criminalization vs having rights: the scandal

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?