May 12, 2011
Writing at The Guardian (UK), Third Wave’s Melissa Gira Grant argues that outlawing the sex trade has contributed to a social economy of violence against people who exchange sex for what they need to survive. In addition, she questions how anti-prostitution stings re-enforce race, gender, and class inequalities:
…women, men and transgender people who are targeted in anti-prostitution street sweeps and internet stings may be charged with breaking laws against solicitation, but not all sex workers face the consequences of the law equally. Those who can afford to find clients away from the street, who have a mobile phone or computer access, are less likely to interact with the police. For those who are arrested, if they are in possession of condoms, these may be confiscated and used to build a case for prostitution against them. False arrest – sometimes, simply for walking in an area known for prostitution – is not uncommon, particularly for young people, people of colour, LGBTQ people and people perceived as gender nonconforming. In this fashion, discrimination and economics regulate the sex trade in tandem with the legal system.
Written by: Third Wave Foundation