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Source: (consider it) Thread: Aid workers and prostitution
Baptist Trainfan
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Excellent post!
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mr cheesy
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According to this news report, Save the Children investigated reports of sexual abuse by aidworkers and UN staff more than 10 years ago and found that reports were widespread and heard allegations about staff working for a wide range of agencies.

This isn't just about Oxfam and isn't just about adult prostitution. If anything, the Oxfam allegations sound pretty mild.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

This isn't just about Oxfam and isn't just about adult prostitution. If anything, the Oxfam allegations sound pretty mild.

"Its research exposed abuse linked to 23 humanitarian, peacekeeping and security organisations operating in Haiti, Ivory Coast and what was then Southern Sudan."

Yes, the reports point to pretty widespread abuse - but there was already evidence of this years ago see as an example Kathryn Bolkovac's allegations about UN/military contractors and their actions in Bosnia.

At least in the past, abuses by international forces have been fairly poorly investigated.

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ThunderBunk

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I still don't see why this is a shock to anyone. Trauma makes people act strangely, and against the moral code they would follow in other situations. The situation is absolutely full of trauma and dislocation on all sides, and I very much doubt that the aid workers are surrounded either by their family, which would be traumatic in itself in terms of dragging them into a situation of perceived danger, or by adequate psychological support services. Likewise, I doubt that in many cases psychological services are available to refugees to deal with the trauma of their own dislocation or, equally significantly, ready access to jobs in their newly local economy. Likewise, well-paid foreigners will always be a honeypot for poor indigenous populations, especially if they have also suffered trauma themselves.

Prostitution is known as the oldest profession for a reason, and real effort would need to be put in economically to stop this from happening. Cheap, phony righteous indignation from those thousands of miles away from the situation is absolutely not an adequate substitute.

[ 17. February 2018, 08:43: Message edited by: ThunderBunk ]

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L'organist
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Yes, we all know that trauma can loosen a person's natural inhibitions and make them act in ways unimaginable in other circumstances.

But in the case of these aid workers, dare I suggest that it isn't them who've suffered the great trauma but the people to whom they are supposed to be giving aid. Granted, even aid workers may be traumatised from time-to-time but, with the greatest respect, these people are meant to be professionals.

And before anyone starts to bleat about people being "offered" sex, just because they may be "offered" a quickie doesn't mean they have to accept.

I'm afraid there are unpleasant echoes here of what happened in Europe at the end of WWII: my grandfather was in a Guards regiment in Germany drafted in after widespread rapine of the civilian population by their "liberators" - not Russians either.

[ 17. February 2018, 15:03: Message edited by: L'organist ]

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wild haggis
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Re DBS checks: it isn't normal for shops to check assistants, so why should they in charity shops? The check is for Safeguarding when you are in a 1/1 situation with children or vulnerable adults and no one else is there. Otherwise everyone would need one anywhere! Churches are supposed to have them for those in the above situations.

The problem we have at the moment which includes aid agencies, is basically a power/dominance one. And those with power are usually men.

We have a problem today right across the board with men and the way they treat women - not just in the aid industry.

This needs tackling. Until men learn to treat all women with respect, this will always be a problem. Educating men and boys is the answer. There will always be bad apples, however this is too widespread in society just to be a few bad apples.

One is tempted to say that the problem is men. But that will be received with howls. But I think men do need to examine themselves and their attitudes to power and to women.

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:
Re DBS checks: it isn't normal for shops to check assistants, so why should they in charity shops?

AIUI, most shops would obtain a basic background check, which would include any criminal convictions. Because, they probably wouldn't want to employ someone with convictions for shoplifting. That basic check wouldn't include any information on investigations which hadn't lead to prosecution, or any convictions which were old and been spent. A more detailed (and expensive) check would be needed for that.

quote:
The check is for Safeguarding when you are in a 1/1 situation with children or vulnerable adults and no one else is there.
Again, I don't think that's quite right. When sorting out our Sunday School provision a few years back it was clear that everyone who might take the kids out during the service would need a background check. Simply having a system where there were always two or more adults present would not suffice. Though that may have been because it's difficult to ensure that with the possibility of needing to take a child to the toilet or similar situations where one adult could be alone with a child or children.

