Re: amibigous solicitation...without money?
Coyote was the leading prostitutes’ rights organization of the time who advocated the repeal of all existing prostitution laws. This group wanted to reconstruct prostitution as a credible service occupation and protect prostitute’s rights as legitimate workers (Overall, 1992). Most problems are related to prohibition of prostitution and the stigma attached to sex and sex work. The COYOTE view is that prostitution should be viewed as work not crime, women who work as prostitutes choose to do so, prostitution is work that people should have the right to choose and should be respected and protected like work in legitimate service occupations (Jenness, 1990). COYOTE made prostitution an issue of work and civil rights, hoping to redefine prostitution as a social problem while empowering prostitutes and legitimizing their work (Overall, 1992).
The counter to COYOTE was WHISPER (Women Hurt in Systems of Prostitution Engaged in Revolt) who gained prominence in the early 1980’s. This group was in complete contrast to COYOTE and believed all prostitutes are victims, no women chose this life, prostitution is an institution created by patriarchy to control and abuse women. WHISPER holds the traditional Feminist views of gender stratification and sex discrimination founded on enforced sexual abuse under a system of male supremacy that is built along a continuum of coercion (Jenness, 1990). Women do not freely choose prostitution. Pimp controlled prostitution is seen equivalent to female sexual slavery. These feminists want to abolish prostitution completely and rescue prostitutes from their inherently powerless position.
For nearly four decade, Nevada has been a haven for legalized prostitution. There is a large debate whether brothels are truly a safer alternative to criminalized prostitution or are they really just a state-sanctioned form of the oppression of women. Brents and Hausbeck’s study of Nevada brothels concludes that legalizing, regulating and decriminalizing prostitution lowers the threat of violence and makes a positive impact.
The Nevada Brothels successfully addressed the three major frames of violence; interpersonal violence against prostitutes, violence against community order and the violence of disease (Brents and Hausbeck, 2005). Strict regulations, preventative practices and safety mechanisms are instituted within the framework of the brothel system to maintain safety and legitimacy. Every financial transaction is monitored and recorded ensuring economic and social viability of transaction. There is a great emphasis on cleanliness and safety, illustrated by an internal intercom system, panic buttons and close surveillance (outside of the sexual act).
Nevada strives to add class to a notoriously back alley transaction. The establishment may choose who to serve and may call on law enforcement using their discretion. If there is any trouble, quick action is taken. The Brothel owners want to maximize profit and safety while maintaining their image as law-abiding, businesses. It is important for these entrepreneurs to foster good relations within their communities so they may maintain their brothel licenses.
The house itself is very secure because of restrictions on movement of the girls and the omniscient surveillance. Employees are routinely screened and must take health tests. Condoms are a prerequisite and help erase the dirty stigma of street prostitution. The overriding theme of these brothels is safety. Safety allows greater profits and allows this unique regulatory system to persist (Brents and Hausbeck, 2005). The controlling nature of the policies are necessary for protection of everyone involved.
Brothels minimize danger and protect the public from disease and violence. Women can break away from the shackles of pimps and continue sex work in a more safe and stable environment. Within the brothel, danger is always present, but brothels offer the safest environment available for women to sell consensual sex acts for money ((Brents and Hausbeck, 2005). The Nevada mantra is safety through regulation and protection by minimizing danger, risk and violence. There is a concerted encouragement of safe sex and minimize the risk of disease transmission. Prostitution is inherently dangerous, but the brothel system minimizes risk, combats violence, contains fear, empowers women and even strengthens communities (Brents and Hausbeck, 2005).
Prostitution is a traditionally deviant issue in our society which is routinely present in our everyday news cycle. The complexity of this issue is illustrated in the fact that within the feminist community there is no clear consensus on how to approach the issue of prostitution. Although we have seen that the feminist viewpoint looks to empower women from a historically oppressive patriarchal social structure, we have also seen there is a counterpoint within the feminist theory. While the prevailing voice of feminism views the deviance of prostitution through a lens of male dominance and female subordination, the other diametrically opposed side denies the deviance of prostitution and instead looks to gain recognition for women in the sex industry. Prostitution has been a staple within our country and a pervasive element of the underbelly of our society, and has only made minimal progress in shedding its ignominious and infamous perception of the majority of our country.
Although prostitution may never become in tune with common societal norms, efforts are being made by groups like COYOTE to give a voice and representation to the sex worker of our time. In addition, even though the “good” girls of WHISPER may view the “bad”, victimized prostitutes as beneath them, WHISPER still looks to assist these women, albeit in a condescending manner. These contrasting groups share the same goal of helping women, but each has a completely different outlook on how to help women in prostitution.
There will be no drastic change in the future of prostitution. Certain moral groups will always view prostitution as inherently deviant and will be against the institution while certain business entrepreneurs will always strive to legitimize the profession. Prostitution will evolve with technology as we have seen on numerous escort services and will thrive as the market dictates. The Nevada model of regulation and safety may prove the most successful way to prevent the ugly and criminal nature of prostitution. They have maintained early success in limiting some of the more deviant factors and behaviors associated with prostitution. The brothel phenomenon in Nevada has challenged the majority perception of prostitution as a deviant institution which only adds to the detriment of society No matter your perspective on the issue, it is clear prostitution will not be going away anytime soon, and the world’s oldest profession will continue to generate money throughout the world.