Letter from Prostitution Survivors Regarding Backpage.com Protest

Letter from Prostitution Survivors Regarding Backpage.com Protest

As survivors of prostitution, we stand in solidarity with those boycotting Backpage.com for the following reasons. Some women who identify as prostitutes are also pimps which means they are making a living by selling of other women to men. Female pimps who pose as women in prostitution confuse those who are unfamiliar with the reality of the sex industry and their actions serve to reinforce the myths around prostitution, especially the myth of prostitution as a “career choice” that women freely choose and enjoy engaging in.

SWOP’s protest against our Backpage boycott is like sweatshop owners protesting against those who managed to escape sweatshops. The Sex Worker’s Outreach Project USA (SWOP) was founded by Robyn Few who has pled guilty to promoting interstate prostitution, a charge associated with sex trafficking. This creates a conflict of interest and taints the organization’s ability to advocate for women seeking to escape prostitution. Research shows that almost all prostituted people want to get out immediately. A recent study found that 92% of Native women in prostitution want out now. Based on our personal experiences, conversations with other women in prostitution and research, we believe the women supporting Backpage.com are a small but vocal minority. This does not mean there aren’t well-meaning people within SWOP. But the organization itself is suspect because it is affiliated with other pimp-founded or pimp-dominated groups…

Signed,

Christine Stark
Stella Marr
Cherie Jimenez
Rebecca Mott
FreeIrishWoman
Joy Friedman

7 Responses to Letter from Prostitution Survivors Regarding Backpage.com Protest

  1. I’d like to give my two cents.

    backpage.com offers a service to the public. Woman can choose to offer their service online and meet the client(s) they choose through text message. The alternative is for woman to meet man they don’t know on the corner of a dark street. If 90% or more of woman are in prostitution “only because they don’t have alternative” as it is popular to say, then you should work on giving them alternative. One would think that working for Walmart or McDonald would be a mediocre, but an alternative none the less, the fact that 90% of woman who are in the prostitution business would rather remain in prostitution rather than going to work somewhere else makes it obvious that woman in prostitution for the most part are choosing their career willingly (perhaps we should make minimum wage job illegal? Since woman in prostitution prefer prostitution over them, surely, minimum wage jobs are horrible think controlled by pimp!. To summarize, the USA stands for the United States of America, it is not the USCA, United States of Communism America, please let the girls choose their business and go back to focus on your own life choice. You picked the wrong battle. Pierre

    • The two cents Pierre is offering to express his point of view do not factor in the $90 billion dollars of illegal profits generated from sex trafficking worldwide (International Labour Organization 2014 Report). The realities of violence, sexual harassment, rape and denigration women face in the sex trade every day are irreconcilable with some people’s imagination of prostitution. Prostitution is a cause and consequence of inequality and violence against women and girls. Data shows that the vast majority of prostituted women were sold, coerced or enticed into the sex trade as children. The illusion of “choice” is a graduation gift pimps and traffickers give to their prostituted girls on their 18th birthday and one so many tragically believe. As far the so-called safe and free Backpage site, Attorneys General from 48 states have recognized that Backpage is a hub for sex trafficking; two dozen states have cases that found pimps create the illusion of “free and independent” sale of women and girls. Finally, the dark street corners exist in every fancy hotel room or brothel or “massage parlors.” Once that door opens, the sex-buyer-stranger’s money is a ticket for him to exert power, control, and often violence, over another human being, with impunity. A society that allows women and girls to be sold for sex and profit, is a society that does not truly believe in equality for women.

  2. Pierre:

    You insist on ignoring two critical elements typically present in the transaction you want to believe is a neutral business arrangement between two adults. 1) Many, probably most, of the women prostituting on Backpage.com have controllers who manipulate them for profit, and 2) Most of the prostituting women on backpage.com report experiences of rape and other forms of brutality from sex buyers. They also report early experiences of sexual assault.

    Based on those two realities alone, backpage.com facilitates trafficking and perpetuates abuse and misery…and needs to be stopped.

  3. “There are refusals and disallowances and negations of truth. There are determined and deliberate lies. There is the outright abandonment of reason and every other damn type of wriggling away from reality that the sorrier side of humanity can come up with.” Rachel Moran

    You picked the wrong battle, Pierre. Legions of women and girls exploited in prostitution are uniting to confront your self-serving lies with the truth of their experience. I dare you to listen to what they have to say about you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KaBON6flEc.

  4. Wow! Backstage! and you dear Pierre, this almost sounds like a love fest for women being bought in prostitution – all the care you have for them being able to do their business, all the awful things that could happen if they are not left free to do business. YOU SEE DEAR PIERRE AND BACKSTAGE -prostitution is not about the women at all. In market exchange, commodities, whether it is a box of Tide I purchase in a grocery story or a woman a man buys from your advertising, just have to be there. The ONLY PERSON WHO MATTERS in this commodity exchange, the one you devote your business to is the man who is ready to buy the commodity of a woman’s body to use and abuse as he sees fit. That my dear Pierre constitutes torture and a crime against humanity that you are aiding and abetting.

  5. Many men like you Pierre have said that prostitution is the ‘oldest profession’………whereas it is really the oldest euphemism for paid rape. Nor is prostitution about ‘enlightenment’ on matters of sex and choice but simply maintenance of women’s subordination to male entitlement for sexual access to women.
    Where there is no prostitution market there can be no trafficking.

  6. You missed the chance to make a good point there Pierre, because you recognise that minimum wage jobs are hardly enough to give most families, especially women a dignified standard of living. The trouble however is that instead of advocating for dignified, higher levels of minimum wages, by asking the huge corporations who get massive benefits from the work of low minimum wage workers to raise wages, you advocate the sale of women’s bodies as a way for them to earn decent money. You refuse to recognise that those women go into prostitution for many reasons, which you have obviously refused to even consider, but more PRECISELY because of their need to survive! They don’t “refuse” to leave prostitution because they are “choosing their career willingly” but because “…minimum wage jobs are horrible…” as you recognise and they have no alternative! A country that refuses to protect its most vulnerable citizens and permits the sale of some of its citizens for the sexual and other gratification of some other of its citizens, is not a free, democratic country. I hardly think the US of A wants to be considered an unfree and undemocratic country! You have picked the wrong battle Pierre!

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