People who argue that prostitution would be free of coercion, trafficking, the exploitation of minors – and everything else that prevents it from being some kind of all-above-board consenting-adults-only autonomy party – are people who ignore one vital aspect of prostitutions reality. It is the commercial value of youth.
Just as in some actual industries, like modelling or professional dance, youth is highly prized among attributes. Unlike modelling or dance though, youth in prostitution is prized far above beauty and the fluidity of movement. In order to be most highly in demand in prostitution, you don’t need to be the prettiest flower in the field; you just need to be among the youngest. And what you can or cannot do with your body is irrelevant; it just matters that it hasn’t been on the planet for very long.
One of the commonest questions that comes through on any brothels phone line is ‘What age is the youngest girl you have?’ I could not count the times I have been asked that question, and I defy anybody who has answered a brothels phone to tell the blatant lie that it is not the commonest question they’ve been asked too.
The commercial value of youth is so profoundly built-in to prostitution that women routinely lie about their age in order to generate more business. The clients know this, of course, and even as women are shaving a few years off clients are adding a few on. ‘I’m twenty-six – I’ll tell him I’m twenty-three’ / ‘She’s twenty-three? – that means she’s twenty-six’.
Nobody’s fooling anybody here, and the only thing the whole pathetic charade is any good for is the revealing nature of what’s going on behind the pretence. What it reveals, of course, is that men who buy bodies for sex usually want to buy the youngest body they can find.
Last year it was reported to the BBC that prostitutes as young as thirteen were working the streets in Swindon, in the English county of Wiltshire. “Come here at the weekend and you’ll get 13-year-old girls to 19-year-old girls out here”, one prostitute told reporters.
When I read reports like these I just sigh. It tires me to pre-empt the shock people will express. It tires me to imagine that shock, whether it is genuine or not, because if it is genuine then that proves we have a long way to go in educating people about the reality of prostitution, and if it is not, well then, here is yet more in a tsunami of evidence that there are those who do not want the reality of prostitution understood.
Whenever any evidence of teenaged prostitution is revealed the pro-prostitution lobby move immediately to put forth the preposterous assertion that this town is somehow different or unique. The attitude is always either ‘thirteen-year-olds, good Lord, who ever heard of such a thing?’ – or ‘thirteen-year-olds, good Lord, we could clear up this situation if we legalised prostitution!’ – as if somehow the demand for adolescent bodies would vanish if only we’d make the sale of adult bodies okay!
Usually, however, they will simply deny that adolescent prostitution is widespread, or that adolescents are much in demand in the first place.
‘How do we know this is true?’ will come the query from the pro-prostitution lobby. It is not a query in the genuine sense of the word. A real query seeks an answer. This query seeks to obscure the same answer it purports to be seeking.
This will seem strange and confusing to some people. It is neither strange nor confusing to me; I’ve been exposed to the tactics of the pro-prostitution lobby for too long to be surprised or confused by these sorts of seemingly tangled and nonsensical tactics. What people need to understand is that they are not nonsensical. These are obscurest policies and they are purposeful and predictable, and when you understand their purpose you will have no problem predicting them too.
Their purpose is consistently the same; it is to deny and refute the sick and twisted nature of what actually goes on in prostitution. The truth they don’t want to you know is that men who pay for sex will most often opt to pay for a fifteen-year-old over a seventeen-year-old, a seventeen-year-old over a nineteen-year-old, a nineteen-year-old over a twenty-one-year-old, and so on and so forth.
Now, let me be very clear about this – I will be called a liar for having asserted the above. It will be said that I am trying to demonise punters, that I am telling lies about their preferences and proclivities. I wish I was. In my first year in prostitution, when I was fifteen-years-old, I was used by countless hundreds of men; I truly couldn’t say how many. I saw up to ten men a day so you may do the maths for yourself (the thoughts of doing that calculation disturbs me). As I stated in my Examiner article back in February, men were so obviously aroused by my youth it made them climax very quickly, so I soon learned to tell them how old I was in order to shorten the whole ordeal. I made it a policy; it was one of the first things I said when I got into the car – not that I needed to bring up the subject because it was usually one of the first questions asked of me.
