On Saturday, November 25, a completely avoidable tragedy took place. A 38-year old woman killed herself by jumping out the window of a building in Queens, New York. Why? She was a sex worker, and she was about to get arrested by the police.
The New York Daily News published a provocative column about the incident, titled "We Need a #metoo Moment, But For Prostitutes." And for the most part, I agreed with what the author had to say. Prostitution shouldn't be illegal--prohibiting adult sex work makes women more vulnerable to assault and exploitation.
But I wanted to add a couple of points, so I wrote a letter to the editor--and they published it! (I think maybe the last line made them chuckle.)
Professionals and profits
Whangarei, New Zealand: I am the owner of The Bach (rhymes with “catch,”) an ethical escort agency in Whangarei, the northernmost city in New Zealand. I read with interest S.E. Cupp’s Nov. 30 column “Needed: #metoo, for prostitutes” and I’d like to clarify a few points. The World Health Organization endorses the decriminalization of prostitution, not the legalization. These are two separate things. New Zealand is the only country in the world where sex work is decriminalized, meaning it is treated like any other profession and is not unduly regulated. Since the 2003 Prostitution Reform Act, sex workers are empowered to call on the police for help, and officers are able to to assist — whether it’s escorting a client to an ATM to make sure he pays, or by taking a report of sexual harassment or assault. The ladies who work for me are not exploited or exposed to violence. Rather, they are single mothers and young professionals, saving hundreds (and sometimes thousands!) of dollars a week for their future. Does sex work cheapen sex? That’s a matter of opinion. But I’ll tell you what most of my ladies say to me, when they leave work with a smile and a fistful of cash: “I can’t believe I was doing this on Tinder for free!” Antonia Murphy