Prostitution as portrayed in Pretty Woman is just about as far as you can get from the truth. Prostitution is ugly. Most of it is sex trafficking. It's intriguing to read that the movie's script originally was written as a dark, cautionary tale. That, from my perspective as a survivor, gets at the sad reality.
During a recent visit to Lebanon, walking along Hamra Street, I was taken back to my childhood. My father and I meandered down this road en route to my favorite spot. Constantly stopped by friends, eager to talk, it seemed to take forever to reach the Modca Cafe, and the ice cream I so eagerly anticipated.
The NYT series gives a glimpse of how the anti-trafficking message is being put together, with creative uses of both the age-old idea of Indian women being fundamentally oppressed, as well as a newer idea that there is a feminist movement there positioned to resolve sexism, in part by abolishing prostitution.
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?