Sex Workers

Bronze statue of Belle in Amsterdam’s red light district. The plaque reads: “Respect all sex workers around the world.”

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Sir, our daughter and I are on vacation in Miami. I’ve never visited this area before. South Beach (where our hotel is) is crowded and quite warm. Florida is usually busier and more crowded in winter when it’s high season, but it seems to be a “happening” place to me, with loads of tourists and heavy traffic. It’s also very hot and humid. I’m enjoying the classic Art Deco and Streamline Moderne architecture and the pastel colors of the buildings.

We had dinner at a very “hot” restaurant where many patrons were dressed quite glamorously. It was a huge place with several bars, and a night club upstairs. Partway through our meal a man and two women sat at the table next to us. The women looked very similar in appearance  and were dressed in skimpy revealing outfits.

Our daughter (an adult) overheard much of their conversation. Although this may not be true at all, it occurred to me the women could be escorts.  Based on their talk, it was apparent they weren’t related  to each other.

In most larger cities there is a vibrant sex industry. There are many types of sex workers: escorts (who may or may not actually have sex with clients), sexual surrogates who help psychologists assist people with problems related to having sex, professional dominants who provide various services for clients, erotic models and photographers, actors and directors of pornographic films, phone sex workers,  strippers, dancers and workers in “adult” or gentlemen’s clubs, and obviously prostitutes.

Most people have little regard for those who choose to work in the sex trade. In fact, a derogatory term for prostitute, “whore,” is one of the vilest things you can call a woman. Yet, there are millions of people who support this industry.  In most areas prostitution is illegal.

I find myself wondering about the mindset of sex workers. Do they have any amount of self-esteem, or is their work strictly a job? How is it possible to turn the most intimate act into just a job?

I’ve personally known both men and women whom I considered to be sexually promiscuous, however they still chose each and every person they had sex with. Sex workers (for the most part) don’t get to choose their partners.

I feel it takes a very strong person to do this kind of work. There are so many dangers inherent in the sex trade, such as psychological and physical abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, lack of job security, crooked employers, little to no benefits, risk of arrest, and (usually) poor living conditions. Bear in mind that many workers have a limited time span in the industry due to their age.

It’s said that this is the oldest industry in the world. Isn’t it way past time the nameless people who are paid for sex are treated with respect instead of disdain? It’s very possible the women next to us at dinner were simply friends of the gentleman they were with. Regardless of who they might be, I hope they had a fun, safe time together.