Talking to the Prostitutes

On Sunday, we did a post about a flyer that had been showing up around the neighborhood encouraging neighbors to report prostitutes, pimps and johns to the authorities. Its comments thread has been going strong all week, with numerous debates about cleanliness, criminality and sex workers’ rights getting fierier and fierier.

Yesterday afternoon’s exchange between a prostitute named Rhonda and a neighbor named “zinzin” makes for an especially great read. Rhonda gets things rolling:

It’s so easy to become a prostitute when you are an attractive young woman. You get cruised all the time. Too much time. It’s annoying, and much better to learn how to negotiate early on!

Why not *talk* *to* *the* *prostitutes* We have voices. We have brains, we are human. Don’t make decisions for us, don’t talk badly about us, don’t treat us like helpless victims, and please don’t make any decisions for us. Talk to us instead.

See the rest of the dialogue (including an epic open letter to prostitutes in the neighborhood and beyond).

5 Responses to “Talking to the Prostitutes”

  1. zezetta says:

    Rhonda is right ! You can’t make laws without listening to us. We have always been there whatever the country and we will always be. If you criminalise us we will only find a way to be still there and break your laws.
    Treat us as criminals and we’ll behave as criminals.
    Treat us as citizens with rights and we can work together to find solutions which will be good for all of us. We need safety and our rights recognised as workers and citizens. So please come to us as equals. We are as much concerned as you are about safety on our streets, our children being raised, etc.
    We are not that different just because we make a living with our body. But who doesnt use its body to work ? How do you seperate your body from yourself ? I dont. I use all my mind to work and not only my body. We are skilled workers and know how to make all these men happier and better people.

    We are part of this society. We pay taxes.
    We deserve the same protection and rights.
    We are part of your communities. We are human beings.

    • zinzin says:

      you know, if you used your mind to read the posts, you’d see that many people are in fact supportive of sex workers being seen as productive, responsible citizens, deserving of benefits, protections and rights.

      that said, all you do here is stump your rhetoric. Ok, we hear you. you’re a person. you have feelings. ok. sure. fine. you and every fucking body else.

      so what do you say about all the concerns people have voiced regarding the dangerous environment your business brings to our community?


    • Confused says:

      Pardon my ignorance, but what taxes do sex workers pay? Yes, there is the normal sales tax, property tax, etc., but do sex workers declare their income and pay tax on that? do they charge tax on their transactions and submit to the proper authority? I can’t imagine too many pimps are paying payroll taxes or for business licenses.

  2. annaologue says:

    10 or so odd years ago when women were being picked up from my street and murdered – THE COPS DID NOTHING. Not to protect those 13 women, not to protect the women or kids in the neighborhood. The only warnings we got were from the women who worked the streets.

    I have seen violence involving prostitution (and yes even called the cops when this goes down.) I have seen straight up police violence. I have been harassed by johns on my street. I do not like any of it.

    But when it gets down to it quite honestly I’m sick of the COPS racial profiling my friends of color. The cops are not SAFE or EFFECTIVE- and on the ‘local’ tip- the cops aren’t from this neighborhood either.

    - first wave gentrifier

  3. mamiel says:

    I am pro-sex worker and have no problem with prostitution in theory.


    My husband used to work at Shotwell and 20th, a place where prostitutes conducted business. Holy cow, the neighborhood really had problems due to this trade. For one thing, me and other women started getting harassed by men in cars . The kinds of men that are attracted to street prostitution are the scum-baggiest guys out there, I concluded. It’s not good enough for them to pay for sex. For some reason they have to act like a bunch of idiots.

    My hats off to the ladies who have to deal with these guys every day. But please understand why people don’t want these jerks coming to their neighborhood.