In a fast-forward world, where sex is seen through the lens of taboo, what is the definition of sex work? Well, sex work is the provision of sexual services in exchange for money or goods. A sex worker is nothing but an object of scrutiny for the rest of the world. An element of laughter and a subject of mockery.
Sex work has time and again witnessed degradation, demeanor and, disrespect.
Difference between Choice and Force
People often devalue sex work because they fail to distinguish between, choice and force. A lot of people engage in sex work out of choice. Either in need of money, for some unforeseen familial conditions or to explore their sexuality. It’s a choice-based work. But, digesting the fact that sex work can be choice prone, seems highly difficult for some.
They assume sex work to only be forceful, with young fellows drowning in it without their consent. This is a situation of human trafficking, not sex work. It is of utmost importance to make the division clear.
Human Trafficking involves the use of force or coercion, to obtain labor or any sexual favors. Many young people, especially women, are put into the sex working industry without their happy consent. They can either be abducted, forced, harassed or, gas-lighted to be put into this horrifying industry.
Brothels and third parties aim to earn money by exploiting the bodies of young people and should be duly punished for the same. Though, this in no way implies connecting the dots of human trafficking and sex work. They are not identical.
Lack of Option
Why does a sex worker do this work? This question pops into people’s minds very frequently. There is no absolute answer for why does one opts for this work? In places, where individuals do not have education or job opportunities, where else will they go to feed their hungry stomachs? This is a choice to earn money. It is an option to lead a good life.
Every person has the right to live a life full of dignity. But, people who turn to this work, face a massive amount of backlash. From calling them names to people out-rightly cursing them, they have to see it all. ‘Whore’, ‘slut’, ‘prostitute’, so many other derogatory terms on the list. They are not perpetrators, they are the victims.
A sex worker has to go through the heat of criticism everywhere. They are ousted from the counting of normal people and their rights not cared about. Their living conditions are equivalent to hell. Their unwanted pregnancies, not accounted for. If they become mothers, their children have to go through the same agony.
Having to hear curses at every point in time, they can’t get out of their miserable lives. Once they get into this world of living misery, there is no turning back from it. On top of this, the criminalization of sex work comes as a cherry on the top.
Is sex work a criminal offense?
The stereotypes that revolve around sex work are beyond problematic. Due to this stigma and disgrace, their social, emotional, mental, physical, all sorts of welfare go into the drains. Criminalizing sex work further puts their lives at stake. This not only stops people from coming to avail their services but also leads to a direct violation of their rights.
There are times when they get assaulted, threatened, tortured, but there is no way for them to end this chain of hardship. Criminalizing their jobs will lead to further catastrophic results. It will not just refrain them from getting any alternate employment ahead, but will also lead to their greater stigmatization.
Do they like their job?
While some sex workers do affirm the fact that their job is not as bad as it seems. But, many of them take it to be a necessity rather than a beneficiary. They tend to do this work to feed themselves and their families, and are in constant fear of losing their livelihood.
For them life is just a way full of thorns, not a walk meant for roses.
People are real quick to form judgments about people who employ themselves in sex work and do not consider it to be a job even. Although, it’s time that this profession gets the basic amount of respect it deserves. Sex work is not a misdeed, it is just a choice that individuals make out of no choice.