1. MYTH: Legalizing prostitution would make the sex industry safer for everyone
Studies of countries where prostitution is legal have proven this to be completely false; in fact, legalization increases the illegal sectors and asF Tsociated risks and severely increases trafficking of individuals and children into the country due to the increased demand. Harm continues after legalization because many ohe dangers associated with the sex industry—physical violence, rape, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), psychological effects such as PTSD and depression—are not caused by the illegality of prostitution, but rather have been found to be inherent to the sex industry, legal or not. Individuals in the sex industry themselves are aware that legalization is not the answer: A study from the Netherlands (where prostitution is legal) found that only 3 percent of women in the sex trade thought legalization was a good idea
2. MYTH: Sex workers are usually independent escorts who enjoy their work and are much safer and better paid than other individuals. REALITY
Media coverage that focuses on scandals between public officials and “high-priced escorts” has distorted our view of the sex industry. While these cases get the most attention, the vast majority of the sex industry is not nearly as glamorous. For example, a study found that women in the escort sector face nearly identical rates of rape as those who work on the streets. Additionally they may have to pay a large proportion of any money they make to someone else, such as an escort agency, pimp, or both. In the study mentioned above, 50% of women working as escorts had to give a cut to someone else, and 76.9% of those women reported facing harm at the hands of a pimp if they failed to pay the proper cut. No section of the sex industry is safe from violence and exploitation.
3. MYTH: Buying sex is acceptable as a rite of passage for boys to become men; my uncle/father/older brother took me to my first sex worker when I was younger. It’s a tradition.
Sex work is perpetuated when men are led to believe that it is normal to have sex with a sex worker, majority women. According to a study conducted about sex buyers in Chicago, 29% of the men interviewed had sex for the first time with a sex worker. Of the men who first purchased sex while with others, 17% did so with a male relative. Prostitution is not a rite of passage; it’s an industry that harms individuals and normalises abuse. Teaching young men that individuals, especially women, can be purchased corrupts their ideas of how women should be treated and the nature of sex. There are a thousand ways that you can teach a boy “to be a man” without buying a woman.
4. MYTH: Strip clubs don’t cause as much harm as sex work does because the women are only paid to dance instead of having sex, and they aren’t controlled by pimps.
While individuals, mostly women, in strip clubs are only paid to dance in theory, the reality is usually that patrons, mostly men, attempt to get much more from the dancers. Dancers in strip clubs report that they are constantly propositioned for sex acts since the patrons assume that they’re “up for anything” because of the nature of strip clubs. Dancers also endure constant physical and emotional abuse because some patrons believe they’ve paid to treat the dancers however they’d like. Strip clubs are often the first step on an individual’s path to the sex industry as pimps attempt to enlist dancers to have sex for money as well. Dancers report feeling pressured to have sex with the club patrons in order to garner higher tips. Strip clubs are environments in which individuals are treated as commodities instead of people, and these clubs foster the idea that men don’t need to treat women with respect in order to satisfy their sexual desires.
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