In all those hundreds of men, one man, just ONE, turned his van around and brought me back to where he’d found me.
So yes, those who advocate for legalised or decriminalised prostitution will do their damnedest to obscure the truth about the high commercial value placed on young bodies in prostitution, all the while squawking ‘Where’s the evidence? Where’s the evidence?’ – like some kind of belligerent and demented parrot, with all the repetitiveness and severe comprehension issues you’d expect. All beak and no brains, in other words.
This is to be expected; of course the pro-prostitution lobby don’t want you to know that girls who are post-puberty by only a year or two are routinely lusted after, sought out, highly prized and then abused for enough years ‘till they’ve lost much of their commercial value. If that was widely known, it would do a great deal of damage to the autonomous, sexually-liberated, empowerment fantasy depiction they are consistently trying to peddle.
As for ‘Where’s the evidence?’ – I don’t need to ask that question. When I was a fifteen-year-old prostitute I was FAR more in-demand than I ever was as a twenty-two-year-old, even though at twenty-two I was slim, pretty, and an extremely youthful woman; but therein lay the problem. I was a woman.
There is huge emphasis placed on the commercial value of youth in prostitution. ‘The evidence’ is in every brothel and red-light zone in the land, and I know that because I lived the evidence.
I know it because I was the evidence.
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This is so brave and brilliant. When you talk about how telling them your age would make them climax quickly — that’s so familiar. The idea of being able to violate someone who they’d normally be barred from was the source of the excitement. In other words, someone without a family and society protecting her, someone society had miserably failed.
You just cut to the heart of the nature of prostitution right there Stella – thank you for that, x
Men who are especially sexually excited by predating upon a girls/women whom society has already failed exhibits a pathological eroticized rage against women.
Thank you for speaking to this critical issue for so, so many reasons: it utterly invalidates the insane notion that prostitution should be legalized; it shows how deeply sociopathic the demand is; and it underscores the trauma and torture that the prostituted experience over and over and over again.
Thank you for your understanding Terre, and also for drawing attention to the eroticised rage prostitutes are so often on the receiving end of. If I had a tenner for every time I experienced that I might just be able to afford the marathon of psychotherapy it’d take to get over it!
Thanks for this very interesting article! You are one brave woman!
Thank you Roos!
Thanks for writing this strong story. You just have to go to Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Suisse! (they have had legal prostitution since 1942 and talk about sick culture here – they now tolerate prostitution with kids at the age of 16 years) and New Zealand. All of them have a very big problem with childprostitution eventhough the Cods (the Swedish word for a punter/John ) have every possibilities to go to a legal brothel and buy access to a “legal prostitute.” I think it is very telling about the Cods and certainly underline your story.
Hi Anne, and thank you for your comment. In Ireland a ‘Cod’ is a colloquial term for a ruse, a rip-off, or a pretence. It seems to me a very appropriate term in the context you are describing. Can you clarify, what country is it that men are legally allowed to molest sixteen-year-old girls?
Prostitution is legal at age 16 in Switzerland, XO
That is fucking disgusting.
It sure is!
Australia did not legalize prostitution in 1942. Different states of Australia have different laws. The very first was in NSW where it was decriminalized, not legalized in 1972. Victoria in 1986 and Queensland in 1992 based laws on partial legalization. To this day, some states remain completely illegal, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia. Pimping, living off the earnings and procuring under 18′s are illegal across the board.
New Zealand has NEVER had legalization but adopted partial decriminalization in June 2003.
How do I know? I was born in Melbourne and my home town is ChCh. I have worked, street, parlour, escort, as a receptionist and in a helping agency. In NZ I was part of a lobbyist group and was consulted on the part of The Prostitution Reform Bill in the area of how soliciting charges trap women in prostitution. The very nature of having a criminal record prevented many women from exiting prostitution. I was also very clear to state that legalisation would do far more harm than good. Any and all law reforms needed to make it easier for prostituted women to exit the industry.
Further to this it is illegal across all of Au and NZ to force any person to have sex with any other person. Ironically, financial coersion at the individual level is cited as illegal while the dominant form of financial coersion, the state and societal level is ignored in its entirety.
