Interview: Sex work in France

What attitude should we take to sex work? One approach is that of the “Nordic model” which criminalises those who buy sex, very largely men, rather than those who sell it, most of whom are women. Sex workers, however, object that the rhetoric behind such laws about improving the social position of women doesn’t match the reality. In practice, they make life worse for women who sell sex. Colin Wilson spoke to Thierry Schaffauser, a sex worker activist based in Paris.


What changes has the new law made? Is it the case now that sex work is no longer a crime?

Basically, the national soliciting law has been replaced in the new law by the criminalisation of clients – but many laws still criminalise sex work. Street sex work is controlled by many local laws, often adopted even by politicians who want to abolish sex work altogether and claim that sex workers are victims who shouldn’t be criminalised. In some places, there are local laws which take away our vehicles – in one North French town there’s a law against indecent clothing.

Procurement laws criminalise indoor sex work or brothel keeping, so that we can’t share the same workplace – which many women prefer to do, so as to be safe. Helping each other or any act of solidarity is banned as promotion or facilitating of prostitution. We cannot advertise our services and our landlords are regarded as pimps, which means we end up having to pay higher rents in the underground market. The new law also plans to ban access to websites based abroad – so far, only national websites could be banned. Of course undocumented migrants are still at risk of being arrested and deported. So it is not correct to say that sex workers are no longer criminalised in France.

What is the government’s goal? Does it aim to eradicate sex work entirely?

Initially the women’s rights minister talked about eradication. Now they talk about “abolition” – to make this campaign, which is about prohibition, seem a progressive struggle, like the abolition of slavery or of the death penalty. They are not that naive and know perfectly that we will still exist, but they say that their aim is for the law to send a message, to establish a norm – that prostitution is bad, and that it is bad to buy sex.

The unofficial aim, I think, is to push sex workers into hidden places, so street sex work becomes less visible. That way they can better gentrify the streets and help housing businesses and landlords to speculate. There are also racist aims in the background. The women’s rights minister said that France was not a welcoming land for prostitution, implying that migrant women should not come to France for sex work. They say that all migrant sex workers are victims of trafficking so as to justify what they call “rescue operations”. In fact, these are the usual police raids arresting migrants, who end up deported most of the time.

It’s ironic. Officially all migrants are victims, but when they are real victims of trafficking they have to prove it to get a 6 months residency permit. The new law changed the conditions to get this permit. Victims no longer have to denounce a trafficker, but they have to quit sex work. I think it makes getting the permit more complicated, because most of the sex workers involved can’t find a job within such a short period. They don’t speak French and don’t know anyone who will give them work. We demand documents for all migrants – especially for those who have been victims of trafficking. The right to stay shouldn’t depend on leaving sex work.

How will the new law affect sex workers, for example those working on the street or those meeting clients through websites?

Our main fear is more precarious working conditions. If we have fewer clients it means we earn less money. It creates a power dynamic in favour of the clients, because we will have to accept those we refused before. It means more exploitation. I know many Chinese sex workers in Paris in particular who have already accepted that pimps organise their work to meet clients more discretely in exchange for a percentage of their income. We notice that clients who contact us on the phone have already started hiding their numbers. Escorts used to demand that clients give their phone numbers so they could trace them in case of a problem. This is no longer possible and things are less secure. It is more and more difficult to negotiate and impose our conditions. The law aims at punishing clients, but it actually gives them more power. They risk a fine, but we lose our livelihood.

When laws of this kind were originally passed in Sweden, the government justified them by saying that sex work demeaned women. Has the French government made the same arguments?

Yes, of course. They speak only about women, they erase other sex workers. They present the ban as a feminist law to hide their lack of a real feminist programme. At the same time, they are passing a new law against workers’ rights. It makes all workers more precarious, and actually pushes women into sex work by increasing poverty. The government refuses to give documents to migrants or to allow trans people to change their ID. Then they tell sex workers we should do a “real job”. I find it very hypocritical to talk about human dignity when they don’t have to do the jobs young people and working class people have to do.

The Swedish government didn’t consider the effect of such a ban on the lives of the women most directly affected, women who sell sex. Has the French government taken those issues into account?

