The Victimisation of Sex Workers – Laura Lee Blog

What’s the difference between the Edinburgh pandas and sex workers? I’ve never known a sex worker yet with a penchant for chowing down on bamboo. Personally, I prefer to apply bamboo liberally to the backsides of Edinburgh’s pillars of society. The real difference is far more sinister, if a member of the public wants to view the Edinburgh pandas, they need to wait, pay and show respect. Sex workers? Lately it seems like it’s a free for all, with respect being the last thing on the voyeur’s mind.

Woman looking sad at a window

Ridiculous

In a publication entitled “Thrillist” (a more appropriate title I couldn’t think of if I tried), Anna Turner decided to apply for a job in a legal brothel in the US. Not because she wanted to work there, but because she wanted to see what the hiring process involved and to see what real, live, sex workers do. She begins by assuring her readers that she was a straight A student and goody two shoes, for fear that we might think she in any way resembles a sex worker. After all, as we all know, sex workers can only digest books with pictures.

Having completed the online application process, and further checks, the author notes that “behind every stripper pole and brothel are a whole lot of women who aren’t ultimately all that different from me.” Who’d have thought it? That’s some real ground breaking writing. (Not to mention the Blackpool Gazette, who thankfully assured the general public that sex workers take out their bins too. What do they think we do with our rubbish? Transport it to The Pimp Portal?) What irritated me most about the Thrillist piece was the invitation extended at the end. “Hey readers, why not try the application for yourselves?” Brilliant idea. Why not incite clients to call us up to see just how easy it is to arrange a date too? It’s not like we have anything else to do, is it?

Real Anger and Sadness

Irritation turned to tearful anger on Friday night, when I watched a video on Facebook, filmed during the escorting of alleged sex workers from a property in Belfast. The link is here. Imagine for just one moment how utterly terrified those women were. There was a baying mob outside, with small children looking on, shouting “dirty filthy hoors”, “burn them”, “you should have set them on fire”. What message does that send to the young children present? Equality, diversity and respect? I think not. Do you still think stigma isn’t harmful? I dread to think of what would have happened if the PSNI hadn’t been there to ensure the women’s safety. In another case, the mob had smashed the windows of the property and were already assaulting the sex workers before the police could get there. So, now you can see what we’re up against. Real hatred, and real violence.

In the fight for sex workers’ rights in Northern Ireland, I have always been politically neutral. So, I don’t care whether the incident took place in East Belfast, West Belfast or at Giant’s Causeway. Every single member of that mob ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. We are not second class citizens, to be mocked and harassed for your amusement. We are sisters, daughters, mothers and friends, trying to get by and make a living, just like you. You may not agree with the exchange of sex for money, you may even find it morally repugnant. But you have absolutely no right to treat any other human being with less dignity than you would an animal in a zoo.

Laura Lee

Laura Lee

Irish mother, writer, animal lover, perpetual student and sex workers' rights campaigner.
Laura Lee

3 thoughts on “The Victimisation of Sex Workers – Laura Lee Blog”

  1. Its sad to see this happen to these Girls , I have met some of the best People working as Escorts , after 25 year of Marriage a bad Divorce I can say Thank God for Escorts , they want money , I want a nice time with sex , I just cant understand what is wrong with that .
    Every one of these Girls has a story , most of them are single mothers , husband or boy friend fucked off leaving no money .
    These Girls then turn to Escorting , at the beginning they believe from there friend its a great life , but later find its can be dangerous , expensive and a lot of travel to places they dont know . Expensive can be up to One thousand a week , 500 to 600 for apartment , EI cost , phones charges , electric etc .
    before they every make a Pound for them self .
    Its real sad some of the stories I hear , One Brazil Girl all she wanted was a 3 or 4 thousand Euro so she could buy a Fridge for her Mother and start a bakery for her self . I know when she had this she returned home . she was the best in the world
    Many just do this job and believe its just a job to get as much money as possible in a short time so they can get there life in order and take care of there family .
    Some Girls do it just to pay for there school , to get a good education and then return home .
    Due to the Negligence and Corruption of there Governments People are forced to do thing they never would believe in .
    But life is not so kind .

  2. Don’t we need to take some of the responsibility though? We know the score, we know we are not welcomed and we know people are protective of their children. With this in mind surely you don’t work in the middle of a housing estate of families?

    Yes some of the things being said were abhorrent and yes people should not be encouraged or allowed to have the attitudes they have, but they are and they do and this is not going to change when fuel is being added to their fire.

    If we care about each other (which we should), then we take care about where we work and how what we do projects on the others. We don’t take unnecessary risks and to hell with everyone else.

  3. In the end, it is up to the individual. There must be routes out for those who want to take them, yet freedom for those choose to work in the industry!

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