Prostitutes Are People First

This week we have dealt with news of the violent deaths of five young women who made their living as prostitutes in Ipswich, Suffolk.
The serial killing of sex workers is a problem that returns to haunt us every so often. But unless we are facing the grim reality of a spate of grisly and sadistic murders, society is too ready to pretend the problem does not exist.
The fact is prostitutes are being murdered and violated all the time. A single murder is so commonplace it hardly makes the national news. “Oh well, they’re only prozzers aren’t they, low rent street girls, crack hos?” Their very existance is enough to offend the delicate sensibilities of the morally righteous and so, forced to go below the radar these women (and men) find themselves living outside the protection of the law.
We must remember though, sex workers are people first and prostitutes only through circumstance. Those for whom commercial sex is a voluntary career choice tend to operate at the high end of the market because they are good looking, articulate, well dressed and well mannered. All these things add up to make choices to do with self preservation available to them.
It is harder to see the street girls of Ipswich as people we can warm to. But they are human beings.
Since the eighteenth century, politicians and opinion makers of all flavours have been trading on piety and yet for all their preachy words and moralising pamphlets, drunkenness, drugs and prostitution will not go away. They are linked, the punters are often drunks, the girls are not insatiable nymphs but have been lured into addiction by pimps and dealers so they are virtual slaves. It is high (sorry, no pun intended) time we all stopped being hypocritical about prostitution and drugs and demanded decriminalisation of drug users and of brothels and street sex workers. Then the addicts can get help and not be forced to subject themselves to risk in order to to fund their habit and the more enlightened councils in concert with the police can establish safe zones where girls, freed from the fear of prosecution may operate with some degree of protection.
Unfortunately it always takes the activities of a serial killer to bring this debate into the open. But should five violent deaths be needed to trigger our awareness? If one human being dies alone, in pain and terror because society has failed to protect a vulmerable minority it is one too many.
This time we must make sure “polite society” faces up to the realities of life.

10 thoughts on “Prostitutes Are People First

  1. One of the sad things to be exposed by the media coverage was the fact that some parents of these girls had no idea what their daughter was doing. Whilst some of the clients might be drunks remember there will be plenty of married middle/working class men who went with these girls and will be dreading their families finding out. If those mobile phones are found all hell will break loose in some homes.
    I think drugs should be legalised and I thnk prostitution should be de-criminalised the effect of these actions would surely be an improvement on the current state of affairs.

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    1. The first part of what you say is what I have been thinking all along. If only for the sake of the parents could not the media refer to the murders of five WOMEN rather that of 5 prostitutes?

      I think the laws on both drugs and prostitution need a complete rethink although I would not go down the line of complete decriminalisation of either.

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    2. Working in London at various times I had for several months to walk through the Sheperd Market (in posh Mayfair) and run the gauntlet outside Kings Cross station.
      The Shepherd Market girld were pretty, flirtatious and… tempting (I was never tempted, its not morals more an ego thing)The ladiers of Kings Cross who would do you for the priice of a fix were – well I’m sure some of them could have been nice people in different circumstances, but they were so desperate it was scary.
      People like that need help not persecution.

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  2. i think we have to look at how some of these girls fell into drugs in the first place. i mean the 29yr old was appartently a qualified beauty therapist who just one day took drugs and so ended up having to fund the habit(which is very easy thru selling sex). I have no issues with prostitution, it’s always been there. the issue is in preventative measures against awful drugs like heroin. i don’t know if it’s possible, but really women/men shouldn’t be selling their bodies to destroy them further. that is the saddest thing for me.

    it’s a pity that the whole thing is being highlighted because of the five murders. fortunatley nobody has come out and comdemned then for selling their bodies but how many people are thinking it and probably saying they deserve it if that’s how they live their lives? i just wonder….

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    1. Its a problem I have commented on before, always with sympathy for the people involved. Usually the replies are very mixed with quite a few people saying these girls deserve what they get for chhosing that way of life.

      As if choice had anything to do with it.

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      1. Is it easier to see the typical sycophantic office worker as someone people should warm to? Is it their love of routine, boring obedience, and tireless indifference to developing a personality that so warms us to them?

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      2. Well that’s a very valid point Jennifer.

        Speaking personally as one of life’s mavericks I would probably find it easier to warm to someone on or beyond the fringes of society.
        The truth for most people though is that they warm to people like themselves; boring, safe, indifferent and absolutely ubthreatening.
        Machiavelli isd for a wide audience so on this issue I pitched it to provoke a little guilt in people who only crave that tomorrow will be as safe as yesterday.

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  3. I tell you what has made me really mad, is the fact that the media keeps repeating the fact that they were prostitutes. What the hell does that matter, they are five young women who have lost their lives through the hands of someone else.
    They all have families and friends, so all the media is doing is dragging up the past.
    I know that they have two men in custody for thier murders, so I hope that now they can begin to see the girls for who they were, not what they did. Circumstances had been different, who knows…..

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    1. NHS blog said something similar – all the headlines focus on “prostitutes” or “Sex workers”. barely a mention is made of “women” or – dare I say it – “human beings”.

      I wondered if this would initiate a debate on legalised brothels, and even Ming Campbell tried to kick this off in Parliament . . . unfortunately Tony and all the other sheep MPs were too busy baa-ing about their “regret and sympathy” one after another to actually stop and thing about doing anything practical.

      There’s a lot to be said for the legalised approach – safety, health checks, registration of workers, plus the police know where, by and large, people are going and can keep tabs on regulars if there’s a problem like this again. It’s not as if these don’t exist already either – I used to walk past at least two “massage parlours” in Brimingham on the way to Uni, smack in the middle of Selly oak, no windows, flourescent posters. We all knew what got “massaged” in there.

      However it will never stop people walking the street. For every legalised operation there will be someone with a habit who will offer to undercut the “official” prices for a quickie down an alleyway – and chances are they’ll be in such a state a legal operatuion wouldn’t touch them, either.

      The real solution to prostitution is brute economics – with no demand for a service, there will be no supply. So every time there is a sly headline suggesting that somehow this “degraded class of women” put themselves at risk by their profession . . . the real reason is that there are large groups of men out there who cannot help but act as if they are still rutting primates.

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      1. Yeah, its as simple as changing human nature. Or maybe not, I have believed for a long time that Christian marriage has a lot to do with it. Remove that particular set of taboos and we can move forward maybe.

        Being one of the idle pensioned off (on the scapheap) I get to watch daytime TV at times. The howls of anger when a man admits having an affair are totally hypocritical. Is it worse for him to have a “bit on the side” or to abandon wife and kids and stop suporting them (my son is working in the ruins of the CSA trying to chase down some of these guys.)

        That’s a huge debate waiting to be had of course but I am not up to getting Machiavelli into moral issues just yet, being preoccupied with painful muscles.

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