An explanation of prostitutes have been treated and how that treatment has affected them and what could we as a society do to make it better.
Sex work has been around since 2400 BCE and is still being continued in the year 2022. As the decades go by, we see an increase in the number of people that go into this field, not just women but men as well. But as the profession gains popularity we also see that these people are being treated as less than others. With all this, there is a rise in misinformation about what sex workers do as well as the way they go about their lifestyles. People often have a lot to say about sex workers and never seriously consider how they are feeling about any of the lifestyle choices they had to make. This brings me to ask the question of how sex workers feel about the lifestyle they chose and how are they really being treated.
Being a sex worker is one of the hardest things not only does it comes with judgments, but it also comes with restrictions, there are laws in place that completely determine how you go about your job and if your line of work is even legal, to begin with. The PONY organization specifically known as Prostitutes of New York used their organization as a voice for prostitutes all over the world. The organization was created to talk about the changes they would like implemented when it comes to prostitution laws, the sex industry, and sex work in society.1 These members were the first to step up and take full action while making sure they are being treated as human beings because the government and society did not really care much for them, and this was all due to the profession they chose to be occupied with. With the spread of misinformation that sex workers were more prone to having STDs PONY members Vanessa Andressa and Tracy Quan decided to hold a PONYGRAM where they talked about the importance of aids and even passed out free condoms, “love for sale a response to popular myths concerning prostitute and AIDS. recognizing that sex worker often keep their profession a secret.”2 Prostitutes had to go around lying about who they were and what they did so people did not make these false assumptions about them. Their safety was another huge thing, homicides involving sex workers were starting to become a trend. Studies showed that around 2006-2007 the homicide rate especially in the UK for prostitutes was higher than what was expected, “Standardized mortality rates for sex workers are six times those seen in the general population (18 for murder), the highest for any group of women.”3 These women were dying because of their line of work even though the homicide rate for women was already high they were dying specifically because of their job. The way these women are treated is inhumane and they deserve to be heard and seen as the human beings they are.
The images above taken by Chris Arnade for his “faces of addiction” series highlight some of the most famous prostitutes of New York, these women have always been looked down on for the occupation they chose especially since most of them were mothers. The interviewer stated she knew no one cared about how these women felt and she felt it was her duty to get their input on the lifestyle they chose and why they chose this lifestyle because at the end of the day they are humans, and they have feelings just like everyone else no matter their profession.
To give some intel on what was said, Vanessa pictured in the top left corner stated she got into heroin after she lost her children to the system. Prior to that, Vanessa was married to an abusive man with whom she had three children. After losing her children she had no hopes which pushed her into doing more drugs and to pay for those drugs she got into prostitution.4 These are the stories we never hear, we never hear about how these women get into the lifestyle they are in now we never hear about the women before prostitution, and it is particularly important to know what led these people to many of the decisions they made instead of looking down on these choices we should uplift these beautiful women for going outside the norm and not being ashamed of the profession they chose no matter how many people try to dim the light they have.