. Better yet, Jaclyn was able to get away from a life of violence and exploitation. With ongoing support from our non-law enforcement partners, she is now in college studying to become a teacher.

Those prostituted women should be yelling for help, and as they couldn't get free by themselves they would need the protection from the kind rescuers who want to end with their slavery.

In my work, I see firsthand, from cases like these, how the men who choose to buy sex fuel this criminal enterprise and pour money into the hands of the pimps and traffickers who prey upon young women. The men who buy sex often have the resources and good sense to make a different choice. This is why sex buyers are the key to ending the violence and exploitation associated with sex trafficking.

Now is the time to act. We need men and women to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. We need to attack this harmful sex industry from all sides by targeting the pimps and the traffickers, providing services and exit strategies for those being prostituted, and educating and dissuading would be buyers. We need to dissuade buyers from fueling this industry and hold them accountable when they do.

How will I commemorate the anniversary of “Pretty Woman”? I will be working with the new Cities Engaged Against Sexual Exploitation (“CEASE”) Boston Team announced by Mayor Walsh and Commissioner Evans last week. CEASE Boston connects local survivors of prostitution, criminal justice professionals, policy makers, business leaders, and concerned citizens with the shared goal of reducing illegal sex-buying by 20 percent in our communities. Together we’re working to stop the violence, harm, and exploitation caused by those who buy others’ bodies for sex.

Donna Gavin leads the Boston Police Anti-Human Trafficking Unit.

But then, the australian sex worker Tilly Lawless decided to show a photo of herself claiming that the image of prostitution depicted on articles like the previous was not true. She told everyone that she was a prostitute and she was happy with that. Then, her initiative become viral and hundreds of prostitutes followed her as I show in this article. It's written in spanish to show u the world effects of what they do, in fact I managed to know the full history thanks to this new. If u want to see the "faces of prostitution" u can check by urselves in the links, I'm not going to put them here because altough valiant it's a decission they may regret of it. I praise them for the courgae they have demostrated but maybe it has not been the clevest option. Yeah, this undoubtedly has closed the moth of abolitionists (at least for a while) but it can also bring many negative conequences for the sex workers. And I know what I'm talking about.


Centenares de trabajadoras sexuales australianas han copado las redes sociales con el hashtag #facesofprostitution contando sus historias. Estudiantes universitarias, aspirantes a abogados, activistas, hijas, hermanas y entre los epítetos que se autodefinen para terminar aseverando que son prostitutas por decisión propia

Son centenares de comunicados publicados en las redes sociales con el hashtag #facesofprostitution (las caras de la prostitución) por las propias y propios protagonistas. Comenzó el pasado domingo en Instagram, y la primera fue la trabajadora sexual de 21 años recién graduada en historia, Tilly Lawless. 

Estaba respondiendo a un post publicado en el blog de la revista australiana online Mamamia, en el que se celebraba el 25 aniversario de la película Pretty Woman, en la que una prostituta conoce a su príncipe encantado y comen perdices juntos. El artículo en la revista decía que la realidad de estas trabajadoras sexuales es mucho más dura y fea de lo que cuenta la película, que ha idealizado su trabajo.

Now we begin to see REAL prostitutes. They are not like the images portrayed above and their claims also look like quite different from the ones made by abolitionists "in behalf of victims".

Tilly Lawless se mostró enfadada por el modo en el que el artículo en la revista generalizaba a las trabajadoras sexuales y despectivamente hablaba de la prostitución como algo dañino. Ella, Tilly, ha estado trabajando como trabajadora sexual durante dos años, pero solo se ha identificado públicamente como tal hace un par de meses en Sydney donde la prostitución es legal. Después decidió mostrar una foto de ella en Instagram con el título “las caras de la prostitución” como método de protesta, la cara de una joven, universitaria que decidió ser trabajadora sexual y protestar por los clichés y los estereotipos alrededor de su trabajo.