No, the French authorities have refused to look at the evidence. France is a very ideological country. It’s not like in the UK where evidence matters a little when politicians make laws. In France, they don’t care about that – they already know the truth about everything. They pretend that 97% of sex workers are victims of trafficking, when research showed the figure is about 7%. 98% of sex workers oppose clients’ criminalisation but the government claim it’s there to protect us. UNAIDS, Amnesty International, the World Health Organisation, all the HIV/AIDS organisations, le Planning Familial and Médecins du Monde – all these organisations were ignored. They listened only to some state-funded feminist groups very close to the government, and to the Catholic rescue organisation Mouvement du Nid. France loves to say it’s a secular country when it’s about stigmatising Muslims, but on sex work they don’t mind funding and supporting Christian groups.

Sex workers are concerned the law will make their work more dangerous. Is the government going to monitor what effect the law has? Does it take those claims seriously?

An amendment was suggested by a Green MP to have an independent academic review of the law but it was rejected. They don’t care about the impact of the law on sex workers. The aim of the law is not to improve sex workers’ conditions but to attack prostitution.

The law was brought in by a government which calls itself socialist but is attacking workers. Is there any opposition to the law inside the Socialist Party? What are the positions of other left parties like the Communists or the NPA (the New Anti-Capitalist Party), and of feminist and queer organisations?

Most of the French left is terrible on the issue of sex work. Only the Green Party, Ensemble, NPA and the PRG oppose the criminalisation of clients. The Left Party and Communist Party take the same position as the government.

We have a problem in France with acceptance of the French state, what people call the “universalist republic”. The left thinks that France created “the rights of man”. We gave the Enlightenment to the world with the Revolution. We forget about our colonial past which was also legitimised by the idea of “spreading civilisation”. So the left is just educating the people about what kind of sex is acceptable – like the socialist women’s rights minister telling Muslim women who wear a headscarf that they are alienated like “American negroes who defended their own slavery”. She said that and Jean-Luc Mélenchon supported her. In France officially nobody is racist except Le Pen. We are all equals, and minority groups who organise for their rights are accused of being “communitarian” – divisive, only concerned for our own group.

The feminist movement is divided but in the media we hear only mainstream feminist organisations close to the government. Queer groups are much more in favour of sex workers’ rights.

How well organised are sex workers in France? Are sex workers unionised? Have you been able to organise protests, get your voices in the media and so on? Have you been involved in the nuits debouts protests or the marches?

We have a trade union called STRASS. We have about 500 members, including members in all the big cities. We have staged lots of protests, done media interviews and written petitions and articles. People know about us, but many continue to libel us by saying we’re a “pimp lobby” to invalidate what we say. We are currently taking part in nuits debouts in Paris and Toulouse, as well as all the demonstrations against the new law against workers’ rights.

Is there anything else you want to say?

I hope Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister and decriminalises sex work in the UK, as he said he would last month. It could be an example to the world.

Sex workers are part of the working class – every time there’s a revolution, sex workers are part of it. Prohibition only hides problems. There are many issues with the sex industries, but it is only through labour rights and trade union organising that we will collectively be able to reduce exploitation, forced labour, violence and so on. I believe that the emancipation of the sex workers will be the task of sex workers themselves. We don’t need the police or the Christians to rehabilitate us. We want labour rights, not pity.


  1. I am intrigued as to who exactly appointed Jake as the spokesperson of “decent hard working people”. It’s a wonderful Catch-22 phrase. If I disagree with Jake than I can be dismissed as either not decent (“pervert”) or not hard working (“idler”). So “people want jobs, not gender fluidity”. Again it’s a bit presumptuous to claim to know what “people” (a very broad and diverse category) want. A great many decent hard working people happen to be gay – they may well want gay rights as well as jobs. A hundred years ago striking American textile workers declared they wanted bread – and roses too. Maybe quite a lot of “people” would like jobs – and gender fluidity too.

  2. Hi RayB

    you have an unfortunate tendency to accuse people who disagree with you of being Tory/UKIP. I’m neither comrade. I support Corbyn Labour.

    you are also wrong. There are those on the left, such as the French Communist Party – according to this article itself, that oppose legalization of prostitution.

    I don’t know about the ‘hypocritical rhetoric of family values’.
    what about the hypocritical rhetoric of legalizing prostitution, pretending that exploitation is progress?

    You need to realize that the majority of decent hard working people don’t care much about gender fluidity, gay marriage equality, and legalizing prostitution. these things are ultra leftist.

    people want jobs, not gender fluidity.

  3. Criminalising prostitution and the hypocritical rhetoric of family values are both the preserve of the Tory and UKIP right and have nothing to do with ending women’s oppression. Socialists have never supported such reactionary nonsense. As for capitalists making money out of objectifying women – it’s already legal. The solution is to get rid of the capitalist system that causes this, not punish women by prosecuting them.

