NPR published the above article describing the horrors African women, mainly sub-Saharan, face as they flee to to Europe.. These women are generally fleeing patriarchal, sex-based violence only to experience more sex-based violence along the way – and have a high likelihood hood of becoming prostituted in countries such as Spain, the ultimate sex-based violence. Which means a life free from sex-based violence is a pipe dream for these brave women. And they are brave to make these journeys, despite the fact that the journeys often end in violence.
I decided to do a bit more research into the topic and googled the sex trade in Spain. And never was a search so enlightening.
In 2017, an article called “Why Spain’s brothels are filling up with 20-year-old johns” for once, obviously, focused on the johns, i.e. men who believe it is okay to buy women. What is very apparent is that the men aren’t buying women out of loneliness or inability to get other women to have sex with them (a common claim of the “sex work” crowd). According to the article, these men do perfectly fine with women but go ahead and exploit prostituted women anyway. Why? Well, my guess is because they can. They can buy their way out of having to take the time to please a woman sexually while also possibly dealing with complex emotions – while getting exactly what they want sexually. And what’s most important is that they don’t care about whether the women are there “consensually” or not.
Of course, there is no true consent when it comes to prostituted women. Having no economic choices but prostitution is in itself the opposite of a choice; it is coercion. But the sex work lobby claims that prostitution can be safe and empowering for women as long as it is “consensual;” this article counters that claim in that it doesn’t matter regardless, as the johns don’t care. In fact, trafficked women provide exactly what the johns want: a female body they can control and then abandon. Which is the whole POINT of the entire sex industry – indulging male sexual privilege. So of course these men have no interest in the welfare of these prostituted women – AND OF COURSE THEY NEVER WILL! This of course impacts ALL women as these johns take this attitude towards females into the world at large – that women are sex objects better dealt with bought, or that there is a set of women to buy while leaving the others to be treated decently. Either one is obviously harmful to the status of women.
What’s also important is that prostitution has been decriminalized in Spain and pimping deemed illegal. However, buying women is not illegal, and neither is owning a brothel. Legally, the owner just can’t financially gain from the women. Which is bullshit, of course. The idea that someone is going to open a business where prostitutes “gather” and just NOT financially gain anything is absurd.
Not surprisingly, prostitution is Spain is flourishing along with the required human trafficking, and DEMAND is key. The article “The Slave Trade in Spain: Thousands Rescued from Brothels and Sweatshops.” ://www.google.com/amp/s/elpais.com/elpais/2017/04/21/inenglish/1492756977_271906.amp.html sums it up perfectly. And those demanding women include 20-year-old men perfectly capable of creating a consensual relationship with a woman. They just don’t want to. As is pointed out in the second article, sexual mores have loosened – and yet these men still want to buy women. Because it is all about control, specifically sexual control, by men of women – you know, the foundation of patriarchy.
I am not sure how anyone can read the three articles provided and NOT come to the conclusion that prostitution can NEVER be safe or empowering, and that it must be abolished. Well, actually, I do have a theory as to why women go along with the whole “sex work” narrative (it’s obvious why men do). I think that many women, feminist included, just cannot face the brutal reality that is behind prostitution: women are still not considered fully human by men. It is MUCH easier to simply accept the defeat of “there will always be prostitution” and then attempt to control it. This gives them a sense of security and victory, albeit one that is false and misleading, and that is unfortunately throwing women all over the world under the bus. They allow themselves to believe the propaganda that many women enjoy working in brothels. I actually experienced this in a discussion at a wedding with a fellow guest She was from Vegas. She stated that she had friends who were “sex workers” and enjoyed their “job.” She even claimed that Dennis Hoff, that pimp who ran for office in Vegas, runs a legitimate business at which women enjoy working. I wasn’t surprised that she bought into the propaganda rather than face reality.
But we NEED to get people to face reality, and it is sad in this supposedly “woke” era that these three articles are not front page articles. This real, structural oppression should be considered the most heinous of crimes, but it gets buried under the “sex work” propaganda. And, of course, as we learned from #MeToo (if one didn’t already know this), women are objectified and exploited by men on ALL ends of the spectrum.
By the way, Las Vegas is an environmental and capitalist abomination and also needs to be abolished.