Poco después, Tilly fue contactada por la Asociación Australiana de Trabajadoras Sexuales que le pidió permiso para utilizar su hashtag en twitter. Y de ahí, a los confines de la web donde miles de trabajadores sociales, en su mayoría australianos, pero también de otras partes del mundo, comenzaron a mostrar imágenes en las que enseñaban sus caras al mundo. Muchos, por no decir en su mayoría, se mostraban como trabajadores sexuales por primera vez en los medios de comunicación o las redes sociales.

El artículo de la revista Mamamia, es considerado por estas prostitutas como ofensivo porque utiliza el argumento del tráfico sexual para silenciar su voz.

Finally, the pornstar and sex worker Madison Missina wrote the Mamma Mia's publisher Mia Freedman one of the best reivindicative articles I've ever read. Ok, we have now several prostitutes that don't agree with the abolitionists claim, they not only say that they have chosen prostitution as their work but also that they have NEVER found a coerced prostitute and that the image portrayed by abolitionists harms them. Great. But now, please... can we explain why that image is drawed by NGOs, governments, police departments as shown above and many institutions? Ok, yeah, listen to prostitutes it's a great idea. They can explain us their lives, why they do what they do and their experiencies in prostitution. But their stories and the ones from abolitionists simply don't agree. Who we trust? Abolitionists have also a long experience in this world, and many of them are public authorities or manage a lot of public funding via subsidies. That is the explanation I miss. Abolitionists are one step ahead of us, as they declare that these prostitutes who confront them suffer from various mental ilnesses (false consciousness, post traumatic syndrome or Stockholm syndrome), are the spokespersons of pimps, or simply they are lying and due they are trafficked victims their consent is judged irrelevant.

We, still, have not an explanation why the ones that claim to speak for us dedicate so much effort in creating such a false image of us. It's just a moral issue, or ignorance? I don't think so.

Madison Missina - Mamamia, Sydney 30/03/2015

Sex work should not be confused with sexual slavery. The difference is consent, as sex worker Madison Missina explains. 

I was seven when Pretty Woman was released. I don’t know exactly what age I was when I first watched the movie but I was certainly young; it is a movie that I have grown up with. I also already had an inkling that when I grew up, I too, would become a prostitute (sex worker is our preferred term). And that is exactly what I did.

To me, Pretty Woman is love story, about a woman who meets a man and they fall in love and after just enough drama, they live happily ever after. Beautiful. However just recently this beautiful story has been tarnished by accounts of sex trafficking, in Laila Mickelwait’s article The tragic reality behind the inspiration of ‘Pretty Woman’.

Mickelwait appears to have a created a life where she advocates and helps the victims of sex trafficking which is wonderful. Yet, in her article, Mickelwait has confused sex trafficking with sex work and has touched a raw nerve of the sex work community. In response, our community created the hashtag #FacesOfProstitution in protest.

You see, as a sex worker, it is offensive to be told that I’m a victim and that I need to be saved from an occupation that I freely choose and that I love.

Protest of sex workers claiming rights and respect. It seems that they have an opinion.

Mickelwait’s article finishes with this quote “Maria is a victim of sex trafficking. Julia’s role was indeed a fantasy. The reality isn’t pretty. Don’t believe the myth.” It is incorrect to make this connection. Pretty Woman is the story of a sex worker, not the story of a victim of sex trafficking. Linking the two is like saying nearly every romantic comedy is a myth because arranged marriages still occur, or domestic violence still occurs so we shouldn’t believe the myth of romantic love.

It seems time and time again when the topic of sex work comes up, it gets confused with the topic sex trafficking. Whilst sex workers and the victims of sex trafficking both exchange sex for goods and/or services, there is one very important difference: consent.

Sex trafficking is a crime. It is forcing people to participate in sex work against their consent. The sex work community, like the majority of the greater community, is avidly opposed to sex trafficking. A sex worker is a person who chooses to partake in sex work as a vocation. In Australia, it is largely decriminalised or legalised and is a valid career option for those who choose it.

While it is difficult for some people to grasp, there are people in society who actively choose sex work. When you listen to our voices, we are saying that we are empowered, we largely love our professions and we are still fighting for our rights and to end the stigma of sex work. And, yes, some of us dream as little girls to grow up to become sex workers. I know this is true because I was one, and I am not unique.

