Ann Woolrich makes a case against the legalization of prostitution. As someone with serious libertarian leanings I have to admit that her argument is a compelling one.
Long ago, I mean really long ago I knew a few people who worked as escorts and at adult clubs. In every case each had been the victim of sexual abuse as a child. Each member also had drug and alcohol problems that accelerated after taking the jobs. While each had various other mental problems before they started, depression and low self-worth being the most common, things dramatically worsened after their first few weeks.
The changes were startling. I can only describe it from an outsider’s perspective as a complete loss of humanity. Everything and everyone became viewed as commodities. I stopped being a “friend” and became a taxi for when they needed a ride or someone to arrange bail on the outside. Parents became moneylenders, as did friends and family. Drug dealers became best friends.
I witnessed these changes over a very short time – less than a year – but the decisions made during that time by those I knew were irrevocable. I saw enough and realized that I was being sucked into a vortex made worse by my own demons. So I made a phone call in the middle of the night to my mother. After she took my call she leapt into the car and drove 350 miles to pull me to safety. It wasn’t the first time she saved my butt, and it wouldn’t be the last, but it left me forever grateful – and deeply suspicious of arguments for legalizing the sex trade.
I saw firsthand the damage that the “victimless crime” does, and I can assure you that based on what I saw, the crime is far from victimless. Yes the “johns”, the pimps, the adult club owners are not victims – unless you believe that living without a soul makes one a victim because honestly those people do not have one. But the sex workers are victims even though they in most cases choose their path.
I don’t subscribe to the politics of victimization, and I’m a keen believer in personal responsibility. But that does not mean I can live my life without compassion, which is what these people need at the very least.
And former governor Spitzer, father of three daughters, I hope does the honorable thing – and I mean that in the Japanese sense of the term.