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Rosa Gallica officinalis
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:
Re DBS checks: it isn't normal for shops to check assistants, so why should they in charity shops?

AIUI, most shops would obtain a basic background check, which would include any criminal convictions.
They can't legally do that in the UK. Employers are only permitted to make DBS checks for safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults.

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Alan Cresswell

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In which case the basic disclosure isn't relevant. Information on conviction for, say petty theft or speeding, isn't going to be a predictor for safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. Why have three levels of disclosure, and then an additional process for those who will be dealing with children and vulnerable adults?

Though I do admit I may have misread the information on government webpages about disclosure.

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Yes, I think the power aspect is overplayed sometimes. It probably does appeal to some men, to have sex with a subordinate woman, but to make the subordinatation the central issue is a bit odd. Plenty of guys want to fuck someone, and they look for someone available.


In general terms, where prostitution is concerned, I don't see how the power dynamics can be overplayed.

I know the specific point you and Lilbuddha refer to, is about an individual over-powering, so to speak, a subordinate individual. And of course there is a lot to consider, with reference to individual responsibility for the 'use' of another human being for one's own satisfaction in that way. Just because sex is the motivator, does not mean there is no abuse of power.

But my point was about recognising a culture where distribution of 'power', as experienced in the practical realities of who can choose to do what with their lives, is unequal. Inevitably this creates layers of Those Who Use, and Those Who Are Used.

Some of these layers may be reasonable and even healthy enough. Eg, I give an employer 38 hours of my week; s/he gives me a salary, a pension and paid holiday. My employer has power over me; but a rational contract can be worked out. But if the power is seriously perverted, maybe I end up having to give someone my body for a few quid and risking God knows what, just so I can eat and put a roof over my head.

Power, as I mean it, is to choose how to live in the world, that makes a difference to me. Employment, location, status, support, education, income, health, many other things, give me the power to increase my choices. In many cases - most? - it's arguable that a prostitute is in that profession because their power to choose is severely limited. And how collusive and enabling our societies and communities are in sustaining these power inequalities is a question worth raising.

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L'organist
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posted by wild haggis
quote:
Until men learn to treat all women with respect, this will always be a problem. Educating men and boys is the answer. There will always be bad apples, however this is too widespread in society just to be a few bad apples.
Yes, but you're only addressing half of the issue.

Why is it perceived to be only men who need to learn to treat only women with respect?

At the risk of sounding like a dinosaur, the problem is that society and the day-to-day interactions between people has coarsened dramatically over the past 30+ years. It is not only men and boys in need of education, it is people in general.

Whether any of this can be laid at the door of family breakdown or a collapse in standards of public discourse is for debate on another thread. The fact remains that in day-to-day speech (and reportage, for that matter) it is common to hear voiced great rudeness and an almost total unpreparedness to accept that others are entitled to a view at variance with one's own. We are all too ready to label people - especially those we consider "other" - as being inferior to ourselves and rather than treating the other, or stranger with extra respect, relations and speech with them is the polar opposite: rude, coarse, abrupt and (frequently) foul.

What some today perceive or describe as behaviour that was patriarchal or authoritarian was perhaps just courteous? People of every age need to step back from name-calling and general discourtesy and - to use a hackneyed-but-true saw - do unto others as they would be done by.

This should all start in the home: sadly, I fear that isn't likely in many homes today. So the answer has to come from schools but also from the example of those in the public eye - and that includes teachers and others in positions of authority such as Members of Parliament. To be blunt, the example set in the UK of Prime Minister's Questions on a Wednesday lunchtime is appalling and to be deplored. An exemplar of bad behaviour, gracelessness, rudeness, bigotry and general disrespect hard to beat, this "national institution" is something of which we in the UK should be deeply ashamed, rather than holding it up as an indication of the health of our democracy.

And I'd point out that the unwillingness of our MPs to ban The Sun's page 3 girls speaks more of public attitudes towards women and general decency than anything else.

[ 18. February 2018, 13:46: Message edited by: L'organist ]

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mr cheesy
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That's bullshit. Powerful men have always raped and prostitutes women in war and disaster zones; this isn't something that started last week.

