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In light of Laci Green's recent video about sex work, I'm trying to maintain the momentum of discussion and curiosity. This episode does not reflect the current picture of how prostitution exists in most situations. Instead it is a review of the industry in its purest form. Sex (consensual) for compensation (money/trade).

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Link to Laci Green's video:

Lindsey: The term "sex work" was coined in the early 1980's by Carol Leigh to refer to people who work in the sexy industry. A sex worker exchanges their own sexual labor or sexual performance for compensation such as an escort, prostitute, porn star, stripper, dominatrix, phone sex operator, sensual masseuse, or webcam performer. Professionals.

Most of these jobs are legal, the people doing them are hired as employees or contractors, they go on vacations, they earn living wages, they pay taxes, have coworkers, deal with customers, it's work! Prostitution in particular though, the one most often associated with sex work is illegal in all of these places. In this video Laci Green asks whether or not prostitution should be considered a crime and why Amnesty International, a human rights organization is pushing for it to be legal in all the places. I want to teach you what prostitution is and share why I value it as much as I value sex education.

(Sexplanations intro)

Prostitute, you know this term, someone who exchanges sex acts for compensation, they might also call themselves providers, hookers, harlots, sexual healers, whores, sex workers - the term I use, or companions - the term Joss uses. A courtesan is a sex worker who interacts with people of high rank or wealth. A call girl or call boy is a sex worker who is contacted by phone to arrange services in contrast to a streetwalker who solicits customers outdoors. A gigolo is a male sex worker, so is a rent-boy, a hustler, or trade.

In 2006 study led by Keith Chen found that once Capuchin monkeys were taught the value of tokens to buy food, the monkeys would trade the token amongst themselves for other things, like sex. The monkey was like "token, sex?" and this monkey was like "yeah, let's go," so they did the sex, monkey sex... *laughs*

So the monkey gave the token to the other monkey who used it to buy grapes from the researcher. In prostitution, this would be called a trick. Tricks refers to either the sex act or the client who pays for it. The client may also be called a John, a punter, or curb crawler. A hobbyist is a type of client who makes hiring or viewing and talking about sex workers a hobby.

Which brings us to sex tourism where clients travel to engage in sexual activities with sex workers, either because it is a hobby, it's legal elsewhere, it's cheaper, or it's intriguing. Some people will travel to other places, even the next town over to access sex with people who've been enslaved, but that's not sex or prostitution, that's rape.

Sex workers are willing participants, they elect to meet with their clients. Where? Incall, it's arranged by the sex worker where the client goes. Or outcall, when the sex worker goes to the client's location. There are also business places called brothels, bordellos, cat houses, knocking shops, whorehouses, strumpet houses, sporting houses, or bawdy houses, owned or managed by a madam, where clients can hire sex workers to engage in sex on site.

Outside of the brothels, sex workers negotiate for themselves as independents or they work with controllers or pimps. Pimp is a slang term referring to the male who oversees or manages client accounts for sex workers. They don't generally have good reputations, very little about prostitution does. Many people who participate are minorities desperate for income and exploited for this reason. They're abused by managers and customers alike, they rarely report because what they're doing is illegal, and the risk for sexually transmitted infections is really high when you can't enforce condom use if having sex with them is illegal.

Under these circumstances, sex workers rely on things like the bad date list, a circulated warning between sex workers about clients who have abused, robbed, under-payed, or harmed them in any other way. They also use December 17th, a global day of awareness and remembrance known as the international day to end violence against sex workers.

Then there's screening, which is evaluating a potential client by calling their references, looking up their criminal records, verifying their identity, and reviewing the bad date list to make sure everything checks out OK. SWOP, SWAAY, and Amnesty International, organizations for sex workers' rights and decriminalization, and they also rely on you. Because hopefully you'll watch this video, by Laci of sex+, you'll have conversations about sex work, and you'll stay curious.

In the words of companion Inara Serra, "A companion chooses her clients, that's guild law. The physical appearance doesn't matter so terribly, you look for a compatibility of spirit."