Connecting with your opponents

There are many organizations out there focused on prostitution, human trafficking or both. Their views differ quite a lot. Some are fully pro sex workers rights, while others want to abolish prostitution entirely. Some of my coworkers are surprised when I say that I want to be in touch with all of these organizations. If someone asks me: “Even those really horrible ones?” I’ll say: yes, even those ones.

Frequently I end up talking with someone who thinks prostitution should be illegal, or at least visiting sex workers. I still remember some chats I had with the people who think that sex work is just as any other job, but also with those who thinks I shouldn’t have the right to do my job. In some cases it can be quite challenging to not become defensive. Especially when the other person does become defensive him- or herself.

In all the conversations I did try to look for someone’s motive. Why does he or she cares? Is their any pain? Is there any (religious) core belief? Or any related personal experiences? Trying to figure out anything which may affect someone’s view and beliefs on prostitution. When succeeding, especially when we respect each other, I have the most interesting conversations. It keeps me critical on my own views, but I also find out what we both have in common. Usually both me and the other person are quite passionate about our goals. And for the people I see more often, I would lie if I say I wouldn’t love anyone of them – despite their different views.

To the people who wants to see prostitution to be abolished I ask: what do you think you would achieve by doing so? For the group sex workers who likes this job it doesn’t seems to be a good idea at all. But let’s focus on a different group: those who rather do a different kind of job. Perhaps they have a long history of abuse and neglect or a history of sex trafficking. Or they may have a transgender background and therefore some of them don’t get accepted by society. What would abolition of sex work do any good to them? Yes, it may give a moral sign -that we wouldn’t want this in our country- if that’s your goal. But I’m afraid that many prostitutes would end up much worse. Maybe they become homeless, without a job or a job they dislike even more. And if they have better alternatives, why wouldn’t they make use of that now already?

As a prostitute myself, I don’t really love my job. I sometimes do have fun moments with my clients, but most of the days are not that much of fun. But at the other hand, it’s by far not the most worse job I can imagine. So I never got convinced that abolition of prostitution would be helpful to me or my coworkers. However, I’m always willing to listen to new arguments. And I hope other people will do that as well.

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