To make this really clear, I come from a harm minimization philosophy. I believe prostitution will not be eradicated until coersion on a political and societal level is faced directly and dealt with. Until such a time, which I fight for, I want to see every prostituted person have the minimum harm possible and survive the experience to emerge as a strong, capable and free individual.
I am against legslization, for pay parity, for financial assistance and government aid for vulnerable individuals, against trapping anyone in prostitution whether through criminal records, financial coersion at an individual, political and/or societal level or trafficking.
Child prostitution happens in EVERY country. Adult prostitution happens in EVERY country. The problem with legalization is legitimization. The problem with illegalization is criminalising the victims and thus ensuring no one will ever employ them outside of prostitution, driving it underground and not addressing the real issues- financial coersion, the devaluing of the female body as object to be used and refusal to see and eradicate harm.
This article made me think how absolutely horrible prostitution is. I am one of the niave ones who went about her life, not thinking too much about prostitution. I had a basic understanding that it was illegal where I live but not in other places. Truthfully, I never thought about the details and assumed it was an agreement between 2 consenting adults. But, I and everyone who believes that, is wrong. Prostitution is obviously the abuse of girls and young women by men who abuse the power they have by twisting the girls reality into believing the world they are a part of is normal…I think it takes a sick mind to want sex with underage females and it’s scary to think how those men change the course or destiny of a young woman’s life. It is a crime and I believe, now that I’ve read a few blogs on this topic, that prostitution should be outlawed everywhere. It is absolutely a form of sexual abuse to women and in that area I do speak from experience.
Hi Daylily, thank you for your comment and I am so sorry to read that you can speak of sexual abuse from personal experience. I want to tell you that it causes a healing feeling of deep acceptance to read that a survivor of what we might call ‘conventional’ or ‘traditional’ sexual abuse recognises prostitution as sexual abuse also. Over and over I have heard (audibly) and read former prostitutes describe our experiences as “paid rape” “like being raped” “like signing a contract to be raped” etc etc. I have used this terminology myself.
The reality for us women, however, is that while we say these things to ourselves and to our closest friends and to each other, we so rarely say them publicly because we know society will pour contempt and scorn all over them, and us.
Particularly, we are afraid of the contempt and scorn of women who have been sexually abused in less ambiguous ways, because in truth, this is the most painful scorn of all.
Thank you for your compassion and understanding.
I’ve been thinking about this post all day. Your description of the pro-prostitution lobby’s tactics is brilliant:
“‘How do we know this is true?’ will come the query from the pro-prostitution lobby. It is not a query in the genuine sense of the word. A real query seeks an answer. This query seeks to obscure the same answer it purports to be seeking.
“This will seem strange and confusing to some people. It is neither strange nor confusing to me; I’ve been exposed to the tactics of the pro-prostitution lobby for too long to be surprised or confused by these sorts of seemingly tangled and nonsensical tactics. What people need to understand is that they are not nonsensical. These are obscurest policies and they are purposeful and predictable, and when you understand their purpose you will have no problem predicting them too.
“Their purpose is consistently the same; it is to deny and refute the sick and twisted nature of what actually goes on in prostitution.”
That’s it exactly! There’s no logical center to their tactics — their goal is peddling misinformation. They also want to intimidate survivors from speaking out. Once you realize their goal is peddling misinformation — everything they do is as you said, predictable, and makes sense. It’s pretty standard sociopathic behavior — practiced at the industrial level.
Thanks so much for being in the world and writing FWI. So much love, xoxo
Thank you for being in the world too hun,
These relentless tactics are mind-numbingly boring to deal with, but I find that there is satisfaction in exposing them. And yeah, there’s no shortage of the lies and the intimidation tactics; what a waste of time though. Anyone who tries to intimidate me into silence may as well take a piss straight into a ten-force gale.
I’m with you :-)!