And the heckling in the House of Commons has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

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Stetson
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L'organist wrote:

quote:
And I'd point out that the unwillingness of our MPs to ban The Sun's page 3 girls speaks more of public attitudes towards women and general decency than anything else.
If the rationale for banning Page 3 is that it portrays a degrading attitude toward women, that's gonna be one helluva long list of things that need to be outlawed, starting with half the stand-up comedians and pretty much ALL the lad-magazines in the country. Not to mention most of the books of the Old Testament.

If it's because Page 3 shows bare breasts, that's on slightly firmer ground, since public displays of nudity have traditionally been subject to legal sanction. Though I suspect the reason Page 3 gets on everyone's radar is the combination of offenses, ie. the offense against women is highlighted by the offense against "decency".

If they were just running dating advice(for example) portraying young women as airheaded floozies useful for not much besides a shag, it would likely go largely unnoticed. But but when they promote the same basic idea via photographs of BARE BREASTS, it suddenly enters everyone's consciousness as an issue.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:

Why is it perceived to be only men who need to learn to treat only women with respect?

At the risk of sounding like a dinosaur, the problem is that society and the day-to-day interactions between people has coarsened dramatically over the past 30+ years. It is not only men and boys in need of education, it is people in general.

As bad as it is now, it was worse before. The difference is that "proper" people accepted more poor behaviour as OK and didn't talk about what did disapprove of. The difference now is the light being shown upon misdeeds, not the lack of proper behaviour.

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quetzalcoatl
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Anselmina wrote:

quote:
I know the specific point you and Lilbuddha refer to, is about an individual over-powering, so to speak, a subordinate individual. And of course there is a lot to consider, with reference to individual responsibility for the 'use' of another human being for one's own satisfaction in that way. Just because sex is the motivator, does not mean there is no abuse of power.
Well, I thought that you wrote earlier that buying and selling sex is about power. Well, it is partly about power, but it's also about sex. It seems odd to actually deny that the men involved are seeking sex.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Anselmina wrote:

quote:
I know the specific point you and Lilbuddha refer to, is about an individual over-powering, so to speak, a subordinate individual. And of course there is a lot to consider, with reference to individual responsibility for the 'use' of another human being for one's own satisfaction in that way. Just because sex is the motivator, does not mean there is no abuse of power.
Well, I thought that you wrote earlier that buying and selling sex is about power. Well, it is partly about power, but it's also about sex. It seems odd to actually deny that the men involved are seeking sex.
Buying sex, for most men,¹ is about buying sex. There is an inevitable abuse of power that is part of prostitution as a whole. Users have to ignore that power and abuse problem,² but it is different to that being a motivating factor.

I certainly was not downplaying power or abuse issues.

¹Because it is mostly men

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Anselmina
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Lilbuddha and Quetzacoatl, I'm not denying that sexual motivation is involved in the buying and selling of sex. That would be very strange indeed! If I implied that then I was very careless in my wording.

I would still maintain, however, that a rational person buying sex from someone else, would need to be deluding themselves if they really believed there were no other factors involved in the transaction, such as abuse of power, or the imposition of a superior set of choices and power-options over an inferior set. (I appreciate it could be argued that in particular circumstances this might not be the case.)

Of course, the person looking for sex isn't thinking that way! But that is what's happening, nevertheless. My motivation to get transport may lead me to steal a car. Just because I don't give a shit about the people who are harmed by my theft, or the laws that are broken, however, doesn't mean my motivation should outweigh the context, or wider implication of the crime.

I was just trying to contextualize prostitution as being symptomatic of an environment where the powerful - those who have choices, get to fuck who they want - and the powerless - those who have little choice - are the ones who get fucked, whether it's their desired way of earning a living or not.

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quetzalcoatl
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Fair enough, Anselmina. I think it's pretty complicated. For example, I worked with a number of men (in therapy), who visited prostitutes, and who struck me as lonely and inadequate people. You could say that they felt powerless in relation to intimacy.

However, it still could be true that vis a vis a prostitute, whom they paid, they are in a superordinate position.

