Article for the UWEC Spectator
Prostitution vs. Prisoner
“The world’s oldest occupation” is being called into question. Where do you stand? What does it mean to be a prostitute, historically and now? What exactly is prostitution? And who in the world would think that a prostitute is a prisoner?
A prisoner. The “prison” of prostitution is highly debated. It is subjugated to the whims of moral relativism. A fancy term, eh? Prostitution and prostitutes have been religiously condemned by the religious, the ‘morally astute’, and has been embraced by many as a necessity of situation. After all, who’s to say something someone finds right is wrong? Only the self-righteous? Only the fanatics? That is the question.
This age old ‘occupation’ has come to the forefront of my mind, only because I have been forced to rethink how the world has told me to think about prostitution. The paradigm shift has been the result of two years doing basic research on the topic of Human Trafficking, aka Modern Day Slavery. If you don’t know about Modern Day Slavery, look it up; it will blow your mind. Beyond the facts of Human Trafficking lay the strange and ominous ideologies that allow this perverse practice to be a consistent force in the world, at here at home in the U.S. I have come to believe that one of these ideologies can, and most likely has, deeply corrupted our ability to view people in terms beyond the commodity. This may sound Marxist, but I think that politics or critical theory aside we must wonder at the power of sex on an individual. I had grown up thinking and feeling that sex is something that is natural and should not be suppressed, while thinking and feeling that somehow this is wrong. Over the last couple of years have I realized where the problem lies. It was not in that sex should or should not be suppress; the issue was the way in which the natural urges were addressed. I do believe that sex is a vital institution for all people who have ever lived, beyond procreation; there are other reasons why it is so engrained in all cultures of the world.
This month is Women’s History Month. A good month, after all women are amazing, specifically Astri Mikkelson is amazing (my fiancée). This month has been dedicated to women to show that we care deeply for women and the struggles that they have had to face. Admittedly men face struggles too, but history shows well that most months of the year are Men’s History Month. Since this month is supposed to be all about women and the lives they have lead, a group called HTA is doing a forum discussion on the idea of Prostitution vs. Prisoner: a look at the connection between prostitution and human trafficking. There are about 27 million people in a form of modern day slavery today. Of those 27 million, 80% are women and girls. That means there are 21,600,000 females in slavery today; of that number 70% are forced into sex trafficking, which equates to 15,120,000 women who are in sex slavery today. Prostitute or Prisoner? It may have never been a more important question, as it is today, this month, and this year. A month to celebrate women. And this is happening. Whew.
March 15th, HTA will be in the Alumni room at 5:00pm and four wonderful ladies will be giving small presentations followed by an open forum. If you have any questions or comments or insights, for or against prostitution, you are welcome to join us. Don’t worry, I’ll keep my sometimes-overpowering passion for this issue in check and do everything I can to be civil and courteous.