Confusing these two different topics – sex work and sex slavery – only hurts both sides. It further perpetuates the negative stereotypes and stigma of sex work. It creates confusion and silences us. It makes our fight for workplace rights and to end our discrimination just that little bit harder. And, importantly, it makes the victims of sex trafficking ambiguous.

Basically we end up with people with good intentions rallying to take away the rights of sex workers to prevent and help the victims of sex trafficking – without realising that they are two separate things. This means we are wasting time and resources trying to rescue those that do not need nor want rescuing, whilst perhaps not understanding how or who to actually help.

May the "rescuers" of trafficked victims be harming more than helping them? This is what these prostitutes in India think. But why they could be doing something like that?

In Australia, sex work is largely decriminalised and legalised. In my career as a sex worker, I’ve never heard of an account of sex trafficking in Australia. I’m not going to say it doesn’t exist, but that in my substantial experience, I’ve never heard an account of it, despite what the media would like to portray.

Let’s just look at demand. If you were going to purchase a sexual service would you prefer your sex worker to be bruised, crying and appear unwilling and disgusted; or pampered, preened and ready to knock your socks off? The overwhelming answer is the later. We have forums set up where punters (clients of sex workers) review us and discuss how likable, how into it we were. There simply doesn’t appear to be a demand for forced sex workers in our country. Now returning to the question of the article: does Pretty Woman glamourize the sex industry? Well yes and no.

Do sex workers get swept off their feet by rich clients, fall in love and run away with them? Yes, it does happen. I have friends who are now very happy housewives and mums due to meeting their husbands in the course of their employment. But I also know of many sex workers who use their occupation as exactly that: An occupation that they use to build their lives, buy houses, pay their rent, support their children and pay for their education. Do we enter the industry seeking out husbands? I’ve never heard of a sex worker citing this as their reason for entering the sex industry – but is that even a bad idea? I’ve got friends who dreamed of marrying doctors so they became nurses, and it worked out well for them. Sex work is no different – it’s work.

Sex work is varied, there are sex workers who do have negative experiences, who are the victims of sex worker violence, just as there are sex workers who have wonderful experiences, and this is no different from greater society. I have been a customer at a shop and been held up at gunpoint. I’ve also worked in retail and been held up at gunpoint on one of my shifts – but this doesn’t mean that we should abolish shops.

Was Pretty Woman one of the deciding factors that led me to become a sex worker? I’m not really sure. But I do know that I spent many years as a child buried in history books learning about the first movement in female empowerment being the courtesans of Venice and the geishas of Japan. What I learned was that sex workers were the first women in history to be able live independently of men, to learn to read, to be the only women for quite some time to be allowed in libraries. That was my picture and I loved that.

More prostitutes that have decided to show their face, now in Dominican Republic. Throughout all the world we see all prostitutes -no matter if rich or poor, nationals or migrants, working indoors or outdoors- claming the same. 

Over my career as a sex worker, my experience has been just that, empowered and independent. Sex work is my dream and I love my life. But that is also my story. This is why the #FacesOfProstitution hash tag is so beautiful; it shows sex workers of different parts of the industry, who have different experiences. A collective who love sex work so much they are willing to stand up and put their face to an industry that is still so stigmatized.

So really that’s the point: Sex work is work. It’s work that has been chosen. It’s no different from those who chose nursing or reception work. Anyone who identifies as a sex worker is saying they choose and consent to sex work.

We are not victims, we don’t want to be rescued, we want rights and the ability to operate our businesses and complete our work in a safe and unstigmatised society. And really who doesn’t want a Pretty Woman moment where a handsome man feigns snapping our fingers as he gives us a diamond necklace? In reality, I would accept the necklace, love the man and then return to the occupation that I have dreamed of since I was a little girl.

I am proud to be a sex worker, I personally even love using the term Prostitute. I love my life, I love my clients and I love my industry. And lets face it, not all women want nor have the option to give up employment once they fall in love. And there’s nothing wrong with that either.

To read further:
· Música: pretty woman
· La lucha contra el estigma: atreviéndonos a dar la cara

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