I suppose I grew distrustful of generalizations, since individuals are vastly complex. At the same time, we have to generalize at times.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:

I would still maintain, however, that a rational person buying sex from someone else, would need to be deluding themselves if they really believed there were no other factors involved in the transaction, such as abuse of power, or the imposition of a superior set of choices and power-options over an inferior set. (I appreciate it could be argued that in particular circumstances this might not be the case.)

quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Fair enough, Anselmina. I think it's pretty complicated. For example, I worked with a number of men (in therapy), who visited prostitutes, and who struck me as lonely and inadequate people. You could say that they felt powerless in relation to intimacy.

Prostitution = exploitation. Bare bones, there is no other position in our current world. I would go as far as to say it is not possible in any practical sense for it to ever be otherwise.
Side-stepping to #metoo, and looking at Louis CK and Aziz Ansari. Both of them were minor feminist icons until their behaviour was brought to light.
I think they both thought of themselves as feminist and would venture to say that they might actually be feminist. ish. Humans have the capacity to believe/do conflicting things. We have the capacity to be conflicting things.
This is no apologist statement. I do not think there is an acceptable excuse for using prostitutes.

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quetzalcoatl
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lilBuddha - well, thanks a lot for quote mining me, by deleting the para where I said that the men are in a superordinate position. What is the point of discussing stuff if people are going to delete chunks of what one says, and which are directly applicable, FFS.

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quetzalcoatl
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lilbuddha wrote:

quote:
This is no apologist statement. I do not think there is an acceptable excuse for using prostitutes.
The common counter-argument to that is the use by disabled people. There seem to be strong views for and against this, and I know hardly anything about it. I suppose you could extend it to psychologically damaged people.

This is a pretty pro article:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/10/sex-workers-disabled-people

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
The common counter-argument to that is the use by disabled people.

Is that really a counter-argument? Most of the women referred to in that article will have plenty of able-bodied clients as well - they are not just selling their services to the disabled.

I don't think you can coherently argue that it is a fine thing for someone's sexual services to be purchased by a disabled person, but unacceptable for someone who is not disabled to do the same thing.

Sure, there's a common opinion that able-bodied men (the discussion usually centers on men using female prostitutes) should be able to "get a woman", and considers it acceptable that only disabled men who are unable to "get a woman" through other means should be able to purchase one.

This whole thought process is treating the woman's body as a commodity, and I just don't see how the identity of the purchaser can make a difference to that. I don't see how you can build a rational argument that it's good for a disabled middle-aged man to be able to experience sex by purchasing it, but bad for an able-bodied middle-aged man with a wife who has lost interest in sex to be able to experience sex by purchasing it.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
lilBuddha - well, thanks a lot for quote mining me, by deleting the para where I said that the men are in a superordinate position. What is the point of discussing stuff if people are going to delete chunks of what one says, and which are directly applicable, FFS.

I was not quote mining you.
My initial post was much longer and spoke in more detail about the varied dynamics, and made direct use of yours and Anselmina's quotes. When I stripped it back, I probably should have taken more care with the quotes.
However, your post is Right. Above. Mine. The vast majority of people reading this thread will have read yours before mine so I do not see this as a misrepresentation in the way you appear to be implying.
My post was less clearly written than it could be, but it was not an attack.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
lilbuddha wrote:

quote:
This is no apologist statement. I do not think there is an acceptable excuse for using prostitutes.
The common counter-argument to that is the use by disabled people. There seem to be strong views for and against this, and I know hardly anything about it. I suppose you could extend it to psychologically damaged people.

This is a pretty pro article:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/10/sex-workers-disabled-people

I don't think this challenges my statement. Therapeutic prostitution does not exist in a vacuum. The escort, willing or otherwise, is still part of the whole of the problem.
The customer, in this situation, is addressing an issue in what is felt to be a practical way, but still relies on the realities of prostitution to be able to do so.
This is an example of how life is a complicated mix and not everything is solvable in a completely fair way.
A sex therapist would be a better solution, IMO.

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quetzalcoatl
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I thought that there were sex therapists, who had some kind of sexual contact with disabled people, and presumably, others. And also subsidized sex for disabled people.

It used to be known as sex surrogacy and sexual assistance, but I have lost touch with all this.

I also had married male clients who saw male prostitutes, and often fell in love with them. Humans are complicated.

