Safety for Sex Workers Must Be Paramount
Sex booths at an airport in Germany? CNN‘s Matthew Robinson writes, “Drive-in sex booths [have been] proposed for Berlin’s historic Tempelhof airport.”
Any proposal to modify the conditions of work in prostitution must make the safety of the sex workers its number one concern. The concept of creating “sex-work cubicles” at Berlin’s disused Tempelhof Airport is a sound one, in that it tries to give street-working the same employment conditions as escorting.
Improving Safety for Prostitutes
Here’s the deal: No form of prostitution is absolutely safe, because you’re dealing with unknown, potentially violent men.
But escorts receive their clients at home or make out-calls. And visiting the guy at home improves safety, because if he tries anything, the cops know where he lives and can nail him. In any event, you, as an escort, are not on the street, so you are much safer. The street can be incredibly dangerous.
These proposed sex-work cubicles (and note the proper spelling of Verrichtungs-Boxen; the CNN piece gets it wrong) improve safety for obvious reasons: You’re working in a controlled space. The guy’s license number is recorded. The guy himself can be photographed. The sex-worker has a refuge.
So the Germans and Dutch know what they’re doing. Sex work is an occupation like any other, and the job of the Occupational Health and Safety people is to maximize security.
Why the United States Has It All Wrong
Which brings us to the puritanical U.S., where prostitution is illegal everywhere except some countries in Nevada. This spasm of righteousness accomplishes no valid public objective, and it does much harm.
It heightens the danger for the sex workers, because if they complain to the cops about violence, it is they who get arrested. It doesn’t reduce at all the demand for sex services. And it maximizes conditions for spreading venereal disease. It’s hitting a triple! Good work, Evangelicals!
(The Swedish and Canadian solution to this problem is legalizing prostitution, but criminalizing solicitation. The guys can get arrested, so the prostitutes sneak off to back alleys to meet them — a wildly dangerous solution that the bien-pensants, who know nothing of the realities of prostitution, have devised because it feels good. “Yes, we’ll arrest the guys who should be home helping with the children!”)
What I dislike about the sex scenes in Germany and the Netherlands are the gaudy sex-strips, such as the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, De Walletjes inf Amsterdam where the sex workers display their wares in shop windows, and the Kurfürstenstrasse in Germany, which the CNN piece mentions. This degrades the women and makes it appear as though prostitution was a florid exception from daily life. We need to normalize these services. They belong to daily life.
And what really needs to change is encouraging more women to seek out prostitutes. We know that bisexuality is much more common in women than in men. Yet it’s unusual for bisexual women to patronize prostitutes, because they just don’t feel comfortable. But they should. This is also part of “normalization.”