  4. Hi RayB

    OK, i;ll say it openly. I suspect that the capitalists want to legalise prostitution, they are pushing for it, hence the support for it by the Economist, articles in the Guardian etc. I suspect that you and others like you are there to give it a left cover, paint it as progressive, but in reality it is being pushed/ supported by the wealthy capitalists for their filthy profit. Whether this is done knowingly or unknowingly by you and people like you, I’m not sure. You may simply be a ‘useful idiot’.

    Who is witch hunting women who sell sex? not me. The sex trade is a great evil, and it is not ever challenged by the left. This is what should be challenged, not women who are trapped and victimised by it. the pimps, the traffikers, etc are the criminals, not the women who are forced to do this kind of work.

    You have nothing apart from ultra left rhetoric and calling any body who disagrees with you ‘reactionary’

    the family is the building bloc of a healthy society, and a good family makes for good individuals. Its not a surprise that jails are full of people from bad/broken/dysfunctional family backgrounds. .

    prostitution is not a viable profession, and is not one I could seriously tell any female i geniunely cared about ie sister, girlfriend, close female friends etc to go into as though it was a viable profession.

    I suspect you do not care much about real people but have simply got your head filled up with ultra left rhetoric.
    imagine telling our Muslim allies and friends about legalising prostitution. Sure it;ll get you a lot of support.

  5. Jake, unless you specify what you mean by generalisations such as, “pro family”, “workers demands” and “proletarian morality”, it’s impossible to debate specific points. If you’re claiming that workers, due to their alleged pro family and proletarian morality, demand the criminalisation of prostitution then not only are you wrong about who instigates this moral witch hunt – sections of the ruling class, hand in hand with the right-wing media – but also about the interests of workers who do not benefit from the divisive effect such criminalisation will have on their communities and personal lives.
    There have been numerous posts in this thread that address, in detail, the points you’ve made so unless you respond to them with a coherent counter-argument instead of repeating the same vague reactionary generalisations then you convince no one.

  6. you say “the ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class and not the ideas of workers”
    maybe so, but it doesn’t follow from that that legalization of prostitution is a workers demand. its not. lets stop pretending it is.

    I don’t see the family as a bad thing in itself per se. one can be pro family and not demonize anybody.

  7. You invented the term “proletarian morality” not me. I pointed out that, in capitalism, the ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class and not the ideas of workers. Consequently, hypocritical moralistic values are promoted by our rulers which includes the Tories to divide and oppress. Nothing highlights this hypocrisy more than the current demonizing of Helen Wood by the media and establishment for naming a well known actor who paid for sex with her. They accuse her of ruining the sanctity of this actors family life. Perpetuating this hypocritical and abusive witch hunting of women who sell sex is exactly the opposite of helping them. This case highlights the complete hypocrisy of so-called “family values” and of the media and establishment who peddle this nonsense while at the same time portraying women as objects. The same arguments about “family values” and morality were and still are used to discriminate against and demonize gay people or anyone who allegedly doesn’t fit into this reactionary vision of the family. So if you want to fight against prejudice and defend victims of it then please don’t perpetuate it.

  8. Hi RayB

    you still haven’t told me what is proletarian morality. i suspect it doesn’t exist.

    as the economist wants to legalize sex work, i assume they represent the ruling class, so it seems that both a section of the ruling class and a section of the left want to legalize sex work. as such, it doesn’t break down into this bourgeois/proletarian distinction that you want to say it does. like the EU, there are left and right arguments on both sides.

    as i see it, legalising sex work increases women being seen as objects, things to be bought and sold.

    prostitution should never be made acceptable. women who take part in it are victims and need help, while pimps and the like should be locked up for a long time.

  9. The ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class and, regarding prostitution Jake, you are perpetuating one particular moralistic version of that ideology. If you believe that women should be shamed and discriminated against for selling sex then that is exactly the hypocritical Victorian morality that still dominates the Tory party. As socialists, we start from the position of defending the oppressed which includes women who sell sex. We question why women are objectified by men to such an extent that they are viewed as objects for sexual gratification and then hypocritically condemned for selling sex. In a sexist capitalist society where social life is increasingly commodified it’s little wonder that women are viewed in this way.
    If we compare the potential earnings from working in Tesco for long hours below minimum wage and selling sex it’s not difficult to understand why, in the example you gave, a student might consider selling sex. This raises the question why, in a society that’s alleged to protect the rights of women, a student should still be forced to make those kinds of decisions? Until we have a society where women achieve equality of access to education and work that allows them to live independently without having to make such choices then women will continue to be objectified.
    You have the choice, Jake, of joining in with the chorus of Tory bigots who persecute and prosecute women who sell sex or joining those of us fighting for a socialist alternative where sexism and the objectification of women is no longer acceptable. We support those fighting for reforms that protect people selling sex and that also offer women real alternatives to student debt and low paid work.