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quetzalcoatl
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Leorning Cniht wrote:

quote:
This whole thought process is treating the woman's body as a commodity, and I just don't see how the identity of the purchaser can make a difference to that. I don't see how you can build a rational argument that it's good for a disabled middle-aged man to be able to experience sex by purchasing it, but bad for an able-bodied middle-aged man with a wife who has lost interest in sex to be able to experience sex by purchasing it.
I wasn't saying that it was good or bad. It seems to be a utilitarian solution, what else can they do? I suppose you could argue that they should do without sex, as that is 'better' morally. Dunno.

[ 19. February 2018, 16:55: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I thought that there were sex therapists, who had some kind of sexual contact with disabled people, and presumably, others.

That isn't exactly prostitution. Though I am not completely comfortable with the practice, it is a different thing.

quote:

And also subsidized sex for disabled people.

And this would be prostitution and have all the inherent baggage

quote:

I also had married male clients who saw male prostitutes, and often fell in love with them.

I'd question the particular definition of love and just how it would survive outside of its original parameters.
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I suppose you could argue that they should do without sex, as that is 'better' morally. Dunno.

Sex is not a right. It is a powerful drive, but no individual has a right to have sex. Morally, it is better to not exploit people. If the choice is that a group of people don't get to have sex so that another group is not exploited, then yes, it is morally better.

Life is not fair. The best we can do is to make it suck the least we can for the largest number of people we can.

[ 19. February 2018, 17:34: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I wasn't saying that it was good or bad. It seems to be a utilitarian solution, what else can they do? I suppose you could argue that they should do without sex, as that is 'better' morally. Dunno.

It's a utilitarian solution that doesn't address the needs of the prostitutes, though. It goes some way to address the question of whether it is moral for a disabled person in that kind of situation to have sex outside the bonds of marriage or a loving relationship, but it doesn't consider the status of the sex worker at all.

If a person is being exploited as a sex worker - constrained by economic pressures, by a pimp, or whatever else to provide sexual services, then their degree of exploitation does not change with the status of their customers (assuming the same acts, treatment etc.)

So I don't think you can take the line that hiring prostitutes for disabled people is morally OK unless you also take the line that sex work is not inherently exploitative.

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rolyn
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Prostitution = exploitation H,mmm

Person A (male or female) advertises that they are willing to engage in sexual activity of one form or another for payment.
Person B (male or female) agrees the deal, the exchange is made.

No exploitation there. Exploitation only occurs by means of all the other factors revolving around the selling of sex.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
Prostitution = exploitation H,mmm

Person A (male or female) advertises that they are willing to engage in sexual activity of one form or another for payment.
Person B (male or female) agrees the deal, the exchange is made.

No exploitation there. Exploitation only occurs by means of all the other factors revolving around the selling of sex.

No single act is separate from the process as a whole. So even if one accepted single examples as being non-expoitive in themselves, they still are contained within the whole.

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quetzalcoatl
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Leorning Cniht wrote:

quote:
If a person is being exploited as a sex worker - constrained by economic pressures, by a pimp, or whatever else to provide sexual services, then their degree of exploitation does not change with the status of their customers (assuming the same acts, treatment etc.)
Well, I agree about pimps, since that involves coercion, but are you saying that economic pressures on prostitutes are different from those on other people?

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

I also had married male clients who saw male prostitutes, and often fell in love with them. Humans are complicated.

The context makes you sound like a pimp... but I don't think you are...
[Hot and Hormonal]

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Well, I agree about pimps, since that involves coercion, but are you saying that economic pressures on prostitutes are different from those on other people?

No, I'm saying that sex has a special status, and so being coerced by financial pressures into having sex with strangers is different from being coerced by financial pressures into cleaning their toilets (for example).

I don't think the special status of sex rests on religious considerations either - it is a uniquely personal and intimate act.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

I also had married male clients who saw male prostitutes, and often fell in love with them. Humans are complicated.

The context makes you sound like a pimp... but I don't think you are...
[Hot and Hormonal]

I've been compared to a prostitute quite a lot; but with other therapists, we used to talk about being human toilets, accepting all the shit. Somebody has to do it.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Well, I agree about pimps, since that involves coercion, but are you saying that economic pressures on prostitutes are different from those on other people?

