I’m furious. Not because I’ve been “exploited” or “victimized.” Just the opposite. Because as an adult making my own choices, I have been cast as a victim, and because I could face the charge of “exploiting” myself.
This is nauseating – and highly gendered – bullshit.
I do not believe that any human should be forced to engage in work they do not consciously choose to do to survive.
And the way that “trafficking” laws are being applied in our country are insane. To tell a worker she is exploiting themself, and to penalize them for it, is ridiculous.
I found working in other industries to be far more exploitative.
In the food industry I was disrespected, I worked long hours for low pay, I encountered sexist attacks daily even as someone who held a degree and over 5 years of industry experience.
In retail and sales, I worked similarly long hours with low pay, and our hours were “fluid” where the rate of profit per day determined who got sent home and when – after our employer forced us to be available for between 3-8 hours many of us would be let go early. Our scheduled hours had no bearing on our paychecks, even though we arranged our lives around them.
My clients as a sex worker have the courtesy to tell me ahead of time if our meeting is canceled, but many many times I have gone to “real” jobs after paying bus fare, or riding my bike for a half hour, only to be told I was not needed. none of these jobs, full time or part time, have ever given me healthcare, sick leave, or vacation.
My self-employment as a sex worker has given me freedom, flexibility, and profit. I understand that there are humans who are not voluntarily sex workers and I fully support helping them escape the industry.
But to me, minimum wage for hard labor….. is slavery. It is far more exploitative than any sex working I have engaged in.
As my writing shows, I’m not effin’ stupid. I have two degrees (biology and culinary arts) and do not choose to use them. I would rather give blowjobs than do shitty lab work or run a kitchen. The money is exponentially better. I make my own hours. I make the boundaries my clients respect. I get to dress and look as I please.
To prosecute humans for taking their fates into their own hands is insanity. A “trafficking” charge would be more appropriate for corporations who undervalue and overwork their employees. 8-10$ an hour is not only insulting to any living being, but far below a living wage in our first-world country.