Friday, 6 December 2013

The Negative Impact Of Media Exposure On Sex Workers

Over the past 24 hours 22 sex workers were evicted from premises in Soho London. The sex workers in question had been subject of coercion and rape and victims of sex trafficking. During the official police raid reporters were welcomed onto the scene by the police officers, and the victimised sex workers, were exposed to un-consenting photography.

While some of these sex workers may have been victimised and pushed into the sex trade, it is not clear whether all those who were evicted out of their homes, were. Believe it or not, but not all sex workers are forced into this form of career, and in my professional opinion as a sex educator and sex worker, it is a highly respectable job in which offers a vital service to may who seek the comfort of a sex worker.

Another fact to consider is that not all of those who seek these forms of services are purely looking for a shag, and many go to sex workers for various other justifiable reasons. But once again, the media has criminalised and made sex into a taboo, in which has been completely misunderstood. Not only have they made out that sex work and essentially sex is basically only one thing, and in this case a bad thing, but they have victimised the people working in these premises by taking their right away to privately deal with this issue.

While the police may have felt that inviting the press along on this raid may make them look heroic, in the long run, it’s victimised those involved more and caused great distress to those who are sex workers and wish for anonymity due to how the UK see sex workers as a criminal act when in fact it is perfectly legal. Many sex workers wish for anonymity for many reasons, to help protect them in everyday life from the scrutiny they may receive from work and family life, and from those who are complete outsiders. In general, sex workers, like many others within other forms of employment, also wish to keep their personal life out of the press.

Let me ask you now, how is exposing images of these sex workers going to help them, as well as help others? Well other than the cops and the media to gain more coverage? We’ve seen it before where victims of other forms of sex trails have been snapped through a camera lens without permission, and then leading the victim to feel more valuable and untrust worthy of society and its media outlets. Generally this form of exposure interferes with one’s own natural ability to defend one’s self, as there’s no way of truly ever riding it from their background and thoughts. Once captured in this reckless manner, even if you were once seen as a victim, you are now seen as a criminal.

Our aim is to make Soho a safe place to live, work and visit and also to make it a really hostile place for criminals to operate in.” – Ch Supt Paul Rickett

The quote above basically is making sex work out to be as a criminal act. Within the various news articles you will find repeatedly the voices of those involved in the raid, constantly referring to criminal acts, whilst also trying to defend prostitution. While I’m at it, sex work isn’t purely prostitution, but anyway that’s a debt for another article in the future. When the officials are quoted making statements of criminal acts and then trying to defend sex work as a non-criminal act, it’s a bit of an over look. Do these officials really see sex work as a viable form of work in which can be safe and consensual? NO. Even when trying to defend sex work these officials make it out to be unlawful. Once again this is where media exposure is working negatively against those who had been ‘saved’ rather than positively.

Did the law purely just want these people involved to feel negatively about the career they had found themselves in to try and forcefully push them back into acceptable members of the public? In part it seems so. But while the officials claim that many of these people involved had been trafficked into sex work and rapes, among other unjustifiable acts, they really should’ve consider the outcome of their actions and how they have made these people feel. Even if these horrid acts had befallen onto some of these people, how is exposing them, making them feel shame and guilt going to help? It’s not.

While I am completely again rape and forced sex work, which I have experienced both of in my life, I do not condone what the media and officials have done to see people.

While those evicted from Soho have been escorted to safer premises, there are also other things which were considered prior to the officials taking action. And that is about those sex workers who actually consenting to their career. Now taking from their safe hold, many may end up working on the streets, where sex work is a lot more dangerous.

One reason for the raid was due to many sex workers working together on in the same premises. It is illegal for sex workers to work in the same property, as this then is classed as a brothel. The fact is that these people working together generally are safer, and now that they have no were to perform their work safely, their only option is to seek other alternatives such as the streets where they may be working completely alone.

I will end with the following quote from Cari Mitchell, from the English Collective of Prostitutes It is outrageous that the police are raiding premises where women are working together safely and collectively with friends. The police must know that some women will end up working on the street as a result, where it is much more dangerous. Most of the women thrown out of premises are mothers and grandmothers who have now lost their livelihood.” – I couldn’t agree more with this statement.

Source: Country Side Call Girl