No, I'm saying that sex has a special status, and so being coerced by financial pressures into having sex with strangers is different from being coerced by financial pressures into cleaning their toilets (for example).

I don't think the special status of sex rests on religious considerations either - it is a uniquely personal and intimate act.

If you say so.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Well, I agree about pimps, since that involves coercion, but are you saying that economic pressures on prostitutes are different from those on other people?

No, I'm saying that sex has a special status, and so being coerced by financial pressures into having sex with strangers is different from being coerced by financial pressures into cleaning their toilets (for example).

I don't think the special status of sex rests on religious considerations either - it is a uniquely personal and intimate act.

If you say so.
Look, my POV is that sex doesn’t have to have the exalted position that many people imbue it with.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t personal or intimate. We are not separate, mind from body.
Your argument for the shy and disabled goes away if sex isn’t intimacy. Otherwise, buy them a sex toy and you are done.
You appear to want it both ways.

[ 19. February 2018, 19:20: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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quetzalcoatl
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lilBuddha wrote:

quote:
Look, my POV is that sex doesn’t have to have the exalted position that many people imbue it with.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t personal or intimate. We are not separate, mind from body.
Your argument for the shy and disabled goes away if sex isn’t intimacy. Otherwise, buy them a sex toy and you are done.
You appear to want it both ways.

Well, I'm not stipulating what sex means for the disabled or the shy, as you put it. It might offer something 'uniquely personal and intimate', or it might offer something else. How the hell would I know? I don't think sex surrogacy requires terms and conditions, does it?

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
lilBuddha wrote:

quote:
Look, my POV is that sex doesn’t have to have the exalted position that many people imbue it with.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t personal or intimate. We are not separate, mind from body.
Your argument for the shy and disabled goes away if sex isn’t intimacy. Otherwise, buy them a sex toy and you are done.
You appear to want it both ways.

Well, I'm not stipulating what sex means for the disabled or the shy, as you put it. It might offer something 'uniquely personal and intimate', or it might offer something else. How the hell would I know? I don't think sex surrogacy requires terms and conditions, does it?
If surrogacy uses people, then something about being a person matters. Therefore personal.

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Fair enough, Anselmina. I think it's pretty complicated. For example, I worked with a number of men (in therapy), who visited prostitutes, and who struck me as lonely and inadequate people. You could say that they felt powerless in relation to intimacy.

However, it still could be true that vis a vis a prostitute, whom they paid, they are in a superordinate position.

I suppose I grew distrustful of generalizations, since individuals are vastly complex. At the same time, we have to generalize at times.

I take your point, really. And that's why it's more the 'environment' of a culture of power, depriving certain people of choices - eg, through limited education/health choices, difficult access to welfare benefits etc, than the individual power of the person paying for sex, that I was thinking of, though I have made passing reference to that, as well.

You're quite right that many people who buy sex do not feel powerful, or in a position of subordinating another, when they do so; that it's often a symptom of personal inadequacy, or loneliness; or at best a compromised solution to a non-ideal situation.

I, too, would be distrustful of generalisms.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
For example, I worked with a number of men (in therapy), who visited prostitutes, and who struck me as lonely and inadequate people. You could say that they felt powerless in relation to intimacy.

However, it still could be true that vis a vis a prostitute, whom they paid, they are in a superordinate position.

I'm not sure that actually matters. I don't think that in general the degree of exploitation involved in an act of prostitution depends on the status of the client.

Consider a woman who is working as a prostitute in order to pay her mortgage. Consider two clients - one a businessman who squeezes in an hour of her time between meetings; another a lonely old man from a council estate who has been saving five quid a week from his state pension in order to be able to treat himself on his birthday.

Is the poor man buying the same sex somehow less exploitative? It can't possibly be.

The degree of exploitation in general has to do with the position of the prostitute in the general economy / society, rather than the client in specific.

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mr cheesy
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The problem here is that it is hard to tell whether a particular person is being empowered or exploited by prostitution.

In a war-zone it isn't so difficult and hard to see how anyone is empowered. But in a Western country, I'm at least willing to be open to the possibility that some people are making a free choice into sex work.

