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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » "sex worker" vs "prostitute"

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Author Topic: "sex worker" vs "prostitute"
Member # 50844

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i'm looking for some resources on the use of the term "sex worker" vs "prostitute."

Posts: 1 | From: Winnipeg, MB | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 50403

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I've read some stuff, but I can't find the actual resources now... [Frown] I can summarize what I remember, though.

There seem to be two main camps: one that holds that all sex work/prostitution is immoral and akin to slavery and exploitative of women etc. (This group tends to use the term prostitute, and say that "sex worker" is a euphemism that hides the harm inherent in selling sex.)

The other group is one where I've noticed more people with an actual background of sex work. They advocate using the term "sex worker" not as a euphemism but to engender more respect, and they tend to see sex workers less as victims and more as people whose rights tend to be exploited in their jobs, and they want to improve the rights of sex workers.

While I'm more inclined to listen to the second camp simply because I'm wary of the sex=immoral attitude so prevalent in society, I think both sides may be focused on slightly different things - the "prostitute" camp on sex trafficking and abuse of poor women, and the "sex worker" camp on the welfare of people who consider it more their job and less slavery. Yet even though the first camp has a point on the grievous harm prostitution does to its victims around the world, I think the term "prostitute" simply has a more negative connotation, and lets people vilify the victims they claim to be trying to protect. "Sex worker" is a more recent term, created to be more neutral, by a sex worker activist:

Hope this helps!

the sharpest lives are the deadliest to lead

Posts: 26 | From: New Mexico | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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