Saturday, April 07, 2007

No, I am not in favour of slavery.....

I have been severely reprimanded by Debbie Toughey from Doctors for Life for my comments about sex workers and the need to decriminalise it. In somewhat melodramatic fashion she states that:

[P]rostitutes are kind and generous people, who for the most part have a low self esteem and are being manipulated, coerced and forced to have sex with men they abhor to line the pockets of pimps and to survive another day….. [W]e want to herd them into one area like the German ghetto’s of the 2nd world war and brand them…. How can you be so insensitive to suggest that the cruelty of being sodomised, raped, tortured, abused, insulted and degraded in the worst form is equivalent to being a female in middle management at a big corporation?

I am, of course, not suggesting anything of the sort. Ms Toughey seems to suggest that any sex for monetary reward is equivalent to rape, torture, “sodomy” and other forms of cruelty. This is not very logical, to say the least. It also suggests quite a bizarre and alarmist view of sex and a strange obsession with sodomy.

I have a slightly different view. For one, in South Africa the criminal law prohibits slavery, torture, rape or any other sexual abuse. If some sex workers are subjected to these despicable criminal deeds, the perpetrators must be brought to book. I assume Ms Toughey and members of her organisation have reported all these deeds she seems to be aware of to the police. How one can be seen to protect sex workers by criminalising what they do (but not what their clients do), seems to be beyond my logical capabilities.

One does not need to criminalise sex work to stop such abuse, one must just enforce the law. But, of course, the reality is that many sex workers are not subjected to any of these horrors mentioned above. They do have sex with strangers for money – often because they can earn far more money like this than by cleaning toilets – and I suspect that is what really horrifies Ms Toughey.

The sex workers I have spoken to have different views about their jobs. One woman fondly told me about one of her regular clients who brought her pumpkins and pots of home made jam (made by his wife!) from the farm whenever he came to town for a session. Others spoke with some disgust about the clients they had to work with, but said that the money was good and it was thus worth it. This is not much different from any other job.

I would thus maintain that there is no reason to criminalise this kind of work and not other kinds of work unless one has a very peculiar obsession with sex and believes that sex is inherently dirty and disgusting. This obsession with sex comes to the fore where Ms Toughey writes:

And don't give me that bull about consensual adult sex! Mr de Vos, have you ever been sodomised?

I must say, I do not want to be disrespectful, but as an openly gay man, I find that question hilarious. In any case, consensual sodomy seems to me not to have anything to do with the issue at hand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let's start with: "I must say, I do not want to be disrespectful, but as an openly gay man, I find that question hilarious."

Yes it is funny – your Freudian slip just gave away who in your relationship is the pillow-biter. It's sad that Ms Toughey didn't do extensive research on your sexual history (which you seem to find surprising) - but being a law professor, she should've known...

Onto the more pertinent matter - it seems you have a dismal concept of the impact the decriminalizing of a law does. It not only gives the subject in questions legitimacy, but condones it. Let me give you a real-life scenario. A woman in Germany (where prostitution is legal) lost her job and applied for social aid to support her two children. She was rejected on the grounds that she had refused a perfectly good job by a pimp.

Once prostitution is legalized, more and more women will be coerced, pressurised and forced into a practice that exploits women as sex-objects. A practice that currently traffics women from the poorest countries in the world to become slaves for the gratification of the horny hicks of society. If this is currently illegal, how in Allah's name is our incompetent law-enforcement going to curb an explosion of exploitation if prostitution were to be legalized? Only the stupid, ignorant or gay could support such a move.

Sure, you get the occasional high-class courtisan that services our politicians and law professors, who do it for the loads of tax-money and leave with an occasional hickey from their timid customers. The brutal truth occurs in the condom and needle-strewn alleys of our cities where a starving girl allows a brute with half his IQ lodged between his legs to sodomise her (although this seems to conjure an image of pleasure for you, I assure you, the 13-year old does not share your heartfelt sentiment) so that she can get food to survive another day in hell.

Drug-peddling and a host of other criminal activities come hand-in-hand with prostitution. It is a dirty, painful trade that is the closest thing to slavery today. Abuse abounds, and will only increase if prostitution isn't curbed effectively. Visit people who actually work in the streets to help these women, hear the stories, and then you can let loose your tongue, but don't make judgements from your sterile office when you obviously ignore the truth of prostitution - you paint it as a quaint illustration fit for a children's book. It's all in your head, as far from reality as an LSD trip. Remember what the theory of Communism cost Russia? I'm afraid your theory could cost us another rise in an HIV-rate, abused women and a society buried in filth.

If you disagree, you are entitled to your closed-minded and ignorant opinion. Spew your liberal cause - proclaim your love for humanity despite your blatant disregard for humans - just remember that it is voices like yours that end up costing lives. Your arguments strike me as an eloquent homo-erectus trying to liberate a world he doesn't understand.

While being homosexual may save the coming generation from another round of your genes, the ideas you're inflicting on our current generation are bad enough.