Friday, September 25, 2009

Prostitution profiteers silencing rescuers?

Here's a story that has newspaper and magazine publishers salivating.

A Salvation Army campaign against human trafficking that depicts prostitutes as slaves and victims of brutal violence isn't sitting well with some people here in Lotusland.

The Sally Ann recently launched a campaign called “Truth Isn’t Sexy” with graphic images of women being throttled or having their heads bashed against a sidewalk. The images can be seen around Metro Vancouver on billboards, in public washrooms and on transit shelters.

The Vancouver Sun recently published this article quoting a shill spokeswoman for a group called the Sex Industry Worker Safety Action Group, who claims the campaign is “misleading, debasing to women and nothing short of sensational.”

Hello? What is misleading or sensational about the notion that prostitution is debasing to women? However, vested interests would like us to think it's a viable career choice ... vested interests who profit from debased and demoralized women trapped in the lifestyle.

Of course, those interests would have us believe that most "sex trade workers" do it by choice. According to this article in Macleans magazine, a spokeswoman for another Vancouver-based "prostitution advocacy group" called FIRST said that that "sex trade workers have been hurt by the campaign" and wants the Salvation Army to "draw a greater distinction between victims of trafficking and those who choose to work in the sex trade."

Right. The Salvation Army does a terrible disservice to women by trying to prevent them from making a "career choice" in which they are very likely to end up in a "work" situation like this ... one highly doubtful that anyone would choose willingly.

You'd think that newspapers and magazines might actually run those Salvation Army ads for free as a public service. But on second thought, that's pretty naive. Business is bad for publishers these days. Very bad. Sex sells, and so does controversy ... so it would be out of the question to pass up the opportunity to publish articles containing both components. What could fit the bill better than pitting good people trying to rescue victimized women from the street against self-appointed "representatives" of prostitutes saying they object to the imagery ... and the notion that prostitution is not a desirable career choice for women?

Who has more to lose when women leave the streets, or stay away from them, than pimps and human traffickers... the ultimate capitalist exploiters?

So what are the chances they'd consider bankrolling a few "prostitution advocacy groups" and offering a nice incentive to a few well-spoken "sex trade workers" to be their spokeswomen?

I'd say fair to middling. Because, if you were a sex-trade worker, wouldn't you rather make money by talking to reporter than servicing a creepy john? And if you were a pimp or human trafficker, wouldn't you be willing to make that small investment to protect the revenues that provide your nice cushy lifestyle?

As for the newspapers and magazines, they probably can't afford to pay reporters enough danger pay to do serious investigative journalism into who runs these "prostitution advocacy groups."

So all we can do in the meantime is draw our own conclusions.


Di said...

Hi Pawlina

I have been browsing through your blog site and you did a good job of keeping it up over the years, but why silent since 2009?

Just wondering! Regards, Diane

Pawlina said...

Thanks for your kind words, Diane, and for stopping by!

Many reasons why I've stopped... mainly time. As well, the personal cirmcumstances that drove it have changed (for the better, thankfully).

And I guess also because the issue of human trafficking is no longer obscure, and the good people fighting it are now using the web far better than I ever could have with this blog.

I haven't taken it down precisely because now and again I get comments like yours on past posts.

So perhaps one day I will resume blogging. It doesn't look like human trafficking, whether across the globe or across the street, is going to end anytime soon.

Thanks again for your comment, Diane!

Black Market said...

Those "classified" ads in the back of sports pages are a huge source of revenue for the newspapers. Human trafficking and prostitution subsidies our local news, in a way.

Pawlina said...

Yes, Black Market, you are right of course.

But it's a bit of a cop-out too. It's like tabloid papers saying "Oh if people didn't buy our trash we wouldn't print it."


Someone needs to take a stand, and some responsibility. Taking money from seedy sources is a choice, just as deciding to print garbage rather than quality content is a choice.

Of course if human trafficking advertisers are holding a gun to a publisher's head that's a different story.

Still, I daresay there are more publishers than advertising human traffickers and there is this organization in our part of the world called the Police...

Then again, boys will be boys.

Bloggingbooks said...

Dear thenatashas blog author,

I am hereby contacting you, following a visit of your blog, which I find very appropriate for a publication.

I am an employee of Bloggingbooks publishing house, which is the new publishing brand of the well-established scientific publishing house, known as SVH Verlag. We are currently actively looking for new authors.

Bloggingbooks would like to broaden its publication's portfolio and in this respect, comes my question: would you have any interest in publishing your blog posts into book format?

You will find information about bloggingbooks on our homepage ( The best way to get in touch with me will be per e-mail.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

contact email: m [dot] gorbulea [at] bloggingbooks [dot] de