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The Economist Debate on Prostitution Day 1

Over on the Economist there is a debate on prostitution http://www.economist.com/debate/days/view/572 I know it has already been mentioned on Harlot’s Parlour. As a client of sex workers I can see where Mellisa is heading, decriminalise sex workers and criminalise me, the Swedish Model.

As is usual entrenched opinions abound in the debate and the fake research from Mellisa is quoted as gospel truth by the abolitionists. There is one commentator Numenoreans who has tried to show how Mellisa chose a very skewed sample of subjects to analyse, she chose war torn, drug barron countries, deprived street walkers from the worst areas, and drug rehabilitation centers. That same commentator tried to debunk the fact that the average age of entry into prostitution is 13, and then 11. No matter what anyone says, the research papers on Adoleseant Prostitution, are used as evidence of the average age of entry into prostitution.

I wanted to quote a couple of gems from around the world.

One sex worker who was a subject of Mellisa’s PTSD study wrote this, I quote a sample of it.

One person commented that her samples were biased; perhaps but that is not really the problem! If what the participants says does not suit her thesis, she just changes it and says, “well you were abused so you can’t really speak for yourself” or some other such thing (like she did of the brothel workers in her book on the so-called trafficking in legal Nevada brothels). She just did not like what we had to say about working there so she discounted it.




As someone who was a part of her PTSD study, I felt so discounted and violated by Ms. Farley. Ms. Farley left me traumatized. It was as if I had no voice. She robbed me of my agency and said flat out to my face that I was not in control of my life (which was a lie) and therefor anything positive I had to say about sex work was invalidated and she was not interested in it.

Another group of sex wokers from Camboia wrote this, sex work used to be legal in Cambodia, pressure from the USA on trafficking caused their Government to make prostitution illegal.

Dear Sir,

We are sex workers from Cambodia- our live and our industry have been ruined by the anti-trafficking industry. We used to work in brothel where we have safety and solidarity after many years of organising as sex workers.

Now we are scattered on the street where it is more dangerous.

We are also sent to rehabilitation centre or to anti-trafficking NGO who hold us illegally and try to “retrain” us.

They try to teach us to sew. Don’t they know that huge numbers of sex workers in Phnom Penh is ex garment worker because garment industry pay is so low and conditions so bad??

The last national count of victim of trafficking in Cambodia, carried out by USAID in 2007, found just 73 women trafficked- but people like Ms Melissa still use figures made up by anti-traffickers that say over 20,000 women and children trafficked in Cambodia.

Now we know the real figures we know there is less than half a trafficked woman for each NGO anti-trafficking shelter in our country!!

Ms Melissa also talk a lot about pimps. The main pimps we see now in Cambodia re people like her- the anti-trafficking industry pimp. Women and men who make their large salary and their NGO or research grant by studying us or by running a centre where they hold us illegally in detention and call it rehab.

We are sick of anti-trafficking pimps!!

We want laws on sex work removed. We want an end to the anti-trafficking industry.

We want real solutions to make our job and our life better.

We want to be recognise as workers and given same rights as other workers.

We want so called feminist to stop treating us like children and to listen to our voice!!!I expect Mellisa will say these two opinions are the work of two pimps.

If you have the time, please take a look at the debate. In the usual entrenched opinions, there are some useful nuggets of opinion. The debate goes on for a few days, with the guest speakers evaluating the evidence, and finally the two antagonists wrapping up.

At this time 81% are in favour of the proposal.

4 comments on “The Economist Debate on Prostitution Day 1

  1. Douglas Fox
    7 September, 2010

    Mallissa Farley and her motley crew are not feminists and we must learn never to refer to these people as feminists.

    I have no doubt that the house will win the debate. Common sense and intelligent argument always wins over bigoted nonsense in such encounters.

    Out in the world of politicians and the media the emotionalised nonsense the abolitionists promote as evidence takes precedence. The reason is probably money. Governments have given boat loads of money to promote an abolitionists industry where fortunes and careers and reputations are being made at the expense of sex workers.

    It will be a very brave politician who will stand up and say “We got it wrong”.

    So we have to go on fighting and telling the truth and debunking the rubbish the abolitionists promote as evidence. We do have to find a way to emotionalise the debate in our favour. I wonder if we can get the media interested in the Cambodian experience?

  2. Susan
    8 September, 2010

    Douglas, here in the States, ever since 9/11, emotionalism and hysteria have ruled the day, and Melissa Farley has thrived in that kind of environment.

    Farley is riding high on the fact that Craigslist has (temporarily perhaps) shut down it’s Adult Services listing here in the States. Never mind that the vast majority of people are against such a move. Craigslist put the word “CENSORED” at the spot where Adult Services used to be, but that move has still harmed sex workers.

    I really do hope that Craigslist changes it’s mind and puts the listing back up.

  3. elrond
    8 September, 2010

    Can someone explain the points Guest Speaker Lionel Tiger is making. He has come down on the side of Mellisa. His language is so obtuse.

  4. Callboy
    10 September, 2010

    Day 5:

    Melissa Farley had put forward the same odd arguments from her closing remarks already in April 2009:

    @ iq²u.s. debate, Rockefeller Uni NYC
    following the same event structure.
    However the pro motion was at that time against prostitution.
    So with the structure of the economist debate in 2010 we already have some structural success.
    Result at that debate then was 46%:45% pro:con prostitution:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo95ETxBAlc (chart at the end)

    But debating the issue in public seems to changed the balance a bit more into the direction against sex work, since before that debate it was 50:20.
    With the today’s economist debate the trend of debating is similar, but up to now only changed marginally 2%.
    The result is at the moment 78:22
    So with new media, online debates, anonymous publishing and sex worker awareness and internet networking, the public opinion can no longer be easily controlled by moral hard liners or institutionalists…

    Besides, Lionel Tiger at that debate was pro sex work:

    (Melissa Farley is an intelligent strong believer. Maybe not aware of her manipulations? [What do you think about that?]
    Possibly by fighting ugly punters/traffickers/men she can transform her personal sexuality into an oral discourse and at the same time show solidarity with young women, which is partly motherly and Christian care [caritas deus est] but also taboo female-female bonding in the field of sexuality [distorted queerness].)

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This entry was posted on 7 September, 2010 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , .
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