The other day I got the priviledge to be in the same room as sex-workers in East Africa. I had the chance to hear their stories and share in their joys and more so their woes. It was quite an experience for me and I shall live to remember it.
Now, that is not the reason I set out to write this post. I must admit, the first first times I ever thought of sex work I felt like vomiting. I couldnt imagine someone giving themselves to someone else in order to earn a living. I couldnt imagine someone having relations (am using nice terms eh? Hehe!) with like say ten people in one night! Seriously!
But isn’t that the stereotype we’re used to? Isn’t that what we grew up being told that ‘prostitutes’ are? We’ve been told that prostitutes carry all manner of viruses. We’ve been told that they can’t have babies because of all the abortions they’ve had. We’ve been told that they’re loose and can’t hold a relationship. As in, need I say more? Is this true? Aren’t they human beings too? Let me invite you into my way of thinking. Maybe you’ll agree with me. I will take a rights-based approach to addressing this issue. No moral standing whatsoever, but I shall mention my reservations about sex work.
Sex work the way I view it is okay. Not many people would agree with me on that level. But why do I think its okay? Because I believe there is a need, and that need has to be met. I won’t bother you with much details but I shall mention just one example.
Picture a man (stereotypical-I know) who works long hours, doesn’t have the time to find a decent woman to be in a relationship with, or simply doesn’t want to, doesn’t want to go to a bar and struggle getting a one night stand, and is (quite obviously) in need for some sex. Now what does he do? Oh, lest I forget, his relationship with his hand has gone to the dogs so that’s out of question too… atleast for this day/night. So what does he do? “Dial 1-800-U-CAN-DO-ME” flashes through his mind. Its quick and easy and hey, no strings attached!
Don’t forget that this is but one scenario. So there is a man, in need for some quick sex, and who is to offer this service? A sex worker. Simple.
Sex workers are not promiscuous. Okay, not all of them are at least. And in any case, it depends on how you view promiscuity.. but that’s another conversation all together…I digress.. Promiscuity. I don’t think its about promiscuity. Its about the work. Once you try to divorce the sex from the sex work then maybe it may make some sense. What am I saying? Don’t look at it the way you personally view sex. And I mean how sex is for you. If you look at it in a ‘sex-work’ angle, it may make some sense. I know I know, its hard. Its hard to imagine someone engaging in something we hold so dear as sex for money. At least for me it is. But somehow I can understand. I can understand that its possible to divorce emotions from sex. Its possible to have sex with someone and enjoy it-or not-and purely for money. Its possible. Its happened before so its possible.
Its not all about the money. Believe it or not, some sex workers actually enjoy their job much more than you can imagine. They have a wild sex drive and thirst for sex that seems never to end. So why not make money from this thirst? Seems fair, no? Some sex workers really love the job. They like all the sex they can get, and also get money for it! Makes you wonder why you’re doing that job you’re doing for a moment right? Haha!
They deserve to be treated with dignity. Wooow… some people are eyeballing me right now. I didn’t flinch. I meant it. Just because someone is having sex for money (or something similar) doesn’t give anyone the right to judge them. All they ask for, no, demand that is accorded to them, is dignity and respect. We treat them as trash, brandish them as lower than dirt and even go as far as to rape them “to teach them a lesson”. Its cruel and inhuman. We need to stop judging them because it is not in our place. We also need to remove our head from under the sand. I mean, isn’t prostitution claimed to be the oldest profession? And if you think about it critically, haven’t we (who have sex) all given or received sex in return for something at least once in our lives? For love, for companionship, to get rid of that dreadful ‘vaginity’, to make sure we’re not ‘the only one’s who haven’t done it’, and so on and so forth? And then the name, its SEX WORKER, not ‘poko’ or ‘prostitute’ or any other name that might be or is offensive and/or degrading.
Finally, here is what Sex Worker Rights Activists try to tell you:
“WE WANT RIGHTS, NOT RESCUE“
I could go on about this, but I will put my fingers to rest. Tell me what you think. Lets discuss.