Women working in the sex work industry -- be it pornography, stripping or prostitution -- sit in the cross-hairs of an enduring controversy, surfacing questions surrounding everything from sexuality and health to economics and morality. Is female sex work empowering, enslaving... or a lot more complicated than either?
Because public awareness of these issues has largely centered on the topic as one of international importance, recent outreach campaigns have focused on sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation as issues that that affect neighborhoods across the United States. But is all publicity good publicity?
LinkedIn is under immense pressure to clean up its act when it comes to prostitution on its site. There is a great deal of evidence that it has become a hosting agent for illegal and illicit cyber pimping because of its lucrative client list which provides a cyber brothel for those who enjoy such pleasures or make a profit from it.
The view that prostitution subordinates and victimizes women and girls is not particularly popular, but I have seen it first-hand when I lived on Granville Street in the early 1970's and in Vancouver's west end in the 80's. The image of a "happy hooker" is a Madison Avenue gimmick that has no basis in reality. When my husband, Doug, ran the Vancouver Vice Squad, I saw again the squalor and exploitation of young, addicted woman, both tragic and poignant.