I have to admit that all my attemps to convert Laura Agustín (and all my attempts not to watch pornography) have failed so far.
She keeps on believing that sex traffickers are simply misunderstood and in reality are nice people who help other people out.
But in reality I made a small victory. She admits that clients cannot know the difference between forced and voluntary prostitutes, and those who care better should not visit prostitutes.
Demand: Clients who want to know who’s free (December 3th 2008)
I receive requests from clients asking how they can distinguish between coerced or trafficked sex workers and those more or less freely on the game. Given all the anti-demand and hate-men projects around, it’s a fair question. And, obviously, sensible clients don’t want to be told to just ask the sex workers themselves. Some say that they have met women they believed worked voluntarily, but afterwards it turned out they had been forced into it.So that means that in a perfect world where all people care about other people prostitution cannot exist.
It’s easy to snicker at re-education projects like Johns’ Schools and say what seems obvious, which is that anyone who gets picked up while negotiating with a worker in the street probably just turns to another area of the sex industry, such as the Internet or indoor venues like massage parlours. And I don’t want to exaggerate, as some might, the significance of clients who help rescue people in trouble, but I did write about this once long ago: They Speak, but Who Listens?
The UK’s Home Secretary has proposed legislation not criminalising all buying of sex – the so-called Swedish Model – but only the buying of services from people ‘controlled for another’s gain’, which I wrote about in the Guardian recently in The Shadowy World of Sex Across Borders. And which, I learned yesterday in Copenhagen, is the Finnish Model.
In this context, I would like to come up with some advice to clients. I’m wondering what other working people advise, since I tend to think that any client genuinely worried about this should stop paying human beings for sex and move onto some other form of commercial pleasure. Why? Because, as I write ad infinitum, it is vexingly difficult to distinguish levels of will and choice, except at the extremes of the continuum where pure freedom and pure slavery supposedly exist.
And it is perfectly true that sex workers may lie about or exaggerate their happiness in their work in order to get custom, or be afraid of telling anyone the truth, since that might lead them into trouble if they are found out.
So what do people think?
Now the task for me is, to put that all in practise. My latest visit to a prostitute in April this year was a colossal mistake. And I must also admit that I do actually regularly watch pornography. I do agree with radical feminists that pornography is simply sexual violence caught on film. I can see that with my own eyes. I feel very ashamed that I get sexually excited by all this torture. But unfortunately, my highscore of not watching pornography stands at 3 months, my latest attempt lasted 2 weeks.
My only excuse for now is that all men and women watch pornography (look at all the women who shave their pussies).
Violence becomes the norm anyway nowadays.