The Green Party’s Troubling Stance on Sex Work
Emily Pothast

I feel those who want to promote sex work as a choice of agency need to educate the public against commonly held conceptions that the overwhelming majority of those who engage in sex work are being forced in one way or another, and that most who engage in sex work begin to do so as minors. The concept that I see is that the number of people who engage in sex work as adults by free choice as opposed to trafficking/prostitution is a very small minority.

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“Why can’t women in prostitution just leave when they want to?

There are many reasons that women do not or cannot leave prostitution. Ninety-two percent of women who were involved in prostitution said they wanted to leave prostitution, but couldn’t because they lack basic human services such as a home, job training, health care, counseling and treatment for drug or alcohol addiction.* A prostituted woman might also be afraid of what her pimp will do to her and afraid for her life if she tries to leave. For many women, prostitution and sexual exploitation might be the only life they know. The average age for girls entering prostitution is between 12–13.** And studies show that 75 to 95% of all prostitutes were sexually abused as children.***

  • “People in prostitution suffer from wartime trauma symptoms caused by acts of violence against them,” Business Wire, 18 August 1998
    ** Lois Lee, Children of the Night, Brad Knickerbocker, “Prostitution’s Pernicious Reach Grows in the US,” Christian Science Monitor, 23 October 1996
    *** Debra Boyer, U. Washington, Susan Breault of the Paul & Lisa Program, “Danger for prostitutes increasing, most starting younger,” Beacon Journal, 21 September 1997"