Not a Joke — A Tragedy

Earlier this week, there was a televised debate for the candidates for New York’s governorship. Most of the news coverage of the debate centered on the various eccentricities of the minor party candidates.  This was par for the course for a media that scrupulously avoids real issues, and prefers to present politics as a puppet show to entertainment and anesthetize us.

What struck me hard, though, was that one of the minor party candidates, was a woman who used to be a “madam” (i.e., a female pimp), who advocated, among other things, legalizing prostitution.  Now, in some ways it’s a perfect testimony to the debased state of New York politics that an unrepentant pimp can be treated as a semi-serious candidate for governor.  And it would be easy to dismiss her as a joke.

But to me, this is not a joke, and it’s not funny at all.  It’s a disgrace.  There is a movement in the United States and elsewhere to decriminalize prostitution, and a Canadian judge just struck down that entire nation’s anti-prostitution laws.  It seems that the “sex industry” has become a new darling for the politics of sexual “liberation”.

What all this fails to take into account are the horrors of the life of prostitution and human sexual slavery.  A recent article by a psychologist who has worked with prostitutes for fifteen years makes this clear.  (Warning: this article is only for the strong of heart, and there’s some explicit language).

Some of the salient facts:

  • In one study from Holland, where prostitution is legal, 60% of women prostitutes were physically assaulted, 70% were threatened with physical assault, 40% experienced some kind of sexual violence, and 40% had been coerced into prostitution.
  • After legalization in New Zealand, 35% of prostitutes reported having been coerced into the work.
  • 80% of prostitutes in Holland had been trafficked — forced into sexual slavery.  This number had gone up after legalization.
  • In a multi-national study, 68% of prostitutes suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the way they are treated.
  • 90% of women in prostitution report that they want to escape.
  • The dehumanizing impact on the prostitutes is matched by the degrading effect on men who use these children of God for their momentary sexual pleasure.  Studies show that men who frequently use prostitutes are more likely to be aggressive towards other women in their lives.  Virtually every time a man has sex with a prostitute, he is perpetuating a nightmare of rape and trauma.  Obviously, many become infected with sexually transmitted diseases and give them to their unsuspecting spouses.

    Prostitution is a crime that cries out to heaven for protection.  Rather than de-criminalizing it, or treating it as a “choice” or “profession”, we should be calling for rigorous enforcement of law against human sexual slavery and trafficking, and help the prostitutes escape from that life.  Moreover, we should support aggressively prosecuting those who exploit these victims of virtually institutionalized sexual violence — yes, I’m saying that society should arrest and prosecute the men who patronize prostitutes.  Maybe by shaming them and treating them as sexual abusers, we can help to liberate the prostitutes from their life of misery.

    This situation is far from a joke.  Please pray for all those caught in this terrible life.


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