  10. i don’t think there is anything like ‘bourgeois morality’ which i’m allegedly upholding.

    prostitution is morally wrong, it corrupts and has a corrupting influence. for instance, what about a woman, say a student who is short of money, and does sex work to pay the bills and get thru university. do you think that she would tell her parents, friends, potential boyfriend etc about her work? do you think they will all accept it as a viable form of work, just like working in Tesco? or will she be forced to lie because it is not really possible to tell people ‘ i’m a whore and proud of it’.

    there is no ‘bourgeois morality’, and people who use this term can never really define what is ‘proletarian morality’.
    please tell me what is bourgeois morality and the difference between bourgeois morality and proletarian morality?

  11. One other related point is that, as a postal worker, a woman is judged on her abilities and skills while carrying out that work but as a prostitute she is judged entirely on her appearance as defined ideologically by a sexist society. Therefore I think the liberatory potential of women’s involvement n the workplace is dependent on equal treatment with men rather than essentialising their gender as a commodity defined by the market. The rise of neoliberalism with the development of the concept of prostitution as an apolitical career choice is no coincidence I believe.

  12. I didn’t claim that only desperate people engage in sex work but that the commodification of sex and the objectification of women is intrinsic to it regardless of what Thierry or other people engaged in it believe. For socialists, it’s not a critique based on bourgeoisie morality as Jake claims but on the objectification of women’s bodies. We are fighting for women’s equality and surely that includes ending their objectification? The vast majority of prostitutes are women for this very reason. If men were objectified in the same way as women then in the example I gave above it would be the male partner sent out to sell sex for drugs but in 99% of cases it’s not. Rather than normalising the objectification of women we argue against this and for alternative options for women. The example you gave of a women becoming a prostitute because she was abused by her employer begs the question of how do we change a system where such abuse is allowed to exist? Whether or not some women enjoy sex work or find it palatable compared to other work isn’t the point I’m making.

  13. It’s clear that some people do sex work because they are in desperate situations or are coerced. The five women killed in Ipswich in 2006, for example, were selling sex in the street, one of the most dangerous forms of sex work, because they needed to find money to pay for drugs. I’ve no reason to question your claim that there are vulnerable young people who trade sex for food, shelter and so on.

    But if we’re to develop a sound political response to sex work we need to base that on a good understanding of what sex work is like. That has to be based on public and verifiable facts, not individual anecdotes told by an anonymous person – to what extent is what you describe typical? For example, on the home page of the Guardian at the moment there’s the story that Romanian sex workers, supported by the English Collective of Prostitutes, are challenging their deportation from Britain. People fighting back against the immigration authorities don’t sound like the coerced and desperate people you describe. On the ECP website we find statements from sex workers: one comments that “I was fed up of being a cleaner, bar maid and shop assistant, often all on the same day. Prostitution is certainly not the worst job I have ever had.”

    Such statements – that, given a choice between prostitution and other low-paid work, some people choose sex work – seem to reflect the historical reality. Historian Judith Walkowitz writes of sex workers in Victorian Plymouth and Southampton that “When the ships came in, a prostitute, even a sailor’s woman, could easily earn the weekly wages of a respectable working woman in a day. Prostitutes had a room of their own; they dressed better; they had spending money and access to the pub, the principal facility in the working-class neighbourhood…” This isn’t to glamorise prostitution – Walkowitz, in her book “Prostitution and Victorian Society”, argues that pay for a woman selling sex was no better than that for an unskilled male worker – but it is to say that it can be a choice, if people have few choices.

    Many women in the developing world seem to have similar experiences. The book “Policing Pleasure” (eds. Dewey and Kelly, NY Uni Press) describes sex work in a town in NE China and tells among others the story of a Chinese woman who, working as a live-in maid, was raped several times by her employer: she found sex work preferable. Tiantian Zheng writes that “Despite their uneasy relationship with criminal elements, many rural migrant women quickly find that hostessing provides a lucrative income, independence and self-esteem.” Pay can be high. “Hostesses typically entertain a customer for one to two hours and earn an average tip of 200 to 400 yuan (US $25-$40), at least the equivalent of, but often more than, other rural migrants’ monthly wage and almost half the average monthly wage of an urban worker.”

