In “Paid For” the Author Explores Exempting Prostitutes from Criminal Exposure

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When an aging Supreme Court Justice reverses his pro-death penalty stance, some say he “got stronger religion” because he was getting closer to “meeting his maker.”

 Aging hookers sometimes “flip-script” on issues relevant to their former trade once nature fiddles with their appearance. 

In a recent review of the book “Paid For” in the New York Times, the writer says that the author, Rachel Moran, “helped persuade legislators to adopt the Nordic model for the sex trade, which criminalizes buyers of sex and treats sellers as exploited victims. 

Such a system is distinct from the full decriminalization model now advocated by Amnesty International, a move Moran has campaigned against”. Later, she says that Moran has endeavored to dispel myths and basic untruths about the sex trade. 

She says Moran attacks from multiple directions and attacks what she perceives to be the “prevailing myths about sex work: that working indoors is safer; that some forms of sex work are ‘classier’ than others; that selling sex can be empowering; the existence of a ‘happy hooker.’”

Moran appears to be talking from personal experience, and so it seems that she has provided some detail regarding her work on the streets in specific areas. When reviewing the reviews for this book on Amazon, I came across this one:

[Ragnar Vagmörnasson “Walkerling”

This review is from: Paid for My Journey Through Prostitution (Paperback)

Strangely, a group of prostitutes worked that patch of Wellington Lane – in fact, the very corner that Rachael claimed to be on – and they never set eyes on her. They were so incensed by her claims that they took themselves off to a solicitor and swore an affidavit, a copy of which I have, which further refutes her claim to have been arrested for soliciting ‘before 1993’—an impossibility.

At no time did I ever see or hear of “Rachel Moran” author of “Paid For” and founder of “Space International” nor anyone resembling her, working in that area. In her book, she claims to have worked near the corner of Wellington Lane from early evening until “the small hours,” which would have placed her within 15 yards of me for several hours most nights.

I have asked several people I retain some contact with, or could locate, from that time and nobody else can remember her, or anyone like her, not only there but in any form of sex work indoor or outdoor, at any of the times she claims to have worked, between 1991 and 1998.

Beyond this, in her book “Paid For” and online blog “theprostitutionexperience,” she has described several people, but not one of them even resembles anyone I ever met or heard of. http://annaraccoon(dot)com/2015/08/04/what-about-the-boyos/

We take no position on the accuracy of the comments in this Amazon customer review; the vast majority of the reviewers rank the book very high. However, we do take issue with Moran’s contention that Amnesty International’s decriminalization proposal is wrong. 

For openers, how could anyone reasonably believe that sex workers would not be safer under controlled and regulated systems? The very nature of the prostitution business is hidden because the workers fear prosecution.

 The women, often very young, work from shrouded and isolated quarters where they are forced to make dangerous choices that sometimes land them in areas where serial killers and other abusers lie in wait. 

By decriminalizing prostitution, many of these evils could be significantly diminished; sex workers could work in the open.

Moran also seems to argue that sex workers never really consent to the sexual act, apparently owing to the oppressive conditions that led them to the business. That may be true, especially where prostitution is illegal and being managed by pimps, or when addiction or severe financial problems are present. 

However, there are many sex workers who would disagree with the notion that they are not consenting to the sexual acts, and wish people like Moran would mind their own business. Since the government does not own a woman’s (or man’s) body, they should be able to charge for sex if they so choose. 

Feminists do not have a problem with the ownership axiom when abortion is the issue; they only seem to retreat from the “choice” option when sex is present. 

Consent has little to do with prostitution; the real problem is that prostitution is illegal, and participants must operate in secrecy. It is the shroud of secrecy that causes shame, anxiety, and other mental woes for many of these women. Prostitution is a moral issue that has been around for centuries. It is not going away—why not protect these people and follow Amnesty International’s proposal.

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