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Argument: Prostitutes freely choose their profession

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Supporting evidence

  • Kathleen Peratis, J.D., Chair of the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. July 17, 2000 - "They are the grown-up women, otherwise regarded as competent to make their own decisions, who choose to migrate for reasons connected to all kinds of labor, including sex work. They have not been abducted or coerced or enslaved. Sometimes they are full-fledged members of the community. Some entered the sex industry as a part of an economic strategy for supporting themselves and their families, getting by in lean economic times or realizing other economic goals. Many have children, partners and parents whom they support through their work. They share households and enjoy a kind of family status amongst those with whom they are socially intimate and interdependent.
One need not romanticize prostitution to distinguish between prostitution as coercion or slavery and prostitution as an economic choice. Lament them both from a moral standpoint if that is your disposition, but save your outrage for one only, for the one that involves not merely error but force.
We have, broadly, two choices: We can embark on the fool's errand of eradicating commercial sex, whether by punishing the suppliers and/or the users, making no distinction whatever regarding the circumstances or we can search out and punish coercion, while seeing to it that our response to those who choose 'the life' is humane and that we do not add to their calamities."[1]
  • Veronica Monet, prostitute and author. "Sex Worker and Incest Survivor: A Healthy Choice?". Gauntlet. 1994 - "I'm complicated and defy the stereotypes about whores, as do most whores. We are a misunderstood and much maligned group of people (women, men and transgendered). Recent research has shown that many of us are extremely educated and experienced in the straight business world. We chose sex work after we did a lot of things we couldn't stand. Sex work is better. For me, sex work isn't my first choice of paying work. It just happens to be the best alternative available. It's better than being president of someone else's corporation. It's better than being a secretary. It is the most honest work I know of."[2]
  • Eddie Tabash, J.D., former General Counsel to Call Off Your Tired Ethics (COYOTE) chapter in Los Angeles. LA Times article. Aug. 11, 1993 - "If we, as a society, really care about women, we will not only provide them with equal rights and opportunity, but we will stop turning some of them into criminals merely because they have chosen to exchange sex for money. Women, who, for whatever reason, choose to engage in prostitution, do not need to be incarcerated for their own good."[3]

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