    This, then, is the debate I mentioned above: to what extent is sex work like other work, to what extent is it different? You claim is that only desperate people do sex work. That seems to be part of the picture but not all of it. After all, a Swansea University survey last March found that 1 in 20 students had done sex work. For many people, it seems to be just another form of low-paid and insecure work. Of course, we oppose low-paid and insecure work. We want people to have well-paid and fulfilling work. But it doesn’t help us fight for those things if we make sex work out to be more different from other work than it is.

  14. Continuing the anecdotes, I also worked as a drugs worker for many years with men and women, some of whom were selling sex to fund their drug use. They were often also funding the drug use of a partner who, let’s be generous, “coerced” them into going out in all weathers, regardless of what condition they were in, to maintain the supply of drugs. Very often there was a history of domestic violence in these relationships. Some of the women claimed that it was their choice to remain in these relationships so coercion is not always acknowledged even by those experiencing it. During my time as a drugs worker I did not meet any drug users whose partners coerced them into working for the post office.

  15. You claim, “…Thierry Schaffauser hasn’t sold his body: he still has it. What he has sold is the use of his body, his labour power, and this is really no different from the way that bus drivers or postal workers sell their labour power.” And then, “I’m not suggesting that the experience of sex work is similar to that of working in an office,” Nice swerve there! You ignore the central objection I made which is that prostitution is based on the objectification of women and the commodification of sex which is not something socialists argue contributes to women’s liberation. Whether Thierry personally chooses to sell sex is entirely his business and he should not be discriminated against because of his choice but that’s an entirely different matter to claiming that his lifestyle offers a socialist analysis of prostitution.

    You challenge me to provide evidence that those selling sex aren’t coerced into exchanging sex for money (when I worked for Streetwise Youth in the late 90’s many of the stories told by vulnerable young working class men selling sex were about coercive relationships with clients) but provide no evidence yourself that this is not the case. It is not unknown for vulnerable gay men to feel obliged to have sex in lieu of a bed for the night or for a hot meal. Anyone who has worked with vulnerable young LGBT’s will tell you this. That is just the tip of the iceberg beneath which is also hidden the experience and opinions of working class women who are rarely heard in this debate. There is no contradiction in fighting for the decriminalisation of prostitution and also arguing that it objectifies women.

  16. The only real point here is the claim that most sex workers are coerced into sex work. Thierry, who has organised sex workers in both France and the UK, argues that this is not the case. Claims are made on both sides. If Ray has evidence for his assertion that most sex workers are coerced, let’s hear it.

    The rest of Ray’s response is back to arguing against things I never said. I’m not suggesting that the experience of sex work is similar to that of working in an office, simply that what sex workers do is best considered as work. I’m not promoting sex work as a career choice for anybody.

  17. My comment referred to the issue of morality raised by Jake and not the content of the interview, some of which I agree with. Concerning my comments about involving ALL women who sell sex in the struggle against oppression this referred to working class women who are all too often excluded from the debate about prostitution.

    While Colin is correct that certain people may choose to sell sex as a profession this is not the case for the majority of working class women around the world who, offered no alternative, are coerced or forced into this activity to survive. This brings me to the second point, the objectification of women is at the core of prostitution. I completely reject the argument implied by Colin that sucking cock (such streetwise language!) is no different to working in an office. If anyone bothered to ask, I suspect a working class woman who is subjected to a succession of unsavory cocks just to meet the electricity bill might have a different opinion. Surely, as socialists, we should be fighting for the right of women to work where they are not objects of sexual gratification for men? Fighting discrimination against people selling sex is important but promoting it as a career choice for women does not help the struggle for women’s liberation.

  18. Sex work is a difficult and complex topic, and one where we’ll need a lot more thinking and discussion to come to a satisfactory answer. So I’m glad that RayB of the SWP is engaging in debate. The SWP has acknowledged that there is a debate to be had about sex work, including articles from various different perspectives in the ISJ, its journal.