The problem is that this seems to be a tiny percentage of all sex workers, and it is extremely hard to tell whether any given person is being exploited or not.

I don't know about this sex-with-disabled thing, but I'd be surprised if many (or any) get involved in that because they believe in the therapeutic value of it. But perhaps that's just showing my prejudice - I have no idea.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
The problem here is that it is hard to tell whether a particular person is being empowered or exploited by prostitution.

I disagree. Do you want your daughter or son to be a prostitute?
Until society as a whole views prostitution in exactly the same way they view other jobs like engineering and coffee service, it cannot be empowered.
And that is without addressing the human trafficking problems.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
I disagree. Do you want your daughter or son to be a prostitute?

No. There is quite a long list of things I don't want my child to be.

But I'm not sure that this really is a measure of whether anyone else can or should do something.

quote:


Until society as a whole views prostitution in exactly the same way they view other jobs like engineering and coffee service, it cannot be empowered.
And that is without addressing the human trafficking problems.

I don't know if this is true.

I think one has to take seriously those who say that they're not being abused - even if they're a tiny percentage of the total.

Otherwise the only alternative is saying that sex workers are always, without exception, victims.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
The problem here is that it is hard to tell whether a particular person is being empowered or exploited by prostitution.

I disagree. Do you want your daughter or son to be a prostitute?
Until society as a whole views prostitution in exactly the same way they view other jobs like engineering and coffee service, it cannot be empowered.
And that is without addressing the human trafficking problems.

I think that point about society is interesting. I can never sort out whether prostitution is considered bad because money for sex is bad, or because we feel bad about sex, or because sex is meant to be private and special. Of course, prostitution is surrounded by bad things, such as pimps and sleazy environments.

I was also thinking of the old saying that you don't pay a prostitute just for sex, but for being able to walk away, unlike marriage.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

I think one has to take seriously those who say that they're not being abused - even if they're a tiny percentage of the total.

Otherwise the only alternative is saying that sex workers are always, without exception, victims.

Only if you view life as zero-sum. It isn’t.

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

I was also thinking of the old saying that you don't pay a prostitute just for sex, but for being able to walk away, unlike marriage.

What were you thinking about it?

I think it’s wrong. Casual sex vs marriage = being able to walk away vs not. Prostitution is a whole different thing.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Only if you view life as zero-sum. It isn’t.

Eh?

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

I was also thinking of the old saying that you don't pay a prostitute just for sex, but for being able to walk away, unlike marriage.

What were you thinking about it?

I think it’s wrong. Casual sex vs marriage = being able to walk away vs not. Prostitution is a whole different thing.

When you say wrong, do you mean morally, or factually? Well, I've heard people say it, so it seems odd to say that they're inaccurate, if that's what they feel.

I agree there is a difference between casual sex and prostitution, but don't you think the difference can become very narrow? If I date a woman on the internet, buy her dinner, and then we have horizontal luurve, it's getting close to prostitution.

My mum used to say that marriage was a form of prostitution, but she was a cynical old git.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Only if you view life as zero-sum. It isn’t.

Eh?
There could exist a person from a nurturing background who voluntary chooses to be a prostitute.
This doesn't change that prostitution is exploitive by nature.
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I think that point about society is interesting. I can never sort out whether prostitution is considered bad because money for sex is bad, or because we feel bad about sex, or because sex is meant to be private and special. Of course, prostitution is surrounded by bad things, such as pimps and sleazy environments.

Because it reduces the provider to an object. It isn't, and never has been, about choice and ability. It is about having a hole that can be filled and typically being identified by that function.
Sure, it is occasionally dressed up as something more, but that has been its essence.

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Enoch
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Despite everything that's been said on this thread and in the media since, I still think what I said over a week ago.
quote:
Originally posted by me:
I'm very, very suspicious of the furore. I'm sure it's driven by people who want an excuse to cut aid, and is timed to try to distract everyone's attention to the complete pigs ear the government is making at the moment of its brexit programme - or, rather, lack of it. ....
... At the moment, I'm inclined to think this is yet another hate-fest being orchestrated by a government I no longer trust that wants to use sanctimony for nefarious purposes of its own.



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