Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Feminism, Sex Workers, and Human Rights/ Priscilla Alexander

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In this essay Alexander confronts the issues that sex workers face. One thing she brings up is the failure for people to see that some people choose this line of work, rather than being forced to.  Alexander also points out that if a prostitute (or someone who may appear to be) is raped the attacker is less likely to be prosecuted. Another interesting point she states is that “Rather than protecting women from forced prostitution, however, laws restricting migration and prohibiting prostitution create the perfect conditions for trafficking to flourish.” Bottom line is that prostitute activists want voluntary sex work to be recognized as a job and for the workers to receive benefits (including safe work environment). And also to reduce the human rights injustices committed against these prostitutes.

One thing that really stuck out for me is the double standards that appear when dealing with sex workers. For instance, in some places then women are forced to undergo health examinations to make sure they aren’t carrying/ passing any sexually transmitted diseases. However, they are not allowed to get health insurance and other benefits that other workers (such as lawyers, teachers, and etc.) are provided. It just goes to show that these examinations aren’t for the health of the prostitute, but for the safety of their clients.

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