Hot on craigslist??

13 07 2009

Okay, I’m not proposing a solution yet, but have you ever browsed craiglist for, say, sex? To be honest, I’ve only found out that craigslist has a section for advertising sex services. I mean, I do use craigslist a lot, for the sole purpose of finding stuff like iPods, cellphones, and a place to rent. That’s it. And a friend pointed out to me. I thought, great, then maybe I can say something about it in this blog. So there I went, a few clicks and there it was. A disclaimer page, asking me to confirm that I was 18 years of age, to understand that the section “may include adult content” and to agree to report any “suspected exploitation of minors”.
Another click to choose a category: w4m (women for male).

Voila! I’m on the ad page. That easy. Even if I weren’t 18, who would have known? And there they were pages after pages of ads. Offering all kinds of sex services, some with high price tag, and most just don’t name their price.
It is not an offense to advertise sex. And when it’s free, who wouldn’t use it, right? And it’s on the internet, which is virtually accessible wherever, whenever. And of course, new more complicated problems come along with the rise of craigslist.

Some argue that craigslist’s ads are actually a better ‘selling’ method than being on the streets. Some women on the ads offer prospect clients to come to their place. Which can make these sex workers safer than being on dark streets. Being in their own space means (hopefully) they know their surroundings, what to do in case of violent behaviour from their clients.

However, just a few days before I also saw a CBC report on the rise of teenage hooker ring, who posted ads on craigslist, offering sex for money. Teenagers? Who were not even 18? Here’s a video.

I think this is a big problem. These teenagers don’t seem to know what they were doing. Then who can protect them if their clients were violent or even predators? We need to act. Fast.

Education for them is definitely a must. Letting them know that there are many men out there, who can potentially be their clients, are violent. Some are simply predators. And there is a risk of STDs. According to the news excerpt, these teens have ‘special price’ for not wearing condoms. Yes, they maybe richer than the other teens, but if they caught serious illnesses like HIV/AIDS, which can lead to deaths, will it be worth it? Educating them AND the parents, so that both parties understand each other and able to help each other. Educate parents to be familiar with the internet, to constantly monitor their teen daughters, to be able to communicate to their children. It does seem like a small start, but hey, where else should it start if not from your own home?

So, is craigslist really a better selling method? Or is it just another means to an end? Read more on this article.

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Exploration of a Disciplinary Construct for Prevention of Violence Against Sex Trade Workers

4 07 2009

Laura M. Agustin’s summary of her paper from the September 2001 issue of Society for International Development explores several factors associated with a disciplinary attitude towards prostitution that have important implications for the well-being of sex trade workers.

  • Criminalization of clients who purchase sex services – “prisons rarely rehabilitate offenders against the law” and that sexual offenses are hard to prove in court with legal advice often finding loopholes in which the client can escape. This mode of action has failed for over 200 years in North America and Europe but there are still proponents for this particular “solution”. There is also no evidence that informing people of what kind of punishment a particular sexual offence will net deters individuals from performing that act.
  • “International regulations on trafficking and sexual exploitation” – The language used in these regulations appear to further the belief that women and children are always easily fooled into being “trafficked” while men are more savvy and are treated as a “contraband” to be smuggled. While the language used to described the movement of migrants may be trivial, the attitudes behind these regulations are not. There may also be cases where working as a sex trade worker in a developed nation is preferable to staying in one’s home nation. Naturally, if someone is being exploited, we must help them. However, current structures insist that law enforcement officers paint all migrant sex trade workers with one brush and this does not help the women at all. An obvious result is that migrant women who have suffered abuses will not come forward to the police.
  • The market for sexual services – abolishing the sex trade is impossible from the viewpoint of demand meeting supply. A Spanish NGO estimated in 1996 that there are 1 million clients who purchase sex services a day in Spain. It is likely that there will always be a demand. If prostitution is criminalized, it will only be driven underground and become more lucrative for individuals who now decide to enter the market. Similar to the point above, sex workers who find themselves in abusive situations will not be able to seek help for fear of incarceration.

Agustin  argues that viewing prostitution under the construct that all prostitution is “sexual exploitation” removes the possibility of “voluntary” prostitution. She also argues that the current view of prostitution itself as being a crime results in the punishment for the offending parties. Agustin’s conclusion is that punishment is ineffective for curtailing violence against women in the sex trade and does more harm than good.

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