I don’t know how I was blessed to come across this article, but it stirs me up so much I have to add some sort of comment. So many emotions and thoughts run through me as I read yet another story of a dear one who has endured such things. As a man, it makes me want to lock every man in a room and firmly deal with them for as long as it takes, and not let them out until they are worthy of you all. And I’ve felt that way for a long time anyway, but after knowing what you all have been through, walking my room in intercession and prayer can’t even get it all out. I’m more than compelled to action, but I also pray for miracles for you all. Otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, if you all don’t get to rest easy and in peace, why should I? It’s not fair.
I can’t tell you all enough how I respect you all…and defend you all anytime I get a chance to preach the gospel of Jesus, educate on trafficking, or with my lifestyle. You all will always have someone on this planet, advocating, sharing your stories, teaching people, pleading on behalf of you all…and holding men accountable to a most high standard.
The article and comments…such good insight and true statements. The pro-prostitution game as well as the rest of the sex industry…so political and warped. So agenda-driven at the expense of humanity, which is made up of real, genuine, beautiful women and children.
I’m a passionate writer and preacher…I could go on for hours on this…and I do. But I’ll stop here. Blessings and grace rest upon you all far beyond therapy, time and natural restoration.
Thank you so much for this lovely message, I haven’t had a chance to respond until now. Reading words like these pours a sort of healing balm into the emotional and psychological woundedness of any woman who has been hurt like this. Thank you very much for that; thank you for being a decent and compassionate person. Than you for being a real man.
You just keep getting better, and you were quite terrific from the start. The breakdown of the business lobby’s scuzzy silencing tactics was most gratifying. Every angle of the “unfairly demonized punters” reproach is an offense to common sense.
Thank you Sam; you can believe it was as gratifying for me to write as it was for you to read!
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Hi there, I am a new-ish reader of your blog and am really appreciating your posts. Thank you for this brilliant and informative post (though they all are). I had to LOL at the line: “squawking ‘Where’s the evidence? Where’s the evidence?’ – like some kind of belligerent and demented parrot.” Awesome.
I like how you say you [and other exited women] ARE the evidence — this is SO important! Scientific studies pale in comparison to lived reality. It is unfortunate that we live in a culture that is so disconnected from being human that the masses only beLIEve information told by 3rd party “experts.”
Stella’s and your comments about prostitution revolving around access to otherwise inaccessible girls has me thinking about why/how this has come to be, and WHY do men get off on this? Especially men who are fathers themselves. Does it start and stop with porn and the sexualization of younger and younger females? How/why do men get so brainwashed into thinking this is okay AND get aroused by it? Is it the innocence factor? The “purity” factor? The marking-of-territory factor before the ‘territory’ gets more used? I’m just trying to understand the psychology of these dis-eased human beings…
Sincerely & Respectfully,
Hi. I have a theory on the commodification of youth that may explain why men feel deserving of a young girl. Movies, tv and mass media show countless stories of Joe Average struggling at work or socially, overcoming it and ‘getting the girl’. She never says, ‘actually your not my type’, ‘I just see you as a friend’, ‘Im sorry I dont feel that way about you’ or any other message resulting in a no. The message guys are recieving is they deserve and should attain a youthful, hot, sexy woman of their choosing. She has no agency. Her wants, desires, feelings, attractions do not even exist, let alone matter. Add to this, the current body ideal of skinny like a 12 year old, hairless as pre-puberty, the invisibility of woman between girlhood and grandma, actresses who are less than 10 years older than a male actor to whom they are acting the part of Mum and we come out with a very, very sick view of male and female adult interaction.
Personally, I believe this problem has very deep roots.
I’ve been thinking about this lately. Because of my own experiences, and also because I’m getting back into prostitution even though I really don’t want to. But responsibilities and all that right? I remember being a kid (12) and then in my later teens and early twenties and dealing with men who were primarily attracted to my youthfulness.
They liked how I looked so much younger than I was in my later teens, and when I was 12, the man I was with liked how body wise I was mature, but my skin and other parts were childlike. He would tell me all the time how soft my skin was and it was such a turn on to him. To this day, I fight nausea if someone touches my face.
I dated and sold myself to too many men who were glad that they could be with someone legal who looked like a child. Even though I’m older now, in some was I have to recondition myself to not feel sad for the loss of that attention. It was wrong and even though I’m hating my thirties, I have to admit that as much as I look back on the times with pleasure, it was actually hell most of the time.
