Daily Archives: January 4th, 2009

I learnt a new phrase today

“Poverty pimp non profits”. I found it in the comments thread of this post, used (derogatorily obviously) to describe any NGO which works with trafficked women and calls for a legal model that decriminalises the prostitutes themselves while criminalising the demand and facilitation sides of prostitution.

Apparently, any suggestion that a prostitute may be trafficked or coerced, or even underage, is to take away her ‘agency’; apparently it isn’t the violence of prostitution, or the psychological harm involved in submitting to unwanted sex, or the crippling poverty that makes women and girls vulnerable to it that takes away agency, it’s noticing that it happens. Apparently, suggesting that prostitution isn’t a 100% free choice, harms these women and girls more than the traffickers, pimps and johns ever will.

The term is particularly galling when many women involved in what is (again derogatorily) referred to as the “rescue industry” * by these same people – some of whom are making great careers for themselves in academia writing books about how empowering prostitution is – have often had first hand experience of prostitution themselves.

For example, Norma Hotaling, who died last year, and Somaly Mam, a Cambodian woman described in this New York Times piece on trafficking and forced prostitution in Asia, and the horrific levels of brutality involved (warning, the descriptions are disturbing and potentially triggering).

But no, they, apparently, are the pimps, not the actual men committing the actual violence.

[All links found via Feminist Law Professors]

* What the rest of us would recognise as helping the most vulnerable people in society.

New Norway law bans buying of sex

BBC report here