Prostitution has been called the world’s oldest “profession.” In reality, it is the world’s oldest “oppression” and continues to be one of the most overlooked human rights abuses of women on the planet today.2 Prostitution of women is a particularly lethal form of violence against women, and a violation of a woman’s most basic human rights.
While society attempts to normalize prostitution on a variety of levels (discussed later in this paper), prostituted women are subjected to violence and abuse at the hands of paying “clients.” For the vast majority of prostituted women, “prostitution is the experience of being hunted, dominated, harassed, assaulted and battered.”3 It is “sexual terrorism against women at the hands of men and little is being done to stop the carnage.”4And in “no other so-called profession are so many women murdered each year.”5 More than anything, prostitution is not a choice, as some claim. Survivors of prostitution have described it as “the choice made by those who have no choice.”6 The global forces that “choose” women for prostitution include, among others, gender discrimination, race discrimination, poverty, abandonment, debilitating sexual and verbal abuse, poor or no education, and a job that does not pay a living wage.
7 Regardless of the reasons for prostitution, or physical location (strip club, massage parlor, brothel, street, escort/home/hotel), prostitution is extremely dangerous, both psychologically and physically to women. And it all starts with the buyer. Therefore, prostitution must be exposed for what it really is—a “male social system in place to ensure the satisfaction of male demand for sexual servicing and for objectified sex.”8 1 Victor Malarek, The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It, (Arcade Publishing, April 16, 2009), 149.
2 Ibid., Prologue xii. 3 Melissa Farley and Vanessa Kelly, “Prostitution: A critical review of the medical and social sciences literature,” Women & Criminal Justice, (2000), Vol. 11 (4), 29. www.prostitutionresearch.com/pdfs/Farley_Kelly.pdf 4 Malarek, Prologue xii.
5 Ibid., 87. 6 Melissa Farley. “Prostitution, trafficking and cultural amnesia: What we must not know in order to keep the business of sexual exploitation running smoothly,” Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, (2006), 102. http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/laws/000151.html 7 Ibid., 102-103.
8 Solidarity Philippines Australia Network, “Prostitution as a Choice?” KASAMA, Vol. 11 No. 4 (October–November–December 1997). http://cpcabrisbane.org/Kasama/1997/V11n4/Choice.htm