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The True Cost of Prostitution

Category Articles
Date November 28, 2006

In a recent article in The Times a man wrote justifying going to a prostitute. The following letter published on November 9, 2006 pointed out the real cost of prostitution:

Sir, Clare Spurrell is right to focus on the men who pay for sex, but I found it disturbing to read that she might be persuaded that buying sex from a woman in prostitution is acceptable (“Who pays for ‘sex?”, Times2, Nov 7). The average age of a girl entering into prostitution is 13 to 14, but I don’t suppose that Tom or Sam, who in the article, admitted paying for sex, are bothered by that. Isn’t that the point: they pay so as not to care? They also conveniently go abroad for prostituted women where language may provide another barrier to having to acknowledge horrific stories of women trafficked for sexual exploitation.

In the Netherlands, where prostitution is legal, a roaring illegal trade has grown in parallel, with a recent report pointing to widespread sex slavery and abuse of trafficked women. Studies show that those women who are not trafficked, are led into prostitution by abuse and/or poverty and lack of employment opportunity.

The reality of prostitution is not of equal partners to a business transaction entered into with free will. Prostitution is abusive, exploitative, coercive and harmful to women. The same report from the Netherlands (by former women in prostitution) indicates that women regularly have to pay exorbitant fees to legal brothel owners, are often required to live on the premises and are forced into unsafe practices to keep the clients happy.

According to Prostitution Research and Education, 89 percent of women in prostitution state that they want to escape immediately. Even Tom describes the dehumanising effect of prostitution on himself and he isn’t the one being exploited. The Toms and Sams of this world exploit women in prostitution because they have the means and the lack of humanity to do so.

JACQUELINE HUNTS
Director
Equality Now
London
WC2

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