Recently, Jenna Jameson announced with much reluctance that she was returning to porn, citing financial hardship as the reason. What she did not say was equally important: no other options for earning a decent living in a real job with dignity was afforded to her due to her “past” – something that sex trafficking victims, most of us who are much poorer than Jenna Jameson ever was, are keenly aware of.
This is the big, steaming pile of pachyderm shit in the living room that everyone chooses to ignore.
Now, a lot of people are saying that Jenna Jameson should not be so broke that she would be returning to the same porn industry she was glad to exit; that she got $25 million when she sold ClubJenna to Playboy. Whether or not that’s true, that’s not the point.
Even if she did net $25 million and somehow ended up pissing it all away, that does not excuse the rest of society from its role in denying jobs with dignity and an adequate economic safety net to the overwhelming majority of poor women who managed to escape from the sex trade, usually with just the clothes on their backs, who wanted real options and real jobs—not blowjobs.
Remember: most exited women were/are not anywhere near as well off financially as Jenna Jameson. Most of us can’t even afford food, a roof over our heads, medical and dental care, or anything else we need to rebuild our lives.
Society needs to be held responsible for throwing women and girls away into the prostitute class and preventing so many from escaping by denying us all other options – giving traffickers and johns the green light in the first place.
People always knew sex trafficking was happening in the US and that it mainly impacted poor women from “the Other America” and that it was by design – they just didn’t care.
They knew that there were never enough jobs to go around for everybody and that poor women were pressed into the sex trade for lack of any other options due to discrimination against women for the good-paying “men’s jobs” that don’t require an unaffordable education (which hardly makes it a “choice”) and then made damn sure that no other options would EVER be made available to those who escaped from the sex industry (often with no outside help).
Instead, everyone blames the victim – not because they don’t know any better, but because that’s what makes them feel good about themselves.
No one wants to admit that they are beneficiaries of an unjust system and that poor, marginalized women at the very bottom of the socio-economic heap are everyone else’s place-keepers in this class-bigoted, male supremacist shithole of a greed-driven, misogynistic country. Poor women have been deliberately excluded from the job market and from mainstream society in general due to classism on top of sexism, and stand better than a 50-50 chance of being trafficked here in the US since all the poverty alleviation programs were cut or eliminated (starting with Reagan) – hurting everyone who wasn’t middle class and/or a white male.
As a sex trafficking survivor, I can tell you a LOT about this deliberately indifferent mainstream middle class public who “didn’t know” and who “need to be educated” (yeah, like all those “good Germans” who didn’t know what was being done to the Jews).
Let’s talk about the fact that a good portion of the white middle class johns who were clergymen and other “community pillars, and cops (including homicide detectives and vice squad) who arrested me just to get a “freebie” in exchange for dropping the charges when I was only 13, homeless and trafficked by an outlaw motorcycle gang that owned the “establishment” that they patronized (and when they did, they always requested the youngest girls – those under age 15).
Let’s talk about the judges, probation officers and social workers who had a file a mile thick on Shannon, a fallen sister I personally knew who had been prostituted since she was 9 years old by her mother’s pimp after he threw the mother out of a 3rd floor window leaving her a permanent quadraplegic, as punishment for failing to make her quota – and yet these people from the mainstream middle class did jack shit to help girls like me and Shannon and MILLIONS like us in any real, material and meaningful way. I still remember when the head of Philly’s vice squad laughed after Shannon was arrested (her arrests began at age 9, mind you), calling her “Shannon the pig with a pussy the size of the Grand Canyon.”