As I suspected when I first heard the news this weekend, the whole Secret Service prostitution scandal was caused by good ol’ cheap rip-off clients so near and known to US sex workers.

According to the news article linked above, two agents slept with the Colombian sex worker but didn’t want to pay full price for each, instead they wanted to halve the price. That’s not how it works anywhere. No prostitute in the world is going to do double the work for half the rate. Not only that, but we get a really good dose of Western imperialism because they were haggling over $20 (she wanted $60, they only wanted to pay $40).

This is endemic in Asia. I got to witness it third-hand on discussion boards over there, secondhand via client stories. Men would haggle over $10 — a great deal to the sex worker and absolutely nothing to a Western man who can afford to travel abroad. No doubt the same problem exists anywhere in a country with darker-skinned sex workers and especially in countries whose economies aren’t as strong as the US (or countries where the US is the invading army). There’s a whole lot more I could say on this topic, but will leave it for some other time.

Other than the blatant racism, the only other thing I have to say on the scandal — and this hasn’t changed from my very first reaction — is that these Secret Service agents are used to being asshole clients in the US. In the US they can get away with ripping off sex workers, beating us and even murdering us if they really want. All without recourse or worrying about the girl saying a single thing because that’s the true beauty of criminalization: it empowers criminals. They forget they were in a foreign country where sex work is legal and sex workers have rights. Different playing field, ain’t it, boys?

15 thoughts on “criminalization vs having rights: the scandal

  1. Curious — I’ve been ripped off (which is at least robbery; some sex workers consider that rape). I’ve been personally annoyed and had emotional boundaries trampled upon. But no, a client has not physically harmed me. (If we want to include my years stripping, then yes, I’ve been assaulted mentally, emotionally, sexually and physically — as well as being regularly ripped off.)

    Clients have physically harmed several of my friends and nearly ALL of my sex worker friends have been ripped off more than once.

  2. And of course the reason why this REAL story (and not fabricated notions of ‘what if the prostitute is secretly a spy?’- put forth by my own maman) isn’t being covered in the news is because the US doesn’t want people thinking sex workers should ever have rights.

  3. As an occassional client of prostitutes and only a mid-level professional with a mid-level salary who has paid 1500 dollars for an evening (not overnight by any means), I just can’t believe these sorts of guys. Ten lousy bucks? I tip 100 (everytime). Geez, what’s wrong with these guys.

  4. Aspasia — I think so!! No news outlet has covered this VERY obvious angle.

    Darren — Indeed. It’s like being able to afford a $20 steak but not wishing to tip your server a nice 20% but instead leave $1 on the table.

    Doesn’t matter what you can/can’t afford but that you treat those who take care of you fairly. That’s all that matters.

  5. Dear Ms. Brooks:
    Well at least in some countries, libidinal service workers really do have a better booty business bureau. At least she was lucky to have a legitimate recourse as well as the resources to do something. Just to think for an infintesimal sum of money they are now suffering a public fall from grace and most of them are being put on administrative leave. Ms. Brooks I am just wondering because I know this is not the first time they did this if they have a profile under an assumed name on any of the major verification boards? That is something that you should ask your sources to ascertain for you. That is why when I was talking to you earlier about things that you could do this is where you need to be being an activist and a resource to these women. They would certainly appreciate your guidance in these matters.

  6. Lionel — Well, yes, that’s kind of my point: for a small amount of money these men have disgraced themselves. If they’d been good clients, no one would be the wiser (least of all their respective wives).

    All sex workers in the US wish they could have these legal resources at their command. For sure.

    I’m not going hunting to see if these SS agents are on bad clients lists in the US. Someone else can do that. Creative idea, though.

    But wait…are you telling me how I should be an activist?? Really?? How about you step forward and do something for sex worker rights? You’re WAY out of bounds here.

  7. Really? Guys with good steady jobs want to haggle over 10 bucks? What were they thinking (or not)? I would not be very happy if I had a security team who acted this way.I’m glad the girls were able to assert their rights plus get these cheap bastards sent home.

  8. David — To be honest, the figure changes with every news story. The principle remains the same.

    But…yes, plenty of men who can spare $10 do indeed haggle vehemently over it. I’m not sure why they’re not embarrassed.

  9. That is why when I was talking to you earlier about things that you could do this is where you need to be being an activist and a resource to these women. They would certainly appreciate your guidance in these matters.

    Obviously, Lionel, you have no idea about the different nuances of prostitution law if you think the experiences of a US activist and sex worker can be easily interchanged with a sex worker in a completely different country.

    Since you love dispensing advice, I’d like to dispense some of my own: instead of asking all these niggling questions for reasons as yet revealed to Amanda or anyone else on this blog, how about obtaining some press credentials?

  10. Aspasia — I’m not sure if Lionel was referencing what I should do for sex workers in the US or elsewhere — it wasn’t clear and I was assuming he was referring to the US. However, your point about his questions is one I’ve been wondering myself.

  11. I wonder if these guys do the same thing with the lawyers they now need. I’ll bet they go to to the employment hearing alone if they do.

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