I think unless society deals with this issue of men lusting after children, even girls who look mature but are not, it won’t stop. I’ve seen a word come up a lot on the net lately: Ephebophilia. There are some men who would like to legalize sex with sexually mature children. I read the story of a woman who was seduced at 12 by a man in his late twenties on a pro-ephebolilia site.
Reading about her pain helped me to understand that I was not alone and that it wasn’t acceptable. In the community where I grew up, there were a lot of men who would break their necks to have sex with a girl who was 10 or 11 but looked 15. I wrote more about this issue (prostitution) in general, on my blog, so check it out.
I’m a survivor of sexual slavery to a child sex ring which included prostitution and child pornography, and one thing that Western people don’t look at is that sexual exploitation happens to very young children as well as teens and adults. I’ve realized that the effects of sexual exploitation are very similar to both children and adults. And some of the users of teenage prostituted children sometimes go to the very young. Thank you so much for writing this!
Please read my story if you get a chance, it would mean the world to me!
Of course I’ll read your story Jack. Thank you for posting.
Thank you so much for reading my testimony! Could you relate to it? I find that I can’t relate to other survivors of abuse, and this leaves me with such an empty, lonely feeling. But thanks again for reading it!
You’re welcome. I don’t think it matters so much about whether people relate to survivors of different forms of abuse or not; I personally think it’s much more important that we learn to reconnect with and learn to relate to ourselves. Do you mind me asking if you’ve been to counselling?
Yes, I was in counselling for 3 years, and I’m just getting back into it now.
The only reason why I asked if you can relate is because the vast, vast majority of people who know my past don’t know how to help or what to say, and then they eventually abandon me and I’m left all by myself. And it’s incredibly hard to do this by myself, in fact, I can’t do this by myself.
It was actually that crushing loneliness that caused my last suicide attempt
Have you ever thought about group counselling Jack? Group counselling is powerfully healing, and I believe the powerfulness of it comes from the fact that it is conducted in a group. One of the benefits is that you can see that you’re not alone.
Hi freeirishwoman. The movie “Taken” gave glimpses into an even more disturbing aspect of this whole sorry business: when unsuspecting young women travelling abroad are abducted and addicted to drugs by dealers in the sex slave trade, and then forced to become the sexual possessions of sick rich bastards. As a forty year old man I can honestly state that yes.. younger women are attractive- BUT, the thought of going any further than looking is Abhorrent.. Sex with children is disgusting and dare I say it evil. Every time I look at a girl in her late teens I don’t see a sex object, I see someones’s daughter or sister or friend, and think of somebody losing her in such a horrible way as depicted in that movie.
It of course goes without saying that male children as well as females are part of this equation. I come from Adelaide in Australia, where paedophilia is an institution, and practically a requirement for entry into the law, political or public service sectors. The most savage weapon against prostitution and other symptoms of a sexually sick society is EXPOSURE of the perpetrators. In Adelaide, as everywhere else, the monsters work in secret.
Your article was thought provoking, and I fervently hope your crusade to end the murder of not children but CHILDHOOD changes the world for some of those who have become ensnared in it.
This is my first visit here, and so very much appreciate your pointing out the prevalence and fact of the paid rape of young girls, and boys. In the U.S., rape of girls 12 and under is not even reported as rapes in the national database, and why is that? To hide prevalence of pedophilia and paid rape of children?
Recently the Penn State and Roman Catholic Church convictions have made me hope that the majority of people are ready and willing to stand up to institutionalized pedophilia. I hope the power of these victims to bring attention at the highest levels to pedophilia continues to bring justice. Both those cases involved primarily boy victims, and their bravery in breaking the silence and standing up to their monsters but brings to light a very popular outcry against pedophiles in the U.S. The overwhelming comments on public newspapers is condemning of pedophilia.
The more attention we can bring to the facts such as the actual ages of first exposure to hard core porn (against law to expose juveniles to XXX porn), the average age of prostitution entry as teens, and shine a bright light on the demand side of this public health epidemic the better. Thank you!