19 May, 2009

determine force, deception or threats

The UK is looking at a bill that would criminalize the act of buying sex.

Wisdom of Whores points to her favorite part of the bill: Most importantly, only men who buy sex from women who have been “subjected to force, deception or threats” can be nicked.

She later goes on to say that no hard working, freely choosing prostituted woman wants to work alongside someone who has been trafficked and is working against their will. So, by all means, protect those girls but let those who are "there by choice" be consenting adults all they want.

So, here is my question. You are a cop who picks up a woman and her buyer. You have, let's say, two minutes to determine if this woman is selling herself by means of "force, deception or threats." How do you determine that?

Do you just ask her? The basic premise of CSE is the lie that she wants it. She has to be pretend that she is all into the buyer and his vile self regardless of whether or not she wants it. It's a power play between his paying for it (and therefore able to do whatever he wants) and her making him believe he is all big bad daddy man so she doesn't get the crap beat out of her for either a) making a buyer mad or b) not getting her money.

So, if prostitution is all based on the lie of pleasure and wanting to be there and if you ask a woman who is there by force, who has been told she (or her family) will be killed if she talks, has been trained not to trust the cops, has been told how to get through the system in the quickest way possible - if you ask the woman there by force if she chose this life - what is going to tell you?

Exactly what the cop wants to hear, exactly what her pimp has told her to say, exactly what will keep those exploiting her out of trouble: I choose this.

So, again, I ask - how do you determine if she is there through force, deception or threats?

Answer - you can't.

From the BBC: The amendment the Home Secretary has put forward doesn't cover the exploitation of vulnerability which commonly occurs in cases of grooming of women and girls into prostitution and the psychological control that often comes with it.

The bill could also make it harder for law enforcement to prosecute because the duty to prove force, deception or threats rests on them. There are too many chances for convenient deniability and lack of protection and provisions for women who want to get out but feel the current legal system can't protect them.

Why do we always assume the woman wants to be there and make her prove otherwise? Why don't we start from the assumption she doesn't and work our way back? If she is over 18 there isn't much we can do, but give her the resources to help if she can leave, and have those resources available immediately and without condition/question.

Blame should be put on the buyers - because without them there would be no CSE. They should be held more accountable, more to blame, more to shame than the women who are bought to fulfill their sick need. The women should be the ones able to attend a four hour class and have their records expunged, not the men who lie and purchase sex. But instead we continue to pass laws that treat the purchaser as the victim and the prostituted woman as the evil doer. How does that make sense?

Then again, asking people to call their PM and voice support for a bill that decriminalizes prostitution of a minor doesn't make much sense either.