Sex Workers Outreach Project - SWOP-CHICAGO
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Morality and Prop K

From LaLibertine’s Salon. While this concerns the proposition to decriminalize sex work in San Francisco, this possibly historical vote affects sex workers all over the country. That’s why I posted this here as well:

Whenever morals are trotted out within the public sphere, especially within politics, it is inevitably about controlling sexual behavior of adults. The very people who wring their hands in fear over the sexual expression of consenting adults for “morality’s sake” rarely seem to be the same people worrying over the prevalence of lying, cheating and hatred in our society. They’ll scream that gays are corrupting their children and encouraging them to adopt the “homosexual lifestyle” but they remain conspicuously silent about the examples of public figures caught lying about the causes of war or where all the funding for public schools went.

Isn’t lying, cheating and bald-faced hatred much more corrupting of morals than two adults consenting to sex, paid or not, straight or not? Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m much more impacted by a public official lying with regard to the spending of my hard-earned tax money than what is going on in the private bedrooms of consenting adults. I am much more concerned with how a public official views people based on their race or gender, than if Sally makes Steve pay $50 for a blow job.

The anti-Prop K argument that the ordinance will ignore abusive pimps and allow organized crime to gain a stronger hold on prostitution is absolutely ridiculous. The latter was used to try and keep the prohibition of alcohol going as well and similarly, this argument can be easily stripped. Legalizing the sale, production and consumption of alcohol didn’t put breweries, bars and saloons into the hands of the Mob; but the criminalization of alcohol most certainly did. Exactly where in the proposition does it say that offenses such as rape, kidnapping, slavery, coercion, theft, blackmail, murder or assault will be legal? Nowhere it does. In fact, because of the criminalization of prostitution, the law has implicitly made such actions legal by the simple fact that when a prostitute suffers violence the police and the courts look the other way. They do not investigate or prosecute violent offenders against prostitutes, therefore they essentially say to said offenders (and anyone thinking about it), “Oh, that’s okay. Carry on.”

This is where true morality comes in. Not the false morality that I described earlier. No, it is the morality that says, “It is WRONG to violate another person’s being simply because of their job or perceived sexuality”. The morality that says murder, rape, kidnapping, slavery, coercion, theft, assault and blackmail are simply wrong. The morality that says when violent offenses are reported (when possible) by the survivor, the offenders are tracked down and brought to justice. The morality that truly does worry about what examples we are setting for children: that some people can be mistreated by society and at best we all ignore it. The morality that is concerned with human rights.

The voter pamphlet Peridot Ash posted breaks down the ‘yes’ ‘no’ vote as such:

A “YES” VOTE MEANS: If you vote “yes,” you want the City to:

stop enforcing laws against prostitution,

stop funding or supporting the First Offender Prostitution Program or any similar anti-prostitution program,

enforce existing criminal laws that prohibit crimes such as battery, extortion and rape, regardless of the victim’s status as a sex worker, and

• fully disclose the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against sex workers.

A “NO” VOTE MEANS: If you vote “no,” you do not want to make these changes. [emphasis mine]

Oh yeah, the pimps and traffickers and violent johns are gonna LOVE that! Who can honestly vote “NO”, if they’re truly concerned about the health and safety of prostitutes?

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