    I’m less than happy, though, with what Ray actually has to say. For example, consider his comment that “The fight for women’s liberation will only be won if this includes ALL women regardless of their class and what they do for a living.” Now, this isn’t true, and Ray knows it isn’t. Women will never be liberated by a struggle involving women of all classes, because women of the ruling class aren’t going to join in any such movement for radical change. Here the SWP and I agree. So why does Ray write that a cross-class alliance can liberate women? You can only conclude that he makes such a mistake out of carelessness. He doesn’t feel the need to actually engage with the content of the interview. It’s simply the occasion for rehearsing a few well-worn pieties, like a Catholic reciting Latin prayers to ward off the devil – if he doesn’t understand what they mean, or she gets the words slightly wrong, where’s the harm?

    If we’re to take these issues seriously, we can’t proceed in that way. We can’t make up what someone else has said because we have an easy counter-argument up our sleeve – Ray states, for example, that “selling sex is not liberatory” but neither Thierry nor I suggested that it was.

    Instead, let me highlight two questions about which it would be useful to have a genuine discussion. The first is about the nature of sex work – is it like other work or different? Ray writes that a sex worker “sells their body”. But Thierry Schaffauser hasn’t sold his body: he still has it. What he has sold is the use of his body, his labour power, and this is really no different from the way that bus drivers or postal workers sell their labour power. Driving a bus or sucking a cock are different kinds of work, but they are both work done with the body. Because they are comparable as work, some people choosing between different kinds of low-paid and insecure work will decide that they are best off doing sex work.

    Finally, the difficult issue, it seems to me, is that socialists must defend the right of sex workers to sell sex, or else we side with the state against members of our class. But the sex industry does also rely on the objectification of women. A concrete example: a female rs21 member told me that she was made uneasy by the presence of postcards for sex workers on street furniture because they included portrayals of women as objects – and because women are often subjected to harassment in the street which also treats them as objects, the cards made her feel less safe. Both of these sides to sex work are referred to in what Ray writes, but they are contradictory: how is this contradiction to be resolved?

    We need to discuss such issues regarding sex work, and the voices of sex workers need to be heard in that discussion. This piece is part of that process, and I’m happy to stand by it. If Ray actually wants to take part in such a debate, he is welcome. But, frankly, his incoherent comments don’t convince me that genuine debate is on his agenda.

  19. Jake, what is morally corrupting is a capitalist system that compels women (and sometimes men or transgender people of all sexual orientations) to sell their bodies for sexual gratification to mainly men (but sometimes women or transgender people of all sexual orientations). The people who sell sex are not responsible for this system. They act in accordance with the logic of the market when, for various reasons – often out of their control and not of their own choosing, the only commodity they can sell to survive is their body.
    The first step in challenging the capitalist system that commodifies sex and objectifies women is to defend the oppressed who, regardless of the reason, sell their bodies to survive. Their safety and protection is paramount but that doesn’t mean that socialists defend the commodification of sex or the objectification of women. It’s important to clarify that prostitution is a class issue and an issue of women’s liberation because at its core is the objectification of women and it predominately involves unorganised working class women. The fight for women’s liberation will only be won if this includes ALL women regardless of their class and what they do for a living. Criminalising those involved in prostitution or the clients who pay for sex will, as this article explains, put them at greater risk.
    On the other hand, selling sex is not liberatory in the way that equality for women in the workplace offers women greater independence and challenges the objectification of women. This isn’t an issue of bourgeois morality (full of its own hypocrisy) but one of the involvement of women in the workplace in the fight against capitalism, the cause of oppression.

  20. prostitution is morally corrupting, and should not be normalized in any way. it is morally wrong, and should not be made legal and made acceptable. the capitalists will benefit from it while socialists like yourself give it a progressive left wing cover.

  21. Jake – but socialists can’t just say “if the Economist is for something, we have to be against it.” If all sex work were criminalised, that would mean sex workers being harassed by cops and presumably some of them would be imprisoned. That wouldn’t benefit anyone.

    People do different kinds of sex work – selling sex in the street or in brothels, phone lines, acting in videos, stripping, topless dancing and so on. Some of the work is dangerous, some is not. The laws vary from place to place, and quite often are contradictory or confusing. So we have to start by understanding the complex realities of sex work – and hearing the voices of sex workers is part of that – before we start proposing ways to change and improve things.

  22. So we have socialists who fight against workers’ rights, and feminists who fight against women’s rights. Well, it’s pretty normal for people to get corrupted by power. I guess, it’s time for both socialists and feminists to cut off their own heads, and grow new, fresh ones. But this time, they should accept corruption as a natural development that will occur sooner or later, and prepare to deal with that.


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